I've always wanted to make a baltimore album style quilt, but I knew I'd never do one because hand applique is just so slow for me. Then Pat Holly and Sue Nichols came out with their book on machine applique, and I knew it would be achievable for me.
Three of us bought this set of patterns last year for "Baltimore Christmas", and because we all had a lot going on already, we decided we'd start it in 2012. It is available as a 12-month block of the month program with fabric packs, but I bought a complete set of patterns only, because I have plenty of scraps to make this with on my own.
This is what Block 1 is supposed to look like.
These are the fabrics I've chosen for my first block. The pieces for the first angel are fused, and I'll add the pieces for the other three before I start any sewing. I'd like to do a machine buttonhole stitch, but some of the pieces are so small I may end up using a tiny zig zag.
There is a small amount of stem stitch in some of the blocks, so I'll have to achieve some proficiency with that too.
I hate to trace onto my background fabric for anything. In the past I read of a method where the pattern is traced onto template plastic or something similar, then it's pinned to the background fabric, and you can place the pieces under the template plastic with a pair of tweezers and line them up.
Wax paper is cheap and readily available, so I traced one complete angel on my wax paper; plus a few places from the other three angels, like the wings and feet; and a few registration marks to mark the quarter points and center of my pattern.
Once I fuse all the pieces for a complete angel, I can simply rotate the wax paper, line up all my markings, and I'm ready for the second angel.
Because each angel is not symmetrical, reversing the design for tracing is necessary to maintain the same orientation as the original pattern. Of course if there were lettering (and there's not), reversing the design would be crucial so the letters would read correctly. Tracing my design on wax paper allows me to flip the wax paper over and trace my actual pattern pieces onto the fusible. I traced my design onto the wax paper with a sharpie, so it shows up well through the fusible.