While working on the original design for our Quilt-Along, Blackbirds & Blossom, Oh-La-La! we got excited about all the possibilities for small projects utilizing the quilt’s design elements. Laura thought a little wool project would be wonderful to try. I’ve been collecting wool scraps and thought this would be an ideal opportunity for me to explore wool applique. I volunteered and I’m so glad I did!
Jennifer showed a fabulous way of showcasing the center wreath in a mini project last month. Here is my chance to utilize the design motif of the side panels in a wool applique accent pillow that I call “Wool Blossoms Pillow”.
The first step was to sketch my design and choose a color palette and fabrics. I discovered a yummy raw silk that was screaming to be the canvas for all my wool. Since I really didn’t know what I was doing, it seemed less daunting for me to tackle the vine first, then move on to the flowers.
I sketched out the vine design directly onto freezer paper, matte side up.
Here is a hint: when drawing curves, do it in a sweeping motion. I like to think of my arm as a giant compass, with the stationary point being my elbow for large circles, and my wrist for small circles.
Since the flowers will be covering many portions of the vine, I gave myself hash marks to break the vine into smaller sections. This is especially helpful when working with small amounts of wool that you don’t want to waste.
Iron the shiny side of the paper to the wool. Being a wool newbie, I was a little nervous about taking an iron to it. I used a very quick press and no steam, just enough heat to adhere the freezer paper. In retrospect, a pressing sheet would be useful, but it seemed to work fine without one.
Trim out the vine shapes. Another helpful hint: mark your shapes and the direction they will meet up to each other. I didn’t–ugh!
Trim your canvas panel–oh goody, back to that raw silk!!! I cut my panel over-sized and will trim it afterwards. My final pillow is to be 10 x 14 inches and so I added a few inches to each side.
If you are a pinner, now is your time to shine. Use tiny pins and pin often. Since I am not a pinner, I got out my trusty bottle of Roxanne’s Baste it Glue and dabbed just enough to adhere my pieces. It’s best to keep the edges free of glue. You will thank me when you whip stitch your pieces into place.
Back to the freezer paper to create blossoms and leaves. In keeping with the improvisational process of our Quilt-Along project, I simply cut out a variety of circles and leaves and “played” with where to place them on my vine. As we mentioned in the Quilt-Along instructions, layering, variety, and balance are the keys to a interesting design.
After deciding on a layout, I auditioned different colors of wool. My leaves were mostly the same green as the vine, with a few yellow and dark greens thrown in. The flowers were a dark red, orange, rose, purple, teal, very light green, yellow, and ivory. Don’t ask how I came up with that. I just rummaged through my stash!
Next, I whip stitched it into place with a matching, fine embroidery thread.
Then pulled out my crazy collection of threads that I use for Big Stitch projects and started choosing colors and weights that would work for some hand embroidery work.
Did I mention I don’t normally do embroidery? Well hop over to my personal blog, Pati Fried’s Blog in a few days and see what I came up with for finishing this Wool Blossom Pillow!
Have a wonderful week and happy stitching!