A Beginner’s Wool Applique Project

Remember my trip to Maine? The one where I found all sorts of awesome quilt shops? When I was at Attic Heirlooms in Damariscotta I took a long look at some traditional wool applique projects. Having never made anything like this, I decided to give it a try. When I saw the Row by Row project for Attic Heirlooms it looked like a row that could stand alone and be used as a wall hanging or table runner. (I wrote more about that shop here.)

Making this project was fun in that it was slightly unfamiliar to me. I have only done a bit of applique and haven’t hand stitched applique at all. I dug into the kit enthusiastically. Cutting the little pieces didn’t take long at all. I fused the pieces as far as I could go (without stacking pieces in areas that needed to be stitched first.) Then I took the kit and my assorted Perle cotton skeins over to the coast last week. We spent a long weekend over at Bodega Bay (about three hours drive from home) with lots of family to celebrate my husband’s birthday. What a perfect weekend for hand stitching.


While I was working on it there were a couple of mishaps. At one point I was stitching and not really paying attention and somehow I sewed the project to my pants. Ha. I felt so silly. Ian and Julia found it most amusing.  Fortunately it didn’t take too long to pull the stitches out and free myself from the project. 😉

After that, the little windows started popping off of the house. I am not sure what I did but the fusing clearly wasn’t working! The more I handled the piece, the more bits fell off. I didn’t have an iron and of course, wasn’t patient enough to wait and fix it when I got home. Instead I just held the windows in place and stitched. It worked out and I was able to continue stitching. The windows aren’t as precise as they might have been but that’s ok.

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The center block is surrounded by a log cabin block on each side. Once I got the three blocks assembled, I wasn’t sure how to quilt it. Wanting to stick with tradition, I really didn’t know how to treat the area around the wool house and trees. It seemed like it should be quilted. I wanted to leave the wool pieces alone because I think the fabric is just gorgeous and I like the blanket stitch that I used to attach the pieces. (Except the tiny star and the tree trunks; I wasn’t sure what to do with those so I just stitched around the edges.) After consulting with one of my trusted quilting advisers, Janine, I decided on some wavy lines on the background. The color of the sky (background) fabric looks like a heavy sky to me. The wavy lines make it look just a bit stormy.

 

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I used an older calico fabric that I had for the backing and binding. I haven’t put a sleeve on it yet but I think I will. It would be fun to pull this out in the fall and hang it somewhere. I don’t really want to put it on the table because of spills. The wool isn’t really washable.

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This is my first try at wool applique and I absolutely enjoyed it. It is a sweet reminder of our vacation. I think I will give it another try. First I want to look at the process and learn more about it. Anyone have any recommendations for a book or a quilter who is into this sort of work? Please let me know. 🙂

As always, I am linking this sweet finish with my favorite linky parties. Find the links at the top of the page, under Link Ups.

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10 thoughts on “A Beginner’s Wool Applique Project

  1. Wendy

    I started learning applique with wool, because it was so forgiving. I’ve tried a few different application styles; there are a few out there, so it’s worth doing a little reading. I’ve just tried Steam A Seam Lite, and I’m quickly learning you need to use alot of steam. It tends to gunk up my needle as I stitch (by hand), which is annoying. I usually have a fabric glue stick on hand in case those little pieces come loose. A quick tap or swipe of the glue stick holds them in place well enough for me to stitch them on. Send me an email if you want to chat further, I’d be happy to share my adventures in wool.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      A glue stick!! That would be the perfect thing to keep nearby. Thanks for the idea Wendy. Also, yes, I would love to hear about your work with wool. Fill me in!!

      Reply
  2. Kaholly

    It’s just adorable! You know, I spend about a month a year in Maine, and never go to any quilt shops! Probably because my sister isn’t a quilter, and we are both homebodies. And, she lives way out in the country. That’s probably good, though, because then I don’t spend any money! Well done, Bernie. Do you think you’ll do more wool projects? XO

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      What part of Maine do you visit? I was just enamored of the state when we were there. Of course it was gorgeous weather. If I were there in March, the feeling might just be a bit different! And, yes, I want to do another project. Always something to learn, right??

      Reply
  3. Mary

    Lisa Bonjean of Primitive Gatherings has beautiful wool designs. She has a store in WI and one in southern CA plus online. She is featured in APQ’s most recent magazine. She’s an excellent teacher and sets up shop at many major quilt shows.

    Reply
  4. JanineMarie

    I love the look of this, Bernie, and I think the non-sticking of the windows might have been a happy little problem because primitive maybe shouldn’t be precise. This looks like a kind of appliqué I might like. I don’t have the patience for other hand sewn appliqué, but this looks relaxing. Val from Val’s Quilting Studio does this kind of work. Her blog is myplvl (dot) blogspot (dot) com.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks Janine! It really turned out very sweet. I like the tradition that this sort of work is steeped in. I will check out Val’s work too – thanks for the recommendation.

      Reply
  5. Mari

    This is darling, Bernie. It turned out so well. I have read that you can use dots of just plain Elmer’s to hold things in place until you stitch them down. It dries with a pass of the iron. Haven’t tried it myself, though. Sewing it to your pants sounds like something I might do–probably why I don’t do much applique! Happy birthday to Ray!

    Reply

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