For the last few years I’ve participated in the 100 Day Project. Last year was the first year I actually finished it. 🙂
The 100 Day project is awesome. Participants decide on any creative activity they want to pursue for 100 days. It can be ANYTHING! A few that I remember off the top of my head are a jeweler who made 100 pairs of earrings, a potter who came up with 100 different handles, a baker who made 100 different pies, and an artist who designed 100 different alphabet fonts – the sky’s the limit!
Last year I designed a different repeat pattern every day – AND I used that pattern to mock-up a new applique design. Here’s just one example.
I hoped to have a fabric collection come out of it, but I got something else instead. SO MANY QUILT BLOCK IDEAS!
I love how it turned out – but it was relatively easy. Just design all the blocks, make a sample, record the video tutorials, and write the pattern!
But one of the ideas that the project sparked last year was a Mix & Match Backyard Birds pattern. As I was drawing some of the birds I see at my feeder, I realized that a lot of the basic parts are pretty much the same. I wondered if I could create some basic templates that could be used to applique just about any of those classic feeder birds. I noodled around with the idea for ten of my hundred days, and it seemed like it would work!
I’ve taken the months since then to draw up a bunch of templates and now I’m finally ready to test them – just in time for a new 100 Day Project!
The new tests won’t be mock-ups. They’re actually appliqued blocks that I’ll be able to join into a quilt. So exciting!
Here’s Day 1 – a black-capped chickadee, one of my favorite birds.
Will I be able to make 100 different recognizable birds using just a few pages of templates? We’re about to find out. 🙂
You can follow along with my progress on Instagram. And the applique pattern will be available at the end of the project – maybe even sooner if the testing goes smoothly and I don’t need to design too many additional templates. 🙂
Update! The project is finished and you can find the pattern here!
Want to join in the 100 Day Project? There’s more info here.
Want to learn how to make a quilt with an easy online workshop – totally free?
Sign up for Let’s Make a Quilt here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, and how to make a quilt from start to finish using Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.
It’s the easiest, most fun way to make an applique quilt. You can do it!
Every year (almost) I release a free holiday applique pattern.
What to do this year?
Here are the links to the patterns from previous years.
I’ve been having a lot of fun with Mix & Match patterns lately, so I decided to make a gingerbread cookie with lots of parts for you to play with!
Here’s a quick intro. . .
Now let’s jump right to the instructions!
These instructions assume you’re already familiar with the applique method I use – Quilt As You Go and applique with fusible adhesive.
If you’re new to my patterns, there’s a detailed video workshop here that takes you step by step through the methods I use. It’s totally free, and you can work your way through the lessons using any pattern you like, including this gingerbread pattern!
If you’e using an electric cutting machine like a Cricut. . .
Upload the file to your machine.
Resize if needed. (To fit a block that finishes at 10 inches square, the image should be 15 inches wide.)
Ungroup the pieces and assign colors
Trace or print the pattern onto the paper side of the fusible adhesive.
I use Heat & Bond Lite for all my quilts, and I love these printable sheets because I’m lazy and hate to trace. 🙂
The image has already been reversed, so just trace or print. If you’re tracing, be sure to trace the eyes and (optional) eyelashes too. You’ll need those for Step 5.
Roughly cut around each shape and fuse it to the back of your fabric.
Here’s a video showing those first two steps. . .
Cut around each piece neatly.
This time you’re cutting directly on the solid lines.
This video has more info about that step.
Remember back in Step 2 when I told you to make sure you traced the eyes and eyelashes? Now you’re going to use that. Hold the face up to a window so the light shines through it. You’ll be able to see all the dotted lines, and the adhesive will stabilize the fabric so you can trace on it without it crinkling up.
Trace the lines to show where the eyes go. If your cookie will have eyelashes, trace those too.
Here’s a video with more info about this step.
If you’re doing Quilt As You Go (I did) then you can quilt your block before adding the applique. So easy!
Cut your background fabric and a piece of 100% cotton batting 11 inches square.
Layer the block with a piece of 100% cotton batting. Quilt any pattern you like!
Have fun! And share a photo of what you make! You can share it in the Shiny Happy People group or tag it with #shinyhappyworld on Instagram.
If you like this free pattern, sign up for the Shiny Happy News! Subscribers get a weekly newsletter full of sewing tips and tricks, free patterns, special discounts, and other things to make you smile. 🙂
The Mama and Baby Polar Bear were a VERY close second, so we’ll probably see a pattern for them soon as well. 🙂
Want to see how to assemble Mo?
I had the chance to try out some of my new fabric palettes with my Mo Muskox sample blocks! I talk about them all in more detail at the end of the video, but here are some still photos and handy links.
I started this project AGES ago and finally finished it. I haven’t been working on it anything like steadily. I didn’t plan on releasing a pattern, so I just picked it up and worked on it at odd moments, and didn’t worry about documenting the process much.
Of course, now people want a pattern! I’m happy to share. It was a lovely project and one that was really relaxing and low-pressure to stitch. I’m just letting you know upfront that it’s a pretty loose pattern. 🙂
So here’s how to make it!
My project finished at 11 inches square. That gives me a little bit of breathing room all the way around, because I’m going to put it in a 12-inch frame. You can size yours up or down as you like, but here are the materials you’ll need for this size.
One 20-inch square of background fabric. I used a nice dark slate grey.
Thread to match the felt. I used Invisifil 100 wt. thread. (Yes – you read that right. 100 weight. It’s the thinnest thread I’ve ever used – like sewing with spider silk.) I matched the colors to the felt but, honestly, that thread is so fine that you could probably just use a medium grey for everything. If you want to use embroidery floss, there’s a bundle that matches the felt in the Frosty Pastels collection.
Slightly darker, thicker thread to contrast with the felt. I used Razzle 8 wt. rayon thread. I love the way the shiny rayon thread contrasts with the wooly felt.
Print it at 100% size – or scale as desired. You can print directly onto the freezer paper, or you can print it onto regular paper and then trace it onto freezer paper.
Using freezer paper to cut small pieces like these makes it sooooo much easier to be accurate. You’ll find more info here.
The pattern page has the letters and eight blocks of blocks.
Cut the letters out of light grey felt.
Cut four blocks of blocks out of each of your other six felt colors. That way you’ll end up with four of each shape/size in each color. That’s more than you’ll actually need – but it will give you some extras to play with as you arrange.
Ok. Here’s where things are a little loose. Sorry – I didn’t take any photos of this process and I was really just winging it. That’s ok – it means you can wing it too!
Lay your background square on a flat surface.
Map out a 12-inch square in the center. I used a few rulers to block it out – use what you have handy. You just need to be able to “see” the borders of your square of workable space.
Start by laying out the letters, centering them in the space.
Here’s the finished layout again so you can refer to it for the next bit.
Start building your way out from your letters, filling the square space you have mapped out. I followed a few “rules” as I built.
I kept all my blocks running horizontally or vertically. None of them are tipped at an angle.
I tried to keep the spacing between the blocks pretty consistent. Think of it like grout between tiles.
I tried to never have two tiles of the same color right next to each other.
I sometimes had two of the same shape next to each other, but I kept it a pretty rare thing.
You can follow my finished project as a map if you like, but please don’t feel like you need to follow it exactly.
Once you’re happy with how everything looks, use a swipe of fabric glue stick to stick all the pieces in place. If you don’t have a glue stick, you can use liquid glue like Elmers, but I recommend brushing it on. If you squeeze it right out of the bottle you may get too much glue on there and it will seep through to the top of your felt and remain visible even after it dries. Don’t use a restickable glue (like a post-it glue stick). As soon as you put your hoop in the frame and pull it tight, those pieces will pop right off. Ask me how I know. 😛
Let it dry and hoop it up. You’re ready to start stitching!
Finally, I wanted to embellish each block. The stitching is all tone-on-tone, using a thread color a little more vibrant than the felt color. I really agonized over what kind of stitching. I debated it for what felt like weeks and finally settled on simple stacks of straight stitches. I just love the texture of that!
I started with the long skinny pieces since there was only one way I wanted to stitch those. Just stitch a stack that almost fills the block.
Next I stitched the larger rectangles. They’re twice as wide as the skinny rectangles, so they get two stacks of stitches, side by side, but not touching.
Finally, I stitched the squares. The small squares got one stack, the medium got two, and the large got three. But which direction? Horizontal or vertical? I made the call for each square based on what kind of stitching was going on around them, trying to keep the direction as varied as possible.