I have been having fun in my studio this past few days while I worked on my wool applique sampler. I got all the pieces appliqued and have started the fun part of adding decorative stitches to turn them from simple shapes into interesting flowers.
I may decide to add more stitching to this particular flower. It was helpful to me to see it in the photograph. Somehow pictures of my work gives me a different perspective. I may decide, instead, however, to use some free motion quilting to add more details to this flower.
Sew it is a layered process, and while I have a general idea of what it will look like when finished in my mind’s eye, I make adjustments and changes from my original concept as I go.
In any case, I find this phase of the project really fun as each addition changes the appliques and I see my original concept emerge into reality. The last thing I will do before sandwiching and quilting it is to add some patches of grass and maybe a bug or animal around in the grass. The quilting should also make its own addition to the overall interest of this little wall hanging. I am considering how to finish the edge. Should I bind it in cotton or edge stitch it with some heavy weight specialty thread, or even try out that yarn couched edging that Nina McVeigh demonstrated in one of the Bernina videos on The Quilt Show?
One of the useful little bits I learned in the process was how well the Schmetz Super non stick needles helped solve the problem I was having with the wool felt that I had fused on with Steam-a-Seam 2 sticking to the needle. It was getting balls of felt fuzz climbing up the needle until I switched needles. Then I had no more problem with that so far. I was rather astonished.
I made a little test piece to help me decide which decorative stitches I want to use. I also tested the way I stitched them out. For this I used the machine automatic knot it will stitch out if you ask it to both at the beginning and the end. I also stitched them with a specific number of repeats and then just stitched using a slow set of the speed and the start button, rather than the foot pedal. This allows for the machine to stitch out a very even pace, which makes decorative stitches more beautiful.
So when I set it up to go around those circles, I set it to stitch one repeat without turning (basically hands off), and then turn the fabric before doing the next repeat. It makes for a very nice embroidered stitch, almost like good hand embroidery, especially when using a nice thick thread like Aurifil Lana wool blend 12 weight thread.
One thing I learned about working with all this wool and wool thread is that I need to clean my machine a lot more often because both the fabric and the thread produce lint down in the bobbin area of the machine. It is well worth it though, because it is lovely.
I have a long ways to go before I finish this sampler, but I am really having fun with it. I am also video taping here and there as I go.
Sew happy everyone. I encourage you to try your hand at wool applique by machine. In just a few weeks I will come out with my three part video class on YouTube that will use this very sampler and the techniques I am talking about here. I will have a free downloadable handout here to go with it. That effort is progressing nicely finally. I decided to produce all three videos before I posted the first one. Cheers everyone. Happy Advent!