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Archive for November, 2009

New Block of the Month

Red & Green Appliqué Blocks

With the end drawing near for the great Bunny Hill Designs’ free block-of-the month, I was beginning to feel the effects of fiber withdrawal.  What a treat it has been to know that I could go online and for the cost of paper and printer ink have a great pattern to dream about. 
Well, my sorrows are over.  Through the wonderful journey of blogdom I was fortunate to read a blog titled What a Load of Scrap which redirected me to Sentimental Stitches, a wonderful website that I had never seen before.  What I found was a website that produces original patterns for sale from antique quilts in the owner’s, Gayle, own collection. 
Starting this past October, Beyond the Cherry Trees is a 25-block reproduction appliqué pattern based on a mid 19th century red and green quilt.  Each month a new pattern will be available to visitors on the Sentimental Studio’s website for free for a 2-month period, after which the pattern will be made available for sale.   Sounds like a very fine and generous plan to me.
Stitched on 17″ blocks, the design looks relatively easy for those who are new to appliqué.
If you want to join me in printing off these patterns, so to the Sentimental Stitches website here.  http://sentimentalstitches.net/free-stuff/block-of-the-month-quilt-designs/polka-dot-garden/beyond-the-cherry-trees-album-quilt/
And, for more pictures of the original quilt, so to the What a Load of Scrap blog by going here  http://whataloadascrap.blogspot.com/2009/11/antique-applique.html.
P.S. Since I didn’t have permission to copy any of the pictures of this new red and green quilt, I used a little artistic license and posted a picture of one of my own quilts when it was in process.  My aim was not to confuse…but I hate to publish a post without adding a little eye candy.
— Penny
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Mariner's Garden by Chris Jurd

In checking out the blogs of the people who visit me at The Dedicated Appliquist, I ran across another terrific Australian quilter who has wonderful patterns for applique.  In particular, there is a pattern for a quilt that I saw grace the cover of Australian Patchwork and Quilting a while back.  Never thinking I’d find the pattern for it, I was truly delighted when I ran across Chris Jurd’s blog, Patchwork Fundamentals (chrisquilts.blogspot.com), and saw the pattern for the Mariners Garden quilt photographed above.

Chris sells this and other patterns at a website called Sew ‘n Sell which you can find by clicking here   http://www.sewnsell.com.au/storecatalog.asp?userid=51. She also teaches workshops using her patterns, so if you look at her blog you’ll see lots of student examples that will inspire your color choices.

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My New Applique Project

It’s that time of year again…Turkey, sweet potatoes, stuffing…maybe some more stuffing.  And, a time to reflect on all the abundance that life has given us.  As I am every year, I am so thankful that I have quilting and applique in my life.  It has brought me wonderful friends, exciting events, travel in pursuit of it’s history, amongst other things.  It’s been a real blessing.  This year in particular, as I’ve begun blogging, I’m just so thankful to have met so many new folks from all over the world.   (And, believe me…I count each and every visitor.)

But, I was also thinking that since my blog is called the Dedicated Appliquist, I had better start living up to that name.  So, here is my latest endeavor.  I’ve just designed a little block that I plan to be the center of a medallion quilt.  I thought I would show a little sneak peak of it.  Once again I’m using those great new fabrics, Rouenneries, by Kaari Meng of French General.  And, yes, I have many unfinished projects that I promise to finish up.  Really…I will!

— Penny

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Addendum about Thread

I had put to bed my post on Applique Threads when I ran across an interesting post on the various finishes that are put on threads.  Gassed, glazed, and mercerized are all different finishes applied to thread during the manufacturing process.  Who knew.

If you’re curious and would like to learn more about thread finishes, follow this link to Penny Halgren blog at  quilterpenny.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/quilting-thread-mercerized-gassed/.

— Penny

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I feel like breaking into song, “whiskers on kittens, and warm woolen mittens”, but you would be wise to discourage me. 

I just started teaching a new appliqué class, and it’s got me to thinking about what my favorite tools and supplies are.  There are so many little details that I thought I would use my blog to cover some of the main topics.  But it should be said that this is just my humble opinion.  Every person who is committed to their appliqué will have their own favorite tricks and tools.

I find thread to be an area when I am fairly picky.  Being a bit of a no-gadget kinda gal, there are products I just have to admit help me to do a better job (at least for me).  So, here is a little description of my favorite brands of threads to use for appliqué.

Prosencia Thread

I was lucky enough to have visited  Harriet Hargrave’s quilt shop in Denver a couple years ago, and what I noticed was this new thread by Prosencia.  Needless to say, I bought the full range thinking I’d never see it again.  FYI, Harriett is the person who put “heirloom quilting on a home machine” on the map, and she always presents her materials from a very technical perspective.    Check out her website at http://www.harriethargrave.com. 

What caught my attention is that Prosencia has a wonderful range of colors and is 50 wt and 3 ply.   I emphasize that because it was Jeana Kimball (jeanakimballquilter.com) that taught me that ply is important in thread.  Three-ply makes it stronger, and I believe makes it longer wearing.  And putting that little tug on applique stitches is what I think buries them so that they become *nearly* invisible.  It is also available in smaller 100 meter spools which means that it’s not as expensive to get a broad range of colors.

Prosencia Thread

Prosencia thread is available in the US.  If your local shop doesn’t carry it, I know that there are online sources.  They even have a 60 wt thread (which is thinner than 50wt) that is 3 ply, but it only comes in larger spools.  

Our appliqué group — The Appliqué Goddesses of Silicon Valley — asked that our local shop, Prairie Queens (www.prairiequeensquilts.com), carry the thread.  I’m very thankful that they agreed to offer the entire color range in 50 wt.  You can look at the color chart on the Prosencia website at www.presenciausa.com/.

Coats Cotton Thread

The next thread that I love to use is not available in the US.  But, for you European and UK appliquists, you have probably already figured out that Coats Cotton makes a wonderful 50 wt 3 ply thread.   I happened across this thread in the London department store John Lewis (www.johnlewis.com).  What caught my attention was the wonderful subtle colors…there were those really soft shell pinks and grayed out mauves that had eluded me in other thread lines.  It also comes in 100 meter spools. 

Coats Cotton Thread

I began my collection with purchasing the reds, pinks and greens that I use most often. I  can guarantee you that on my next trip to the UK I will be making a straight path to the Bluewater John Lewis to round out my collection of threads with the colors I left behind.  And to think that some people go to England for the antiques!

As I re-read my blog before posting I worried that this is a lot of hot air about thread.  I remind myself that thread, along with fabric, is really the appliquist’s paint box.  Besides, when I see all the colors in my thread bins, it makes me smile. 

If you have a favorite thread for appliqué, please tell me; I’d particularly love to hear what you readers in Australia use.

–Penny

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American Quilts Robert Shaw

American Quilts by Robert Shaw

Kathie, inspiredbyantiquequilts.blogspot.com, wrote recently about a new book purchase that she made.  So, not wanting to be terribly late in being scooped on this new resource, I made my way over to Amazon to get the skinny on the new book by Robert Shaw titled American Quilts: The Democratic Art, 1780 – 2007.   From Kathie’s review it seems like just the type of item that I will be wanting to tell Santa all about.  How timely….after all isn’t this why we get together for Thanksgiving?  At least I believe that’s what the children think it’s for. 

Hidden Histories, Untold Stories

Hidden Histories, Untold Stories, edited by Sue Prichard

But, Amazon is just too darn smart.  They knew exactly what I really wanted and told me about two new quilt books that are available on pre-order that are being published by UK authors.  The first is Hidden Histories, Untold Stories which is to be the major book release to accompany the V&A quilt exhibit that I’ve been talking about for a while now.  Edited by Sue Prichard, the curator of the exhibit, I can only imagine what treasures it will contain.  The bibliography of books written on UK quilt history is all too short, so it’s wonderful news to have something new to look forward to.  I had fully intended on purchasing this book while in England next year, but I’m now thinking that it might be nice to have a little luggage weight freed up for other treasures.   Sue Prichard also has produced a book for those just starting out in quilt making.  It’s called Patchwork for Beginners and is also available for pre-order. 

Classic Quilts

Classic Quilts by Kate Hebert

Another book that Amazon thought I’d like to know about is a new publication by Kate Hebert of the American Museum in Britain.  Titled Classic Quilts, it appears to be a book on American quilts in their collection.  I have two previous publications from the Museum, both written by the former curator, Shiela Betterton.  But those little books (actually, almost booklets) didn’t have many color pictures of the quilts, and the pictures were small.  So, this should be a treat to get an expanded view of the collection.

Generally I encourage folks to purchase quilt related items at their local shop.  But, I’m not entirely sure that these three books are the kind of publications that will make their way to the quilt shops.   Happy shopping.

–Penny

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Kathie, who is the author to the wonderful blog Inspired by Antique Quilts (http://inspiredbyantiquequilts.blogspot.com/) asked me if I had closeups of some of the fabrics in my English medallion quilt, so I tried taking some pictures of representative fabrics.  It’s just a small sample of all the fabulous (and pristine) fabrics in this quilt — which make it a true fabric designers delight.  If you want to see more fabrics, just let me know.

DSCF1506Kathie asked if the greens were poison.  Well, I don’t think they are although I can see why one would think that from looking at the overall quilt photo.  For you antique green fabric aficionados, it appears that they are the product of a one-step dye process rather than dying first with blue and then with yellow (or visa versa).  Actually, not sure what to call the green…leaf?  spring?  Anyone have an idea what the official name is of this color?

DSCF1509Here’s another green, also not a poison.  Check out the wonderful blues on the left hand side, as well as the chintz (still with a glaze finish) on the bottom.  Just wish I could put in an order for several yards of each.  (Maybe I should take my own advice and be thinking about spoonflower.com as a possible source.)

DSCF1520The tea background fabric is one of my very favorite fabrics in this quilt.  It seems fairly early to me, but I will defer to the experts.  I’m often reminded that when dating fabrics in English quilts that the rules in dating American fabrics don’t necessarily apply.  The English quilters often had certain prints before they were available in the colonies. 

–Penny

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