Fusible Scraps: Gone and Done It

3in. Scrap Leftovers Embroidered Opener

Well, I’ve gall-darned gone and done it. I’ve started the next stage of my (multiyear) year-long Fusible Scrap Leftover project.

I hinted in last week’s anniversary post that I would be starting to work on one of my projects soon and I am happy to say that I have. That’s what today’s post is about. I wanted to give you a peek at what I’ve accomplished so far.

I was under the silly and somewhat naive illusion that the decorative embroidery stage of this project would take a lot less time to do than the earlier buttonhole stitch stage. HA!

Boy, was I ever wrong. I am such a goober—and obviously a poor judge of my embroidery skills and speed.

My grand and obviously untested plan was to roll out all the blocks, that are a certain size, at one time. I’d do a little side-by-side comparison and we would move onto the next stage. Each one getting bigger and better and more elaborate as we moved swiftly along. HA! HA!

My intention was to knock out all this detail stuff in a few weeks. There are only around a bajillion blocks, so I thought a few weeks was plenty of time. I figured I’d be done before Easter. HA! HA! HA!

Once I finished with this step in the process, I’d move onto the next (still highly secretive) stage in lickety-split fashion. Then we’d move even more swiftly after that. HA! HA! HA! HA!

Oh, what fun we were going to have . . .  

(In my head) Each week you and I would cuddle up next to the computer screen and talk about the blocks as they continued to get progressively bigger and more elaborate. HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Snort!

(In my head) I was going to plow though these blocks like I’d go through a whole cheesecake while watching back-to-back episodes of Gillian’s Island.

(In my head.) The process was going to be incredibly easy and seemingly effortless, from start to finish.

(In my head.) I had a plan and I knew the blocks and cheesecake would be finished before I knew it.

(In my head.) I pictured myself basking in the warm glow of each glorious and time-stopping accomplishment.

(In my head) I knew I’d go to bed each night appropriately tired, but contented.  I sleep fully and deeply with elaborate visions of applique and embroidery swirling around in my head, providing inspiration for all that I would carry out the next day. BWHAHAHAHA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Snort! HA! HA!

(In my head) I knew that until this stage of the project was complete, my days would be filled with sunshine, rainbows, lollipops and unicorns. Oh, and also cheesecake. Can’t forget the cheesecake. BWHAHAHAHA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Snort! HA! HA! HA! HA!

Okay, okay . . . so, maybe I overestimated a bit. 🙂

I know what you’re thinking . . . “A bit?” (Remember I’m psychic.)

Okay, maybe I overestimated a lot, but that doesn’t really matter. I still have big plans and I’m going to see each and every one of them though. The cool thing is . . . I’m going to (drag) bring you along with me. How fun is that?

Since the progress is going be slow I thought you’d enjoy a little recap of each stage in the process, so I picked one block to start with.

Scrap Leftovers: 3in. Yellow Flower Step 1

All the blocks in this quilt were created from my leftover fusible scraps.

If you want to see some of the 3×3-in. blocks at this stage, click on the photo above or click here.

Scrap Leftovers: 3in. Yellow Flower Step 2

When you use light-weight fusible applique, you must secure the edge to prevent the applique from falling off. I chose the buttonhole stitch to secure all the edges.

This was a really fun stage for me, because I love this simple stitch and what it can do to enhance the work.

If you want to see some of the 3×3-in. blocks at this stage, click on the photo above or click here.

Scrap Leftovers: 3in. Yellow Flower Step 3

The next stage in the process is the decorative embroidery, which you see here. I knew this stage was going to make a big impact in the way the blocks look. I think all these little details really make a difference—don’t you?

This kind of attention to detail can transform an OK block into an Okie Dokie block. (I just kill me.) BWHAHAHAHA! HA! HA! HA! HA! HA! Snort! HA! HA! HA! HA! Snort!

For those of you who want to read about this project in its entirety, you can start here. If you just want to see the other blocks, then click on the following links:

If you want to see what the quilt is sorta, kinda, in a general sense, that may be changed at any stage in the process is gonna look like, then you can click here and scroll to the bottom of the page.

Okie dokie . . . so, I’ve shown you everything I’ve got at this point, now tell me what you think, cause I LURV hearing from you!


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36 Responses to “Fusible Scraps: Gone and Done It”

  1. kathy Says:

    OH HEAVENS! those fusible block babies are looking totally decked out! I cannot wait to see the teenagers and grown-ups – are they going to be as dazzling as the babes? Who knew you were working on those again?

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey Kathy! Yep, I’m working on them again. It’s been a blast so far, but I’m thinking that at the rate I’m going the teenage blocks are going to be in their late teens or early twenties by the time I am finished with them. After they are done, the adult blocks and I are going to be in assisted living. 🙂

      Love you! xxxooo

  2. jsoosay Says:

    Looks like quite a project. I did something a little like that using hearts and on a much smaller scale for a swap quilt. Takes a lot of work but it’s worth it. Looks beautiful!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jsoosay, I can’t imagine putting that much work into something and just giving it away. I am sure the people who received the your hearts were blown away by your generosity.

      Yes, it’s an involved project, but I consider it more of an adventure. I have an idea of where I’m going, but won’t know the final destination until I get there. The time it takes is irrelevant, because it’s the journey I am after. The quilt is just a by-product of all that I experience along the way.

      Thanks for dropping by. Have a wonderful day!

  3. Carol Anderson Says:

    Great job, Tom! Of course, I knew it would be fan-tab-ulous ‘cuz it’s your project.

    Next phase? I’m sure it will be even more glorious.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Well, Ms. Carol Anderson, what a pleasure to have you drop by.

      Thank you for your kind words. If it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t have gotten this much done on the smaller blocks.

      I followed your suggestion of basting strips around the smaller blocks to make hooping easier and it worked like a charm. I can now hold the blocks with relative ease and stitch to my heart’s content.

      Thank you for the wonderful suggestion—but more importantly— thank you for stopping by to let me know what you think!

      Have a glorious National Quilting Day!

  4. kathydrew Says:

    Well gosh darn, you have gone and done it and what a beautiful thing you done gone and done. The embroidery accents are absolutely magnificent as is the person who stitched it. I love what you are doing and can’t wait to see more my friend.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey Love, You make me laugh! I’m glad that you enjoyed what I’ve done so far. I have had a ball working on this delicate stuff and am looking forward to having a little more block to work with, so I can try out more stitches.

      I pulled out the embroidery stitch book you gave me and am plotting where to try out some of those amazing stitches. Oh, this is going to be fun!

      Thank you for your sweet comments and for the amazing book. Both give me inspiration and a desire to try even harder.

      Love you! xxxooo

  5. Eddie Landreth Says:

    Tom, you’re a hoot. Well, more than a hoot. Maybe a hootenanny. Always a fun party. 🙂 Like you, I have made plans, thinking “Yeah, this will be quick and easy” only to have Messr. Reality show me differently. But that’s ok (er, I meant Okie Dokey), it’s all part of the learning. Your blocks look beyond fabulous, they’re fantabuloso, the embroidery really makes them sing. As Ted said in 16 Candles, “This is going to be good.”

    And now the inquisitive side of me wants to know: What kind of fusible do you use? I used Steam-A-Seam2 on my first fusible projects but didn’t really like the stiffness of it, then I got turned onto Shade’s SoftFuse and absolutely love that stuff. I buy it in bulk yardage now.

    OK (oops, Okie Dokey), inquisitive side off now. Yer stuff looks great, man!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Eddie, I’m glad you enjoyed my story and could empathize with my recent awaking. Oh yes, me and Reality have gotten to be quite close friends of late. I enjoy him, but I prefer Mr. Fantasy more.

      I agree. All is good. I’m quilting again and that is a definite sign that things are going well—slowly—but well.

      This project is made up from very old scraps, so there is a variety of light-weight fusible types.

      Most of this is Wonder Under. I preferred it to Steam-a-Seam because it had less glue. I only wanted my pieces to stay on until I can sew them down. It was my favorite for quite a while. They had a really bad batch a few years ago and a lot of quilters stopped using their product.

      I haven’t tried SoftFuse, but have heard about it. I don’t do that much fusible work now, but am always interested in trying a product because I have no idea what I am going to create next, so this could be perfect for a future project.

      I have two methods of fusing that I currently love. The first method is Sharon Schamber’s method of using Elmer’s School glue as your fusible. The second fusible I really like is MistyFuse. I tried MistyFuse on a recent project and was extremely impressed with what it can do and how little it changed the hand of the fabric.

      Thanks for the great question. After writing this reply, I think I might need to do a post of what I use and why.

      Have a wonderful day!

  6. Dee Ann Mooney Says:

    Tom, It really sounds like you could use some cheesecake. Do ya want me to make you one?

  7. Penny fp Says:

    I LOVE embroidery!!! I also know that I’m slow. I question myself for committing to embroider a small Christmas ornament with a six month head start! A quilt?? Nopers, I wouldn’t even think of it!!! So major kudos to you for having the vision and the passion to take it on!!! And, by the way, I LOVE your stitches. Mmm, mmm, mmm…..It is going to be sooo amazing when it is finished!!!!

    And now the inquisitive side of ME wants to know, do you use a hoop and if so, what kind?

    Thanks so much for sharing. Your work is incredible!!!!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Penny, I love embroidery bunches and bunches and the more I learn, the more I want to do. It’s not a fast process, but the dimension and texture it adds to the applique is amazing and so worth the effort. Slow, fast, doesn’t matter. I’m doing it, because it’s exactly what I want to spend my time doing.

      I love each step in the process and this one is no different. Thanks for the compliments. I am working at better stitching. I figure that by the time I am done with this project, my embroidery skills are going to be fierce! 🙂

      Oh, I have all sorts of hoops. I plan to do a post on what I’m using, because I know you are the only one who is interested. Stay tuned. I’ll try to do it next week.

      Have a fantastic Happy Quilting Day!

  8. Marilyn CLULOW Says:

    I am very new to your blog and I just love it. I love taking a pieced background and then “tarting” it up. Applique, embroidery, beading, goldwork, 3D stuff and then handquilting it using only embroidery stitches. It is such fun isn’t it?

    Your work is wonderful, I love your colour and design sense and obviously you have a lot of patience and talent. You sound like a lovely man with lots of friends who love you, I can see why. Thank you for sharing your work and your humour with us. All delightful. Serafina

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Serafina, I’m glad you found my blog and I am delighted to hear that you have enjoyed reading it.

      I couldn’t agree more. Tarting up a block is one of my favorite things to do. The more layers of interest, the better.

      I don’t think too much about the time it takes to do something. I only focus on what it is time trying to accomplish, then the time melts away. It’s only after the process is complete, do I consider the time it has taken.

      I appreciate your comments and hope you will come back again.

      Have a Happy National Quilting Day!

  9. Jim Gatling Says:

    Absolutely unique and wonderful!!! Can’t wait to see how you will ut them all together!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jim, You are too kind. I’m with you. I am also looking forward to seeing them all together. The more stuff I add, the better I like it.

      This is going to be fun. Thanks for coming along for the ride!

      Love you! xxxooo

  10. Jayardi Says:

    • • • What a difference a stitch makes. I applaud your patience, because that is going to take a really L–O–N–G time.

    I think you better get out of your head before Lesley Gore finds out you changed her lyrics to include unicorns. (I Love that song) 😀 You might have to share that cheesecake with her.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey there! Yes, I agree. These little stitches sure make a difference. Don’t worry, I have tons of patience—just like you. I’ve seen your work, so I know you have an abundance of patience.

      Oh Lesley doesn’t mind. She and I talked before the post and she said she liked my additions to the song and wished she had thought of them, because she felt they brought an added layer of emotion that was missing in the original version.

      I think she was just being supportive, but I thanked her anyway. 🙂

      Although I love Lesley, she can get her own cheesecake.

  11. Clara Kosloff Says:

    Tom, I loved the block with the finished embroidery. I too was wondering what kind of hoop you use? I have problems with hoop marks. You don’t seem to have any. Beautiful blocks, gorgeous finish. Can’t wait to see them all. Aunt Clara

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Clara, Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the slow evolution of my current project.

      Regarding the hoops: I have several and I use them for different things. I think the best way for me to address this issue is for me to do a post about what I use and why I’m using it.

      I had considered doing this post earlier in the process, but just didn’t get around to it. Since the embroidery stage is taking a little longer than expected, I plan to cover the tools this week, so stay tuned.

      Thanks for commenting. I always enjoy hearing from you!

  12. Delia Lopez Says:

    I am so excited, and I just can’t help it, you so creative and psychic, and I think I like it…. What better way to spend time than starting blocks, adding to the blocks and then adding more. I love your work and as you share it makes me so enthusiastic about my stuff. I hope one day to be a fabulous artist just like you.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Delia, Your reply makes me smile. I love adding details to my work. The more details the better! I stop adding details when I stop finding places for them. 🙂

      It’s wonderful to hear that my sharing makes you more enthusiastic about you own work. Those words are music to my ears and a very high compliment indeed. Thank you.

      You are a fabulous artist now. You just have to stop doubting your ability and just do it. Trust me on this, I’m psychic.

      It’s always great to hear from you! I hope you have a day filled with magic and lots and lots of details.

  13. Dreamz Happen Quiltz Says:

    You’re a HOOT!! I love the blocks…but you knew that already!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hey Julie, Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed the blocks and the story. Well, I am psychic, but confirmation never hurts. 🙂

      Have a glorious day!

  14. jessica Says:

    Wowwww, Tom! I’m here cheering you on!

    I am also the bearer of good news:The Cheesecake Factory makes a delicious Wild Blueberry White Chocolate cheesecake!!! Just thought you’d like to know! ha ha ha snort ha!

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Jessica! Thanks. I appreciate the support and the Cheesecake Factory news. This cheesecake sounds perfect and it’s so healthy sounding. It fits perfectly into my food pyramid. There’s fruit (blueberries), dairy (cheesecake) and grain (White chocolate is made from white coco beans).

      It’s almost the perfect food. Who needs to search for organic when you have healthy treats like this practically thrown at you?

      Thanks for the news flash!

  15. Barbara Says:

    Well as usual when I see a great idea, I think, “why didn’t I think of that”. Your blocks with scraps are great!! I love them. Should make a great book. If that is not in the works, it should be…

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Barbara, Thanks for you kind comments. I’m glad you enjoyed looking at my blocks. Your enthusiasm over seeing them, makes the effort so worthwhile. I have had a blast working on them and I am sure you will too, so dig those scraps out and start making your own garden. It’s so much fun and gratifying to use up those left over pieces.

      I can’t honestly say, I hadn’t thought about a book. Maybe I’ll consider it—after I finish this thing.

      Thank you again for your wonderful support. Have a fantastic day!!!

  16. Carla Says:

    Love. Love. Oh, what you can do with a needle and thread! Give you some fabric to go with that needle and thread, oh my.
    Thanks for inspiring us.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Carla, Thanks! I’m glad you enjoyed seeing my progress. It’s amazing what you can do with a little bit of thread isn’t it?

      You inspire me as well. Thanks for dropping by!

  17. AlisonWhittle Says:

    Hi from Rotorua, NZ (would love to hear how you pronounce Rotorua) Ha!

    What do I do when I can’t sleep at 1.38 in the morning? Troll the blogs and settle on yours for an hour or so! Just love the transformation of the blocks with the stitching. Do you have any tips on how to decide what to put where? I look at a block and nothing comes to me! Sigh! Oh to be you!


    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Alison, What a wonderful surprise. I think you might be my first comment from New Zealand. I’m thrilled you found me, no matter what time it was or why you were up.

      Is Rotorua pronounced Roh-tur-ah? I thought about checking the exact pronunciation, but I thought it would be more fun to take a stab at it first. Please let me know how I did, because I’m very curious.

      I’m glad you enjoyed seeing the transition of the blocks. It has been a lot of fun exploring how the stitches change the look of each one.

      I do have a few suggestions and methods of approaching the decorative stitching, which I plan to cover in tutorials later this year.

      So, if you want to be one of the first to see how I approach the decorative work, then subscribe to the blog and you’ll have a ring-side seat to the lessons.

      Trust me, if I can do it, you can do it.

      Thanks for your wonderful comments. I hope you will continue to contribute to the conversation.

      Have a wonderful day!

  18. Alison Says:

    Not a bad try Tom. Rotorua is a Maori word. We are a nation of 2 different races (and many immigrants) This city is a popular tourist attraction with bubbling mudpools, geysers, redwood forests and many lakes and places to hike and mountain bike. NZ is a diverse country with interesting scenery – a lot of Lord of the Rings was filmed here. You’ll have to visit! I’ll leave the porch light on!

    Looking forward to the tutorial on the decorative work and have subscribed to get the updates.

    Rotorua = ROW (as in row the boat) – TOE – ROO (as in kangaroo) UH.

    • Tom Russell Says:

      Hi Alison, Thanks for providing the correct pronunciation. I would never have gotten it based on how the named is spelled. It sounds like an amazing city. I will add it to my list of places to visit. I’ll give you a call before I show up!

      It will be coming soon. I have a few more tutorials to do first, but it’s definitely on its way.

      Have a wonderful day!

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