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In the Quilting World Tips, Tricks & Comments Free Quilting Pattern Let's Bind It!
In the Quilting World

Switching Directions

Candle mats are useful and fun projects to make when you have a free afternoon with nothing to do (or at least nothing else you really want to do). They're also a great way to experiment with new techniques or ideas you've been thinking about. Don't be afraid to change them to suit your needs or taste. Be open to color changes, and if you need to tweak the original construction, so be it. It's OK to be creative. It's what makes quilting so much fun.

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Berry Patch is a traditional applique piece. It's my inspiration for this update.

If you'd like to work along with me on this project, download the pattern PDF under the Free Quilting Pattern tab at the top.

Berry Patch, our free download for this update, was my inspiration for this project. It has border-stripe print used in the borders, and it's an applique project. Both are things I like to work with, but after a few hours of digging through my stash, I realized I had not one single border fabric that I could work with for this project -- at least nothing that would be appropriate. So, as is my way, I began a little creative tweaking. I decided to go with a plain black border with a purple flange inserted to give it an accent color. Once my choices were made, I did the math to decide on my cutting list. The original pattern had a 12-inch square of white tonal for the applique background; I decided to use a light-color batik. I cut it the same size as the pattern suggests. I cut 1 1/4-inch flange strips, 3-inch-wide black border strips and 2 1/4-inch binding strips.

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The fabrics I selected from my stash for the base for my applique.

I folded the flange strips in half along the length, and with a scant 1/4-inch seam allowance, I stitched a strip to each side to the 12-inch background square.

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Background with the folded flange stitched into place.

Then I added the black border strips to the top, bottom and sides of the center unit and pressed.

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Borders added and pressed.

Now this is where it got a bit crazy. Sometimes my plans go a bit haywire. I had the background all stitched and ready to add the applique to it when it dawned on me that the colors I used wouldn't work with the colors I had chosen from my stash for the applique pieces. My options were to start over or deal with it. I decided to adapt and conquer! I love a challenge, so it was back to the stash fabrics and my scrap basket. With a bit of sketching, fusing and cutting, I ended up with a small poppy wall hanging. I have to be honest about this. Art applique is definitely more appealing to me. I'm not big on traditional applique. I took the opportunity to do what I truly love to do.

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My new applique design fused and stitched into place and ready to quilt.

Once I had fused all the pieces into place and had topstitched them, I layered the backing, batting and finished top together so I could machine-quilt it. I love working on small projects that are easy to maneuver on a domestic machine. It allows me to really get creative with my machine quilting and try new motifs.

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I quilted the background with a small stipple.

I added detail stitching into the applique. I love to use thread painting to add the finishing details! Then it was time to square up the quilt top and add the binding. This may have been a last-minute switch from the original plan but I love it.

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Adding some texture to the poppy center with black thread.

One final trim, a squaring up, and the top was ready to layer with batting and a backing. It was off to the sewing machine for a bit of free-motion quilting, another trim, and then back to the machine to stitch on the binding.  

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My finished small poppy wall hanging.

Berry Patch will be placed in my to-do pile for a later date. I haven't forgotten it; I just decided it needs a bit more thought on my part.

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