Hawaiian Snowflakes

Okay. I’ve had a couple of people ask me
about this month’s block. It’s called “Hawaiian Snowflakes” and the question
was, “What makes it Hawaiian?” The only reason it’s named that is that it sort
of resembles Hawaiian style applique. Hawaiian style applique would look sort
of similar to this one, where you would have one piece of cloth cut into a
design and laid out over a different piece of cloth and then you turn under
all the edges and you carefully needle turn applique this on. So this would be
more traditional style Hawaiian applique block. We are not going to do this. I
thought it would be . . . a lot of people wouldn’t be up for doing that . . . so what
we’re doing instead is just a similar process but we’re using one that has raw
edges to keep it a lot more simple. But do keep in mind you will be stitching on
your sewing machine around this whole entire every single edge, so you want to
keep it fairly simple. This is one of those few cases where the Internet is
not your friend. If you go and find a beautiful template that you love that’s
very detailed and elegant, you’re going to run into trouble right away because
it’s going to be too difficult to cut out in fabric and then when you get
ready to sew it you’re going to be really frustrated at how long it takes
you to go around all the details. So try to remember to keep it very simple. After
it gets washed the edges will fray a little bit because we’re stitching in
just about an eighth inch from the edge and so they’ll fray just a little bit
like that which I think is kind of a fun look. Try to channel your inner kindergartner here. We’re not trying to get really super fancy. Just use an ordinary sheet of
eight-and-a-half by eleven paper. To make it square,
hold it like so– diagonally. If I had my glasses on I could see a little better
but hopefully this will be good enough. Cut off that and– ta da!– now you have a
square. So then just go ahead and fold it one more time and probably one more time
after that and you’re ready to start your design. Now some people feel that
since snowflakes have six points then you need to have a six-pointed design. if
that’s you, you are welcome to do that. You just would need to fold it into six
points the way the pattern that I passed out shows you. But I really think that it
looks more like the Hawaiian style applique to go with . . . without the six
points, so that’s why I just went ahead and folded it in half again and in half again.
Okay, so now you have your little piece of paper. This is the
raw edges up here; these are all folded edges. And just go ahead and take a pair
of scissors and cut out a design. You can cut in from either of the folded sides.
Just be really careful not to cut all the way across at any point, or
you just chopped your snowflake in half and it’s ruined. I kind of like to cut the tip off
because I think that having an open center is cool, so … I mean, you can do this
any way you want. I did a diamond; you can do circles– in fact I’m going to go ahead
and just cut a curve on this side– you can make it however random you
want. Just don’t go all the way through ever or you’re in trouble. Okay so I’m
just doing a curve there and– I don’t know– I think I’ll do a like a little
heart like if you were making Valentine’s . . . kind of heart shape out here. Okay,
let’s see . . . maybe some wavy lines. Just have fun! Channel your
kindergarten days. Okay. Let’s see. I don’t think I’m gonna be tempted to get
too fancy because I just have a pair of scissors and a piece of paper here and
if I were trying to use a template I found online might be too tempting. I
think I’m gonna go ahead and make this tip look a little bit more fancy so maybe I’ll make a point and maybe a round knob there. It’s
not too round. That’s okay. Just keep it kind of simple because you’re gonna have
to be sewing around every single bit. Okay, so there! My paper snowflake! I’m
gonna unfold it and see how it looks and I would suggest that you do maybe three
until you feel really comfortable with the process. So see there– I think it’s
pretty but it’s not really super complicated, and that’s your goal. Here
are a few other ones that I’ve done. So you can see kind of the balance that
you’re aiming for with them– not too complicated. This is actually one that I
did that has six points and if you do six points you’re gonna have a smaller
snowflake just because of the way that you have to trim it before you cut it
into six points, but some people really like the look of the six-point one, so
you’re welcome to do that if you want to. Okay. When you are pretty happy– you found
a design that you like– then just take your 8 inch square of (eight inch or
eight-and-a-half inch,
whichever it says in the pattern!) your square of white fabric and fold it
exactly the way that you just did the paper, so you’re gonna go corner to
corner, diagonally; do it the other way and I’m gonna do it this way;
and you may be thinking, “Oh, I’m not sure I can cut through all those layers!”
You can! If you have a sharp pair of fabric scissors and you don’t get too carried away,
too complicated, you can do it– I promise. If you’ve done some practice
ones and you feel confident, just jump in there and just cut your design exactly
the way you did it with paper, except now you’re doing it with fabric. But I know
some people might not feel totally comfortable doing that so a different
option that you can do is, you can pick out your favorite design . . . so let’s see,
I’m gonna go with this one that I just that I just made for you guys. I’m
just going to cut out a wedge. I can see the fold lines where I had it folded . . . see?
I’m just going to cut on those lines and just cut out one wedge . I’m not
laying it out flat– that gets too complicated; I’m not using heat and bond–
that would get way too thick and you wouldn’t be able to cut it– okay. I just
have my one little wedge, just the way it was originally and what you can do is,
you can lay this down over your fabric, get a pencil, and just trace around where
the openings were and then you will be guaranteed you’re going to know what it
looks like in the end because you had already made it in paper. So when you’re
finished . . . this is paper, but I’m going to pretend that it’s my fabric one . . . then
what you do is, you can see the lines on there where you folded it? Use that
for placement. With small ones it’s really simple. If you were doing an actual Hawaiian style quilt, and it was really large, it’d be a lot more
complicated. So what you do is, you take your background square and you fold it
in half, and in half, and kind of pinch the folds so that they’ll show up. Don’t
iron it, because you don’t want it to be there forever, but so that you can use it
for placement guides, then you can see where those lines were and you can use
that to get this centered. There’ll be a little where the lines are coming
together in the center so that you can get it on there exactly the way that you
want. So, as far as keeping it on there, I didn’t use heat n’ bond because I didn’t
want it so thick you couldn’t cut through it. So just take some kind of
glue that’s washable– probably not a glue stick, because that’s not fun to
sew through, but just some kind of glue that’s washable– take your snowflake and
just put little dots in the center here and there . . . not very many . . . just one
little dot here and there in the center . . . and then when you put it on there (again,
this is paper, but if it were your fabric one) you get it centered exactly and then
you just push down and the glue will hold it in place. If you feel more
comfortable, you could take a needle and thread and just run basting stitches along it. I like the glue because it’s easier and if you use
tiny dots you don’t have to worry about sewing through it. It’ll just be in the
middle anyway. Okay, so as you’re sewing what you want to do is stitch in about
an eighth inch from the edge. I would go a generous eighth inch because you want
it to come unraveled just a little bit around the edges but you don’t want it
to come unraveled too far so make your stitch length a little bit
shorter than what you’d normally use and then just stitch all the way around it
and this is where it gets complicated so this is why you didn’t want too
complicated of a design to start with. What you’ll need to do is just sew very
slowly and carefully and when you come to a corner like this, you’ll just want
to stop the machine with your needle down; lift up the presser foot . . . I’ll go ahead
and turn my stitch length down quite a bit because I want my stitches to be
small enough that it won’t come unraveled too much since we’re using raw edges. Okay,
I’m going to put it in so that it’s just a generous eighth inch from the edge so
it’ll have a little space to ravel and just sew slowly and carefully and when
you come to a place like this, you’re gonna want to stop with the needle down
and pivot. I’ll show you Okay, so probably right there– the needle’s
down. I’ll lift the presser foot and I can just turn it just a little bit.
Lift the presser foot; turn; set it down. And so it’s going to be a little slow and tedious to do it,
but this is the last step, and it’ll be finished. So there again, just go slowly and
whenever you need to, stop; pivot; –Ack! Got a little too close to the edge!– and if you use
that technique and just don’t go too fast– just take your time– and that’s how
you finish it off. There you have it– a midwinter project. I think this would be
super fun to do with your kids when they were home for Christmas break from
school or if your grandkids are visiting just have them make some paper
snowflakes for you and then you could make a whole quilt preserving their
snowflakes for posterity. Anyway– hope you enjoyed it.