Let's back up a minute first...
Today I had a class with Nancy Brown. Awesome. It was funny, she asked how much applique experience we had, how many applique classes we've taken. oh my. When I thought about it, I realized that I've taken a total of two applique classes. Period. I explained that I was a self-taught quilter, and it was five years before I took my first class (which included applique). That was in 1988. I took the second class from Ellen Heck, probably in the early 2000's...
I've done my own hodge-podge variety of applique, and judges' comments have ranged from "applique nice and secure," to "applique stitch needs to be more secure." Both comments were received on the same quilt.
Anyway, I tend to do what works, and leave the rest to those who can. Today I joined that group. Can you hear me tremble with excitement? :)
First, here's a picture of Nancy with her Baltimore Animals quilt. I don't know what its real name is, but it's filled with various critters from the Animal Kingdom. I love it. It's all hand-appliqued, hand-quilted.
She began the class with a discussion of needles, thread, and marking tools. I tend to take casual pictures, here she was discussing the merits of the wash-out blue marker. Note to anyone who lives in hot climes - if you mark a quilt with this blue pen and leave it in your car, the blue becomes one with the fabric and can never be removed. If you live in a milder climate, it shouldn't be an issue.
In the next picture, she is demonstrating her applique stitch. Seriously. I was SHOCKED to learn that what I've done forever is not an applique stitch. I used the stitch I learned in 1988, and did not realize that there was anything else. I had been told, "It doesn't matter what color thread you use for applique, because it shouldn't show!"
Today I learned that it's okay if the stitches show. And this actually does look like it might be more secure than what I've been doing for...20 some years...
We were told to bring enlargements of a picture we might want to work with. Here are some of my selections. At the top of the picture are the patterns to choose from for today's project. I chose the cat, as if you couldn't guess. ;)
The greatest thing I learned today was how to make a successful cat eye. To truly appreciate my increased skill, I've got to show you the last cat's eye that I attempted. I know, it's lame. The eyes are the reason this block is still a block and not a quilt.
And now, are you ready for this? I wanted to do a happy dance and squeal and do all kinds of things, but all I did was sew faster as this incredible recognizable cat's eyeball emerged under my fingers.
I even got the teacher to pose with me...by now I've calmed down and am handling myself with great dignity...
Anyway, that's the class in a nutshell. I made an eyeball that has me grinning from ear to ear.
Tonight I had planned to quilt on my Hoffman Challenge, but instead, I think I will make another eyeball. Do you think I can do TWO on the same face and still be pleased? I don't know, but I'm going to try and find out. Goals are good!!