Half Assed Needle Turn Tutorial

I have finally started on my Baltimore Halloween Quilt. I neglected to take some necessary pictures hoping that I could link to video tutorials to show you the finer points of the actual stitch I use. Couldn’t find a single suitable one, for now I’ll bitch. Later I may make my own. We’ll see.

1. Make copy(s) of your pattern on freezer paper.

1a. DO NOT use a laserjet printer if you choose to use mechanical reproduction. You will regret it.

1b. Quilt shops sell freezer paper cut in standard 8-1/2 x 11″ sheets for easy use in your INK JET printer.

1c. There’s no reason you can’t use a light box or or sunny window to trace your pattern. But for a pattern with many pieces you will want to use the easy INK JET way.

1d. Print as many copies as you will need to cut all the pieces of your applique separately. For this block I needed to make two copies.

2. Cut your pattern pieces out of your freezer paper. Mark them with the number they are to be sewn. (if they are not already marked #1 is bottom most piece #2 the second etc.)

2a. I was taught to cut on the outside of the line.

2b. You don’t have to be 100% perfect.

3. Iron (on low) your cut pattern piece to the correct fabric (my quilt was bought as a kit so my fabric for each block is with the block pattern – so easy!).

3a. Fabric is right side up when you iron, freezer paper is wax side down.

4. Then trace around your pattern piece with chalk pencil. (I highly recommend Bohin’s mechanical style chalk pencil)

4a. You may also pin it down to help hold it in place when tracing & cutting. That’s optional.

5. My favorite appliqué scissors. Small, sharp, & serrated. Serrated is double plus good because it grips the fabric as you cut and when you’re trying to cut tiny little curves it is a big help.

6. Cut out around your pattern piece, roughly 1/4″. More is better than less, you can always trim as you needle turn and I frequently do. You may remove the freezer paper before or after cutting, it doesn’t matter. But remember to trace before cutting – or you will be back at the ironing board re-sticking the freezer paper. (Freezer paper can generally be re-ironed 3 or 4 times before it looses its’ stick.)

7. Back to the pattern. Tape a piece of grid fabric (available at quilt shops & regular fabric stores) over the pattern and with a felt tip marker (I use fine point Sharpie) trace the pattern.

8. Mark the center of your grid overlay. See the little + in the center? Lay that over the center (I just fold my fabric to find the center) of your block’s background fabric. Pin to hold in place.

9. Then run a basting stitch across the top of the two fabrics. (sorry, white on white there)

10. Take pattern piece #1 and lay it on top of your background fabric but under your grid and use the pattern lines traced on the grid to place your pattern piece. The CHALK LINES  are what you are lining up with the INK LINES. (If you haven’t removed your freezer paper yet you have to now.)

Lined up.

11. Lift the grid fabric and pin your first appliqué piece in place.

Now you’re ready to thread your needle & sew. Which I’ll cover in another post.

Couple of notes: This quilt is not for beginners. That being said, this is my first needle turn quilt. lol I have done a smaller needle turn project and I’ve found that I enjoy it very much and seem to have a knack for it. I have also taken a very good needle turn class at my LQS The Feathered Star. I had very good instruction and always bite off more than I can chew. If that sound like you go right ahead and dive in! Doing is the best way to learn IMHO. I also need to point out, this is not a good block to start with. I had a brain fart and paid too much attention to the number of appliqué pieces and ignored the difficulty of those pieces. That witch is an advanced piece. Unless you have a teacher in the room with you – do not start here. Please. I want you to love needle turn as much as I do, start small. 🙂

This entry was posted in BHQ - Balitmore Halloween Quilt, Quilting. Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Half Assed Needle Turn Tutorial

  1. Kathy A says:

    Too cool. Look forward to watching it go together.

  2. Blu says:

    Well, that was all Greek to me!

    The model looks amazing. That witch is really cool.

  3. Annette says:

    I’m going to have to come back to Houston this fall just so you can teach this to me in person.. LOL

    I’ll probably start with something smaller for practice and you can correct all my bad habits!

    Can’t wait to see how this block works up!

  4. Cheryl says:

    Ditto what Annette said. I’m beginning to acknowledge I will end up quilting at some point in my future. Continue to lure me to the Dark Side, my dear! HAHAHAHA.

  5. Siobhan says:

    Thanks for the pics! I am a visual learner. I missed the beginner’s class for applique, so when I went back the following week, my instructor looked at my applique and said, “… Ummm, hmmm, I guess you can do it this way, too…”. I tried a few more times since then but I’m not confident in it and all attempts fell by the wayside. I’ll enjoy watching your quilt come together!

  6. Michelle says:

    Some days…I have to count on my fingers to comment on your blog. Sad, I know. Anyway, great tutorial. That fabric for the moon is perfection! I can’t wait to see more…maybe you’ll inspire me to pull out my little snowman to practice on!

  7. Jill says:

    Hi Missy,
    That fob is the winter fob by Tomorrow’s Antiques. They are kits and there is an acorn for fall, a pansy for spring and a strawberry for summer. They are all beaded. You can find them here http://www.elegantstitch.com/treasure.htm.


  8. Gabi says:

    Ohhh….this looks fantastic. I just started dabbling into quilting. And from all the techniques, needle point seems to me the most beautiful. Of course stumbled already in it’s difficulties…lol. Wish I had a teacher here. Hey…can’t you come over to Australia to teach me? Free bed and food provided!!!(We have a pool too)

  9. Melissa says:

    I love this quilt and can’t wait to see more. When will you be starting the Ladies of the Sea quilt(isn’t that the ship quilt?) Don’t throw those Bohin needles at me!

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