It’s officially a go! The Little Forest Block of the Month quilt-along has kicked off and the first block you get to dive into is Little Forest.
This modern quilt pattern is designed to be a true skill builder to help you level up your quilty game! The Little Forest quilt block dives you right into exploring quilting techniques by combining both traditional piecing with needle turn appliqué.
Today I wanted to share some of my top tips for diving into needle turn appliqué for ultimate success!
*This post contains affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, if you click through and make a purchase, I may receive a commission.
INSPIRATION BEHIND THE LITTLE FOREST BLOCK
I’m not sure what it is about trees and forests that I find so appealing, but I’m the annoying passenger that’s constantly pointing out pretty trees during road trips! They just take my breath away and love the beauty and air cleaning capabilities they offer.
The Little Forest Block is my modern take on a forest. I grew up surrounded by maple trees (hello, maple syrup!), so it’s fitting that their round canopies would take center stage in this quilt block.
QUILT TECHNIQUE FEATURED IN THE LITTLE FOREST BLOCK
The good news is, you don’t have to piece all those curves in the Little Forest quilt block!
The circle tree canopies are attached using needle-turn appliqué, which allows you to get a nice seamless finish on your treetops.
I know hand sewing can be intimidating and feel fiddly and just not be your cup of tea. I was right there with you when I first tried this out! In fact, I tried avoiding hand sewing anything when I first started quilting. But here’s the thing, there are times when hand sewing is your best approach. And knowing how to do it properly will give you more confidence in tackling this technique.
I promise there’s nothing scary or difficult about needle-turn appliqué. There’s a few pointers that I want to share with you to help you dive in.
HOW TO NEEDLE TURN APPLIQUÉ
What I’ve learned over the years of trying to find my needle-turn appliqué groove is that it’s all in the preparation.
Get your set-up done properly and the rest is a cakewalk.
What do I mean about preparation? I mean thread basting!
After hand thread basting a king quilt, I swore I would NEVER attempt thread basting again. This is not that kind of thread-basting!
When thread basting your needle-turn appliqué pieces, you’re essentially creating a basting stitch and a sewing guide for you to turn under the raw edge and tack it down.
It will seem like a waste of time. You’ll be wondering “Does this really make it easier for me to turn under my raw edges?”
It really does!
I was dubious too!
But then I gave it a go and found it to be a total game-changer.
What does thread basting your needle-turn appliqué pieces look like?
All it entails is hand sewing a running stitch a 1/4″ around the entire perimeter of your patchwork piece with a contrasting thread. You can use a seam gauge* and marking tool* to plot the line to give you a guide or just eyeball it!
A great tip is to leave your thread unknotted and leave long thread tails so that your stitches don’t come undone. Once you’ve tacked down your piece, you can easily pull the stay stitch thread out. Easy peasy!
With your patchwork piece nicely secured, you can now focus on turning under the raw edges of your Little Forest canopies.
Start by finding a matching thread colour to your patchwork piece. Knot it and then run the entire length of your thread through a pot of thread gloss. This is optional, but I find it helps keep thread tangles and knotting at bay.
Start by passing your needle from the back of your patchwork and come through directly in the edge of the seam you create by turning under the fabric.
Once you’ve secured your thread, you can now use a blind stitch to insert your needle directly next to the edge of your patchwork, taking a slight bite of fabric and passing your needle through the seam allowance edge you’re creating by turning under the fabric.
You can use the edge of your needle* to help you turn under your fabric or just use your fingers. I’ve found I’ve had better success just using my fingers.
Tip – turn your fabric under as you come up to it. It gets too unruly to try and get them all turned under in advance.
Keep making blind stitches around the entire perimeter of the Little Forest canopy. Knot your thread on the underside of your block to secure your stitches.
With your patchwork pieces secured with needle turn appliqué, you can now remove your thread-basted stitches by pulling on one of the long loose thread tails.
Give it a good press and you’re done!
MATERIALS AND FABRICS YOU’LL NEED TO MAKE THE LITTLE FOREST QUILT BLOCK
Here’s an overview of everything I’m using to make my Little Forest BOM quilt:
- Little Forest Pattern – Available exclusively in Love Patchwork and Quilting Magazine Issue 111
- Ruby and Bee Solids in the colours:
- Linen White for the background, although this* Ruby and Bee solid would work perfectly too!
- Sewing machine*
- Sewing machine needles*
- 50wt thread for piecing*
- Long ruler*
- Square ruler*
- Small ruler*
- Rotary cutter*
- Cutting mat*
- Pressing table or wool pressing mat*
- Marking tool*
- Small snips*
- Design wall = tutorial to make your own here
- 50wt thread for basting*
- 50wt thread for hand sewing*
- 40wt thread for hand sewing but 50wt* would have worked perfectly too
- Tailor Shears*
- Sewing needle*
- Thread conditioner
To up the quilty fun, there’s a monthly giveaway! Since the Little Forest block features needle turn appliqué and I can’t get through an NTA session without thread gloss, I thought you might want to win some too!
Jenn, from Sew Fine Thread Gloss, is kindly offering three (3) pots of Sew Fine Thread Gloss in the newly released scents: Neon Dream, Fantasy and Celebrate.
Participating in the monthly Little Forest BOM giveaway is super easy!
All you need to do is:
- Follow @shannonfraserdesigns @lovequiltingmag @sewfinethreadgloss
- Post your finished block on Instagram by May 31, 2022, at 11:59 pm EST tagging @shannonfraserdesigns @lovequiltingmag and @sewfinethreadgloss
- Include the hashtag #LittleForestBOM
- Instagram account must be public
The giveaway is open internationally. The winner will be selected at random on June 1, 2022.
The great news is that you don’t have to rush through making your quilt blocks. You have the entire month to stitch your block up, making it a nice and easy sew-along to keep up with!
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