Spellbound sew-along: week 7

July 11, 2018

The Raven

 

The subject of Edgar Allen Poe’s Gothic poem and revered, often feared, in folklore, the Raven is one of our most intelligent, long-lived and loyal birds, mating for life. Young Ravens leave their parents in Autumn to find new territory and a mate of their own. Our abandoned garden will be perfect.

 

This week we will be using a new technique: bias strip applique, which is a simple and effective way of adding fine detail to our blocks. In this case, the Raven's legs and feet. If you feel this a technique too far for you, read on, because I have an alternative...

 

CUTTING...

 

 

Follow steps 1-3 in your pattern

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PIECING THE RAVEN'S WING...

 

You can find my detailed post on making dresden fans here.

 

Remember to leave the lower two panels of the dresden UNSTITCHED so that you can add the legs...

 

Follow steps 4-7 in your pattern...

 

PIECING THE RAVEN'S TAIL...

 

Follow steps 8-10 in your pattern...

 

PIECING THE RAVEN'S BODY UNIT AND THE BEAK & SHOULDER UNIT...

 

Follow steps 11-13 in your pattern...

 

The Raven is a rather solid bird, so we will be using the triangle-in-a-square template to shape it's body. The Raven's hefty beak is formed in exactly the same way as its tummy.

 

The photos below show the beak being constructed as it's easier to see the process on the lighter background.

 

 

PIECING THE RAVEN'S LEGS...

 

Follow step 14 in your pattern...

 


Before you make the bias tape for the legs you can prepare the 1” x 10” strips with spray starch, if you have some, but it's not essential. Cutting a point in the top of your strip will help it go through the bias tape maker and a pin is useful to coax it out.

 

 

I like to baste the legs in place with glue, as they're such tiny pieces. When stitching the tape down I line up the outside edge of the tape with the inner edge of my presser foot, in exactly the same way that I do when stitching down the dresden fans.

 

...ASSEMBLING THE BLOCK

 

All of the elements of my block laid out and ready to assemble

 

 

Follow steps 15-18 in your pattern...

 

Remember to pin the lower edge of the wing out of the way when joining the body to the legs. There's a tutorial to help you embroider the Raven's eye here.

 

The back of the fully assembled block, showing seam direction

 

Now, if you've read to the end of this post and aren't rushing to your sewing machine because you're not sure about the bias tape legs, there are alternatives. You could embroider them on, using two or three rows of backstitch. Or your sewing machine may have some embroidery stitches you want to try, but I'd suggest adding some fusible interfacing to that area of your block so that the fabric doesn't pucker. 

 

Next week we'll be meeting the Wise Owl, most popular block in our sampler. It's going to be a hoot :-P

 

Nicola xx

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British designs by Nicola Dodd

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