Monday, July 2, 2012

Welcome, Red-White-and-Blue Hoppers!

Welcome, to all of you special Lilypadquilting peeps, and to you special blog hop visitors, too!  I must warn you . . . I get a little carried away sometimes, and I think this is one of them. When you put me, fabric, my machine, and a camera in the same room? Well, ya had better stand back! (Grin)

Thank you, Madame Samm, for cheerleading for Jane and all of us --- Jane did a great job of organizing this, and I'm thrilled to be participating. Want to see what I made? Do ya? Huh?  Well, here you go . . . 
Here in all it's 3D spiffiness, is my "Firecracker Block" for your consideration.

Yes, I admit it, I thought we were supposed to make a table topper, so my 12.5 inch block is finished that way. (Grin)

Now, would you like to know how to make one of your very own? Well, sit yourself down (move over, Lilypad regulars, and make some room) and grab a cuppa (we have tea and coffee for you) and make sure you have a snack ('cos it's gonna be a while).

This was my inspiration for this block -- at least, that's what I thought of, and this is the closest image I could find, to show you what was percolating in my wee head.

An old-fashioned fire cracker, right in the middle of explodin'!! So, how to make one? And what to do with it when we're done? I'll show you both!
I rummaged around in my stash and found some patriotic red, white, and blue fat quarters -- but you don't need that much; just scraps will do. I drew a pattern freehand (and if you would like one, just click here to go to my file cabinet over at Google Docs and you can have one!) and cut out my pieces. 

Here you see the pieces for the larger half of the firecracker. These will form the outside of the unit:

Now here are the "lining" pieces, that will show because the firecracker is exploding, and the edges of the cylinder that held the powder are being blown back, and will show.

You will see on the pattern a dotted line . . . the lining doesn't have to go all the way inside the firecracker, because it will only show here at the opening. 
Be careful to flip the pattern pieces over when you cut out the lining, because you will put the pieces wrong sides together, like this:

Here are the pieces that I cut out for the smaller part of the firecracker. I know this may be confusing. Breathe deeply. Relax. Work with me here, OK? It will be alright. (Wink)

This will all become more clear when we start putting things together! And to do that, I found some iron-on Pellon that did the trick. See? Just trace your pattern on here, 

Then iron it to the outside or the lining.
And then I used my trusty lapel stick to join the other fabric to the unit.

I didn't worry about the raw edges, because this is supposed to be explodin', ya know! That will just add a little realism!  

Now it was time to put the firecracker pieces together and stitch up the tube -- lay them like this and stitch those long sides. 
This is what you have now:

I didn't want to be worrying about the lapel stick bond, so I stitched around those edges. This will also make it easier to "curl" the pieces later.
Now, you have to put something in there to plump up this firecracker, and it just so happens that some poly-fil will work nicely, as well as be artsy when we start adjusting things later on, so . . .
Using my handy-dandy-super-specialized-tool, I packed some in there, and left a fair amount hanging out the opening. (Don't you love it when I am so specific about how much of something you should use?) 
Now it's time to close up the end. Refer back to the picture above if you need to. You want us to wait? OK, I'll go get another cuppa.
You're back! Take your circle of "outside" fabric and (right sides together) hand-stitch it to the end of the tube. Start on one side, like so:

You can pin it if you like, but just keep going around, turning under about a quarter of an inch, and then you will have this:

It's time to start on the other end of the firecracker, OK? 

Put your "outside" and your "inside" or lining fabric together in the same way that we did before:

You can see up above that the Pellon is ironed onto the red fabric, and then I used the Lapel Stick to join the starred fabric to the red.
Second verse, like the first!
I forgot to say that when you stitch the "tube" you should turn and stitch to the edge where it shows that on the pattern:

When you finish stuffing the second one, you'll have two parts that look something like this:

Now it's time to add some embellishments . . .

I pulled out some rick rack, and cut some stars out of another fabric. You can lay the parts of the firecrackers on your block --- oh, I forgot to tell you to cut a 12.5 inch square of fabric, didn't I? Plumb inconsiderate of me, don'tcha know? You can choose whatever you like -- I chose a white on white that I had handy. Lay the firecracker sections out and decide which way you'll be sewing them down . . . but don't do it yet!  

Pin your rick rack where you think you will want it; I used mine to make arcs that would show some movement. I laid the block on top of the batting at this point, and sewed the rick rack down.
After that, I did some free motion quilting around those arcs and stars, and when that was done, I made a narrow binding. Here is how it looked when I finished that step:

It was time to attach the firecracker to the block! Using tiny stitches and burying the thread so it would not be seen, I started from the back and stitched that bad boy down.

I wanted to have it almost "pop" off the block, and create shadows, too, so I turned some of the frayed parts under, and stitched those in place. Also, there are some frayed parts that are stitched back onto the firecracker itself, to make it stay "open."  See?

Here is the large section of the firecracker, stitched into place:

I used a needle to gently pull the batting, to make certain that it was thin and wispy, like the smoke from a little explosion. I also added some yellow rick rack to add a little more fiery color:

Padsworth is pointing to the yellow rick rack --- he wants you to admire that:

Here's another close up --- I love how the pieces stand out and have shadows under them!

So, here is the finished project -- my Firecracker quilt block!

I can see using this as a quilt-as-you-go block, and putting four of them together to make an "explosively" colorful wall hanging!

I hope you enjoyed your visit to Lilypadquilting -- it's a hoppening place, and we have a lot of fun here!

Be sure to visit the other bloggers who are offering blocks today:

And be sure to check with Jane at her blog, to get the whole schedule. You can click where it says "Master schedule" to find the whole list! You are sure to be inspired and find lots of new projects to enjoy!