How has your summer been going? Mine has been wonderful . . . and busy. The Academy of Applique has been such a fun and rewarding journey. I finally have the opportunity to combine by business acumen learned over MANY long years as a Finance Director, and my “hobby/obsession” quilting, and specifically, applique. Everyone has been SOOO supportive – there are not words to express my thanks to everyone. Friends and Attendees have helped me distribute literally tens of thousands of marketing postcards. The reception has been terrific. It is fun to watch marketing cards be sent or delivered to a specific area of the country, and within days, multiple sign ups on the website from that area. How exciting. The teachers, too, have been most gracious and sharing of their experiences, thoughts, and time. They truly are an amazing group. I want to send a special THANK YOU to Nancy Kerns and Teresa Jones for helping me through this first year, and letting me bounce ideas off them. You girls ROCK!Continue Reading →
As you can see, I am powering thru Sue Garman’s Sarah’s Revival.
These little papercut blocks are SO much fun and SO addictive. Sometimes we need “mindless” work like this that give us a sense of accomplishment. I did prewash these on hot to remove as much “bleeding” as I could. Being a believer in starch, I starched both the red fabric as well as the background – pretty stiff. Next, I cut out the freezer paper pattern being as careful as possible. When ironing the freezer paper to the selected red fabric, I AM anal, so I used a 6” x 12” ruler to make sure that the pattern was aligned and that the four quadrants of the pattern were perpendicular. I traced around the pattern with a white mechanical pencil then I ironed my background squares in half, then half the opposite way, then diagonally. Aligning the red fabric with the folds ironed into the background fabric came next. Notice, I haven’t cut the piece of red fabric yet. I gently pinned the red fabric to the background, hand-basted, and used the cut-away method to complete the block (cut a little, stitch a little, cut a little, stitch a little).
Here is what I REALLY wanted to Blog about. Nancy Kerns TOTALLY got me into hand basting my blocks. It doesn’t take long, and I think it really makes the blocks lay flatter. This is how I had been powering along – although working full time (which is REALLY cutting into my personal time, Ha Ha), it does take me almost a whole evening to get a block ready to stitch. Then a thought hit me. Why couldn’t I baste the block in a grid formation on my sewing machine? I gently pinned the next block, lengthened my stitch to as long as the machine would allow, loosened my presser foot tension and basted. True, it only took a couple of minutes. But, from my experience . . . WHAT A MISTAKE! As I started my cut-away, there were stitches everywhere I DIDN’T want them to be. I couldn’t get at the pattern edges to cut-away, and spent more time taking stitches out, than stitching. I finally gave up – removed all basting – and went back to my tried and true Nancy Kerns method. When you hand baste, you obviously can place the stitches inside the pattern, where you want them. I also like appliqueing a quadrant, removing the basting stitches, and admiring. Nancy did share that if you keep your “junky” thread available, with needle threaded, for basting , you are more apt to grab the needle and baste. I am convinced.
I may have “strayed” momentarily from a lapse in judgment . . . but I am back on the “straight and narrow” . . . hand basting. I felt like Linus in the musical “You’re a Good Man, Charlie Brown,” trying to leave his blanket. For those of you that know the musical, I am now singing . . . “got you back again!” I am totally committed to hand basting! Thank you Nancy.
For the past several months, my applique group (As The Needle Turns – or aTNT/dynamite group) has been working on the Benjamin Biggs Wedding Quilt. I have been teaching them the needle turn method accompanied by a lot of “tricks.” We have mastered quick template making using self laminating sheets, bias stems using the bias maker, perfect berries using Karen Kay Beckley’s Perfect Circles, and perfect points using a “flat head” toothpick ( thank you Nancy Kerns for this trick). With these simple “tools in their toolbox,” the applique world and their creativity is wide open. Some of the gals were definite novices to applique when we began . . . but I think their blocks look AWSOME! This is a representation of Blocks #1, #2, and #3.
I want to officially, and TOTALLY thank this group for their encouragement and support of the Academy. They have tirelessly passed out marketing cards at quilt stores and quilt shows, and constantly spread by word of mouth, their support of this venue. YOU GALS ARE GREAT! THANK YOU! You are the best!
I have been working on the Benjamin Biggs Wedding Quilt, trying to stay a block or two ahead of the gals so I can point out any pitfalls or quick tips. Additionally I am continuing with Sue Garman’s Sarah’s Revival. It is coming along.
Back to Academy work. Don’t forget that the class options will be viewable on August 9th, and registration opens September 3rd. It is REALLY getting exciting.
How was your 4th of July weekend? I was fortunate enough to have my 86 year old mother, and sister visit from California. My mother ( a late blooming quilter – she only started about 20 years ago) and I spent numerous hours discussing quilt patterns and quilting in a frame – which I LOVE doing. It was perfect weather here in Williamsburg, as the hurricane missed us but offered a cool breeze and moderate temperatures. I had ample time to appliqué. Having finished Sue Garman’s “Bed of Roses,” I am currently working on Sue’s “Sarah’s Revival.” It is approximately (36) paper cut blocks in red and green that are just too fun to stitch. Even with working full time, I can “crank” out 2 – 3 a week. What a sense of accomplishment to see them on the design wall. This is coming together VERY quickly.
I am currently in the process of mailing out over 13,000 marketing cards to about 500 quilt stores on the Eastern seaboard. What is your favorite store? I will gladly check to make sure they received this material. Do you belong to a guild? If you can email me a contact, I would greatly appreciate the opportunity to send them an ad to be included in your next newsletter. Let’s continue spreading the word!
I thought I would write a bit on what to expect when registering for the Academy. First, some important dates: August 9th, 2014 the website will be updated to show the Class Schedule for the 2015 Academy. Class/project pictures, descriptions of techniques taught, supply lists and registration fees will be available on that date. Historically, this has always been an exciting time for me as I read, re-read, and re-re-read the schedule trying to decide which classes I would register for. Then came the emails and phone calls to friends again discussing which classes we would take together, so as to spend more quality bonding time. Some friends I, unfortunately, only get to see once a year at the Academy. Room reservations will be made individually. Don’t forget to mention “The Academy of Appliqué” to receive the discounted room rate.
The next important date is Tuesday, September 3, 2014 when registration will open. Registration will be performed on-line and payments will be made thru PayPal. Some have asked what to do if they do not use credit cards. Paypal is a very easy process to set up and can withdraw the agreed amount directly from your checking or savings account.
My first blog. This is just too exciting. I have so much to share. I just finished Sue Garman’s Bed of Roses Quilt. I ordered this as a Block of the Month (BOM) and started stitching in December. Everyone asks how long it takes to stitch an appliqué top. Well, I sort of timed myself, and it took just under (30) hours for each block or (2) “half blocks” for the side set-ins or the (4) triangle corners. I thoroughly enjoyed the process. Sue’s patterns just speak to me. This is what the quilt looked like from the pattern:
I am fortunate to have a fairly large design wall (8’ x 6’). As I completed each block, I put it up on the design wall. Just looking at the blocks daily, motivated me to continue. My monthly appliqué group that meets at my house offered eloquent words of support. I found that those stitches that were not perfect, the corner that would not come out as pointy as I would like, the curved leaf that ended up with a little bump . . .
really didn’t make a difference when incorporated into a queen size top. If I could pass on one piece of advice, it would be to “forgive yourself.” I had to learn to quit being so critical of my work, relax, and enjoy. What a difference it made in both my appliqué and level of enjoyment. I finished the top close to the end of March, but had not put the outer borders on (I call them the humpy, humpy borders). My husband put it up on the design wall, we both stepped back and admired it – then simultaneously said “It needs to be bigger.” Don’t judge me, but we USE our quilts . . . and the original size of this quilt was 80” x 80;” not quite big enough for a queen bed.
Business Woman and CFO
Owner academyofapplique.com, business woman, CFO, and active applique fanatic. It's time to bring applique to the next generation of quilters and preserve this art for future enjoyment.