Monday, March 24, 2014

BAS and the Peahen Block from Captain Aust Quilt Top

Peahen block from Captian Aust Quilt Top in progress
Happy Spring dear blog readers!

For those following my musings, you may be aware that one of my favorite applique styles is the fancy style exemplified by the Baltimore Applique Quilts. There is a terrific organization, the Baltimore Applique Society, which is dedicated to the preservation of quilts, many in my beloved style, and the promotion of the art of applique. From their website "The Baltimore Appliqué Society (BAS) was formed in 1993 with the mission to preserve antique quilts and promote the art of applique. Since our inception, BAS has supported the preservation of quilts, textiles, and related documents in museum and historical society collections, such as the Maryland Historical Society (MdHS), the DAR Museum, the Quilters Hall of Fame, the Lovely Lane Museum, and the Baltimore Museum of Art. That support includes financial contributions, quilts made as fundraisers, reproduction patterns, and hands-on conservation work."

This fall, BAS, is holding an online auction of wall hangings made by members to raise funds to continue the work of documenting and preserving the quilt collection of the MdHS. I am stitching and will be donating a wall hanging featuring the Peahen Block from the Captain Aust Quilt Top pattern drafted by BAS members Margo Cramer, Eleanor Layman and Marylou McDonald. As the date of the auction approaches, I will provide more details.

I use a seam ripper to slit top fabric
Eye will be reverse appliqued
In the meantime, I wanted to share progress on the block and demonstrate a favorite tip. Notice that the opening where Peahen's eye will appear is reverse appliqued. I like to use a seam ripper to make a slit in the top fabric. This does not guarantee you will not slice through the underneath fabric, but if you are careful, its way less scary!

The peahen comes to life with just a few embroidery stitches
in 50wt sewing thread
The eye is lifeless
without embroidery
Notice the embroidery details in the eye and how it brings the entire hen to life. This is a wonderful technique I learned from an incredibly talented needle artist, Sandra Leichner. If you are not familiar with her work, please take a minute to check out her site. If you are like me, after one look at her work, you will be so inspired your work will never be the same again!

Beautiful fabrics hand-dyed by Sharon Schamber
Speaking of talented needle artist, the gorgeous hand-dyed fabrics in the hen's tail feathers and body where a gift from Sharon Schamber. I was on the fence about whether to stitch the hen as in the original quilt or to turn her into a peacock instead so that I could use teals and blues. But when Sharon shared a stash of this beautiful tan, gold, and rust fabrics with me I knew I had to use them for this project! It was simply meant to be :)

Until next time....

Best stitches

Mercy in hot Miami


  1. Already a fabulous piece. Look forward to seeing it when completed. Thanks for the tip - I"ll file it for when I need something like that. That blue sure makes a difference.