I love applique.
Let me rephrase that. I love the way applique looks and I appreciate the work that experienced stitchers create with this technique but it has never been a friend to me.
I have done it. Badly. I have done every technique in applique as well and have never been able to do the one I like the best, needle-turn applique. I couldn't figure out way I was so bad at it, either.
I work at a shop that hosts the Applique Society once a month and I get to see some beautiful handwork over the years. It pains me to see this and accept that it is simply beyond my reach. I thumb through the books that arrive before the hit the shelf and marvel at the designs. I yearn for it and still, I know I can't do this. groan.....
And lately, it seems there has been nothing short of a plethora of books and BOMS and projects every day in front of me!
Now, I have plenty of projects that need doing so it isn't like I'm looking for something to occupy my idle hands but I am drawn like an insect to a candlelight. It burns in me.
Well, whaddaya think happened the other day? A woman dropped in the store on her way home form GSQA seminar, where she had been the instructor for applique ..... and brought in her lovely samples of designs. Again, the burn began and we talked about my lack of ability in conflict with desire.
So, Violet Newby gave me a 25 minute class. One on One and she was equally informative and patient and concise. She showed me how to hold my hands to minimize joint stress, how to thumb the fabric to get a crease and most important: "Look only at the two stitches in front of the needle. Don't worry about the curve or the point ahead or anything else. Not even dinner. Focus on the 2 stitches in front of the needle. All the rest will be there when you get there."
Can I tell you how illuminating that was?
and guess what?
I can needle-turn.
I can needle turn. AND I CAN MAKE FINE POINTS! Well, okay finer points, then.
There was a reason I was being inundated with all this applique. They were signs. It was to soften up my resistance to be ripe for that moment.
I'm am working on my first block now and can't wait to post a photo.
Update Ta -da!!
Don't look too closely... no, go ahead! zoom in. See the 5 small circles below? Compare them to the other two. I needle-turned the 5 and was frustrated at my incompetence!
Yesterday was Applique Society at the shop (signs... I'm tellin' ya!) and I slounched over at one point to see if anyone was sewing circles and ask questions. They told me about this "Perfect Circles" plastics and how helpful they were to creating a more perfect circle. So I bought a pack and you can see them on a metal ring in the upper right corner. They did indeed make the circle more round. Now it is up to me to sew them down a little better.
I am finding that tools, (the right ones, that is) are critical to this technique. The needle I have been using is a tad too thick to pierce this batik I am using. I will try again (soon) with a straw needle.
Now that block is crude applique, I admit. The pieces themselves are HUGE compared to fine designs these hard-core stitchers in the Society whip out. Here, check this out!
THese are from a Halloween BOM and if the blocks are 12" square, I'd be surprised. We are talking tiny.
This shot is of the larger center of the design. She is stitching down candy now and in the empty spot will be a cauldron. Look at the bats' wings. Look at the acorns!!!! Compare her hands with the design and you get an idea how small the fabric pieces are. It is a marvel!