Thursday, January 30, 2014

New Project - L'Herbier


Here is my first new project for 2014 (Highlands Houses was started in 2013). L'Herbier was the 2010 BOM designed by Nathalie Méance of La Fée Pirouette. I saw it advertised in the back of Quiltmania and contacted Nathalie, who kindly agreed to include me in the distribution. It has been "maturing" in my stash for over three years! But this year my plan is to unite my quilting and embroidery projects more, so this project is finally ready to uncork!

The embroideries feature a wide range of threads, ribbons, beads and sequins, and the fabrics are lovely too. All the fabrics are "shot" -- with different colours in the warp and weft threads. The grey and charcoal background fabrics are a slubby linen, and it looks like the circle fabrics include some silk, cotton and rayon:


I think the main obstacle for me on this project was constructing the blocks. I blenched when I saw the templates:


But these are misleading, because in the instructions Nathalie suggests that you construct four patch blocks, and then reverse applique in the finished embroideries. Now that I've realized how easy applique is, I have decided to applique the circles on top of the four patch blocks, and then do the embroidery.

The BOM materials include a very stiff butter coloured stabilizer to use behind the embroidery, but I can't imagine leaving that in the quilt. Maybe it softens after washing, but you know me, I have to wash everything before I stitch due to the chemicals. So I am going to back the embroideries with plain muslin. I have been lining my BFF blocks with muslin, which has worked very well, so I plan to do exactly the same thing for this project.

Today I strip pieced the 16 four patch blocks:


You can see how nice the textured fabric is. But, I knew it was going to fray, so I cut the squares large. I sewed with a 3/8" seam allowance, and then I zig-zagged all the edges!


I know it seems painstaking, but each block will be both appliqued and embroidered, so they will be handled a lot. When I'm ready to assemble the blocks I'll trim off the zig-zagged edge.

You can still buy a complete kit for L'Herbier at La Fée Pirouette's website. The 2014 BOM, featuring embroidered Dresden plates, also looks amazing. And, Nathalie has a beautiful new book out from Quiltmania, which is extremely tempting. "One at a time," I tell myself! Nathalie speaks very good English, but both the BOM and the book are written in French. (Update - no, I am wrong, the book is both English and French.)

I am dying to start the applique, but I have a backlog of housework to do tomorrow. Then again, maybe the laundry can wait until Saturday...

15 comments:

  1. Oh why not let the laundry wait. It's not like you will need clean clothes! lol Looks like a fabulous new project.:)

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  2. Good idea on taming the raw edges. You'll save yourself so much agony by making them large and trimming off the zig zagged edges. This will be a very pretty quilt!

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  3. Oh my, that's a very tempting project. I love the texture and colours of the fabric. And finishing the edges first, like you did, will be worth every zig and zag.

    When you use something like a muslin to line the embroidery, how do you quilt it? Will you machine quilt or hand quilt? Or do you cut the muslin away after the embroidery is done? The quilt will be beautiful, no matter how you finish it.

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    1. Thank you very much! Regarding the muslin, I have not done it yet, but I plan to "big stitch" hand quilt both BFF and this one. Probably just one line 1/4" in from the edge around the embroideries, so if it is heavy it will not be extensive.

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  4. Cant wait to see this one started! Looks amazing and I don't think I would use the stabilizer either after trying to buttonhole through 3 to 4 layers on the xmas tree skirt.

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  5. That is such a great quilt pattern, I can't believe you've resisted it all these years. I think your ideas of stabilising the blocks and embroidery sound really good. I thought you could embroider the circles then sew them onto the backgrounds so the background doesn't get handled as much. I guess there's lots of different ways of doing these things. Whatever you do it's going to be beautiful!!

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    1. Thanks, Rachael! The problem is that there's so many great patterns out there!

      For the circles, the issue was that there is also very little fabric provided, so it would have been very hard to hoop. I'll show more of that in the next post. :D

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  6. love quilting with embroidered pieces and this looks like a great project

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  7. That looks like it will be an interesting quilt! I like how you are treating the edges so they don't fray too much. The rule about laundry is never do it unless you have nothing left to wear.

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  8. The painstaking preparation will pay off handsomely. The project is certainly interesting. I began this comment yesterday but got distracted and caught up in the La Fée Pirouette website.

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    1. LOL, thanks Jillian! It certainly is a distracting website. :D

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  9. Often times the preparation work and finishing that doesn't show takes the most time but is so important. This is going to be such an interesting quilt. Your workmanship is always so meticulous. I back most of my work with muslin also. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such a nice comment.

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  10. Looks like it will be a wonderful project to work on this year. Looking forward to seeing your applique progress. Great pictures and description of your process too.

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  11. I love your 'new' project. I'd like to throw this your way so you know that there are options. I just saw a great tutorial on setting in the circles into the squares (by machine.) I would be inclined to applique them like you but here's an alternative.
    http://hannequilt.blogspot.ca/2014/01/tutorial-how-to-do-sewing-of-round.html
    Secondly, I use a lightweight iron on fusible knit behind embroidery and it eliminates the need for using a hoop. Jenny of Elefantz (http://www.elefantz.com) uses it and she does a lot of embroidery. The interfacing is usually used to stabilize knits or where you don't want a lot of bulk.

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    1. Thanks, Dolores! I do not use fusibles in any project that I want to have some longevity. In 20 years or so a fusible will discolour. Call it vanity, but I at least want my better works to outlive me!

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Happy stitching!

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