Several weeks ago when I was working on my Market contributions, Alison Glass asked me if I would like to be a part of her Knit Stitch Along. She has just come out with a range of gorgeous knits (like the best quality I’ve seen on the market). Anyway, she wanted me to make a blanket similar to the Fountain project in her book, which is basically a blanket that is knit on both sides and instead of batting, there’s a solid or pieced fabric in the middle. You stitch whatever shape onto the blanket and then cut away the outermost layer to reveal the patterned fabric in the middle.
Its crazy fun, okay? I am not into the whole Alabama Chanin thing. I think its pretty when I see it on other people, but to wear clothing in that style is just not me. This is a whole different thing! The possibilities are endless, and it yields the comfiest blanket ever. Its like snuggling under your favorite t-shirt. And guess what else? Its easy peasy. I told Alison up front that I had never done this sort of applique, so I may not be able to add anything to her sew along, and she quickly said anyone can do it and it can be made however I like. You can stitch as much or as little as you want.
I highly recommend picking up a copy of her book, Alison Glass Applique for a source full of inspiration and instruction on all things applique. Again, this was my very first time doing anything like this.
I started out with her Cyprus colorway in the knit, and pulled a variety of purples and pinks and greens from my Liberty stash, many of which I got from DuckaDilly recently. From my prints I sewed together a simple patchwork piece about 40″ x 50″. I had to take plenty of pictures because the thought of hiding it inside other fabric made me a little scared at first. Who hides Liberty?
After browsing through the very plentiful templates in Alison’s book, I took some inspiration from many of the projects and did my own thing. So many of her templates are based off of designs in her fabric which is super cool. So I decided I wanted my applique design to nod to a favorite fabric as well. I started with this Gracey in Pink. Now I am no artist, so looking at these simple shapes and drawing them just wasn’t going to happen. I actually took the print and put it on my scanner. I blew it up by 200%, but it was still a little small, so I took that paper of the enlarged design and blew it up another 200%. I did this until I had a good representation of all the shapes.
This is a super great way to make your own template, but note that it works best on a simple design. My fabric is a single color on a white background, and while the print itself is small, the design is simple and undetailed.
So I laid out my design in a random way very much like the original fabric. I spaced it as close as I felt I could so that I could expose as much of the Liberty as possible.
The stitching itself was so relaxing. And to all the people out there who fear hand stitching and quilting- this is the perfect project to get your feet wet! You only have to commit to stitching a shape at a time. Its easy to hold and work with, and you only have to make your design as complex as you are comfortable with.
Like I said, I wanted to see as much Liberty as possible, so I stitched as much as I could on mine.
Alison shows a couple of techniques for finishing off the blanket. You can finish similar to a regular quilt with binding, or do what I did- keep the front of the quilt about an inch longer than the back and middle and wrap it around then stitch it down. The knit doesn’t fray at all, so I’ll never have to worry about my shapes or the “binding” unraveling.
And don’t all those stitches look so pretty on the back too?
So this was my first go at applique on a knit fabric, but it most certainly won’t be the last. In fact, I see this becoming one of my go to gifts for new babies and good friends. This one is all mine and I’m not sharing!
Have you tried out the new knits? Have I at least tempted you to try out this method? When I got started I was having such fun I was texting Alison like a goof telling her what a great time I was having. And she probably thought I was crazy. But I love sewing so much, and discovering something totally new I have never done was very exciting for me. So a big thank you to Alison for asking me to be a part of your Knit Stitch Along!