Tricks For Preparing Wool Applique Shapes

As part of the Summer Stitch Along that I’m doing for my Joyful Stitcher book, I wanted to quickly share some basics steps on preparing the wool applique shapes.  These steps will apply to any of the projects from the book.

 

The method I use is the freezer paper method.  (Sometimes I substitute contact paper, which I will talk about below.)  I’ve tried other methods, but these are my favorite.

I have read and heard on many podcasts that people love Steam a Seam 2 for wool applique.  I bought some and tried it, but didn’t care for it at all!  It is really hard to pull the needle through and it gums up your needle.  If you are doing an applique motif that uses the same shape over and over, you have to trace each one because they are not reusable.  (The photo below shows a freezer paper template, next to the Steam a Seam 2 option)

If you do use a fusible, I recommend cutting the middle out of the shape before pressing it to your wool – as shown in the photo below.  This helps reduce stiffness and allows the batting to fill the applique shape and creates nice dimension.  The photo below shows how I like to see a little dimension in my applique shapes and how the batting puffs out the shape a little bit.

 

After you cut on the drawn line, you peel the paper off.

You can still see the glue around the edges and this is the part that I found hard to get the needle through.

One positive of using a fusible is that it is supposed to keep the edges from fraying if you use felted wool.  I’ve used it with cotton applique and I think it frays horribly, so I’m not sure that it really helps.

 

So, getting back to the freezer paper method, you trace the shapes to the paper side of the freezer paper, then iron the waxy side to your wool.  (At this point you can do just a round cut around the shapes as shown below).    Next, you cut on the drawn line, then peel of the freezer paper template.

 

You can save the template and use it again.  See the sample below.  As you can see, the shape is already cut out, so just cut next to the edge.  You can use this template many times over, so it saves a lot of time with tracing.

 

You can also use this method with contact paper, as I mentioned above.  The advantage to this method, is you don’t have to be next to an iron, but it will still stick to the fabric as you cut the shape out.  It makes for a totally portable project.

 

You can also reuse this template, though not quite as many times before it looses its stickiness.

 

What about you guys?  Which method do you prefer?  Feel free to shape any thoughts on your experience that we can all learn from!

 

One other tip that I want to share –  I only cut a few a few shapes, then audition them on the quilt to see how they look before I cut them all out.  I find that sometimes the applique shapes look different then I expect, depending on the background color of my quilt.  I am at this point with my project now, so it looks kind of rough, but I wanted you to see how this audition process looks.

 

I’m doing the Mandala quilt, but I’m trying out a scrappy grey background instead of the cream that is shown in the book.  I have found that I need to use way brighter colors so that they show up better on the grey.

 

If you are joining the stitch along, you can work on preparing the applique shapes using the method you prefer.  I can also talk about my preferred method for turning the edges under if you are using cotton for your applique.  If anyone is interested in my methods, just leave a note in the comments.

Next week, I will be back to share a tip on how to get the applique shapes placed on your background.  Then we will be onto the stitching!

 

Posted in Quilting, wool applique | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Summer Stitch Along – Supplies and Prep, Part 2

Has anybody been shopping for wool yet?

If you have, there might be some prep that you need to do – It will depend on what you bought.

If you bought felted wool that is hand-dyed, you don’t need to do anything.  If it isn’t hand-dyed (or you purchased it off the bolt) and you aren’t sure if it has been felted yet, throw it in a sink of hot water to soak for a bit.  Repeat if necessary until all any excess color bleeds out.  Then switch the water to cold.  The temperature change will help with the felting process.  Now press the excess water out and throw it in the dryer on high heat.   This process will shrink the wool and meld the fibers together a bit, so it frays less when sewn.

If you purchased wool felt, you can also choose to do this process to it.  I did with all of mine because I love the texture it produces (and I want any excess dye out of it).  In the photo below I show the difference in the before and after.  The wool felt on the right is straight off the bolt – totally flat with little texture.  The pieces on the left have gone through the felting process and have a wonderful texture and are much more interesting (IMO).

 

For those still looking for wool for the stitch along, you can view my last post for more info.  I also wanted to update you on a couple of places that are offering kits for the Joyful Stitcher book.  Bear Patch Quilting is working on getting kits ready for all the projects in the book.  The kits aren’t ready yet, but they are going to let me know when they are.  I will post those options as soon as I get the info.

I also saw that All in Stitches posted on their  Instagram that they are offering kits of the cover runner.  Here is their photo, if you are interested.

IMG_4820

 

I have had many questions about adding wool to your quilts and one of the main questions is – Are the quilts washable?

Technically, I would say they are.  If you have felted your wool and gotten all the excess dye out, you could wash them.  I personally wouldn’t,  just like I prefer not to wash my quilts that have fusible raw edge applique.  I just don’t think that the applique holds up well and washing ages it so quickly.  After all that work, I want it to stay looking nice!  If I do have to wash a quilt with raw edge applique, I don’t throw it in the washing machine.  I spot clean them OR hand wash them in the tub and lay them flat to dry.  I would do the same with a quilt with wool applique.  That is the main reason that I only included designs in the book that are small – runners, pillows, and wall quilts.  They aren’t going to be on a bed where they need to be washed regularly.

 

Next, let’s talk about thread.  The photo below shows my stash of thread for wool and hand applique.  I also have a box this size of embroidery floss that can also be used for applique.  It’s my old box of cross stitch supplies, that comes in handy every so often.  The nice thing about embroidery floss is that it is inexpensive, comes in many colors, and is available in almost any town.  My issue with it is that it isn’t very exciting and I hate separating the strands.

 

I prefer Pearl Cotton wound on a ball or cone that is ready to use.  Another reason I prefer pearl cotton is because you can find variegated pearl cotton.  Love, Love, Love!  Not boring at all – but a little more expensive and a little harder to find.  I’ve tied lots of different kinds and I prefer to use Sue Spargo’s Eleganza or Valdani.  You get the most yardage for your money and it comes ready to use.  No soaking in water first and winding your own bobbins.

One thing I want to mention – You don’t need to invest in such a large box of thread.  I’ve learned that there are a few colors that I use over and over again.  The photo below shows my favorites.  The spools are all Eleganza and I have one ball of Valdani green, shown in the bottom of the photo.  I find that the Valdani colors aren’t nearly as bright as the Eleganza, but that line is missing a good medium green so that is why I mix in the Valdani.  I prefer to use size 5, though sometimes I use size 8 on small applique shapes.

 

The colors shown are:  Wildfire, Pretty Please, Hibiscus, Solar Yellow, Lettuce Wrap,  Tree Frog, Bird’s Eye View, Riptide and Lagoon. You can view all of Sue’s colors here.  Unfortunately I’ve lost my label on the Valdani one, so I can’t give you that color name.

These detail shots show how beautiful the variegated thread is –

 

Another supply that I thought you might want to know about the background fabric that I used for many of my projects.  I don’t generally use the same fabric over and over again (Why? when there are so many beautiful options to choose from).

 

But for this book, I used Kauffman’s Yarn Dyed Essex Linen for the background fabric on most of the grey quilts.  In fact, I have gone through 2 bolts of this fabric just on my own quilts.  It goes with so many things!  The main color I used is called Graphite.  You can see it in the photo below.

 

It is the “Yarn Dyed” part that makes it special – it is woven with a grey thread going one direction and a cream thread going the other way, creating this beautiful woven fabric.

I used it in the following quilts:

(All quilts found in my book, the Joyful Stitcher)

I’ve listed some of this color in my online store, if you are interested.  Otherwise check at your local shop and ask for Yarn Dyed Essex Linen.  The photo below shows two other colors that I’ve tried – steel and charcoal.

 

I have also listed the Charcoal Essex Linen in my shop, which I used in this pillow:

 

A couple other items you might want to have on hand – Freezer paper and Roxanne’s Glue Baste-it.  I also used contact paper to help with the placement of my applique shapes – which I will talk more about in the next post.

Next week I will talk about preparing the applique shapes.  If there are any other questions, just let me know in the comments.

 

 

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Sourcing Materials for Wool and the Joyful Stitcher Projects

In my last few posts, I mentioned that I would get to answering some of the questions that you all had about the projects in my new book, The Joyful Stitcher.  Many of them centered around where to get materials, so today I will talk a little bit about that.

I also mentioned having a summer stitch along with this book.  I asked commenters to tell me what they wanted to make for the stitch along  and I got many different answers.  Since there was no clear winner among the projects, I decided that we don’t need to pick one project – Why not work on whichever project we want to from the book?  Many of the techniques work for all the projects and I can answer all those questions as we go along.  I’m pretty sure that I am going to make the Mandala Quilt.  I have an empty spot in my kitchen right now that needs something special and this quilt is the perfect size.

 

Here’s how the stitch along will work – We will be very relaxed!  Whenever I get a chance, I will post something related to the stitch along.  I will try for once a week or so.  We will spend the summer stitching, with no set deadline.   Topics will include:

Sourcing materials – Thread, wool, and background fabric

Prepping the materials

Preparing the applique shapes

Tricks for placement of applique shapes on the background

Stitches used

Finishing and Quilting

 

The first material you will need to locate is the wool for the applique, so today I will talk about finding wool.  You will have the next couple weeks to locate the materials – either via ordering, shop hopping, or going through your stash.  Many of you mentioned that you have a stash of wools, but you may need to add a few to it.  You can also use cotton for this step if you wish.  In that case, you have next couple weeks to figure out what those fabrics will be.

I mentioned in a previous post that I used both wool and wool felt in my book.  I had questions about what the difference was.  Here’s a photo of both –

 

The wool felt is on the lower left and the felted wool is on the upper right.  Felted wool is a fabric made of wool thread that are woven together.  On the next photo you will be able to see the individual threads.  This fabric is washed and dried so the fibers shrink and tighten together.  The felt is made by matting wool fibers together, then compressing them to make a matt like material.  When soaked and dried, it has a bumpy texture, rather than a woven look.

 

Why did I use both?  Mainly, I was looking for a variety of colors and I just used whatever was the right color.  That is how you get a flower with slight variation in the color of the petals.  You could use just one color if you want, but I love the depth and interest it adds to use slight variations.

 

Cost is also a factor.  Felted Wool – which is often hand-dyed – is quite a bit more expensive.  In the photo below, the felted wool piece was $17 and the piece of felt was only $2.  By mixing in some felt, it really cuts down on the cost.  I prefer not to use only felt because I love the patterns and textures that using the felted wool adds – as many are plaids, stripes, houndstooths, etc.

 

I know many people go to thrift stores and buy wool quite inexpensively and felt it themselves.  I have never done this, so if anyone following along wants to talk about it in the comments, please do so.  Maybe just share a couple of tips about what to look for.  (I will talk about the felting process in a future post).

 

So – Where did I get my wools?

Wool Felt:  I bought all of my wool felt at www.woolfeltcentral.com.  Julie (the owner) carries so many colors, that I could find everything I needed in one spot.  I bought the 12″ x 18″ pieces, but she also carries yardage (She also carries lots of wool felt and corrdinating  bundles).  The brand that Julie carries is made by National Nonwovens., so anybody that carries that brand of wool felt is a good option.  I don’t recommend going to a store like Joann’s and buying felt there.  What they carry is craft felt and contains no wool – it looks and feels horrible!  The felt that I used was 20-35% wool.

A couple of tips when selecting wool felt:  Sometimes you can find wool felt that is slightly variegated.  In the photos below, the felt on the left is all solid in color.  The felt pieces on the right are slightly variegated, giving them a really pretty look.  Mix these in when you can for added interest, without the price of hand-dyed wool.

 

Another thing I have done with the wool felt is to over-dye it.  In the photo below, I bought a piece of green wool felt and cut it in half.  I over-dyed one half using Rit dye.  It now looks hand-dyed and I get two coordinated colors to mix into my project.  It isn’t hard to do.  If you have done tea-dying or anything like that, you will have no problem with this.

 

Sourcing Felted Wool:

I have been collecting wool from many different places, so I don’t remember where all of my pieces have come from.  One of my favorite places to purchase from is http://www.suespargo.com.  She carries lots of bright colors and many of you asked about where to find the bright colors.  Most shops carry the more primitive colors, so if you have trouble finding the brights, Sue’s shop is a good option.  She offers lots of size options in both hand-dyed solids and coordinating bundles.  The photo below shows one of the bundles from her.  (She also carries the thread that I use, so I will talk about that in a future post).

Two other sources that I purchased felted wool from are All in Stitches in Zumbrota, MN and Quilt Haven on Main in Hutchinson, MN.  For those that are fellow Minnesotans, I recommend stopping in.  Bear Patch Quilting in White Bear Lake, MN is going to be carrying lots of kits for the projects in this book.  If anybody is interested in these kits, just let me know and I will find out if they are ready.  If any of you have any favorite shops that carry wools, please leave their name in the comments so others can check them out!

 

Another brand of felted wool that I like is “In The Patch.”  They offer charm packs in coordinating colors, so it is a good way to get a lot of variety without having to purchase large pieces.  The packs below were purchased at Quilted Treasures in Rogers, MN and Quilt Haven on Main in Hutchinson, MN.  You can also order directly from In the Patch Designs.  These packs are great for the smaller projects in the book.  If you are looking to get big pieces for the larger projects in the book, their next size up are “Chunks” and “Chubbies” – though they only include one piece.

 

What’s the best way to collect for this project? – Go to a quilt show!  Last year, I went to the Minnesota State Guild Show.  There were many, many vendors that carried wool and it was  a great way to find it all in one place without driving everywhere or paying shipping.  It’s also great to see the wool in person, so you know exactly what the color is!

 

Wondering how much to purchase?  The fabric requirements in the book tell you what size piece you need.  I took a photo of my stash, just to show you that you really don’t need much to be able to make these projects.  This photo shows my stash AFTER I made all the quilts from the book, plus several others.

 

Hopefully that will get you started with your wool collecting.  If you have any other questions about this topic, please leave them in the comments and check back to see the answer

Next up:  Sourcing threads and background fabrics.

 

If you are on Instagram, I will also post there about the stitch along.  In addition to that topic, I also show many photos that never make it to the blog.  With two little boys, it’s hard to find time to sit down at the computer, but I can easily do a quick Instagram post from wherever we are playing!  My Instagram name is ankastreasures and our tag for the stitching will be #thejoyfulstitcher.  Click here for the direct link to my Instagram page.

 

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The Joyful Stitcher Winners

Life has been really busy since I got back from Quilt Market, so I am still playing catch-up.  On my to-do list is getting this blog post done so I can announce the winners of the Joyful Stitcher books.  I did three posts previewing the book and randomly selected a winner from each one.  The 3 winners are:

Tina McNamara

AnnieO

Shauna Scholes

Please email your shipping info to hmulder@wecnet.com and I will get them shipped out right away.

 

Thanks to everyone who participated and encouraged me with your nice comments!  I noticed that people seemed to have a lot of questions about the wool, so next I am going to work on some blog posts about those questions.  If you have any more for me, please leave them in the comments.  If you didn’t win a book and would like to purchase one, click here.

 

I’m considering doing a summer stitch along with one of the projects from this book.  Is anyone interested in joining me?    If you need a handwork project for the summer and you are interested in learning my techniques, this would be the perfect opportunity.  I will show a picture of each design again below, then just comment on which design you are interested in (or just general techniques?)

 

In Bloom

 

Gypsy Star

 

Boho Charm

 

Mandala Quilt

 

Mandala Runner

 

 

Fall Wall Quilt

 

The Pillows

 

The Christmas Runner or Pillows

 

The Spring Topper

 

You can also view lots more photos and close-ups by viewing my 3 previous posts.

I am currently without a handwork project and feel rather lost – so I am looking forward to starting a new one!  I plan to hit the beach with the boys and my handwork.  Bring on summer!!  Do you think these two need any supervision, or can I just stitch away all summer?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Decorating, Fabric Trends, Pattern of the Week, Quilt Along, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

The Joyful Stitcher – Part 3

I leave for Quilt Market tomorrow and I really wanted to get this post done before I left.  It’s almost midnight and I just finished my last two quilts, got them quilted and the binding sewn on.  I’m mostly packed and wondering what I’ve all forgotten.  As I was going over my check list tonight, I realized that I forgot to pick up my order forms at the printer.  It’s kind of hard to take orders if you have no order forms, so that’s kind of important!  Tomorrow morning I have a school field trip with my older son, and then it’s off to the airport.

With all that preparation, I really wanted to get the last post of the new book previews up before I left.  Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2, in case you missed it.

Up first, is the back cover of the book.  If you’ve been a blog follower for a while, you know I love making Christmas quilts, so I had to include a few holiday things in the book.

 

I have always loved Christmas tree ornaments, so they were my inspiration for this runner.

Here are a few close-ups of the details –

 

 

All the edges don’t need to be stitched down – I just did a back-stitch down the middle of some of the shapes.  It’s quicker and much easier around shapes like the snowflake below.

 

The Joy Pillow –

 

And another look at the runner, Joy pillow and the snowflake pillow.

 

Speaking of pillows, there are a few more in the book –

 

The fall pillow uses some of the shapes from the Fall Colors wall quilt That I snowed in my first post.

 

You can see a lot more details of the stitching on this fall applique shapes in that first post by clicking here.

 

 

The little leaf pillow is a great way to use up all those little wool scraps that are too precious or cute to throw out.  I noticed as I was making all the larger quilts from the book, I ended up with quite a few scraps – which I saved and have enough to make several of these pillows.

 

Just a chain stitch and running stitch are required to make this –

 

Here’s a close-up of the last pillow.  The flower uses a folded edge technique that gives the petals added dimension and character.

 

In fact, I had so much fun making that flower that I decided to make a topper that also used the design.

 

 

 

That’s it for the preview of the new book.  You can comment on each of the preview posts to be entered to win a copy of the book.  I will select a winner from each post when I get back from market.   If you are interested in a copy of the book, you can ask at your local quilt shop or click here to go to our online store.

If any of you are going to be at market this weekend, please stop by my booth and see the quilts in person.  My booth number is 2910.  You can also come by my schoolhouse sessions on Thursday afternoon to learn more about the new book and my latest fabric line, Big Splash.  My personal schoolhouse is at 2:55 in room #264  and my Henry Glass schoolhouse is at 2:15 in room #264.

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The Joyful Stitcher – Part 2

Today I’m going to continue with my preview of my newest book, “The Joyful Stitcher”.  (To see part 1 of the preview, click here.)  I will share 4 more projects from the book today and in Part 3, I will share the last 7 projects.

Before I start, I want to say thanks to everyone who stopped by and commented on Part 1 of the preview!  Everyone had lots of questions about the projects and working with wool, so after I finish within preview,  I will do a blog post answering all of those questions.  You will just have to be patient with me, as it is crunch time for Spring Quilt Market, and I am scrambling to get my booth ready.  I am excited to answer all of those questions, as soon as all that prep is done.

 

First up is Mandala.   I love the symmetry and repeating patterns that you see in all the Mandala designs on Pinterest, etc.  For this one, I off set two of the designs so that the quilt has a balanced asymmetry that makes it more interesting.  The quilt is worked in 4 sections so the applique can be stitched in smaller sections that are easier to handle as you do the hand stitching.

 

My idea for this one started out with the thought of using a low-volume print background.  I have never bought low -volume prints (or so I thought), but I was thinking about all the cream prints that I usually kick out of the Charm Packs that I am so fond of.  After going through my 5″ charm square bin, I collected quite a few cream prints, then I cut a few more from my stash. Turns out I had enough 5″ squares to make 2 of these quilts!

 

If you look closely, you will again see that I mixed in some cotton with my wool – see the large blue and yellow circle.  In this case, it helps to reduce the bulk that can occur When layering pieces of wool.

 

As I said in my last post, I love how the wool puffs up with the quilting.  I used a wool batting in this one and it has wonderful weight and dimension.

 

 

I enjoyed making this design so much, that I also added a runner option.  If you’ve been visiting this blog for a while, you know I love runners!  I use them in lots of places around my house and I currently have this one hanging in my hallway.

 

For this one, I mixed in a few simple embroidery stitches that I didn’t do in some of the bigger projects in the book.

 

It doesn’t take much time to do on a smaller project like this, but it adds so much more interest.

 

On this one, I wanted to mention that I did use some blanket stitch.  In Part 1 of the preview I talked about mainly using a whip stitch because it is much faster and much easier to get even.  In this case, I wanted to use a blanket stitch in a contrasting thread around the large circles.  Because I was using contrasting thread I wanted a stitch line around the outside edge of the circle and with a whip stitch, this would be missing.

 

Next up is Boho Charm.  I have been loving all the Bohemian style things I have been seeing lately – with their eclectic mix of colors and prints.  This quilt represents that style, but with some large blocks of grey background so your eye has a place to rest.

 

I want to show some close-ups of the details on the applique.  As you can see, I used some reverse applique with some cotton behind the wool.  I think this helps add more interest to the wool with the added print and color.

 

 

 

 

This quilt only has 4 small blocks to applique, so it is a good one to start with if you want to give this technique a try.  In addition to the applique, I also love the scrappy binding.

 

Lastly, I had a little fun using some of the designs from this quilt to make a hoop.  Have you noticed how popular hoops ae lately?  They are everywhere!  I painted mine blue to cover up the boring wood color that they come with.  This is an 18″ hoop – so it’s pretty large.  Combined with the wool and bright colors, it adds a fun pop to your wall.

 

Again, I will be giving away a copy of the book to anyone who leaves a comment (one from each blog post in the preview).  So, let me know if you have any more questions about the wool or which design you like best.

If you are interested in purchasing the book, check at your local quilt shop or click here to order online from us.

Posted in Machine Quilting, Pattern of the Week, Quilting | Tagged , , , , , | 60 Comments

The Joyful Stitcher

Today I get to introduce my latest book called “The Joyful Stitcher”.

It’s different from what I have been doing lately, but when you’ve been in the industry for 20 years like I have, it’s time to shake things up a bit!   I am continually thinking of what I am going to create next that I haven’t already done.  Turns out it was something I never thought I would be doing – wool applique by hand.  And I enjoyed every minute of it!

 

Here is the intro from my book, which tells you a little bit more about my inspiration –

As I finish this book, my two little boys are 2 and 4. They are at such fun ages and I don’t want to miss any of these moments with them. I find myself wanting to spend less time at the sewing machine so I can be with them. But, do I want to quilt less? No!!! I just need projects that are more portable. This need has caused me to rediscover my love of handwork. I didn’t realize, that with my desire to make as many quilts as possible, as quickly as possible, I had gotten away from such an essential part of quilting – the therapeutic side that comes from relaxing and hand-stitching.

Years ago, I started a hand-stitching group and every month we get together to do handwork, talk, laugh, eat dessert, and have fun. Seventeen years later, we still meet every month and I always look forward to this night of friends and stitching. One member of our group (That’s you Sandy!) is always working on beautiful wool projects and she has inspired me to incorporate wool into these designs. Wool is so easy to work with and looks amazing with just a few simple stitches to hold it in place. It makes for a great portable project to tote to the park with the boys, out on the pontoon, or to our monthly stitching meetings. Through the creative process of doing this book, I have learned to value this slow stitching to create unique quilts that can’t be achieved at the machine with squares and triangles. This whole process of rediscovery has been good for my soul and has made me – The Joyful Stitcher.

 

I could go on and on about how happy these projects have made me.  I have always loved wool, but have stayed away because I mostly saw dark primitive colors, and I am currently all about bright and colorful.  I also love fabric and beautiful prints, and the patterns that I have seen for wool have mostly been penny mats.  These projects have made a way for me to combine wool with the fabrics prints that I love so much.  The project on the cover is a good example of this –

It’s called In Bloom.  It uses 3 1/2″ squares of cotton prints and the background fabric is Kauffman’s yarn dyed Essex linen in graphite.  The wools are a combination of wool felt and felted wool.

 

If you look closer at my applique, you will see that I have combined cotton with the wool, for added dimension and interest.

 

The next project that I want to share is called Gypsy Star.  It measures 55.5″ x 55.5″.

 

I may go a little overboard sharing photos of this one.  It shows off so many of my favorite things – colorful fabrics, diamonds, stars, wool, texture, a ribbon border and machine quilting.

 

I love how the weight of the wool causes it to puff out after the quilting.  I have had several people asked me if I layered extra batting behind the applique, but I didn’t.  It’s just the combination of adding wool applique to a quilt that is quilted, rather than a wool penny mat type project.  The wool has so much more life and dimension this way!

 

And these fabrics – they add so much life to the blocks.  Most of these prints are from Anna Maria Horner.  They are from assorted collections that I mixed together.  The first runner that I showed also uses these fabrics.  I bought some fat quarters and had enough to make quite a few quilts.

 

The two photos below show the mix of simple stitches that I used and how I combined the cotton and wool together for the applique.

 

 

 

The next one up is called Fall Colors.  Size – 24″ x 24″

More close-ups of the stitching.  I mainly used a whip stitch (not a blanket stitch) and a back stitch.  There are also a few French knots and for the black lettering and stems, I used a chain stitch.  I have tried to do a stem stitch for this, as I know that is quite popular with the embroidery crowd, but I found it way too difficult.  I learned the chain stitch in first or second grade and have found it to be much easier.

I mentioned that I used a whip stitch instead of a blanket stitch.  I find a blanket stitch much more time-consuming, much harder to get even and I don’t like that it curls around points and curved edges (unless you do extra tacking stitches).  Doing a whip stitch instead cures all those problems.  I have more photos coming in my next posts where I will talk/show more about this.  Trust me – you will hardly see the difference, but it’s so much more fun to do.

And don’t you love the variegated thread?  You can really see it on the green stems above, where I did a slanting whip stitch.  The thread is Sue Spargo’s Eleganza (click here to see it)

For this one, I wanted a small wall hanging that I can hang by my back door or in my upstairs hallway in the fall.  I also have a pillow option for this one, which I will show in another post.

 

That’s it for now, so I hope you will stop back to see the rest of the projects.  I am going to break the preview up into 3 posts, because I have so many photos and things to say.  That way the posts won’t be so long and take forever to load!   You can also go to my online store (click here) to see more photos or order the book.  It is available to ship now, so it will also be showing up at your local quilt shop.  There are 14 projects in the book and it retails for $23.  There are 16 pages of full color instruction, which includes lots of photos of the stitching and projects.  There are also 2 large pattern pulls out with full size applique shapes.

So I’m curious to see how you all feel about wool?  I have shown the projects at a couple of events so far and I’ve had several people say that they weren’t interested in wool until they saw these projects and how I used the wool in a different way.  I thought that was interesting, because I kind of felt that way too!  Of coarse you can use cotton for the applique too, if you aren’t interested in wool.  So please leave me a comment to let me know your thoughts on wool too.  All comments will be entered into a drawing to win a free Joyful Stitcher book.  Thanks!

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