Wednesday, 15 February 2017

Secret Garden Block One redone

Hi Everyone,
Intended to spend the last week working on my oriental quilt but after finishing the first block of Esther's mystery BOM Secret Garden I started have serious second thoughts about it.
My colouring in before I started was soft and delicate but for some reason my flowers ended up bright and bold. The more I thought the more I realised I liked my block but I didn't love it.
This really threw me as my idea of a secret garden is somewhere you can go and just spend time dreaming lovely dreams and recalling wonderful memories, my block did none of that for me.

First thoughts of colours 
Esther had said the finished size of SG was 80" by 80" but I was surprised how big the applique pieces are, guess I was thinking Love Entwined and the hundreds of tiny bits to stitch, I pinned my block up on a diagonal like Esther's sketch page that showed a corner and my block looked so bold. Couldn't get my head around it, maybe because I was also thinking of SG as a wall hanging.
What would be the largest I would like my wall hanging, in our house probably 60" by 60"
Didn't even need the calculator for this one it's 75%  of the original so straight to the printer'
First thing was to remake my flowers and basket

New flowers and basket
This time had my contrast fabric on the wall and used whatever fabric fitted my softer look, Used lots of the same fabrics but chnaged what went with them. the little dark pink floral is still in but it has a Fusions fabric with gold  overlay as it's partner and pink fairy frosts joined in for others

New padded basket
Same Fairy Frost for the basket weave but changed background to a white FF with gold, and used a slightly deeper thread. making my basket changed as hadn't been happy with how the yellow had looked once the basket was stitched. this time I lightly padded the reverse with iron on Vilene 630 and did my stitching before adding my basket to the background, now have a slight puff to all the little squares.
Before LE I used to pad lots of my applique especially flowers so weent back to this method.

Once flower is fused and assembled on baking paper put Vilene with the sticky side down and place flower on top and draw around it.

Cut out roughly just outside the line and then trim a quarter inch inside the line. Position back on the flower and check the fit, in this case it needs a little more trimming  around the top curves so that the edges will stick to the background.

Position on the fabric and carefully press just around the edges then turn over and press from the reverse to fuse the background to the sticky side of the padding, then it's ready to stitch.
A couple of things if you are new to raw edge applique.
Your machine is set from the factory to be ideal for dressmaking with perfectly even tension, you do not want this for applique or you risk your bottom thread popping or your edges puckering because you are not sewing with a straight stitch.
Ideally use Bobbinful, Seralene or any other very fine thread in your bobbin, with my Bernina I feed it through the eye on the bobbin case which tightens the tension slightly.
Prepare a sample, fuse a fabric scrap to a scrap of your background fabric and stitch with your preferred stitch blanket or zig zag. Gradually loosen your top tension until your stitch is sitting perfectly flat with no pulling. My bernina's default toptension is 3.5 but for applique it is just under 2 and even less for some stitches or different threads.
When you look at the back you will think my tension is wrong but you are not dress making and the back won't be seen when you have finished your quilt

Used a beige Serelene for my bobbin and you can see how the top stitch has been pulled to the back showing the different colours used. Can see the burgundy is just a little tight but it is not noticeable from the front. Also tie off all my ends as I don't trust my machines tie off function for applique, last thing you need is stitching that starts to come undone when you have finished your quilt.

Stitched and looking pretty.

Stitched all my flowers first as was undecided what fabric to use for my leaves, lightened my stems and used a zigzag for stitching as they are quite narrow now.

The floral still works really well

Apricot now not Orange

Decided to only use my lighter fabric for the leaves as it has lots of variation and now my leaves are smaller I didn't need to fiddle with two fabics 

Lots of playing for key and bow fabrics. Stitched my circles and satin stiched the little hole before I attached the key, used heavy tearaway behind for these stitches to stabilise the fabric.
tried several different bow fabrics before decided on my contrast fabric. Fussy cut each part of the bow seperately to get the flowers but should have cut the piece over the basket to get more colourat the bottom. Couldn't resist having a butterfy for my center.

Soft and Delicate
This is what I imagined  my block would look like.

Amazing what changinfg just a few shades will do

Very happy to have finished it last night as today is the 15th and Esther will be giving us part 2 of Diamond Hill and I can have fun playing with my brights, on the right quilt this time.

Linking now to Esther's WOW.

Cheers Jenny


  1. WOW Jenny another great tutorial thanks so much I do enjoy seeing how others work. It would be very hard to choose which block I liked the most, but it's the over all finished quilt look the makes one choose. . Hugs Glenda

  2. Beautiful result, Jenny. And lots of good info about how you achieved it.

  3. Thank you for sharing the process. I adore reading the hows and whats. It's inspiring. Another beautiful block, with perfect stitching, and puffiness. J'adore!
    I am glad to be sharing this journey with you.

    Lorraine xo

  4. Very pretty! I love your soft basket of flowers :)

  5. Oh I love it-the soft look is perfect! Good machine applique work!

  6. I like both blocks as I am an orange fan. But loved the lesson on slight changes in tint. Something to think about.