It's that time of year again on the Gulf Coast, with thoughts turned to the Regatta, the beaches, and our abundant sea life on the Gulf Coast. If anyone knows Patty Harants, please advise her to get in touch with me. I have this pattern, but have friends who want it, and can't find it.
This is the back side of one of the fishes. I have turned the edges using freezer paper/starch, and with Elmer's School Glue (Purple Disappearing) glued all the pieces to a piece of very fine all cotton voile. This makes the motif a "stand alone" for hand stitching to the background. I call it "FOUNDATION APPLIQUE." I have not seen this used by other teachers but it makes it very easy for me to manage a motif that has many small parts.
Applique quilts have been around perhaps longer than, or as long as pieced quilts.
The two techniques combined have endless possibilities for creative design. Lately I've seen many outstanding quilts that use both methods of joining fabric to fabric. Jinny Beyer is one of the grand masters of combining piecing and applique to create beautiful quilts.
The top block is one of my works-in-progress, from Esther Aliu, the pattern Diamond Hill. The quilt top in progress below is from Patty Harant, another special applique designer.
An applique/quilting favorite celebrity of mine is Ami Simms.
Her outstanding piece entitled St. Basils Cathedral is well worth the visit to her site.
A thoroughly delightful person, she was also chosen teacher of the year for 2005.
There is so much one can create by combining piecing, applique and hand embroidery.
Tips for Hand Applique
I like to use quilting betweens to stitch my hand applique - but whatever your preference, choose a good quality needle with a round eye.
The thread I use is 100% cotton Presencia 60/3. It is a fine, but strong thread that I also use for machine piecing. Otherwise I will use Silk Tré. or kimono silk. The silk will last longer than cotton thread, and is appreciably more costly.
Pins: I pin from the back side, so that the ends of the pin don't tangle in my thread. I like the superfine Swiss pins. I have heard of people using very short, or otherwise special pins, but I have good luck with the Swiss pins for most everything.
FOUNDATION! A piece of 100% cotton voile is an excellent choice for gluing the prepared applique pieces in preparation for stitching to the background.
This block is actually a fabric print, from Judy Rothermel's Simple Sampler BOM by Marcus Bros. The Fat Quarter Shop carries many of the Judy Rothermel fabrics, but this printed panel is sold out. It captivated my imagination, and I set out to make my own interpretation of it.
(Photo posted with permission of copyright owner.)
First step in the process was to draft it on graph paper - and make an analysis to provide information for reproducing it as a pieced, or pieced and applique block. The simplest breakdown was a 9 Patch, with the flower buds in the four corners. However, I tried simplifying for fewer seams to detract from the design. I like it OK, but it isn't a WOW.
The AQS OnPoint - Your Ultimate Quilting Resource recent survey asked quilters about how they learned to quilt. The survey gave the results in the expected fashion; so many percent did it this way and so many percent did it that way, until the final question: What was the most valuable tip or lesson you learned quilting?
They published all 809 answers as written.
I read them all.
One point that some agreed on was "There are no rules in quilting." The other 99% gave a rule, or rules, they had learned.
It is true that quilting is a means of creative expression. It is also true that creative expression can be called art. Yet another great truth is that "You will never be an artist as long as you see through the eyes of other men." Is the logical conclusion: there are no rules (imposed by others)?
Perhaps, but everything worthwhile, even art, has a methodology.
A painter of oils knows to not thin his paint with water.
I love to learn, and have all my life, going back to the days on the desert ranch when the only source, outside the classroom, was the mailman's delivery of magazines and books. Therefore, I buy books. Recently I was able to get a book from 30 years ago that I had given away, not realizing, at the time, the significance of that particular book. Getting this book gave me the opportunity to compare it with all the other books on quilting I had acquired in the past 10 years. Each segment of the old book covered almost the entirety of any new book. The only other book that made the old book complete was a very small booklet by Billie Lauder aka Stephanie Kleinman that gave "new" tips and tricks to make the job easier.
The thought occurred to me that back in 1988, the date the old book was published, the focus was on gathering, sharing and teaching. It seems that in 2017 the focus is on "selling."
( And yes, I paid money for the book.)
Harriet has a thread available only through her; Jan has a ruler only she can provide; and if you want to make this quilt...you know what I mean. I fell in love with the quilts of Willyne Hammerstein, and spent around $150 before ever cutting into a piece of fabric. That quilt, while quite an adventure, is still unfinished. Is the temptation to do things "the easy way" so strong that we lose the whole point of creativity? Do we really need a template to cut a 3" square, and another for a 2" square? Paula Nadelstern does not sell her quilts. When asked how long a quilt takes her, the reply is "All my life." Her classes are costly. That is because her time is exceedingly valuable. She has explained that endless duplication of her art would somehow destroy the value of it. How does someone so mortal become so wise?
As long as we persist in looking outside ourselves for our own unique beauty, we will see only shadows and vague reflections of what might have been. The sorrow of death is not the loss of what we have had, but that which, with death, will never be.