Elly Sienkiewicz‘ s book Appliqué 12 Easy Ways! has been around for more than a decade, and remains a great resource for those who are still looking for their best way to appliqué.

Until next time,
Happy appliquéing!
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

As promised, today I’m learning a method of hand appliqué preparation that’s new to me. Holly Mabutas of Eat Cake Graphics gave me her pattern insert with instructions for what she calls “glue stick turned edge appliqué” and I’m trying it out! What intrigues me about this method is that the margin of the fabric is glued back on itself. I’ve tried the other kind of glue-stick appliqué, where the margin is turned and glued over freezer paper, then after stitching you soak the block, slit the back, and get the freezer paper out. That method never ‘stuck’ with me, no pun intended. Now I’m going to try it this way, where the freezer paper is on the front of the fabric.

The first thing I did was to go out and get a brand-new glue stick. I happened to know that the ones I had were a mite dried out — moral of the story, don’t buy them too far in advance, or try keeping them in the fridge as a friend of mine told me.

As it happens, we’re having a heat wave in Santa Cruz. There are just a few days a year when we roast… yesterday it was 102º and I was sweating just sitting upstairs in my studio. So today I gathered up everything that I needed and put up my handy-dandy little table from Costco downstairs in the living room to work in cooler conditions.

bunny1.jpgFreezer-paper templates traced and cut out.

I used the bunny block from my Spin in the Garden pattern.

I had to run upstairs to iron the templates onto the right sides of the fabrics. I used a piece of cardboard underneath, which helps create a better bond.

The next step is to trim the motifs, leaving a scant ¼” turn-under margin. Here are the pieces, trimmed and clipped. There’s a dashed line on areas that are going to be overlapped by another piece.

bunny3.jpg

bunny4.jpgGluing the margin back onto itself on the wrong side. Holly says to use an awl… I didn’t have one so I used a stylus with a tiny, sharp tip. The moist sponge is for cleaning off the glue stick when it gets thready. I’m working on top of an plastic sheet protector.

bunny5.jpgHere are all the pieces glued and with templates removed.

I wasn’t a whiz at the previously unused fine motor skills required to turn the margin with the implement, but I’m thinking I can smooth things out as I stitch. And, as Holly says, “Don’t be too hard on yourself if things aren’t perfect the first time or even the second. With a little patience and practice you’ll do just fine. :)”

bunny6.jpgAgain using the sheet protector, I’m positioning the pieces to join them together into units. No background fabric involved at this point! Holly advises using little dots of Roxanne’s basting glue for this step. I didn’t have any so I hauled out some really ancient stuff called Border Patrol. Turns out this was a misstep on my part, and I’ll tell you why later. Anyway, I used it on the edges of the tail and ears that were going under the body piece, and glued the bunny together.

bunny7.jpgHere’s a whole bunny, separate unto itself, edges turned and ready to hop onto different background fabrics until it finds its favorite one.

bunny8.jpgHere I’ve positioned all of the elements on the background fabric and have used the liquid glue to secure them in place. Still hoping I can work out those pokies.

bunny9.jpgAll stitched… and it worked! I was able to manipulate out the little bumps. For the more serious ones, I dipped a cotton swab in water and soaked the edge of the motif. The glue released immediately and I was then able to smooth out the curve with my needle.

bunny10.jpgOkay so here’s why the liquid basting glue I used was not a good choice. Turns out, unlike Roxanne’s, it’s a permanent glue, and I used it in some injudicious places. See the little spot on the bunny’s paw? It’s confusing, but when you look at glue labels, you want it to say “water soluble” or “washes out.” “Washable” means it doesn’t wash out!

Anyway, aside from that little “learning experience,” I’d say this is the best method of turned-edge glue stick appliqué I’ve tried. For one thing, you don’t need a reversed pattern… what you see is what you get. Plus, you don’t have any freezer paper to remove once you’ve finished stitching. Holly appliqués these by hand, and so did I. If the templates were on the inside you’d have a crinkly, crunchy time of it, but here, where they’re gone already, it was a pleasant stitching experience. And a big thundercloud came along and cooled things down considerably.

Thanks a million, Holly, for sharing your preferred method with me, and allowing me to show it other appliqué fans. If you like an edge that’s already turned before you start stitching, this might become your favorite too! Get one of Holly’s adorable patterns and try it out for yourself.

See A Spin in the Garden over at Quilt Puppy.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

I met Holly Mabutas a year and a half ago at a quilt show in Hollister, California. When I saw Holly’s Eat Cake Graphics booth, I was instantly captivated by her darling appliqué style.

eat-cake-booth-1.jpg
eat-cake-booth-2.jpg
eat-cake-booth-3.jpg

We became friends right away. I’ve been bugging her to give me an interview because I’m fascinated with her story of rubber stamps and appliqué designs. Here’s Holly and Puppy Tucker, the star of her blog, Sprinkles of Thought.

holly-and-tucker-shot.jpgKay: Holly, how did you get your start in cartooning?

Holly: You know, I can’t ever remember a time when I didn’t doodle. I do remember seeing my mom do a little sketch of our dog when I was young. I was fascinated watching the pencil lines come to life and wanted to be able to do the same.

I started out by trying to duplicate the drawings in my coloring books. With a lot of practice I got better, started drawing my own ideas and from there I guess started developing my own style. I don’t really have a formal art background – I took a few art courses in junior college – I’ve just always loved to draw. And I guess when you do something you love and practice over the course of a lifetime you’re bound to get better at it. :)

Kay: Where do you think the inspiration comes from for your adorable style?

Holly: I’ve always loved the cute and whimsical world of art. I was a HUGE fan of the comic strips Calvin & Hobbes and Bloom County. I also love children’s book illustrators – and have quite a few books (is that bad to admit for someone over 40 whose children all have fur and tails). I also think that I’m drawn to whimsical stuff because with everything going on in the world I want to focus on something happy, so that’s what I draw.

Kay: Tell me how you started up your rubber-stamp company.

Holly: I actually worked in a rubber stamp store in Los Gatos, California, for quite a few years. I was in there all the time and they asked if I’d like a part time job – I jumped at the chance, of course I never really did see a paycheck. Then I was approached by an acquaintance of my mom’s. She wanted to know if I might like to go into business, again I did a happy dance and said yes.

Eat Cake Graphics came about when my business partner and I decided to go our separate ways. I actually “opened” (although there were no balloons or fireworks) in January 2000.

So here I am, eight years later with over 600 images and still trying to figure out the ins and outs of online shopping carts – good grief does it ever get easier!

Kay: Tell me a little bit about how you segued into quilt patterns.

Holly: I never really thought I’d be designing quilt patterns! I walked into a quilt shop in the mid/late 90’s and saw a quilt on the wall using a technique called appliqué. I thought it looked fun so I signed up for a class. It was fun but it wasn’t until I stumbled upon another appliqué technique, using a gluestick, that I really became hooked (probably more like obsessed). In one of the ongoing monthly classes I was asked if I could come up with some simple blocks to go along with a project we were stitching. I said sure.

I think it was then the light bulb went off and I thought, hey, I really like seeing what my little sketches could become in fabric. I took some of my stamp images and on my computer played around with the layout, took the printout to a local copy shop, enlarged it, came home and started playing with fabric. It actually worked and when I showed it to people they asked about a pattern…and well, here I am.

Kay: Thank you, Holly, for giving us the back story. Here are some of my favorite of Holly’s patterns.

windy-wintry-day.jpg
Windy Wintery Day

dont-drink-and-fly.jpgDon’t Drink and Fly

home-in-the-middle.jpgHome in the Middle

Holly gave me her pattern insert with instructions for her turned-edge gluestick appliqué method, and in my next post I’m going to give it a whirl. I’m always interested in learning new ways to appliqué! This one combines glue-stick prepared-edge with hand stitching. Stay tuned!

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

The International Quilt Association puts out a quarterly journal for its members. In the latest issue there’s a fabulous article by Rhianna White called Quilting 101: Baltimore Album Quilts.

It’s a great lesson in the origin and history of the popular appliqué art form, and if you’re interested in the history of appliqué you’ll love this article. Renowned experts Elly Sienkiewicz and Mimi Dietrich contribute to the information.

Very generously, the IQA puts this journal up on its website in pdf form for all to download and enjoy. Go to quilts.org, click to enter, then look in the left sidebar for “IQA Journal.”

Until next time,
Kay

Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs

Mimi Dietrich is one of our most venerated appliqué designers. She’s been doing beautiful appliqué and writing books for many years. At Spring Market in Portland, I attended a Schoolhouse session where Mimi introduced her newest book, A Quilter’s Diary: Written in Stitches.

I really warmed to the concept. Mimi presents a wide variety of blocks, both patchwork and appliqué, and encourages quilters to choose designs that represent significant events in their lives. The hook that ties a block to you can be a stretch, can be humorous… as long as it means something to you, it works. By making a sampler quilt of these representational blocks, quilters can tell their own personal stories.

Here’s a link to the book on Amazon.

Until next time,
Kay
Quilt Puppy Publications & Designs