Monday, July 20, 2009

Vintage CQ...Needleturn Applique

A glorious week it was at Michillinda!!!

My cousin Carol's dear friend, Lynn Cunningham, was there for most of the week with us. She is an expert at needleturn applique and was willing to teach me how.
I had tried it 15 years ago in a class with the great Elly Sienkiewicz, whose Applique Academy Lynn attends. I didn't like it then, but now with many years of handwork under my belt, I thought I'd give it another try.
And....I loved it!

Meet Lynn....she was tons of fun, and as you will see, is very, very adept with her needle.

These are some of her blocks for a wildflower quilt she is making. The designs are from a gal in California whose name I forgot to write down. Sorry......but aren't they grand? Look at all those little points on the thistle...eeek!

This design is from the book, William Morris in Applique by Michele Hill, from C & T publishers. Lynn had printed the design onto label paper, which she peels away as she appliques. She also marks around the template shapes, so the paper doesn't have to remain in place while she is sewing.
This looks really hard.

But I thought some simple needleturned flowers might be a nice addition to my Vintage CQ, so I asked Lynn for a lesson.

I am all eyes here, watching a true pro in action.

It really helps to have the right tools.

Lynn uses nothing but size 11 straw needles, YLI silk thread.....

....and a School Gluestick!

Also a toothpick. When you are turning under your little seam as you sew, sometime the edge will fray or the point won't tuck in properly, as here. You dip your needle or toothpick into the gluestick to get a tiny coating of glue on it, push under the offending threads and voila, they are permanently on good behavior, out of sight.

This is Lynn sewing here. She says her left thumb does most of the work, holding things in place. The stitch is placed just a few threads behind where the thread comes up out of the back, and then into the fold, over about 1/8th of an inch, and out. Her stitches truly are invisible.
Also, she says not to pull too tightly, so you don't get little indentations along your seam edge.

Well, I was all thumbs, but having a great teacher and some pretty silk to work with helped.

Some of my flowers were a little questionable....(there's one I'm not going to show you at all).

But I truly enjoyed the process.
Thank you so much, Lynn!

Betty Pillsbury left a comment on my blog last time about the proportions of my Vintage CQ, after seeing it laid out. She said the center section needed to be bigger. So I laid it out again on the design wall to see if she was right, and I have to agree with her.

It means I'll be sewing more blocks for the border and spending considerably more work on the center...but this quilt is a loooooong term project so that is fine. There is still that large black border to go, too, so this could be a few years in the making.

My week at the cottage went by so fast. My sister was there with her darling daughter Qwennie, and it was a true joy to share the place and our childhood memories...

My sister is the best!

Farewell, Michillinda, for another year......


Kay said...

Nice to see you back, and hear about your new skill. Those flowers look pretty good to me!

Allison said...

It is fantastic when you learn a new craft. The flowers look great. Who would have thought of the glue stick?

Vicki W said...

What a fun vacation and you got to learn some new skills too!

Debra Dixon said...

Welcome home!

I have been so intrigued by applique too--it seems a real natural to me for CQ too. I'm going to be exploring it in the next few months also.

Great tips from your friend--a pro helping a pro!

Shelina (formerly known as Shasta) said...

I didn't know you didn't know how to do needleturn applique! I just figured you knew how to do everything. It looks beautiful. A dawn of a new era, now you will have quilts with applique as well as without. Great that you had a wonderful teacher. I personally know the steps, but mastering them is a whole 'nother story!

Gail said...

Having used applique on a few things I know it is a difficult technique to master. It is great to be taught by a master.

Jean C. said...

So nice for you to be able to visit and share time with family. You and your sister are a set! You sure look like sisters... and yes, that is a compliment!!! As for the flowers... they too need lots of compliments... you must have gotten all A+'s... Time flies when your in the sun... or having fun... or just with someone???
Glad you were able to spend time with the people you love and learn too.... just goes to show... time spent learning is always time well spent!

Rian said...

Isn't it great when you can embrace something new when you had no use for it before? I just love it when that happens. I did a Hawaiian quilt block once like that and I actually enjoyed doing it. Amazing.

The flowers are wonderful.

Misty said...

Congrats on learning needleturn! I just learned it myself a couple of months ago. Now I just need to practice.

I am curious about the label paper you mentioned--I've not heard of it before. Is it like the sticky mailing labels but in a solid sheet rather than divided into parts?

FredaB said...


Good to have you back but I know how much you love your cottage visits.

Your flowers looked like you just picked up that applique technique very quickly. Ellie is one of my favorite teachers.

I think Betty P is right and in the long run you will be happier that you added more. Look at it as a long term project - put it away when you get tired of it and pull it out when you want to. Time flies and so do the years. It will be done before you know it and it will be another beauty.



ps - I liked the glue stick and toothpick idea. Will sure use that.

Shogun said...

Your needleturn lesson sounds like fun. I enjoy doing it, but taught myself so it is nice to see your "tutorial" on it. I never used glue sticks before!

Thelma said...

I think your applique turned out great Allie! I love applique, I have several applique projects just waiting on me to finish. Enjoyed the tutorial and have to say that I had not heard about using the glue as your turning the applique down...makes perfect since. I have battled those pesky little frayed edges a lot. Now I know how to solve that problem. Your friend does awesome applique.

Barbara C said...

What a great photo of you and your sister. You look like you had a great trip.

Lynn's applique work is amazing. Her quilt must also be a long-term project.

Susan Elliott said...

The pic of you and your sister is just so beautiful. I hope your visit was magical -- from the pic of the lake it looks like it would have to be...

Watch out world, Allie has learned needle-turned applique!!! Funny, I just assumed you already knew it...kind of like you assume I've made a quilt in my life...teehee...well, this might be the next thing you use to set the world on fire! Thanks to Lynn from us all!

Possibilities, Etc. said...

I wish you could go there once for each season! I was fortunate to have a class on the needle turning with the great Bettie Jo Shiell (a good friend of mine in Tallahassee) but nobody thought of using a glue stick! I might have liked it better. I resorted to just doing the Chintz Applique designs in needlepoint. This will be an interesting new dimension in your work!!

Patricia said...

I can't wait to see where you take this new skill. Your flowers look good to me. I have always loved the idea of applique, it's the doing of it that got me all bogged down! Love the glue stick idea.

Patricia Rose-A Potpourri of Fabric, Fragrance and Findings

Bear said...

Unreal - In all the years I have never seen neeleturn applique being made- thank you to your fine teacher I may also give this a go- long time in the future though LOL
and I love the way your quilt is coming up it looks like its going to be a lovely showpiece
love n hugs bear xoxoxoxo

meera hays said...

I am so so so glad that Mary and Missy Q were able to be there this summer. Of vital importance!

Robin said...

The last picture in this post could be a painting... it's spectacularly beautiful! I would recognize your sister in a moment... you two look so cute together! Oh, yes... and your applique flowers are a great addition to the other types of flowers you make... more fodder for CQing!!!!

Hugs, Robin