Sunday, May 29, 2011

1800's Applique

Two weeks ago I took a one day applique class with Gwen Marston. It was based on her book, Classic Four Block Applique Quilts, a Back to Basics Approach. The main concept of this class was to educate us that back in the 1800's, quilters did not have freezer paper, mylar heat resistant perfect circles, clear vinyl overlays or acrylic templates, and yet they created some amazing quilts.
When I started quilting, I learned to hand applique using freezer paper ironed to the wrong side, I basted the seam allowance over and using a placement pattern, I appliqued the pieces. I love the ease of this method and how nice the shapes are when working this way. We become creatures of habit.  I knew there were many other methods so I forced myself to attempt needle turn applique back in 2005. It was a slow process, my work did get better towards the end of the project.
I also had fusible in my box of tricks. Now that was slick, art in an instant!
Time goes by, quilters find their passion and mine is applique. I enjoy all types, I've taken a variety of classes to learn new techniques and every time I work with a new teacher, my skill set improves. One class taught me that glue and applique don't work together with me. I had more glue on me, the table, the top of the fabric! When you love something, it's worth traveling the road and taking some detours, you never know what you will see. In the summer of 2008, I took a Jo Morton workshop and although applique was not the focus of the class, Jo shared Back Basting applique. It is a slick method, one that was necessary for a project I'm working on right now.

OK back to Gwen's class. We played with scissors and paper, we looked at many of her samples for technique and inspiration, and she shared her knowledge of antique appliqued quilts with us.
A lot of what Gwen talked about, I had already read or heard about. So why was the class so fabulous? Because Gwen got me to BELIEVE.
She put so much into context for me, I felt my confidence level increase by leaps and bounds in one day. Once again, I forced myself to make this project Gwen's way; to put all the tips and tricks she shared into my one little piece. Yes, it is only one small piece. So what did I have to loose, maybe a FQ of appliqued fabric and the background piece? So what, I have lots more fabric.
Here are some class projects.  Love the blue and the diamond shaped leaves.
Here is LeeAnn, isn't hers FABULOUS. Plaids, brights, and a dark background.
Merrie added a little bird. She has her's all appliqued down, she added a funky border and she is ready to quilt it. I've never seen more beautiful applique, her stitches are tiny and invisible. She used the Cherrywood hand dyes and her project has the look of suede. I saw it today, but sorry, I didn't have my camera.
Gwen giving a demo on bias stems applied by machine.
Sharon K's start.
This one is mine. 

A few things have changed on mine since the class, the leaves have different placements, the yellow tulips have some red reverse applique, a first for me, and I've added a couple of berries.  I've got it all appliqued and am now working on the hand quilting.  The background I used was Kona Natural, I've used Hobbs 80/20 batting, a muslin backing and YLI color 01 Natural. I am quilting diamonds in the background, outlining the applique pieces and may do a bit of stitching through some pieces.
I hope you got to stitch this long weekend!


Sharon said...

Oooo, I can't wait to see how it looks now! I'm so glad that Gwen got you excited about this - she got me excited too. It was such a great class.

I actually got to work on mine today, and it's getting done. I decided to go with fusible (Misty Fuse) and running stitches. Photos in a few days!

Kathie said...

What a wonderful post. Thanks for sharing your pictures from the class and insight into her work. I admire her tremendously.
Love all these little quilts, yours just has me smiling, just so me with the fabrics you chose and the flowers love the layers...oh boy can't wait to see this one done.
Happy Memorial Day!

liz said...

Lots of lovely pics for us to enjoy. I can tell you love applique. It is fascinating to hear you try lots of different techniques and discover that some projects work better with a particular approach. Make sure you show us your progress on this one.

Tonya Ricucci said...

love all the samples and class work - woohoo!!!!

Lori said...

Fantastic Sharon!! I love the block you created and can't wait to see it completed!!