Stars and Stripes First Quarter

Well, the first quarter for the Stars & Stripes project was really done the last quarter of 2012.  I’m up to date!

Stars & Stripes Sampler – First Section

I actually got both the horizontal flags done but one didn’t make up on the wall for the picture so I guess you could say I’m a bit ahead!

I’m so out of my element doing these applique pieces.  For the eagle, I cut the background rectangle larger than it needed to be.  I positioned all my pieces, ironed them down, then trimmed the background and . . I know . . you’re laughing because you know what I did.  I trimmed off half of the top three pennies/circles at the top.  I had to pull off all the pieces, move them down to my now exactly correct sized background rectangle; make three more pennies, re-measure everything to get it all where it needed to be.  Ughh!  I always knew simple piecing is so much easier.

For now I’m just pressing all the pieces down and not doing the stitching.  When I get everything done, I’ll go back and do the blanket stitch by machine, then sew the blocks together.  In my head, I think I’m saving time by not having to change threads so often but that’s going to leave me with a whole bunch of applique to do and you know that will probably be a big brick wall for me.


  1. 2

    Roberta says

    Chance your top tension to be a bit looser so you don’t pull up the bobbin thread to show when doing the applique stitching. That way changing threads is a piece of cake. I still do all of the reds together, etc. From the look of the picture you only have 3-4 colors so that not a lot to change. So go do the stitching and be ALL caught up. LOL

    • 2.1


      Oh, Roberta – there will be dozens of colors by the time it’s done – reds, tans, ecru, navy, royal blue, gold, green.

      I’ll use Bottom Line by Superior and will use a neutral in the bobbin and will not change the bobbin thread at all so it will only be the top thread to be changed.

      I’ll have to set up a different machine since my 301s only do straight stitching and I keep the walking foot on the Bernina 930. I’ll probably set up the 430 for the applique stitching.

      So, I’ll just stick with my plan and get all the pieces done first. Not only will I have the stitching on the Stars & Stripes Sampler to do but I’ll have the applique to do on the Christmas Town Sampler and the Comfort & Joy blocks.

    • 2.2

      Mel Meister says

      Please don’t take me for being “contrary”, but I would suggest the opposite. Tighten the LOWER tension so that the upper threads are drawn down and to the back. That’s what works best for my machine (Bernina 730) when I do applique or machine embroidery.

      I, too, leave the stitching for last as I find it boring.

      • says

        I am not one who’s afraid of messing with the bobbin tension so I’ll do what it takes to get it right. Using Bottom Line thread, I’ll have to make the tension a bit tighter than where it’s set for regular piecing cotton but I’ll mess with it til I get it right and you’re correct . . tightening the bottom tension would be the thing to do so that it pulls the top thread down . . if I were using the same weight thread for which it’s currently set. Roberta is right in loosening the top tension so that it isn’t pulling the bobbin thread up.

  2. 3


    When I do machine appliqué I like to use a 12 weight sulky thread. It adds a nice look to the project with it being thicker thread.
    I often use black – but with projects with all those nice earthy colors I’d most likely find a neutral browny-gold and use that everywhere to tie everything together.
    I’m looking forward to seeing everyones progress.

  3. 4


    I’m finding this very depressing, but I have book in hand and fabric half unpacked. Special thread: are you kidding me! Have made this as a wall hanging without eagle and I may whimp out again.

  4. 5


    My two cents. Since I agree that the machine applique can be boring – do your machine work as you get one block prepared. One at a time! Or you will really hate it when you have all that applique staring you in the face at the end. And, how about using a clear thread and not having to change the thread color at all!? I did an applique BOM this year – so I know what you are facing.

  5. 6

    Becky says

    I love machine applique but would suggest stitching one block/section as the fabrics are fused to the background. Then each one really is a mini quilt and you’ll feel like definite progress is being made. Use the needle down stop function on your Bernina when doing the applique so you can rotate when needed and your stitches will stay where you want them to be. That and your free hand system will have you zipping through the stitching of your applique pieces faster than you thought possible.

  6. 7


    I have to agree with Sharon about waiting to the end, but perhaps instead of one block at a time, once a quarter. I know you love to play games with yourself, so how about finishing the quarter’s blocks and then not getting to start on the next quarter’s blocks until the applique is done on the previous set of blocks.

  7. 8

    Betty Edwards says

    I am looking for that pattern, couldn’t findin on F&P so going to Amazon next. Love that quilt don’t know how I missed getting it.


  8. 10


    I recommend you do the applique now. If changing thread colors is a problem, just pick one and use it for everything. Your blocks look great. I usually use black and give it a folk art look.

  9. 11

    Norma V says

    well…i am done also…but i have two left wings for the eagle, even when i thought i had reversed it…that is why when i have a right or left choice, which should be 50/50 getting it right…i am wrong 90% of the time….so guess i will be making another eagle for a pillow…hate to let it go to waste and remain a “mistake”…my new motto for 2013, “if u stumble, make it part of the dance”….

  10. 12

    Debbie Rhodes says

    Have mine done too… I am thinking (since I don’t have a long arm – short arm or any quilting machine) I will probably do a quilt as I go method and will do the applique stitching as part of the quilting…