November 1, 2011

I want to thank Kay for inviting me to her blog today. I had the opportunity to be a guest on her blog once before and enjoyed the experience very much.

CATFor those of you who don’t know me, I’m Cheryl Almgren Taylor, a quilter and designer who specializes in fusible-web appliqué. In certain quilting circles, making this admission is like admitting you feed your kids hot dogs and goldfish crackers for dinner every night! However, I find this method to be very user-friendly and it enables me to create fabulous, intricate shapes with ease. It also incorporates thread as a design element which gives me the opportunity to add more color and texture.

I have a brand-new book just released by Martingale & Company / That Patchwork Place: Inspirational Applique: Reflections of Faith, Hope, & Love.


The book is a collection of scripture-inspired quilts, wallhangings, and small projects. I am a pastor’s wife and as a person of faith, I enjoyed being able to create tangible objects that express my beliefs through my quilting. That is one of my favorite things about quilting—our ability as quilters to convey our thoughts and beliefs through the medium of fabric and thread and color.

As I worked on the book, I felt a connection to the quilters of past generations who also used their quilting skills to express their beliefs and dreams. If you study the Baltimore Albums of the 19th century, most of those beautiful creations give us glimpses into the lives of their makers. Even the plainer, patchwork quilts from the past sometimes include tantalizing personal insights left by the quilter. And one of the common practices in historic quilts was to include a deliberate mistake to express their religious faith, the belief that nothing is perfect except God. I’ve never had to create a deliberate mistake in a quilt—I’m quite proficient at providing numerous mistakes without any extra effort, but I enjoy this tradition and the significance it held for the quilters who did this.

I am happy, though, that I have access to the wonderful world of quilting that we live in now, with rotary cutters and electric irons and fabulous computerized sewing machines. I own several sewing machines and like a man and his car, I am bonded with my machines.

As I mentioned before, my favorite technique is fusible-web appliqué. I always recommend using a lightweight fusible web and the “doughnut” method of construction, which has you cut out the center portion of the web from large pieces before fusing it to the back of your motif fabric. This makes the quilt soft and pliable rather than stiff, which is a common complaint about quilts made with fusible web. However, when using a lightweight fusible web, you must sew a finishing stitch around each unfinished edge in the appliqué design. I prefer a very small blanket stitch, but it is possible to use a satin stitch or zigzag—it just gives a slightly different look to the finished piece.

In creating the quilts for the book, I discovered a new technique that I think a lot of people would enjoy knowing about. One of the designs in the book, “Daily Bread,” features a neg done in gold and blue tones.


A neg is a bundle of wheat that is set out in wintertime in Scandinavian countries for the animals. Because the design featured a number of strands of wheat bundled together, there are a large number of overlapping wheat kernels to be appliquéd. All of them needed to be finished with a blanket stitch. If you are a fusible appliquér, you know that sometimes as you sew around overlapping pieces, you do not end up in the right spot for the next shape. Then you have to stop, trim your threads, move the fabric, and start over again. By accident, I discovered a traveling technique that makes it easy to move from piece to piece.

I discovered that after finishing the blanket stitch on a piece, I could change the machine setting from the blanket stitch to a straight stitch and travel to the next piece along the edge of the pattern pieces. (The pieces do have to be overlapping.) This can be done before or after using the blanket stitch on the design. If I traveled before finishing the edge, the blanket stitch laid over the top of the straight stitching and couldn’t be seen. If the blanket stitch was already sewn along the edge, the straight stitch went on top of the edge stitch and still couldn’t be seen. Of course, you must be using the same color of thread on the next piece, but for my overlapping wheat kernels, it was an outstanding technique.

I used traditional bias strips for the border vine in “Birds of the Air.”


But, in two other projects I used another trick — cutting fusible web-backed fabric pieces rather than creating bias strips for vines. For the tablecloth “I Am the Vine,” I traced the vine shapes onto fusible backing, fused the vines to the background, and finished the edges with a blanket stitch. It looks great and was much easier than fussing with bias strips.


I hope these tips will help you in your quilting journey and, for those of you who have never tried fusing, I hope you will become inspired to try this wonderful and easy technique!

Happy quilting!~Cheryl

Kay here — Thanks a million Cheryl for those two fabulous appliqué tips! The traveling straight stitch to another shape is something I been playing with myself. Thank you for legitimizing it!

Courtesy of the publisher, we have a copy of Inspirational Appliqué to give away to a reader. If you’d like to enter the drawing for the book, leave a comment by 7:00 p.m. California time on Sunday, November 5. U.S. and Canada addresses only, and remember to resist the temptation to hit “reply” to your email subscription. Instead, click over to the blog itself.

Until next time,
By Kay Mackenzie


46 Responses to “Inspirational Appliqué”

  1. Mimi on November 1st, 2011 7:43 am

    I absolutely love applique – it is a lot of work but so worth it! Thanks for sharing and the opportunity to win a fantastic book!

  2. Newbie Quilter on November 1st, 2011 7:45 am

    This book looks fabulous! Thanks for the tips… I have never done applique but will try it one day!!

  3. Sandra Richardson on November 1st, 2011 7:46 am

    I love applique, hand, machine, fusible or any way it can be done. Would love to win the copy of the books, thanks for the chance.

  4. Cathy B. on November 1st, 2011 7:46 am

    I love applique. The projects in this book are beautiful. Thanks for the chance to win a copy

  5. Sallie on November 1st, 2011 7:53 am

    Beautiful! I’d love to win this book. Thanks for the chance!

  6. Darlene Staley on November 1st, 2011 8:37 am

    I am a big fan of applique, whether by machine or by hand. And to add faith to the equation, that is a win win for all of us. Thanks for a chance to win!

  7. Deb Lester on November 1st, 2011 8:55 am

    I love applique and would love to win the book. I would love the chance to have more practice with it.

  8. Donna on November 1st, 2011 10:03 am

    Your quilts are lovely! Thanks for the tips–the traveling straight stitch in particular will be really useful in an upcoming project! I’ve never tried the blanket stitch, but plan to do so soon.

  9. Lauretta6 on November 1st, 2011 11:09 am

    Love to see a new applique book. I loved the birds. Put me in the drawing

  10. Ruth C on November 1st, 2011 12:03 pm

    Thanks for finding another beautiful applique book! My favorite shown is the birds of the air quilt.

  11. Diane on November 1st, 2011 12:59 pm

    I love all these quilts, especially the one with the grapes! I love your tip as well. Thanks!

  12. Diane K. on November 1st, 2011 1:48 pm

    Beautiful! I love all of them and detailed quilting that makes them special. Thanks for the chance to win.

  13. Debbie W on November 1st, 2011 3:55 pm

    Looks like a fabulous book. I love the quilts with the wheat and the hearts.

  14. Jude B on November 1st, 2011 4:10 pm

    I can’t wait to see the book. If the grape vine quilt is any indication, then the book will be a blockbuster (no pun intended).

    I love applique mixed with all methods of quilting. All of my quilts have at least one bit of applique on them. Thanks for this chance to win.

  15. Karen M on November 1st, 2011 4:19 pm

    Thank you for all the tips on applique. The quilts are beautiful!

  16. Brenda Smith on November 1st, 2011 10:58 pm

    Your quilts are absolutely beautiful, as are your writing skills. I enjoyed reading your post today! Thank you for the opportunity to win your book; I am new to applique and am enjoying trying different methods.

  17. Paulette Voit on November 2nd, 2011 4:43 am

    The quilts look beautiful. I am so happy that we have lovely book with inspirational quilts.

  18. Carrie P. on November 2nd, 2011 4:48 am

    Great tips and awesome quilts. They are all so beautiful. It is hard to pick my favorite.
    I enjoyed this post and learned some new things.

  19. Jennifer P on November 2nd, 2011 5:16 am

    I am just beginning my journey into the world of applique after having avoided it for many years. I have discovered its meditative qualities and have also enjoyed having hand work to do in the evenings with my husband in the same room. Thanks for this opportunity to learn even more.

  20. Ila Turner on November 2nd, 2011 6:22 am

    I know exactly what you meant about telling people you use fusible webbing, some women at the quilt quilt refuse to talk to me because I use it. They do it all by hand, refuse to even use machines yet I see no horse & buggy in the parking lot, they have the latest automobiles to bring them to and from the meetings LOL I love the tip about the vines and will try it, I’ve struggled with them for a time now on my flora quilts, TY so much for that. Needless to say I would love the book to see what else I can learn from you, this tip alone is worth the price of your book.

    Going to get out my fusible web and some fabric and try this with some pansy stems now.

    Thank you!

    Ila in Maine

  21. carolyn magnani on November 2nd, 2011 6:26 am

    Beautiful patterns!

  22. Patricia on November 2nd, 2011 6:34 am

    What beautiful quilts. Thank you for sharing it and giving us a chance to win the book.

  23. Connie on November 2nd, 2011 7:15 am

    What a wonderful book, I would love a chance to win it! Her work is so beautiful!
    Quilting by the River

  24. Teresa in Music City on November 2nd, 2011 7:28 am

    Ahhh! Love the designs! Incorporating faith into quilting designs is my favorite hands down! Would love to see more of your new book.

  25. Ellen Pearce on November 2nd, 2011 8:03 am

    I love your designs. I, too incorporate faith in my quilting, especially in the quilts I make for children. Your book is going on my wishlist today. Thank you for sharing your talent.
    I know fusible web can be frowned upon, but I think everyone should develop her or his own style. I love the applique handwork but can’t make quilts very quickly.
    To Ila who said she did not see horses and buggys in the parking lot, I live in Northeastern PA and do see them. We all enjoy the passion of making quilts.

  26. Dee on November 2nd, 2011 8:31 am

    Thank you so much for creating a christian inspirational applique book. Love it!

  27. PAULETTE CLAYTON on November 2nd, 2011 8:53 am

    Made my first modern quilt with fusibles and blanket stitch and never looked back. There’s a place for the more traditional methods and it’s good to be comfortable with both. Appreciate all the diverse the applique tips!

  28. Karin on November 2nd, 2011 9:41 am

    My very first quilted piece was fusible applique & if I hadn’t had so much fun with that, I may never have even tried piecing! Fusible remains my favorite, and I’ve enjoyed reading your tips & tricks! I’ve got a moose in the closet just waiting for my attention!

    Thank you for such an inspiring trunk show & giveaway!

  29. Michelle on November 2nd, 2011 11:57 am

    Cheryl, thank you for incorporating your faith into your quilts. And sharing it with us.

  30. Debbie Lindgren on November 2nd, 2011 3:46 pm

    Love Love Love it. You go girl!

  31. Viv on November 2nd, 2011 6:36 pm

    Beautiful quilts….I love to applique…. Thank you for the great giveaway!

  32. Stray Stitches on November 2nd, 2011 7:24 pm

    I would love an opportunity to win Inspirational Applique. There are so many different patterns I would love to create.

  33. Donna Russ on November 2nd, 2011 8:21 pm

    I would love a copy of the Inspirational app. I love the bird quilt, thanks….

  34. Jennifer J on November 2nd, 2011 9:38 pm

    I would love to win this book. The quilts are beautiful, and it sounds as if I would learn something, as well. Thanks for the opportunity!

  35. Joan on November 2nd, 2011 11:57 pm

    Beautiful quilts and descriptions. Thank you.

  36. Lee on November 3rd, 2011 3:28 am

    Thank you for the tips. I love all the ideas on your blog. This book looks wonderful!

  37. Gene Black on November 4th, 2011 4:52 am

    I am just starting to venture into applique. I think this book would be a great one to start me off. Pick me! heehee

  38. Margaret on November 4th, 2011 5:59 am

    My 1st quilt was applique and I have stayed clear of it until recently. Now I seem to be looking for applique projects. This book would be great – thanks for the chance

  39. Erin Hutchinson on November 4th, 2011 9:16 am

    Applique is a weakness of mine – I’d love the chance to win this beautiful book!

  40. Hilachas on November 4th, 2011 10:02 am

    Thanks for the opportunity to win this beautiful applique book. I’d love to own it.

  41. Gypsy on November 4th, 2011 12:36 pm

    Applique is on my list and rapidly approaching the top of the list. My efforts thus far have been sketchy but I keep reading and preparing for a big project. Thanks for the tips!

  42. Deborah in Atlanta on November 4th, 2011 1:05 pm

    I’ve not tried applique – I just never have thought I’d be able to do it. But you make it sound like it’s something I actually CAN do. So I’m going to drop my name in the hat and hold my breath until your drawing is over. (Well, not really!) Your quilts are breathtakingly beautiful.

  43. Debra B. on November 5th, 2011 1:42 am

    I would love to win this book. I am very new at quilting, but it’s something I have a deep desire to learn about. I found this blog by inspiration/chance whatever you want to call it. Thanks :)

  44. Suzi on November 5th, 2011 10:06 am

    Thank you for the chance to win the book. I’m intrigued by the fusible-web technique. The quilts are lovely!

  45. MarciaW on November 5th, 2011 11:31 am

    I want to learn to applique and need all the helpful hints you have. Please include me in the drawing for your new book Inspirational Applique. Kay, thanks for blog hosting Cheryl’s great giveaway.

  46. Rena M on November 6th, 2011 5:34 am

    Thanks for sharing your story and your tips. I love appliqué and have a project on my wall right now that I will give the traveling stitch a try out on. Thanks much