Thursday, April 7, 2011

"Aarg I be NP" The tale of a pirate kitty....and fusible applique

This is a tale of the castaways, there here for a long long time...


Wrong story.

This one is tropical, though not about Gilligan and his friends.

This is the story of a swap quilt made for the March/April 2011 STUD swap on Flickr.

I was assigned the task of making a little quilt that reflected one or more of my partner's favorite things.

My partner, FlossieBlossoms (great name isn't it?!) listed these as her favorites:

FlossieBlossoms  Pro User  says:

Whew, just made it! :)

1. Mermaids
2. Pirate stuff
3. My white cat, Nosey Parker
4. Beach/Tropical
5. Margaritas/Limes/Humor ('cause I needed to slip that in somewhere!) I know, brand new and already breaking the rules, for SHAME!
With that in mind, I went to the Dallas Quilt Celebration looking for inspiration.

What I found was a kit for this quilt, a half yard of fabric with surfing pets on it, and a handful of tropical looking batik fat quarters.

I disassembled the kit and replaced most of the fabrics with my new happier ones.  One piece of fabric that I did keep was the bit of creamy Minkee that was intended for the kitty's body.  (Oh yeah!  This kitty was going to be soft.)  The pattern I kept.  It is called Mushkit and was created by Helen Knott's of Story Quilts.  You can find it here, along with a slew of other deliciously fun critters.

Step one: Fusible Applique
Although Helen doesn't advocate one type of applique over another,  in her directions she gives instructions for several, I chose the fusible route.  Minkee can be a tricky fabric to work with.  It is very soft and wonderful to include in a quilt; however it is knit (causing it to stretch a bit) and plush (making for lots of fuzzy edges.)

The makers of my kit included a bit of light weight fusible stabilizer.  Brilliance!!  This worked perfectly to keep the stretchiness under control.  I ironed it to the back of the Minkee.

The next step was to iron Mistyfuse to the back of the fabrics I selected for the rest of the kitty.  Mistyfuse is a paperless thermoplastic polymer resin fusible that is ultra-fine.  (Did you like all of that?  I copied it off of the package.)  Once applied to your fabric it stays soft and pliable, almost imperceptible, and indistinguishable from fabric without fusible.  (Very impressive.)

Mistyfuse is available here:

If you use Mistyfuse you will want to use a pressing sheet with it.  Because there is no paper backing it is nearly impossible to use the stuff without getting your pieces stuck to either your iron or the ironing board.  (Go ahead, ask me how I know.)

The sheet I used is called "The Applique Pressing Sheet" produced by Bear Thread Designs.  I don't know what it is made of, but I can tell you it isn't just a piece of cloth.  It is like a Teflon sheet that you can see through.  Nothing sticks to it.  This allows you to apply fusible to your fabric pieces as well as fuse the pieces of your applique together before placing them on the final background.  At the moment this is my favorite tool.

I physically copied the pattern with my printer - making a paper template that I could cut up and not loose my original pattern.  With this project I used regular printer paper.  In hind sight I wish I had used freezer paper.  (Cutting around pins is a pain!  Freezer paper eliminates that.  Just don't forget to use the pressing sheet when you iron the freezer paper pattern pieces to the right side of your fusible fabric.  Go ahead, ask me how I know....again!)

Placing the pressing sheet on top of the original pattern, use the drawing to help position the fabric pieces.  When everything is set how you want it, fuse the pieces together.

This be the ghost of the dread pirate NP....before I sewed everything down and added the details.
Step two: The fun be in the details!
I really believe that true.  The individual steps to making any quilt are not particularly difficult, or glorious.  The thing that sets one quilt apart from another is the details.

My kitty is only on a tropical beach because I chose fabric that implied it.  She could have just as easily been a desert or mountain kitty if the background were different.

A bright batik frame adds to the happy tropical feel.  Sewing down the fused pieces helps add definition.

Quilting further defines the kitty and it's location.
The eye patch (blingy because it is a girl pirate kitty) and treasure chest were added using pin backs.  My thought was that FlossieBlossoms could then rearrange NP's accessories to change the appearance of her quilt.  Can't you just see a hibiscus flower tucked behind her ear, or a string of pretty beads on her neck, maybe even a mask....the possibilities are endless.

1 comment:

Susan said...

Lucky me, lucky me! I am Nosey Parker's mama and I love this quilt that Cindy made for us! It's upstairs right now, hanging on the wall where I see it at least 10 times a day and I love it more and more, every day!

Thanks to Cindy for making something so special for me!