I do love having little tools that help you to achieve the best quality finish you can on your projects.
I have already shown you these little row markers that have a different letter of the alphabet on each one.
Cardygirl got me onto these little beauties a while ago. You can get them from here. They are called 'Perfect Circles' and 'Bigger Perfect Circles'. The smallest circle has a diameter of half an inch and the biggest one a diameter of 4 and a half inches.
I love to do needle turn appliqué and for a beginner I'm OK at straights and curves. But, I am HOPELESS when it comes to forming a full circle. This is how I use them.
Start by making a Suffolk puff with your circle.
Once you have stitched most of the way around, place the Perfect Circle that is the required finished size inside, gather the thread up and keep stitching until you get to the spot you started.
If you have a seam like I do for these circles I start off and end there so that the thread doesn't pull through as easily when you gather the thread up.
I bought this little ruler recently and it is great to quickly measure the distance to make sure the centre of the pieces are in the centre of the circle.
Then carefully use the point of your iron to press the circle. Yes they are made of plastic, but you can put the iron right on top of them and they don't melt. I have my iron set on the hottest setting and I haven't melted one yet. I have also been using spray starch on these circles to get a nice crisp edge.
Then let your circle cool a little, loosen the stitching slightly and ease the Perfect Circle out. Pull the thread up gently and finish the thread off to keep all of the raw edges in.
Then a few dots of appliqué glue to hold it in place and you only have to slip stitch around the edge. No pins in the way for your thread to get caught up on. Now I know it sounds like a lot of preparation right?
But, I find this is the fastest way for me because I end up undoing my circle so many times because I am unhappy with all of the pointy bits. I can never get a nice curve all the way around. I end up with the quarter inch seam fraying away to nothing and have to make another circle and start again.
It is probably cheating a little bit because you aren't actually turning fabric under with your needle, but I don't care. Unfortunately the embroidered circles were just slightly bigger than the biggest Bigger Perfect Circles and so I made one out of cardboard. My cardboard circle was not 'perfect' and so those circles are little bumpy in places. But still better than going freehand.
I am so close to finishing my Life Is Beautiful BOM I have decided to get stuck in and finish it up. I have pairs of rows together. I decided to appliqué the circles over the intersection of the sashing while it is in a more manageable size. Then I'll join the pairs of rows up and keep appliquéing circles as I go.
If you're on holidays, I hope you are enjoying your last day before we head back to work and school.