Appliqué Towels!

Every year I stitch towels for high school swimmers that have qualified for the state swim meet. A local tradition is that the state qualifiers make a towel for one of their fellow state qualifying swimmers, and the towels are always personalized for that swimmer.

Today I thought I would share two of the towels I worked on, and the towel I am making for my granddaughter.

  1. Purchase 2 yards of 45″ wide towel terry fabric is at the fabric store.
  2. After working out the design elements of the towel, I begin to appliqué them on top.
  3. I use Pellon Wonder Under to fuse the appliqués on and than do a loose satin stitch to finish the edges of the appliqués.
  4. Be careful not to satin stitch too tightly or you will stretch out the towel fabric.

Pellon Wonder Under is a fusible web product that is wonderful for working with appliqués. Fusible Web is basically a sheet of glue with paper attached to one side. You trace your design (mirror image) on to the paper. Trim around the tracing leaving about ¼” around your design. Lay the paper webbing with the glue side to the back of your fabric and iron the two together. The heat will activate the glue, adhering it firmly to your project. Now trim directly on the line you drew on the paper. Remove the paper backing and place the wrong side of the appliqué to the right side of your project and iron again. This will fix the two fabrics together. Because the glue sheet is all the way to the edge of the appliqué you should not have much fraying if any; however, it is always good to finish the edge with a satin or blanket stitch.

This first swimmer is into the argyle look so I took the red towel and added black and white diamonds and than did a zig-zag stitch through the diamonds to create the design. After the design was complete, I went back and appliquéd on the swimmer’s name and the other letter elements (the category she qualified for, the year, and of course the school name). I choose white because it would stand out nicely and still worked well with the other colors in the towel. As you can see, Lauren is a diver.

Some of the towels are more graphic than others, here is one for a freestyle swimmer who also happens to like cars.

Of course, working on projects like these tends to inspire me in other, similar directions. Below is a picture of a beach towel I have just finished for my granddaughter for Easter.

Her towel is being made onto a store-bought towel (no requirement to ‘make’ every element of her towel!), and I got the idea for the appliqué pieces from a new quilting book that I have recently previewed for Hancock Fabrics.

Anyone looking for some inspiration for some cheery quilts should consider taking a look at this book once it becomes available!
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing

Quilt Block of the Month

Hancock Fabrics will begin its Quilt Block of the Month program for 2008 this month. Each year a different quilt and theme are chosen for the Quilt Block of the Month, and this year the theme is called “Journey”. This quilt is a great one for beginning quilters, so I encourage you to take a look at the program if you are looking for something new to do.

I have taken pictures of some of the fabrics to give you an idea of the quilt colors for this year. As you can see, the fabrics are so beautiful; you’ll want to purchase enough to make other things to go with your quilt.

Of all the quilts that have been chosen for Quilt Block of the Month in the past, this is one of my favorites. I have brown leather furniture in my family room, and this quilt will go perfectly in there.

If you are interested in participating in the program, check with your local Hancock Fabrics store. This program will be in all stores, and most will have demos for the Quilt Block of the Month program on the 3rd Saturday of each month. (However, stores do have the option to adjust this day, so check to see when your store is doing the demos.) Stop in at your local Hancock Fabrics store and pick up the instruction book. You can either have the fabrics cut for you or buy a kit that includes the book and the fabrics already cut for the quilt.

The creator for this year’s quilt is Laura Jones. Laura choose to call this quilt “Journey” because she knows that everyone has a journey in this life, everyone’s journey is different, and yet we can make the journey together – as we are each doing in completing our ‘journey’ with this quilt. Each participant will learn different things, and take away different memories – and yet we will journey together in completing this year’s Quilt Block of the Month.

The first quilt block is appropriately titled “Treasure”, because there is a pocket in the center of the block for you to put something into. The possibilities for what might go into this pocket are endless. Here are two pictures of the block, the first is just the quilt block – and the second is the block with a piece of lace that my Grandmother crocheted.

If you are going to give the quilt as a gift you might include a copy of a quilt journal designed specifically for this quilt. (Don’t know what a quilt journal is? Check out this link)
Another idea would be to include items from a trip that you have taken – something memorable. Perhaps you’ll choose a memento from your wedding, something that was important to you as a child, or a photo of a family member. Use your imagination!

I was so inspired by this block that I had to make another one, so I dug out some prints that might be fun for a child. Here’s what I came up with:

I think I’m going to make this up into a pillow – I can just see my granddaughter’s smile when she sees this! The block came out to 12” square without any borders – so to make a good size pillow I will add borders before I finish it off. Think about giving this to a child who is going into the hospital, the pocket could contain a favorite stuffed animal, or notes of encouragement. Using the same idea, you could make this block several times and create a throw blanket – each pocket could contain a different note or small gift for the recipient.
Sheila Reinke, Heart of Sewing