Buzzings from a quilter who bumbles her way through life!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Applique My Way

My preferred method of quilting is applique. I am able to piece, but piecing is not fun for me. I like to sit down and draw out an idea, draw off my figures on a big sheet of freezer paper, cut them out, iron them to fabric, turn the edges under, and then find a good background for it all. I need a large stash of fabric in order to design this way, but fabric is eye candy for me anyway. I love seeing all the colors and textures on my shelves. Maybe because I taught elementary school for 20 years, my quilts are more like illustrations out of a children's book than anything else. I "compose" them as I go, trying out different fabrics along the way. I can never go into a quilt shop and say "I need 1 1/2 yards of this fabric and 3/4 yards of this one". I don't know until it's done! Then I can go back and measure just what I used.(If you are using my patterns, this is already done for you.)

When I first started quilting, I tried every method of applique I could find. They all seemed too "piddly (a good Southern word) for me. I wanted to approach quilt design much as I approached illustrating. I wanted an image that I could plunk down on fabric and "audition". I somehow started using the method I use now. I actually came by it accidentally. I was reading a freezer paper method and because I tend to "read" the pictures  instead of reading the directions, I ended up ironing the freezer paper to the front of the fabric instead of the back and turning the seam allowance to the back.  It worked like a charm. Now, I'm certain I didn't come up with this method, but I wonder if others who use this method originally made the same mistake I did.

If you go to my pattern website,, you can see a tutorial under Getting Started that shows this applique method step by step.

Currently, I'm working on a new design.I almost have all the applique finished and I need to embroider some vines and things still. I have a vase in it. The vase looked good in all the fabrics I tried out, but I was able to see it in relation to the entire color scheme of the quilt by using my method. I will try to post photos of the vase area of the quilt top and the different vases I "auditioned".
 They all worked, but only one was just right. I will show the entire quilt when I get closer to finishing it. I still need to connect the ivy leaves with embroidered vines. By the way, I discharge dyed a few leaves to give it a more realistic pathos ivy look. I did this by brushing bleach in areas of the fabric and letting it take the color out in those areas. I had to then wash it well and submerse it in vinegar to neutralize the bleaching process. Not all fabrics will bleach out to white when you do this. You have to test it.

Hopefully, as I learn as a blogger, I will be able to give you lots of hints and tips to make your quilting easier. I would also like to throw in a few other creative ideas every now and then. So, until next time, have fun!

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