Thursday, May 14, 2015

HMQS Inspiration: Quilting Applique

Before I even begin, let me apologize for the poor picture quality. I took all these quickly during the convention using my cell phone. So it's easy to say the first lesson I learned was bring my camera! LOL!! So with that said, this Thursday Inspiration post will focus on:

Applique Lessons Learned:

I love to applique and have two wallhangings that have been "pinned" to the walls where I want them to hang...unquilted. Two years ago I dove into teaching myself the art of long-arm quilting. Feeling like I now know my machine and have the art of pantographs established, one of the lessons I wanted to learn while attending the HMQS was: How in the heck do I quilt my applique quilts? In my How Do I Quilt This lecture class with Gina Parris-Perkes, here are a few tips she had for answering this question:

Lesson #1: Outline all your applique. Not echo, but outline.,,,almost like a stitch in the ditch around all your applique shapes. Oh and stitch s l o w l y. Gina created a wonderful ruler for this. It's called: Control Freak! (I love that she names all her rulers.) I ordered mine as soon as I got home. Click here for a shortcut to her shop. I got to try this ruler and with a little practice, I know it will make this step of outlining my applique spaces soooo much easier!

Lesson #2: The larger pieces of applique will need additional quilting inside the shapes to maintain density balance. See the leaves below.

Lesson #3: Use elements in the quilt to enhance your negative space/background. (Note how she repeated the leaves and added motion in her quilting in the first picture above.) Also, look at the design elements in the quilt itself and repeat these in your quilting. I think someone in our class called this "shadow quilting"...but never the's pretty cool.

As I walked through the convention quilt show, it was easier to know what I was looking for as I studied the quilts done by others. These quilts below are wonderful examples of enhancing the theme of your quilt by continuing the design elements in the quilt with your background quilting. For example, this first quilt extending the applique design into the quilting using colored blue and pink thread:
 Here's a look at the entire quilt:

This next quilt is an example of repeating design elements from
your fabric as seen with the flowers in the quilting:

This next one is an example of enhancing your theme through your quilting. Look at the quilted hummingbird visiting the pink flower! I love this design element! (The quilter also used a glitter thread for the hummingbird....a very nice touch!)

I also like the idea of keeping the quilting simple. I like how clean this look is and learned that not every applique background needs to be densly quilted.

 Here are some borders that also caught my eye:

Finally, lesson #4: Audition your quilt first by printing a grey scale picture of it. This helps you identify the many elements in your quilt. Busy pieces will only need S.I.D. while negative spaces can be used to enhance your quilt. Below is an example of Gina's "audition".

So with all that learned, here are two applique quilts that I have on the horizon to quilt:
2013 Garden Party
2012 Whimsical Flower Garden
With Gina's input and encouragement I'm ready to print some grey scale versions. I'm so much more confident and find myself ready to have a little bit of quilting fun! I hope what I shared has helped and /or reinforced what you already know. Please do share any other tips you too may have on quilting an applique quilt and as always, thanks for stopping by!


  1. Val The Garden Party Quilt is so darn cute! Is it a pattern or a book? Can you tell me where it came from? I have seen the Whimsical Flower Garden quilt before and that's one I like too.

    1. The Garden Party Quilt is a pattern in the Buggy Barn book called: Crazy For Applique. I know Buggy Barn has gone out of business by one of the sisters now has a website so here is a link to where you can purchase the book:

  2. Your appliqué quilts are super cute! I look forward to seeing how you apply what you learned.

  3. Great information, I too love appliqué and appreciate you sharing with us, thank you. Am anxious to see how you quilt these fun quilts.

  4. Thanks Val, your tips are super useful. I have made several small applique quilts and I never know how to quilt them so shy away from making more. Also where I live you can´t send your work off to be quilted by a professional.

  5. Oh Thank You so very much for your post! Many times I've thought I would like to try to quilt my quilt tops myself, but I had absolutely no idea where to even begin. It was such a mystery and I really couldn't find anyone that would share this detail! I will be sure to bookmark this page and I know I'll be referring to it again and again. Once more, Thank You so much!!!!

  6. Thanks for the lesson in quilting, Teacher. I always have trouble deciding. You longarmers must go nuts trying to decide. At least my machine, with it's lower capability, makes it a little easier. I love the quilts you have yet to quilt. I think I'd quilt a breeze on the first one. It'd be something I could manage.

  7. Some excellent information here in this post, Val. Thank you for sharing. Oh my goodness there is amazing quilting on those quilts at the show....incredible!! I am in love with your Whimsical Flower Garden quilt. It is filled with colour and happiness. Can't wait to see the quilting you decide upon for your two quilts.

  8. Your post has so many wonderful and insightful tips. I am going to bookmark this post for later reference. Although I do not have a longarm, I am sure these suggestions can be used on a home machine. I am excited to get some projects finished up and try some of these on small 12" pieces for practice. (Ok, it might also be that I ate a bit of chocolate this evening and feel like I have a bit of a caffeine rush going.)
    I am going to be going to the HMQS show next year in Iowa. I have never been and your posts have me very interested in what I will see and learn.

  9. Great post - I'll be keeping this in mind when I finish my dog and cat cushion - thanks for all the inspirational photos!

  10. You captured some beautiful examples. Looking forward to seeing how you apply these lessons to your own projects.


I have to admit, your comments make me smile! Thanks for sharing and for letting me know you stopped by. I Hope your day is awesome!


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