On the road ... again!
Stitch up some Snow Friends!!

Sunset on White Bear Lake ... tips and tricks for our Row By Row Experience row

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The 2015 Row By Row shop hop is in full swing and has been a ton of fun so far! We've met a lot of great quilters from all over the place already ... and it's only the first week! I was delighted when I found out the theme for this year was H2O ... a water theme. Perfect for White Bear Lake. And perfect for me, too. I knew exactly what I would do ... a fabric rendition of the poster I created for Marketfest in 2013. It was a blast sewing paper to paper to create the poster ... and just as fun to recreate it in fabric!

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The trail that runs along White Bear Lake in Downtown is iconic ... if you live here you have either walked, biked or riden alongside of it. My favorite time to walk the lake is in the Summer ... especially as the Sun is going down and the day begins to mellow. Those old oak trees take on a different look and so does the water. I wanted to capture all of that in the poster and also in my row project.

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Unlike most rows, mine is vertical instead of horizontal. I wanted it to be easy to sew the appliques so I chose to use raw-edge free-style applique. There's nothing to turn under and the appliques are stitched in a random, squiggly stitch. Nothing about it is has to be perfect ... just the way I like things!

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The background is pieced, then the appliques are laid on top of it.

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Some tips on stitching in the free-style applique include:

  • Use a clear, open-toed presser foot so you can see where you're going. A clear, round foot like you'd use for machine quilting also works.
  • If you feel more comfortable, you can drop your feeddogs to give you more of a free-motion feeling. I didn't because I wanted to feel more in control.
  • Don't have your stitch length too small ... the appliques will lay flatter with a larger stitch.
  • The 'needle down' position is your friend. Use it to help pivot.
  • The auto thread cutter on your machine is a function you want to use. It'll save so much time later when you don't have to trim threads ... plus it keeps the back neater. And you won't waste thread.
  • It's ok if your stitches run off the applique now and then.
  • Double back on the stitching lines ... sometimes I stitched two rows on the same applique but I made it a point to cross over the original stitching.
  • Use whatever color of thread you choose ... if you like to match, go for it! I like the contrast so I used light grey on this project but I've also used black or white. Just depends on the mood you're in!
  • Freezer paper is your friend! With the exception of the boat, flowers, flowers and fish ... my fabrics were all cut with freezer paper templates. It gave them more dimension, the edges frayed and ruffled, and they weren't so stiff. If you're going to use fusible I recommend Featherlite by ThermoWeb
  • There's no need to backstitch ... clip the threads even with the surface. And it's ok if a few come out.

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I made my row into a wall hanging and layered the batting and backing so I could quilt it as I sewed the appliques. Directions on how to do this are in the pattern. It can get a little bulky sometimes ... plus I was using a machine with a smaller opening. Fold your fabric and pin it to make it easier to maneuver.

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The grass along the shoreline was made by first overlapping strips of green to make a larger piece of fabric. Notice that the strips aren't cut straight ... I curvy cut them with my rotary cutter on one edge to make them look like hills. The last strip is curvy cut on both sides. It's fun ... just take your rotary cutter and let your hand move of it's own free will!

The grass fabric needed to be trimmed so I made a skinny freezer paper template. Follow the drawing that's in the pattern. I pressed the freezer paper to the front of the grass ... making sure it covered from side to side and into the seam allowance. Then I cut along the line.

Position the grass over the green portion of the pieced background so some of that shows and stitch in place. If you're making the wall hanging, follow along that stitched line again as well as the other grass strips.

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Before you stitch down the wave by the boat, make sure that the boat is tucked under the wave ... here on White Bear Lake it's common to have the water lapping at the edge of the boat. We want to be authentic!

Also ... note how the strip of the wave is tucked under the larger blue water pieces ... more is showing at one end than the other. That will create motion in your piece and it won't look so stiff.

Make sure that last wave is tucked under the grass before you stitch.

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The flowers were fun to stitch ... I accidentally made a star in the first one and then happily continued on doing that for the others. It looks cute!

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There's something about that picket fence and the pennants that just makes me happy! I backstitched the year in bright red floss ... three strands.

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Those fish ... so cute happily hopping around in the water!

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I found a branch in the backyard to hang my wall hanging. I used left over binding to make my loops. I folded it almost in half and stitched the length then cut that to fit over the stick. Hand stitched it next to the binding, making sure I didn't stitch through to the front ... that wouldn't have looked good! You can see what the back looked like after I stitched down those appliques.

It was wonderful to be able to find all of the perfect fabrics from my friends at Paintbrush Studios/Fabri-Quilt. I was able to match up perfectly with my original paper poster.

Don't forget that the Row By Row Experience Shop Hop continues through Labor Day. Almost 2700 stores in the US and Canada are taking part and they all have a FREE row pattern for you to pick up! There are license plates to purchase ... kits ... pins and totes ... and all of the stores have great displays to look at.

Because of the shop hop rules, we won't be able to take our row to the Minnesota State Fair this year. For us ... the hop ends on August 22. We'll be open our regular Thursday thru Saturday schedule but I will throw in extra days here and there. Watch my Rosebud's Cottage Facebook page to keep up.

I hope you enjoy Sunset on White Bear Lake as much as I loved making it!! Sewing should be fun!

RBC quilting budz