Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Apple Core Quilt Tutorial

August 17, 2009.......We're on the Road

We packed up the suitcases and headed east out of Oregon

After all the prep work I have done for the last several months, I decided against taking along a "mobile" quilt project. I thought I could use a break from quilting....clear my head and give my hands a rest. That strategy lasted about one day......then I developed itchy fingers. I needed something to sew before we ever made it out of Oregon!

Day Two: We stopped at 3 quilt shops while traveling through Idaho.......they were all "out of business", that made my heart sad. (Let's all remember to support our lovely, local quilt shops.....they may not always be there if we don't).

Day Three: Jackson Wyoming has a sweet quilt shop, Stitchin' Time, that caters to all who sew, quilt & knit. I was able to stock up on all of the needed supplies to satisfy the traveling quilter in me. I also stopped at a thrift store in Jackson and found a perfect zipper pouch to hold all my NEW quilting supplies for $1.

Click Images to Enlarge:

By Day 3 I am outfitted with quilting supplies and ready to get to work!

This second hand zipper tote is just perfect to hold all my needed supplies for hand piecing while we are traveling along at 55 mph.

This is the tote bag zippered up with all of the supplies tucked neatly inside.
The label on the top reads......UNITED
As in United Airlines.
This was a great "find" at the thrift store in Wyoming

I also found these gorgeous floral fabrics in Wyoming.
How exciting......new quilting supplies AND new fabrics!

After we checked into the motel, I settled in and began cutting fabrics.

I rolled the leftover, uncut fabrics onto an empty paper towel roll and stored them in my suitcase. This kept away the wrinkles and I was able to cut more fabric each evening to sew the next day.

Day 4: Finally able to get some stitching in.
It feels great!

I have planned on making an Apple Core quilt for many years.
I was lucky enough to find an acrylic apple core template in Wyoming. (It matches the very same one I have at home....now I have 2).

Apple Core Acrylic Template

I spent the morning tracing the stitching lines onto the back of the fabric pieces.
The mechanical pencil fit perfectly in the channel of the apple core template.

I am ready to begin pinning the apple core fabric pieces together.

I folded the pieces in half to find the center of each one.
I placed a pin in the center to hold them together.

Then I pinned the very outside corners

Then I eased the fabric in the curve and pinned it in place.
This is the back side pinned together. It lays flat.

This is the front side, pinned in place.
It is ruffled and does not lie flat.
This is the side you stitch on, so you can keep an eye on the fullness of the fabric and avoid sewing in pleats.

This new wrist pin cushion works great for sewing at 55 mph.
Everything stays where you put it.
(It also matches 3 more that I have at home)

Straw Needles
The best and only needle you will ever need for hand piecing.

Straw Needles are very long and very sharp.
See all the stitches you can load on the straw needle before pulling it through!

Just follow the pencil drawn stitching line you drew earlier on the back of the apple core pieces.

The first seam is done and the curved piecing lies perfectly flat.
I finger pressed the seam on the back towards the top of the unit.

It didn't take long to stitch up a pile of apple core units.

The zipper bag sat nicely on my lap as we traveled along through Wyoming.

I will NEVER leave home without my quilting supplies!

I have learned my lesson. No matter what your mood......always pack your quilting supplies......just in case.

Never leave home without this book...

If you are traveling with this:


CLICK HERE:  to see My Quilts

CLICK HERE to see the progress on the Apple Core Quilt

May Your Suitcase Always Be Full of Quilting Supplies,

p.s. Click HERE to see my other "Take-A-Long" Quilting Projects

To see my New Work CLICK HERE

To see the Thread Shed CLICK HERE

To see my Exhibit Quilts CLICK HERE

To see Tutorials CLICK HERE


  1. I don't leave home without my tote bag of stitching supplies either! Have to have at least one or more projects..may not work on them every time..but I like having them with me!
    That zipper pouch is a real find..I am going to have to look for one like it.
    Have fun on your trip!

  2. What a fun read and great pictures! You're a gal after my own heart. I never travel without handwork, as I've found it's just amazing what can be accomplished while on the road. I have a "vacation quilt" top that's traveled with me for nearly seven years and is right at 90" X 100". This has taught me not to waste seemingly small amounts of time. They can add up to a quilt! Great productivity, LuAnn. Keep us posted.

  3. I have been wanting to do an apple core and may just have to plan a road trip so I can get one done. (I like to cut while we are driving- just not brave enough to show off how I do it.)

  4. An AppleCore Quilt! LuAnn you're very ambitious! I love it! And Suzy is too cute. What a fun post. Love traveling with you so keep up the posting please and have a safe trip.

  5. I have a lunch box that I use to keep my hand project in - I'm hand piecing a tumbler quilt (table topper). I love doing hand work in the car. I also do hand embroidery quite a bit. I think we're lucky that we don't get car sick. Hee Hee!

  6. Thanks Quilters for all of your comments on the Apple Core Quilt....glad to know we are all using our traveling time wisely. I have been sewing-on-the-go for 16 years now. The apple core is my 4th take-a-long travel quilt. When I am home, with electricity, I stitch by machine. I save the hand work for traveling at 55mph. I also stitch bindings, hanging sleeves and labels while we travel. Each quilt seems to require its own travel supply kit. I have used zip lock bags, tin cans, fanny packs, plastic storage totes and wooden boxes to hold travel quilting supplies. I think the best part of travel quilting is when you actually sleep under a quilt that you made from idle time on the road. My travel quilts are ones that I would not make at home on the machine. They are like a bonus quilt that I wouldn't have created otherwise.
    Wishing you all lots of traveling, quilting and fun,
    LuAnn in Oregon

    1. Sorry to bother you, I have just come across your lovely blog, I was wondering if the apple core is totally hand stitched or would I need to run them through the machine?
      Many thanks
      Carrie x

  7. Wonderful, LuAnn. I am inspired once again, wanting to quilt. I think I'll be able to join you again this fall.

    Also, it looks like you are traveling to such wonderful places. Great memories sewn into that quilt.

    Linda H.

  8. I tried to go to the beach on vacation without anything to craft and ended up carving a crochet hook out of a limb and using crab line crocheted a handbag! Then everyone of the girls in the family wanted one!!! So I also learned never leave home without something to do. Love your blog!

  9. Your corner always w / news, eh. Good weekend!


  10. Great blog! I too like to stitch while traveling. I appreciate your pictorial. At this time I am trying to make as apple core quilt. Where can I find the Omnigrid template you have? I have a template, but without the slots for the 1/4 inch stitch line.

  11. Great blog! I also like to stitch while I travel. At this time I am trying to do an apple core quilt. Where can I find the Omnigrid template? I have an apple core template but it does not have the slots for the 1/4 inch stitch line.

  12. I purchased my Omnigrid Applecore Template at a Joann Fabrics. You can also do an online search.
    Be sure it is the Omnigrid brand, it is the only one with the grooves for marking your sewing lines.

  13. Hi Carrie,
    The apple core can be pieced by hand or machine...the choice is yours. I piece it by hand so I can take it along with me.
    My Best To You,

  14. I don't do much hand stitching but I WILL bring my hexies with me if I go anywhere. One day I'll have enough of them done to put together a quilt and then I'll do that. I like your apple cores! I started one by machine but never finished. I think it would make a nice hand project so I may try that also.

  15. How did you finish the quilt? Did you machine quilt it? I am working on a 2 inch apple core quilt top [520 pieced together so far!], but I am not sure how I want to finish it. I am just starting to get comfortable with machine free motion quilting.

  16. I have been piecing hand piecing together 2 inch apple core pieces for the past two months. How did you finish yours? Did you machine quilt it? If you used a free motion quilting design, what worked for you? I am thinking of an all over leaf design, but I am just getting comfortable with free motion quilting.

  17. Hi Bev,

    When the top is completed, you trim the edges off straight, basically trimming off nearly half of the outside applecore, then add borders. For machine quilting, you can do most anything you want depending on how dense you want the quilting.