For the last few years, I’ve been a member of a quilty friends’ group and an art quilt group. I think I may have written about them before, because they are just an amazing group of women. I’m the youngest by about 20 years, which means I just soak up all the combined quilting knowledge they offer every time we meet, see the wide variety of things that they do, and am constantly inspired to try new things. (And they offer other knowledge, too: My first time there, they were very excited to have me and said they couldn’t wait to help me out with all sorts of projects. Then one of them leans in and says, “You know, Mandy, we can also help you with other things. Going through the Change of Life, but most importantly….” and then she leaned in close and whispered in sepulchural tones, “…chin whiskers.” And every lady there pursed their lips and started nodding and said “mmhmm.” It is a memory I treasure.)
But I digress.
The Memory Makers are my people. They immerse themselves deeply in the art and work that comes from their hands, and they have a huge base of knowledge that I love to use as a springboard in my own quilting journey. They are so very giving of their time and knowledge.
One of the things that my friend Sally does during these meetings is a fair bit of primitive wool applique, and for the last two years, I have been sitting and pondering my own projects. While I love wool and all its textures, whether as wovens or felt sheets, I wasn’t entirely drawn to the primitive aspect of it, although I do like the element of it being “perfectly imperfect”. I love embroidery, but wanted to figure out how to incorporate it to get the look I wanted. What kinds of designs fit my personal style?
SO over months and months, I’ve pondered and doodled and drawn some things I really like, but for some reason I kept putting off the actual learn-how-to-do-it phase, waiting for some space to free up, for more fabrics to be readily available, or something. Not to mention, wool applique projects generally are smaller, more portable things. As I find myself entering the stage of driving around the kids more, and sitting on bleachers for hours, having something small and portable (and warm) to work on is very appealing.
Setting the first stitches. I started this on the Weekend Workshop in the Catskills with Denyse Schmidt and Heather Ross, a pretty nice way to kick off a project.
Well, now is the time. Alison Glass has come out with a line of gorgeous wools, and I need a satisfying and creative hobby now that my machine quilting has become a business I want to share this adventure with you in a series of blog posts that work through getting started with wool applique projects.
In the coming weeks, I’ll cover
- Basic supplies and materials: wool applique can be expensive, but it doesn’t have to be! I’ll talk about resources for wool wovens, felts, threads, and repurposed materials
- Designing your project and getting started: considerations for your first designs, and a few suggestions for projects (including a free design to practice with, if you wish), how to stabilize your wool pieces, and how to do some basic stitches
- Embellishing: fancy stitches, embroidery, and other types of fancy work
- Finishing: why, when, and how to quilt applique projects, etc.
I do hope you’ll join in! There are so many cool things to try and do in the realm of quilting, and this one is just plain fun. There’s a great deal for improvisation and personal choice with wool applique projects!