The wonderful Kim Jamieson-Hirst of Chatterbox Quilts has been busy filming a series of videos on fusible-web appliqué.

The great thing is that Kim starts with the absolute basics, such as what fusible web is — and isn’t! Great fundamental information for the beginning fuser. In this first video she shows her two favorite brands, one of which is SoftFuse, my favorite as well. After months of not being able to get it, I’m finally back in stock on my website! Kim shows the rolls, I have the packages… same exact product, just a different format.

Here’s the first in the series. And here’s Kim’s YouTube channel, where you’ll be able to access the other entries in the series, and even subscribe, so that you don’t miss any of her videos in the future. Thanks Kim! These vids are great, and you’re the best!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Last time I went to Quilt Market I made the pleasant acquaintance of one of the staff members at Landauer Publishing. Recently she emailed me to ask if I would like to share one of their brand-new books with readers of the blog.

Would I? Of course! I’m so excited to say that it’s Edyta Sitar’s Seasonal Silhouettes, hot off the presses!

Subtitled “12 Inspirational Quilt Blocks Featuring Raw-Edge Appliqué.”

Edyta used batik fabrics for their natural hues “touched by nature’s paintbrush” and tight weave. Since she does a form of raw-edge appliqué in which she stitches 1/8″ from the raw edge during the quilting process, batiks are an excellent choice. There’s a two-page spread of “color chips” so you can take the book to the fabric store with you in case you need to round out your stash of batiks.

What I really like is that the author gives an informational roundup of three different kinds of paper-backed fusible web, with the pros and cons of each, to help you make your choice for these projects. There’s also complete information on how she does her raw-edge appliqué and her quilting.

The gorgeous book is slightly oversized at 9×12. I imagine that’s so it can include… yes… full-size pull-out template pages for your convenience! On top of that, you can actually order all of the pre-made laser-cut appliqué shapes, complete with fusible web on the back, from Edyta’s website Laundry Basket Quilts.

January

June

July

Those are just three of the 12 designs… there’s one for every month, and you can stitch up as many or as few as you like.

There’s a short video about the book at the Landauer website. Just click on the “Look Inside” tab.

Thanks again to Landauer for providing a copy to give away to a lucky reader. If you’d like to enter the drawing, please leave a comment on this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, June 7.

Drawing open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Do not reply to an email feed… instead come on down to the blog itself on the internet and leave your comment there.

Good luck!!

Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

My current favorite brand of paper-backed fusible web is SoftFuse.

I carry it on my website and I take it with me to shows.

Yesterday I made a new little visual demo of how to use the product, to lay on the table for those who are unfamiliar with raw-edge fusible appliqué.

I thought, aha! I can take photos as I go and stick them up on the blog!

First trace the shape onto the paper side and roughly cut out, leaving a small margin outside the drawn line.

Cut right through the line and trim away the center of the template, leaving a ring of fusible in the shape of the motif.

Put the cut-away part with your stash of fusible scraps, for future use on a smaller motif.

Fuse the floppy shape to the back of your appliqué fabric, meeting the cut ends together.

Now cut out the shape on the drawn line, through the template and the fabric together.

Remove the paper backing, fuse to the background fabric, and stitch.

The flip side. I used a small blanket stitch and buried the thread tails under the line of stitching.

That’s the basics!

Until next time,
Kay

Ack! I found a draft post from October that I never posted! Here’s what I meant to say back then.

My buddy Kim Jamieson-Hirst recently put up a wonderful roundup of paper-backed fusible web brands and types. Check it out at her blog, Chatterbox Quilts Chitchat.

Sorry Kim!

Okay, now back to present day. I’m packing for this weekend’s Heart of the Valley show put on by the Country Crossroads Quilters of Modesto, California. Full info on the CCQ website.

Then I’m home for exactly one day before schlepping down to SoCal for Road to California. It’s at the convention center in Ontario, California, and if you haven’t been to this one you should. It’s big and bustling and full of quiltish energy!

Got the oil changed and the well-baby checkup for the Vibe, so we’re ready to roll!

Until next time,
Kay

A new Olympic sport!

Yeah, not really. A couple months ago I received notice from Digital River that the shopping-cart and credit-card processing platform that I had been using on my website for 10 years, CCNow, is going away. Like gone, poof, at the end of the year.

Oy vey. After considering a few different options, I decided to go with PayPal, especially since they now have a weight-based shipping option, something I strongly believe in since it’s the closest to actual you can get.

I’ve spent some time converting my website to PayPal checkout, and gulp, I uploaded the new pages today. May the overlords of HTML smile down on me.

Also new on the website: a brand-new pattern, Flying Fan Kites.


As I was working on Scrap-Appliqué Playground, which whacks together scraps and cuts appliqués out of them, I jotted down ideas for taking the idea on a tangent and using traditional pieced blocks.

Flying Fan Kites is the first pattern from that list! You piece a fan and then cut a kite and kite-tails out of it! It’s fun! This is a little guy, 12″ x 16″.

The kites are paper-pieced. Do not groan. Do not fear the paper-piecing. I made it so systematic, so no-brainer, you will not get confused or sew a piece into place that won’t cover when flipped. The full-size foundations are included and ready to use.

Once the fans are pieced, I use paper-backed fusible web for the machine-appliquéd kites and kite-tails. I’ve now started to offer SoftFuse in the 10-pack, and that’s up on my website too, on the Notions page.


I’ve set the shipping to zero on these two new items, through November 22. That’s right, free shipping on Flying Fan Kites and SoftFuse, just in time for a post-turkey-coma Black Friday project!

Fingers crossed that I’ve coded everything correctly, please let me know if you have trouble with anything!

Cheers,
Kay

Every couple of years, my small quilt group the Nite Needlers collaborates on a project that we donate as a fundraiser to our guild or another worthy cause. This year we hit on a red-and-white basket quilt.

I drafted some basic traditional-looking baskets in my trusty Illustrator program and handed them out with the finished dimensions to all the gals. We’re each making five blocks, and our ground rules are that we’re using turkey-reddish fabrics for the baskets and white-to-cream-with-red for the background. Sticking to the basic basket shape, we can do whatever we like as far as sub-piecing the body, adding appliqué, etc.

OF COURSE I had to do some appliqué. Here’s what I came up with.

Okay imagine for now that there’s some red print on the white.

I had my plan. Now for the execution part. I was presented with some conundrums.

IMO, raw-edge appliqué is for decorative purposes, like wall quilts. This project is going to be bed-sized, so I really felt that my appliqué should be turned-edge. “Hand appliqué!” you might be saying. As well you might, knowing me.

But there were other factors to consider. I knew that Janet, who never does anything by hand being the mistress of the machine that she is, would make her handles using turned-edge machine appliqué. Plus, I wanted to delineate the edges of the appliqué motifs to distinguish between the flower and the leaves a little better, and the machine blanket stitch in the dark red color would work well for that.

So there it was. Turned-edge appliqué with a machine blanket stitch. Hmm….

I reached deep into my appliqué bag of tricks, and even ended up inventing a new trick that I threw back in with the rest when I was done!

First, the handles. I used Holly Mabutas’ glue-stick turned-edge preparation method, where the turning allowance is glued back onto itself using a freezer-paper template on the front as a guide. All went well.

Then the flowers. Another conundrum, factor, wrinkle, challenge, or whatever you consider it to be. These were white flowers on a red background. Can you say “shadow-through?” I wanted to line them.

Thinking cap, thinking cap. I could have used faced appliqué, but I was in the glue-stick groove. Got it! A hybrid fusing/glue-stick method!

I hauled out scraps of my favorite paper-backed fusible web SoftFuse, and made some templates with the centers cut out.

I fused them to some white scrap fabric and cut them out actual size.

I removed the paper backing and fused them onto the back of the red-and-white print for the flowers, and cut them out leaving a small turning allowance.

Back to Holly’s method, except this time I glued the turning allowance over onto the white lining, using it as my template. It worked!

Then I turned to Karen Kay Buckley’s Perfect Circles™ templates to make turned-edge flower centers.

Stick them all together and you’ve got a motif ready to pop onto a basket and stitch.

Here are my five baskets, ready to turn in at the next Nite Needlers meeting, and another thing off my list! Thanks Holly and Karen Kay!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Cheryl Almgren Taylor, whom we’ve met before on the blog as the author of Deck the Halls and Inspirational Appliqué, dropped me a note to let me know that there’s still room in her classes at the upcoming International Quilt Festival in Long Beach, July 27-19, 2012.

Cheryl’s teaching three classes:

• “It Takes a Village,” where students learn how to construct a variety of houses and buildings for different projects using a basic template and fusible-web techniques.

• “Wrapped Up in Ribbons,” where you’ll create a Happy Birthday table runner using easy piecing and basic fusible-web applique. It’s quick and easy and great for beginners.

• A pictorial applique class using a fusible-web technique Cheryl calls ‘jigsaw applique.’ The class is called “Inspirational Applique: Psalm 100:3″ and students will make a small pastoral wall hanging with sheep. The project appears in her Inpirational Applique book.

There’s currently room in all three but hurry because registration can fill up fast! You can find out more information about Festival and register for classes at the Quilts.com website.

(I’ll be at Long Beach too! My cozy little booth will be in the first row, next to the exhibits, on the right-hand side. Hope to see you there!)

And, how about a cruise this fall? Cheryl will be teaching on a quilting, appliqué, and thread-painting cruise along with Nancy Prince and Chris Eichner from October 4-12, 2012. The Royal Caribbean ship leaves out of Baltimore and cruises up the Atlantic coastline, stopping at Portland and Bar Harbor, and on to St. John’s and Halifax, Nova Scotia. There will be three classes available, plus a bus trip to Keepsake Quilting and all the other sights of a fall foliage cruise. Full information on the cruise is available at SeaCruises.com.

I’m off to Newark, California, tomorrow to set up for the Piecemaker’s Guild show this weekend.

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Our featured book this month is by none other than Nancy Mahoney, my current technical editor at Martingale!

Nancy has been publishing with Martingale for a long time. Today, thanks to Martingale, we get to explore her Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts.

fast-flower

Like many quilters, Nancy loves to garden as well as quilt. She has created this special collection of 11 quilts that combine a patchwork garden backdrop with beautiful flowers in bloom.

Precious Peonies

Precious Peonies

Like all Martingale books, this one includes quiltmaking basics, and also goes into detail on two ways to prepare your appliqué motifs. Starch-and-template produces a turned edge, and fusible-web results in raw-edge appliqué. Nancy gives detailed, illustrated information about both.

A-Tisket A-Tasket

A-Tisket A-Tasket

Star-Flower Baskets

Star-Flower Baskets

The quilts are so very appealing, aren’t they? As you can see, they’re beautifully photographed in a garden setting. The book includes full flat shots of each quilt as well, along with complete instructions for making them.

Congratulations, Nancy one another great one!

I have a copy of the book to give away in a drawing. If you’d like to win Fast, Fusible Flower Quilts, please leave a comment here on the blog before 7:00 p.m. California time on Monday, April 9.

The fine print: Drawing open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Don’t reply to your email feed; instead, click over to the blog itself and leave your comment at the bottom of this post. Good luck to you!

Until then,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Cheryl Lynch, well known for her charming Judaic quilt designs, took a trip to Mexico to go deep-sea fishing and whale-watching. While she was there she became enchanted with the colors and patterns of hand-painted Mexican folk art. On a return trip south of the border she traveled to Puebla, known as “The City of Tiles,” and steeped herself in the world of Talavera tilemaking. It is these little pieces of Mexican folk art, where “perfection is not a goal,” and “at their heart is the simple joy of creation,” that serve as the inspiration for the designs in Cheryl’s book Quilt Fiesta!

quilt-fiesta

The books starts out by with beautiful photographs of Mexican pottery and architecture. As Cheryl says, “Inspiration for quilt designs can be found everywhere,” and what a great idea to translate these into quilt patterns, especially since some of the tiles have corner motifs that result in a secondary design when blocks are put together. Very quilty!

Cheryl shares information about the appliqué method that she used for the motifs in the book, raw-edge fusible appliqué sewn by machine. There’s also a bit of foundation paper piecing instruction for when that’s needed, then a whole section on quilt construction and finishing. Then we’re on to 10 glorious decorative projects reflecting the beauty of Talavera ceramic tiles. There are quilts, placemats, a bed runner, and more. Here are just a few.

Frida's Flowers

Frida's Flowers

Puebla Posies

Puebla Posies

Floral Fiesta place mat. So cute!

Floral Fiesta place mat. So cute!

So vibrant! I love folk art. Cheryl helps you translate the solid colors of tilework into lively quilt designs using the array of fabrics at our disposal today.

Courtesy of That Patchwork Place, I have a copy to give away in a drawing. If you’d like a chance to win Quilt Fiesta, leave a comment on this post before 7:00 p.m. California time on Friday, February 10.

The fine print: Open to U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. Do not reply to your email feed; instead, click over the blog itself and leave your comment at the bottom of the post. Good luck!

Cheers,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who responded with warm enthusiasm for my foster kitten stories. There’s a followup… but I’ll save that for later.

Several of the projects that appear in my book A Merry Little Christmas to Appliqué are on loan to my pal Debby at the Quilter’s Faire in Palm Desert, California.

When a traveling quilt-show vendor specializing in Christmas expressed an interest in carrying the book, I thought I’d make another version of the project that’s the most popular one… Plum Pudding!

The original.

The original.

It was loads of fun rummaging for the fabrics, and also a little scary. It’s been awhile now since the book came out, but in the scrap bag I found a few leftover squares of the original fabrics used for the patched background! I also had enough of the red sashing and all three fabrics that were used for the puddings!

In my files, I even found the original pattern and tracing-paper overlay! Since the pattern is blown up 200%, this saved me a step. That’s why I keep stuff. You never know.

plum-patterns

Once I’d pulled all the fabrics, I started thinking about the great expanse of white that makes up the ‘hard sauce’ part of the pattern. It would be covering a weensy bit of the brown, and also the patched background, and I didn’t want those to shadow through.

Usually, for machine appliqué I would use a double layer to create a light-over-dark motif by first fusing two layers of fabric together and then using that composed fabric to create the motif. This time, the area was so large, and I didn’t want the stiffness from the extra fusible. I thought I’d try something new.

I started out by making two motifs just the same, both with the inside of the fusible web cut out.

Back

Back

Front

Front

I removed the paper backing from both, placed one on top of the other on a nontick appliqué pressing sheet, and tacked them together with a hot iron.

double-layer

If there are are inconsistencies in the two shapes, just use your scissors and trim them to match.

A little haircut needed here.

A little haircut needed here.

All trimmed and tidy.

All trimmed and tidy.

Now the motif is double-layer and with no fusible web in the middle to make it stiff! Try it! It worked for me.

Stitched block.

Stitched block.

Finished project: Plum Pudding 2

Finished project: Plum Pudding 2

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Many thanks to Kim Q., the only one who offered any insights into the subject of permanent wearable appliqués. She said,

If you’re going to applique clothing, keep the fabric contents similar…don’t use a shrinkable cotton on a synthetic garment. I’ve mounted the applique using Heat N Bond, by using a plain old stationery store glue stick, or by using Sulky’s KK2000 spray. The Heat N Bond is permanent, but not my favorite, since it makes that portion of the clothing stiff, just like it does on quilt blocks. If you use one of the other two methods, and it’s a larger sized patch, then you can also use straight pins to anchor it too. Then you’d run a satin or zig zag stitch around the applique.

Since personally I am very quilt-centric, specifically in the area of decorative pieces, I’m always focused on the lightest-weight fusible I can find. If it’s any help, I’m going to offer a list of all the manufacturers that I know of. Again these are very quilty, and there may be products out there that fit more into the industrial or manufacturing scheme. If you know of any, please chime in.

Best of luck, Susan and Lee, in finding the product that works for your needs.

Aleene’s
Bosal Foam and Fiber
Heat n Bond (Therm o Web)
Pellon
Steam a Seam (The Warm Company)

Until next time,
Kay

By Kay Mackenzie

First of all, thank you so much to everyone who visited during last week’s 100 Block blog hop. I so appreciate all the nice things you said!

Today’s post puts forth a couple of reader questions. I recently received the following:

I would like to know how you put an appliqué on a garment that will not wrinkle when washed or dried. I had appliqués on the uniform for work and they washed and dried w/o ever turning up at the corners or wrinkling , stayed flat wash after wash.

I want to put an appiqué on my hoodie but don’t want it to wrinkle when it is washed. I got NO help from the employees at the two stores I went to :( so thought maybe you could help me please.

Thank you, Susan

A few days later, the following question came along:

I have spent a lot of time researching lately on fabric decorating techniques and came across your All About Applique website. It is full of amazing information and I hardly knew where to begin! Since you apparently have extensive knowledge on this subject, I wanted to ask you a question but first I will briefly explain what I am doing.

I am a designer currently working on some fashion pieces for apparel and home decor. I use a variety of decorating methods from heat-applied vinyls to hand-screen printing (I will try anything!). My project at hand is a line of rugby shirts and jackets which bear strong graphic elements like patches and stripes. I do not manufacture the garments, I use pre-existing blank clothing and apply my designs to that. I wanted to find out if there is a reliable way in which to fuse certain elements to the fabric permanently with no concern about them coming off in wearing or washing?? This comes into play when I want a small textural detail on, maybe, a sleeve or a collar, etc. and may, as well, be used for applying my own screen printed inner tags to the pieces for brand identity.

I have seen products such as fusible web and an adhesive for applying patches specifically, but having no experience with these, I don’t know how they hold up nor what kind of hand feel they give to the fabrics.

I so appreciate any help you can offer, your experience on the subject is certainly obvious!

Lee

Susan and Lee, since wearables are not in my wheelhouse, I’m throwing your questions out to the community. I bet there are lots of readers who know about these things. Please chime in with help for Susan and Lee! Thanks!

Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

In response to my query last time, Debbie wrote, “You got that right, Wonder Under is the lighter weight.” (That wouldn’t let its paper backing go.)

Debbie also reports that the wash-away product she referred to are Wash-Away Appliqué Sheets from C&T Publishing.

The website says that this product was inspired by Beth Ferrier. Now I happen to know that Beth uses a turned-edge machine appliqué method, not raw-edge. Just want to make sure we’re talking about apples and apples here, not apples and oranges. Here’s a portion of the product review from The Applique Society: “… When your project is finished you have the option of washing the sheet for a softer feeling piece or leaving it in and it will soften over time.”

I think this product is similar to the Appliqué Stabilizer that Sharon Schamber uses. Again, it’s meant for turned-edge appliqué. It remains in your quilt, and even though the stiffy part washes away, it leaves soft fibers behind.

Floriani has a similar thing too, called Stitch n Wash.

And Ricky Tims has one called Stable Stuff.

Whew!

In other news:

____________________________

Over the weekend, at Pacific International Quilt Festival, I picked up a flier from Amidon Quiltworks, home of the amazing Pearl P. Pereira of P3 Designs. The flier features a couple of exciting events coming up for appliqué enthusiasts.

The first is an Appliqué Weekend, May 31 through June 3, 2012. More details on the Special Events tab on their website.

The second is a Hawaiian Cruise in 2013, complete with appliqué classes on-board! They don’t have the dates set yet, but you can contact the shop for more information.

____________________________

I just posted a couple of amazing projects over on my Show & Tell Center. You’re cordially invited to go and see the beautiful teapots and baskets that quilters have been sharing with me.

And, I just heard from Janis Rink that the teapot quilt she made won a Blue ribbon over the weekend at the Empire QuiltFest in upstate New York! How very thrilling! You go Janis!

____________________________

Volume 4 of Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks is coming out very soon! I’m happy to say that I have a block in this one too, and I think I spy with my little eye that it made the cover this time too! I’ll be participating in the blog tour that takes place November 7-11. My day to post is the last day, but I’ll remind you to go and join in the tour on Day 1, so you won’t miss out on all the fun and prize possibilties!

myblockisin4_200joinforblogtour4_200

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

The Heat-n-Bond fusible samples are going off to Jen Martin. The cool thing is, Jen had been thinking of doing a thorough investigation of fusibles, and has agreed to let us in on her results! Thank you Jen, we’ll really be looking forward to your comprehensive review of different brands.

On the last post, a few questions came up in the comments about fusibles.

Dolores wrote:

It might be quite interesting. I used (horrors) the Heat and Bond heavyweight and it really turned out stiff. It was the only one I had on hand but I would love to try others.

Dolores, the heavyweight (Ultra Hold) is not meant to be sewn through. It’s more for projects like fusing something onto a totebag.

Debbie wrote:

I use several types myself, it all depends on the type of projects that I am working on. I find some too stiff, but great for machine quilting and the lighter weight is hard to peel the backing. Then there is wash away, haven’t tried washing it yet, since I use that on wall projects.

Is the lighter weight with the hard-to-peel paper, by, chance, Wonder Under? I started having that problem with it myself. That’s why my current favorite is Shades SoftFuse. I’m sending some of that to Jen along with the Heat n Bond, to be included in her comparison.

Also, I’ve never heard of wash-away fusible web. Could you by chance be talking about some type of stabilizer or interfacing instead? What product are you talking about? Inquiring minds and so forth. :)

Marcia wrote:

Would you like to have the opinion of a newbie trying to work with them? If so, I could do that for you. I have my Rose of Sharon die from Accuquilt, but have not tried it. I would be happy to test the differences in these, using that die.

Marcia, I haven’t used any of the Accuquilt cutters, but just a word to the wise… my understanding is that you have to prefuse the fabric first, before running it through the cutter. If you cut the shapes first, there’s no way you can get the fusible on them! Also, prefusing means that you can’t cut out the center of the fusible.

My pal Kim Jamieson-Hirst loves her Accuquilt and has played with it a lot, so go check out her blog at Chatterbox Quilts Chitchat.

Angie wrote,

Would you believe I inherited a bolt of the Ultra Hold? It does leave a stiff applique piece, but if one cuts out just the outline of the template and uses only that for your applique piece it won’t be so stiff. I use a 90/14 needle when finishing and the blind hem stitch.

Angie, are you saying that you successfully sewed through the Ultra Hold? I tried it once and had to stop every few seconds to clean the gunk off the needle. Tell us more!

Suzanne wrote,

I am a new appliquer and so far have only done raw edge applique (cuz I’m intimidated by the sewn edge kind!), but I would love to try these. I used another brand that didn’t have a paper backing and ended up pressing the gluey side to my iron! Not smart, not fun. So I’m really taken with the idea of having a paper backing.

Suzanne, first of all, do not fear the appliqué! For the raw edge method that you used, I think you are talking about MistyFuse or something similar. You mention the gluey side… well, it’s all gluey! Myself I prefer having a paper backing. But lots of people happily use unsupported fusibles. The wonderful Sarah Vee has a MistyFuse tutorial posted on her blog. Go check it out!

StrayStitches wrote,

I haven’t tried any of those products before. Have you tried them before and if so, do you like them?

Stray, I’ve tried them all. Read my post on fusible web that was written in response to the Call for Topics. What I’ve landed on is SoftFuse.

Okay, I take that back. I’ve never tried Heat n Bond nFeather Lite. It may the most comparable Heat n Bond product. I’ll be interested to hear what Jen has to report.

Laurel Anderson, author of Appliqué Workshop, wrote,

I do two classes called Survey of Fusibles where we try a wide variety of fusible webs and rate them.

What a great class! Laurel’s teaching information is on her website, Whisper Color.

Susan wrote,

I would love to try this am working on my first appliqued quilt and evidently not using the correct fusible (breaking needles). Would definitely like to try this product.

My goodness Susan, what product are you using that breaks the needle? Do tell.

Remember to go to the blog itself to respond to any of this. Replying to your email subscription sends your comment only to me, and everybody wants in on this very important discussion!

Until next time, lots of fun stuff coming down the pike,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Thank you SO MUCH everyone for your nice words about my forthcoming book. You’re making me more excited about it than ever!

Not too long ago I received in the mail a packet of sample products from Therm-o-Web Heat-n-Bond.

heat-n-bond

These are paper-backed fusible web. There’s Feather Lite, Lite, and Ultra Hold. The first two are for raw-edge fusible machine appliqué, and the last one is non-sew.

Would anyone like to have these samples, and write up a little review for us? If so, leave a comment on this post by 7:00 p.m. California time on Sunday, October 16. U.S. and Canada mailing addresses only. I’ll draw from those interested.

Thanks for your help!
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Random.org has declared that the winner of Annie Smith’s Ultimate Appliqué Guidebook is… Barbara! Congratulations! Barbara reports that she is a beginner and has been enjoying the blog for introducing her to different ideas and artists. She says, “I wish I had discovered appliqué earlier in life. It is so relaxing.” Barbara, I know you will enjoy the book.

I wanted to let you know that I just added a couple of items to my website. First off, if you haven’t had a chance to get Quiltmaker’s 100 Blocks, Volume 3, I have it available now on my Patterns page.

And, I’ve created special intro packs of SoftFuse paper-backed fusible web, so that you can try out the product. This is my favorite kind of fusible web for raw-edge fused machine appliqué. The intro packs are on the Kits & Notions page.

Which leads me back to the recent Call for Topics, in which Paulette C. asked:

“I would like to see a review of the different fusibles available for appliqué. On the blogs many quilters have given reasons why they have their favorites. But a real time review of the 3 major brands with pros and cons and photo examples would be interesting.”

In the November 2010 issue of American Quilter, fuser extraordinaire Frieda Anderson presented an article called Choosing and Using Fusible Web. If you can get your hands on this issue, you will find a comprehensive comparison of 11 different types of fusibles in varying weights.

Frieda does share on her blog, in this post called Fusing that her favorite is Wonder Under regular weight. Be sure to go read her post, and while you’re there on her blog, type “fusible” or some variant into the search box and you will come up a bunch of other good information. Note: I believe that Frieda, like other members of the Chicago School of Fusing, pre-fuses large pieces of fabric, whereas I use fusible web to make templates for individual shapes.

A few years ago I embarked on a whole determined expedition to try out every kind of paper-backed fusible I could get my hands on. I tried them all. Some of the reasons I was not satisfied included the following:

• Too thick, like gauze
• Didn’t work as advertised (supposed to stick without fusing, didn’t)
• Too many types within brand, some on a bolt, some in a package, similar names, way confusing
• Separated from the backing paper before I had a chance to use it

I finally zeroed in on Wonder Under #805, regular weight. It became my go-to fusible web. Back in 2009 I wrote a blog post giving my tips for fusible web management.

Continuing my fusible web saga, at some point after that I started having trouble with the Wonder Under. After I fused it onto the back of my appliqué fabrics, the backing paper would not come off. I had to wait until the following day to peel the paper off and continue with my project.

At a quilt show, I bought a pack of SoftFuse from the Shades Textiles booth. What a relief! It’s very very lightweight, it doesn’t separate from the paper, it fuses to the fabric like lightning, and the paper comes off immediately! So that’s why it’s my current favorite. It acts the way this type of product is supposed to act! What a concept.

Here are some other articles that you may find of interest:

Hand Vs. Machine Appliqué: A Timed Experiment

Ink Jet Printable Fusible Web

Trying a New Fusible Web

Hope this helps!
Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Seasons Greetings!

Admin note: the previous drawing for a year’s subscription to the new Quilt Pattern Magazine in still underway. The winner will be chosen the first week of January.

Now on to today’s post. Last year at this time I did a special double giveaway to celebrate my birthday on the 17th (not to mention the other holidays). It was so much fun and made me feel like my birthday lasted for a week! So we’re doing it again this year.

When the nephews were kids, Dana and I used to travel to Minneapolis for Christmas. Now that the boys are all tall and college-y, we stay home and enjoy the comforts of our own living room at Christmastime. Much as I loved seeing the boys dive through their presents, now I love our quiet celebration at home.

And so, in keeping with that theme, I’ve selected two titles that play on the theme of Comfort.

First we have ‘Tis the Season: Quilts and Other Comforts.

Tis-the-Season-B1030

As the authors Jeanne Large and Shelley Wicks say, “Adding just a few accents to a room can change the feel of that space from everyday to holiday.” In that spirit, the book offers simple and charming quilts and projects to “keep your home well dressed for winter!”

Screen shot 2010-12-14 at 9.21.40 AM

Jeanne and Shelley should be experts in the field, since they live in Saskatchewan, Canada.

Brrr!

The book starts out with basic information on fabric selection and preparation, then moves on the the authors’ favorite special techniques. Included here are fusible-web appliqué, fusible-interfacing appliqué, working with wool, hand-embroidering, making vines, and finishing basics.

Then, on to the projects! There are detailed instructions for very cute pillows and wall quilts to welcome Santa and the season (you can see one on the cover), cozy lap quilts, cheery welcoming table toppers, a whimsical primitive wool runner, and tons of inspirational decorating ideas.

joy-pillow

wool-runner

What I really like about these projects is all the words! Plus, the templates given in the book are full-size and already reversed for your ease of use in fusible-web appliqué.

Our second offering is Country Comforts: Quilts for Casual Living.

B1038-Country-Comforts

Country Comforts by Cheryl Wall is full of that comfy old-fashioned primitive style that I appreciate so well.

The author’s introduction is an inspiration unto itself. “I’m drawn to the primitive style of quilting and crafting because of the freedom it allows me to make projects that are less than perfect but still beautiful,” says Cheryl. “I believe that the creative process should be fun and soul satisfying.” Right on sister! Worrying about stuff only robs us of the enjoyment of quiltmaking.

The books starts out with the basics of quiltmaking, including supplies you’ll need and some info on the types of fabrics that work well for this style, also rotary cutting, chain piecing, pressing, freezer-paper-on-top hand appliqué, wool appliqué, and hand-embroidery stitches. Finishing your quilt is covered too.

Most of the warm and inviting projects in the book are a combination of patchwork and appliqué, a combo platter that just always works. You’ll find quilts for laps, beds, tables, walls, or just plain draping over something. All of them will lend your home that air of casual comfort and relaxation.

mountains-meadows

baskets-blooms

If you’d like to enter the drawing to win these two titles courtesy of That Patchwork Place, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Saturday, December 18.

Those subscribed by email or feed reader, remember that you’re not actually on the blog when you read the posts. You’ll need to click the title of the post to be taken to All About Appliqué on the internet, where you’ll be able to leave a comment at the bottom of the post and enter the drawing. U.S. and Canada only due to the cost of shipping.

Good luck everyone and I hope you are having a happy holiday season!

Until next time,
Kay, Dana, and Willie!
By Kay Mackenzie

willie-mys-val2

I’ve long been an advocate of finding your own method of appliqué, one that’s right for you and gives you results you like. That’s not the same for everyone, and I believe there’s no right and no wrong way, only what pleases you. When quilters stop by my booth at shows and make faces at the “A” word, I tell them they just haven’t found their method.

So I was delighted to take note of a new book by Laurel Anderson called Appliqué Workshop: Mix and Match 10 Techniques to Unlock Your Creativity!

applique-workshop

Here’s some information straight from the author herself.

Laurel Anderson:

I wrote this book with the idea that everyone has different design needs and different technique requirements.

The quilter who wants to occupy her time while on a fishing boat or in a doctor’s waiting room will be more interested in hand appliqué or cutting out fused shapes for three-dimensional or fused appliqué. The mother of four with limited time may be delighted with the speed of machine appliqué or the raw-edge technique. The artist who wants creative freedom may mix many methods into one piece of fiber art.

The techniques in the book are grouped into turned-edge, raw-edge and needle-turn appliqué. Each technique has a summery of its best uses. For instance: the Turned Edge with Starch or Glue makes very sharp points on leaves or petals. The 3D Broderie Perse method makes fast and easy daisy petal shapes for wall hangings. It is easier to be creative if you have your choice of many design tools.

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

Coneflowers by Laurel Anderson

The book offers ten appliqué methods, two edge-finishing facings, and several different template ideas. As a bonus, there’s a section on color and a chapter on dying fabric for flower quilts. The pullout section gives six full-size, ready-to-use patterns. The instructions teach several techniques for each pattern. If you make them all you will have tried all the techniques!

The book is available from Laurel’s website, Whisper Color. Laurel says to be sure to send her a message in an email telling her who to sign to book to. (There’s a Contact button on the website.) And while you’re on the site, check out the 100% bamboo batting and Laurel’s latest stand-alone pattern, Winter Amaryllis.

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Winter Amaryllis pattern

Isn’t this gorgeous?

Thank you, Laurel, for telling us about your exciting new book. I’ll be directing those face-makers to it!!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

I’m delighted today to turn the blog over to appliqué author, designer, and teacher Cheryl Almgren Taylor.

Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Cheryl Almgren Taylor


Cheryl: I am excited to be a guest on Kay’s site today and want to thank her for the invitation to be a part of her blog.

I have loved quilts since I was a small child but never ventured into quilting until 2000. I had been sewing since I was 13 so I had some basic skills down. But I discovered, like many of us, that quilting is a whole new world.

I got into designing because of my grandson Michael and my love of storybooks. I spent 14 years teaching in the elementary grades and loved “read aloud” time with the kids. Several years ago I wanted to make Michael a quilt that would go with his favorite story Going On a Bear Hunt, and this led to the creation of a whole series of quilts that coordinate with childrens’ books. I was surprised and delighted when Martingale & Company (That Patchwork Place) chose to publish my designs in a pattern series entitled Storybook Snugglers.

There were six patterns in this original pattern series from 2007, with two quilt designs in each pattern–one easier version and one more detailed. There are still some patterns available from Martingale.

Monkey Business by Cheryl Almgren Taylor

Monkey Business by Cheryl Almgren Taylor

deck-halls

Last summer my first book Deck the Halls was published featuring a collection of Christmas quilts.

Editor’s note: If you haven’t seen it, check out the post from last November, when Deck the Halls was our featured appliqué book.



Cheryl:
Although I love pieced quilts, I am especially drawn to appliqué. Applique enables us to make shapes that are just not possible with piecing, and you don’t have to worry about your quarter inch or matching points! I especially love using batiks and fussy cutting shapes so that the design has shading provided by the fabric. I also like to use a variety of fabrics in the same tonal range when repeating a shape, rather than making everything match. I think it gives more interest to the design. When I’m designing I am almost always telling a story (at least in my head) and my favorite technique is fusible-web appliqué finished with machine blanket stitching.

Wrapped Up in Love from Deck the HallsWrapped Up in Love from Deck the Halls

I know that in certain quilting circles, admitting to a love of fusible web can be the equivalent of admitting you only shower once a week or you let your children eat cereal out of the box while watching Saturday morning cartoons so that you can sleep in late. But I really do love the technique. And although the jury is out on how long my quilts will last into eternity, I know that I can finish more quilts in my lifetime.

An event early in my quilting career also solidified my feeling that there is a time and place for fast techniques. When my first grandchild Taylor was born, of course I wanted to make him a quilt. I envisioned this as an heirloom quilt that would be lovingly treasured, perhaps hung at the foot of the crib as part of the décor and eventually stored away for future generations. I spent nearly a year completing the quilt (it had two ruffles and piping, as well) and I was extremely proud that Taylor received it before starting Kindergarten.

A few short months later, I called my daughter and discovered that Taylor had been sick and thrown up on the quilt. I was horrified and wondered why he was anywhere near the quilt at the time. My daughter, who doesn’t quilt or sew, explained that she believed children should play with their quilts and enjoy them, not save them as heirlooms. Well, there’s certainly something to be said for that philosophy, but as a quilt maker it made me realize that recipients are not always aware of how much time goes into making a quilt and that fusible web fills a need in those circumstances. It’s quick(er), it’s user friendly, and it gives beautiful results.

Christmas Kisses from Deck the Halls

Christmas Kisses from Deck the Halls

For those of you who have never ventured into the world of fusing, here is some advice I think you might find helpful.

First off, purchasing fusible web can be overwhelming if you don’t know what you are looking for. There is everything out there in fusible land, from fusible interfacing to fusible batting. If you have never ventured into this department before, you can become overwhelmed and confused. And depending upon where you are shopping, the store clerk may not know a piece of fusible web from a French fry. The item you want to purchase is paper-backed fusible web. Brands that may be familiar are Heat ‘n Bond, Wonder Under, and Steam a Seam (as well as many others) and I highly recommend a lightweight product.

When using fusible, remember that if your design is asymmetrical you must trace the pattern in reverse on the paper backing of the fusible product. Also remember to trace each piece separately. If you have a large pattern piece, cutting the center portion out of the fusible will create less stiffness in the finished design. My books and patterns all have a section that gives detailed information on this process.

Another important thing you should know about lightweight fusible web is, that it’s a temporary bond. It must be stitched down around the edges or it will eventually float away. This is not true for all fusible webs—only the lightweight type. However, using a heavier fusible makes a stiffer quilt and I don’t recommend using them.

And now we get to the fun part of fusing—finishing the edges! There is such a choice of fabulous threads out there in different weights, colors, and fibers. It’s awesome! So the first thing you have to decide is what element you want the threads to play in the finished product. Do you want them to recede into the background or pop out as a design element? Do you want them to add some pizzazz or blend in? This is an important design element in your quilt and you will be happier with the finished quilt if you decide how this element should look just the same as you select your color choices.

I have developed some personal choices that work for me, but please bear in mind that I don’t work for these companies, receive compensation from them, or guarantee their products. I’m just sharing my personal experiences with you. My “go-to” thread for finishing appliqué edges is Mettler 50 wt. Silk Finish cotton thread in a matching or coordinating color. The thread is thick enough to make it viewable, but it doesn’t distract from the design. If you want your thread to recede a little more, consider using a 60 wt. Mettler or a 50 wt. Aurifil, again in a matching color. Using YLI silk threads in a 50 wt. can give a beautiful, subtle sheen to edges but since the thread is a finer consistency, you may want to be selective in its usage. If you want your thread to pop out and become a design feature, try a slightly darker hue or be bold with a darker thread choice. Using a thicker 40 wt. thread will also make the stitching a dominant part of the design and some people even use a 25 wt. thread, which will be very thick. It will give you a primitive, country feel. Finally, when you want a little glitz, consider a Sulky rayon/polyester or metallic thread. These threads can bring glamour and pizzazz to your work.

I hope this advice is helpful and has inspired you to launch into a new appliqué project. I can only say that if you’ve been afraid to try fusible web before, give it a try. It’s a very user-friendly technique.

Happy quilting!
Cheryl

Kay: Thank you Cheryl! It was a treat learning more about you, and your appliqué wisdom is much appreciated. We’re “like this” in so many ways. Can’t wait to see what you do next!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Sarah answered the call! Recently, when I put out a call for contributions to the blog, regular reader Sarah Vee of Ontario, Canada, got in touch right away. I’d delighted to turn the blog over to her today for a terrific guest post about blanket-stitch appliqué. Go Sarah!

sarah-veeSarah Vee of Sew Joy, whose motto is “I have found happiness in making quilts – and joy in sharing my quilt making.”

Sarah: I have been a patchworker for most of the time I have been quilting. Almost 14 years now! I shied away from the “A” word for many years, even though some of the first quilts I fell in love with were in the Baltimore Album style.

Eventually I started to try it a block at a time. I made a wedding wallhanging with one large appliqué block –- no one could really tell if I had left anything out — and I did, almost half of the leaves!

When Kay’s book Easy Appliqué Blocks: 50 Designs in 5 Sizes came out, I was lucky enough to win a copy. Who could resist the possibilities! Around the same time, my sister sent my daughter a container that held all of her embroidery floss from doing cross stitch for many years. She was putting it aside to focus on quilting.

embroidery floss

My daughter never had a chance! I claimed the box of thread like it was my first box of 64 crayons! I was no longer daunted by the delicacy of appliqué – I had colour on my side.

I put my first blocks from Kay’s appliqué book into a larger pieced quilt for one of my nieces. Instead of having my stitches blend in with my fabrics, I outlined them in black like a colouring book.

picnic quilt

I use the blanket stitch because it’s easy (once you get the hang of it). You can change the size of the stitch to work on any piece, and you can work it by hand or machine. You can use it to secure pieces that are fused and also ones that are not.

I’m by no means an technical expert on supplies or technique. I use what I have, look at lots of pictures – and try stuff. Just take a quick look at these photos I took while working on my latest quilt. You’ll see how I made the colours and blanket stitch work for me to create my Bunny Lady quilt.

closeup of carrot top

The basics: I’m using DMC embroidery thread. I use two strands because that seems to give the thickness I need to cover the edge of the fabric. I use a needle that works for me — not sure if it’s the ‘right’ one. The eye isn’t so small I can’t see to thread it, but not so big that it leaves a hole when going through my quilt top. It’s a medium-length needle so that the thread doesn’t glide out of it too easily.

Tip: Use a fairly long strand of thread. You don’t want to re-thread the needle any more times than you need to – just don’t make it so long that it tangles after every stitch (this isn’t quicker – trust me).

To start: Bring your thread up from the back right at the edge of your piece to appliqué. The length of the next stitch determines the length of your blanket stitch – how far it goes into your appliqué. Put your thread into the fabric and bring it back up almost right on top of where you started.

On the leaves I used smaller stitches closer together because I had to turn a lot of corners, and the leaves are fairly small. On the carrots, I took larger stitches because there was more open space in the middle of the appliqué pieces.

You work this stitch counterclockwise (at least I do because I’m right handed). Hold your thread across the edge of the piece working to the left.

carrot closeup

From where your needle just came up, take a stitch down and to the right that lines up with your first stitch into the appliqué. Bring your needle up at the edge of your appliqué and go over the thread you are holding in place. Pull the stitch snug (but don’t make the piece pucker).

This space defines how close together your stitches will be. On smaller pieces, or going around a corner, you probably want them closer together.

green-tail

Keep going until you’re done, or almost out of thread! Make sure you leave a long enough tail so you can make a knot on the back.

two-carrots

You can see how I had fun with colour. I used different shades of orange on my carrots. Changing the colours made it more fun to go around so many carrots –- and also gives the up-close viewer a visual treat. The carrots in the border were not fused down, just pinned in place until I secured them with the blanket stitch.

bunny-lady

The bunnies and carrots in the quilt top were fused, then stitched. I used bright, fun colours on them too. I used a fairly large stitch on the bunnies so it would be more visible.

I hope this was helpful and encouraging. I stared at many magazine diagrams and pictures of beautiful quilts before I finally tried my hand at appliqué and the blanket stitch. You’ll never know the possibilities until you try. Thanks Kay for providing so many possibilities with your designs and inspiration-packed blog. I’m looking forward to including appliqué on many more quilts.

With Joy,
Sarah Vee
www.sewjoy.blogspot.com

Kay: Thanks a million, Sarah, for your article sharing the joy of appliqué! You’ve gone from “A” word avoider to appliqué enthusiast, because you found your method! I love those patched bunnies… reminds me that I have some randomly pieced hunks of patchwork sitting in the UFO pile awaiting their final destiny! Hmm…

FYI, Sarah is hosting a Placemat Party Blog Hop from Monday, June 28, to Friday, July 2. Visit her blog to find a new hostess each day celebrating the release of Sarah’s first pattern, “Eat with JOY! Placemats”. There will be prizes, fun, refreshments, and hostess-gift ideas for summer parties. Sounds like summer fun!

Until next time,
Kay
By Kay Mackenzie

Next Page →

Close
E-mail It