I finally gathered my courage to free-motion applique Mrs. Furui's center block. I had so much fun! I don't know why I dread starting these things when basically they turn out pretty well.
First off I tried a couple practice pieces using zig-zag stitches. I find that my sewing machine will not allow a change in zig-zag width though I could change the length between stitches... so I had big ol' stitches in the applique pieces. So much for that idea. I went back to my free motion plan.
Another glitch was trying to do some "stitch dancing" off of the applique piece and onto the background. Because this doesn't have batting and backing yet, that didn't work either. The flimsy background fabric just puckered.... Okay... straight applique in all the pieces.
I starched the whole block liberally and started in. I had pink, blue and yellow variegated Sulky thread and some variegated brown and rainbow thread. I played around and changed threads, and jumped here and there all over the block. I didn't worry much about thread ends and clipped them close on the front (but left them hanging on the back). There was so much over-sewing that I'm pretty sure the threads won't come undone.
I was able to play around a bit on the flower basket and on the petals and pretty soon was humming away. In a few hours the whole thing was finished.
"That was easy!"
Of course I haven't shown Mrs. Furui yet so I don't have her approval on this block yet, but I'm pleased with the results!