Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Alice Criswell's Big Block

How do you like the first block of The Second Year?

Alice and Andrew Criswell's block

I think it has a Hawaiian feel about it.  This block isn't more difficult than the previous blocks, the challenge is in the preparation.  

I started by taping the two pattern pieces together to make one quarter.  This is my first draft of the pattern, it hasn't been prettied up yet.  I've taped it to the table so it doesn't shift.

I found a large piece of light interfacing, big enough for the whole pattern.  I taped the interfacing over the pattern and traced one quarter.  Then I turned the interfacing over and traced the next quarter on the opposite side of the interfacing.  That gave me a mirror image and I could see the first drawing through the sheer material.  I did the same for the next two quarters and the pattern was finished.  

Cutting it out took time, I had to be careful not to tear the interfacing.  When finished I basted the interfacing to the fabric.  The interfacing stayed on while I did the needleturn, it was easy to fold out of the way to see my stitches.

I found that this method worked well for me.  If you have a clever way to prepare a big applique we'd love you to share it.


  1. Great idea. I've used interfacing to draw my applique pattern on to lay over the block when laying down different pieces but never thought of stitching it down over the fabric. Thanks for sharing.

  2. lovely block....I'm still yet to make a start on this stunning quilt, but each time I receive a block I'm a step closer....thank you so much for sharing this beauty with us

  3. I traced a quarter of the pattern onto freezer paper then folded it in half and cut out this half of the pattern. My freezer paper was only 18" wide so was not big enough to do a complete pattern. In the mean time, I laid a 20" red square right side up on top of the background and carefully basted it corner to corner and top to bottom and side to side. Using these basting lines as markers, I then ironed the half pattern onto the red fabric and traced around the design with a frizion pen. Now I am doing cut away needleturn applique. Since I did not want to spend most time basting the rest, I am using tiny applique pins for a few leaves then moving them as I stitch up to them. This is working very nicely and allows me to turn under as much seam allowance as I need to between those really close together leaves.
    I would post a picture if I could figure out how.
    I am just starting my CCCQ and looking forward to the journey for the next 2 years.

  4. Thanks for those encouraging words that it is "no more difficult than the other blocks" as it does look rather challenging! Yours looks brilliant and it does look rather Hawaiian. Great to see how others are tackling it.

  5. A beautiful block and great fabric! Nice to see your tutorial - have not seen interfacing used like this but it is a great idea as it is more flexible than paper.As an alternative, back-basting the whole thing would work well too.


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