Tuesday, February 3, 2015

Tropical Folk Art Part 4 - Folk Art Appliqué Stitch

I first saw top stitch appliqué in a machine appliqué class a number of years ago.  Since then I have seen a couple of examples of a hand appliqué, running stitch in the "old quilts."  I vaguely remember one that was done using white thread.  It was charming.  I have also seen samples in class with Elly Sienkiewicz where large shapes were appliquéd down using a small running stitch and either silk or fine cotton sewing weight thread.  The stitches were practically invisible and the benefit was that a wreath could be sewn in a single evening. 

I also love Big Stitch hand quilting. That is a technique where a quilt is hand quilted using pearl cotton.  
Instead of making the stitches tiny, the objective is to make the stitches noticable, even, and part of the overall artistic expression/design.  

So I decided to use a hand sewn, running stitch to appliqué my piece and have the stitch mimic big stitch hand quilting.  That way when the appliqué is complete and I quilt the piece, the quilting and appliqué will blend.  If you look closely, the appearance is that I hand quilted a row of stitches about 4 threads from the edge of the appliqué.  

I just love this look!  Very carefree, clean, and casual.  I can dress it up or down by selecting different fibers for the running stitch.  It's also extremely quick and easy.  It incorporates needle turn which I love.
There are no glue or starches which I don't enjoy.  It's completely portable.  I probably would not use this technique on an heirloom quilt or bed quilt that will get lots of wear and washing.  But for my wall hanging, decorative pieces I find it just right!

I will use the same stitch to sew all the leaves at random.  I will continue to post photos of the progress in days to come.  Let me know if you decide to try out this technique and what you think.  

Until next time,
Best stitches from Mercy in sunny Miami

Monday, February 2, 2015

Tropical Folk Art Part 3 - Bigger is Better

So this is my FAVORITE method for adding borders!
First I cut my border strips the length of the fabric parallel to the selvage.  I then lay the two border pieces on top of the background they will be attached to, right across the middle.
I then use my ruler and rotary cutter to trim the borders exactly the size of the background fabric.
I then pin the borders to the background and sew!  Note the ruler was ONLY used for cutting a straight edge - NO MATH WAS USED!!!
Press the borders open and repeat the process for the remaining borders.
Now that's a gorgeous blank canvas to play with ;)

All that is left to do is center the tree shape in the center of the blue block and baste in place.  By the way, this is the only basting required.  
So to recap - 1 freezer paper template and 1 piece to baste.  Oh and no measuring!  This is my idea of stress-free, fun stitching :)
Until next time, 
Best stitches from Mercy in hot, humid Miami

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Tropical Folk Art Part 2 - We're Going to Need a Bigger Boat

So the next step was to cut leaf shapes from each of Jim's fabrics.  I stacked a few layers at a time and just started cutting.  After working on so many appliqué projects over the years I really did not need a template or pattern.  
As the super bowl started, I started cutting.  By the time I got to the last bin of hand dyed fabric I realized the I was going to need more background to accommodate all my leaves.  Hence - the reference to one of my favorite movies, Jaws.  When Brody sees Jaws for the first time his response is "We're going to need a bigger boat."  That was my thought as my pile of leaves kept growing.
I ended up with over 130, 2-inch leaves!
My solution to accommodate my leaves are wide borders.  Tomorrow, I will share an easy way to add borders. NO MEASURING!  

Until next time, 
best stitches from Mercy in Miami