Well, I've been out of commision for a while. Paid work and a cold that will not go away, so I've been wating for today to have time and energy to try and
First off : Thank you Wenche for giving me an award :-)
I'm happy to have made your day.
As for passing it on ? I'm not very good at this, so : if you read this, consider yourself awarded. Its always nice to be read, and to know that you read my blog, is making my day :-)
And then, in my previous post Druscilla asked for pointers on applique.
Yes, the Allsorts Applique Album that I'm quilting presently (80/140 quilted, thank you for asking), is all hand applique ... and in case you've forgotten what it looks like here's a picture : Most of them are done with back-basting. Sentimental Stitches has a thorough tutorial with pictures.
My advice on applique are the following :
Use good thread.
And try to match it with the fabric that is on top. I have every colour in the rainbow of cotton-thread, but I have found that I can get by very well with just one, light-grey thread for most applique. You may want to add a dark blue and a soft rose (not pink) to your array of colours. These will, if you take care with your stitches, cover practically all your needs ! I prefer cotton-thread, and usually "make do" with YLI's Select. Others prefer silk-thread, which is very nice too only, I don't have the temper for its slipperiness. If you want cotton with some of the same qualities as silk, YLI's Heirloom thread might be for you.
Use good needles that work for you.
My all-time favourite is Jeanna Kimball's Straw # 11. When I started using them, my applique went from so-so to good ! BUT, you may not work the way I do, and others prefer other types of needles. Try different sorts and sizes, and see what works for you.
Use good fabric !
If you are a beginner at applique, of any kind ! be good to you and start yourself with some batik-fabric. It holds a crease beautifully and has - compared to most other fabrics - hardly any fraying at all. I enjoy shopping with Batiks-plus (no affiliation) but then few shops in this country has a decent selection of batik-fabrics. The down-side of batiks is if you're hand-quilting. They are tightwoven and thus not as easy to quilt through as some fabrics
Try different techniques.
I have fallen in love with back-basting, because it gives me precision of placement, and once the pattern is drafted on the back of the background fabric, it is eminently portable. You might feel differently :-) so don't take my word for it. Try as many techniques as you can find, on the web and in classes, and then, from each of the many techniques, take the elements that work for you. We are not all the same.
Know that applique, like all other handwork, is slow work. You cannot crank out an heirloom block in the Baltimore-style in an afternoon. It takes time to do it and do it well, but ... it just might be worth it in the end.
... and if your patience isn't good for hand-applique, consider doing machine-applique the Beth Ferrier way.