Sunday, 10 November 2013

(Big) City Girl QAL

It's my turn on the (Big) City Girl blog hop - welcome to Marrakech!

Situated in Morocco, N.Africa, Marrakech has been my home for the last 11 years.  Love it or hate it, it's a crazy, colourful and vibrant city known for its beautiful winter sun and searingly hot summers.

I won't lie - it took me a while to come up with a design for my block.  I can only just paper piece let along come up with a pattern (have you seen some of the amazing blocks in this QAL?!) and when I thought about this city, it is really known for its souqs, Djem El Fna square and its iconic colour.  You see, all the buildings are a dusky pink.  Marrakech is known as The Red City.

To ward against the evil eye, Moroccans believe in the powers of a palm shaped amulet called the Fatima's hand.  They can wear it as a piece of jewelery or you often see it as a door knocker (see the centre image in the mosaic below) - believing that you never really knowing the true intentions of some visitors!

Here is my block - an improv. pieced Fatima's hand in the colours of Marrakech, using Oakshott cottons.

So here's a quick and super easy tutorial!

various scraps for the improv.pieced hand (solids or patterns in any colorway)
Paper template, which you can download here (enlarge to desired size)
Template plastic (not essential)
10 1/2" x 10 1/2"backing fabric
Double sided fusible interfacing

Step 1
Improv. piece scraps of fabric together until you have a rectangle approximately 9" x 9". There are lots of good tutorials online. I didn't use a ruler - I just used random scraps - sewed them together - trimmed and kept piecing! Go with your heart!

Step 2
Using the template, trace it on to some template plastic and lay it across the block diagonally.  This isn't necessary but does help you position the hand on the pieced square so that you can decide where to position it.  Try not to position the edge of the template near to where seams meet, like you can see half way along the top long edge in the picture below.

Step 3
Use the plastic template to trace round on to the non sticky side of the double sided fusible interfacing and trim around it leaving a half inch or so.

Position the interfacing on the wrong side of the pieced block with the sticky side down.  Fuse the two together following the manufacturer's instructions (usually applying a dry heat for a few seconds).

Step 4
Cut around the template and peel away the interfacing paper - don't leave it on too long and be careful so that you don't pull the seams.

Fold your backing fabric in half and press with an iron so that you have a central line.  Position your Fatima's hand on the backing fabric using the central line as a guide.

Step 5
Applique the hand to the backing fabric using your preferred method - either by hand or machine. I machine appliqued using the applique stitch.

Et voila!

Thank you so much to Aylin and Amy for organizing this QAL.  It's not too late to join in - it's low key and low pressure! Why not design a block of your own for your city? You can read about the QAL here.


Nicky said...

Seems like you are properly protected now Annabella! Nice modern twist on tradition!

Katy Cameron said...

Love this, great use of the improv :o)

Cindy said...

This post made me so happy! Love the tute and your images of the city are just gorgeous. Thanks so much :)

Leanne said...

It is such an interesting and beautiful place, I love your pictures. And I did not realize the hand warded off the evil eye, it is such a lovely symbol. Lovely block.

Arita said...

The block and pictures are gorgeous. Thanks for telling us the story behind it.

Jessica said...

This is beautiful! I love it so much :)

CJ said...

It's wonderful Annabella. I love the colours in this block, and the symbolism and connection to the ancient place where you live.

Mrs Flying Blind... said...

Oooh that's great xxx

Katherine said...

Gorgeous! Love the colours and the improv design, Annabella. Very fun to learn more about where you're living.

Martha said...

Morocco looks like a very vibrant and mysterious place. I love how you captured the colors of the city in your block. Great tutorial !

Heather D. said...

Very interesting! Thanks for the sharing....the block is really cool. said...

Look at you creating patterns now. Well done my friend

Karen Lewis Textiles said...

lovely! a fab addition to the QAL! x

Nat at Made in Home said...

I was wondering what you were going to make and it is amazing! Well done!

Anonymous said...

love your block, the improv piecing is brilliant!

Janine @ Rainbow Hare said...

I love your mosaic and I think the amulet shapes and colours of your block are lovely way to represent Marrakech :)

Flo @ Butterfly Quilting said...

Very artistic block!!
And you wonderful pictures give me fond memories of our visit there!