Adventures in Appliqué

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It was about more than just improving my appliqué skills

Yesterday I took at wonderful appliqué class at the Stitchin’ Post in Sister, Oregon. The class was more than an appliqué skills building class, the class was about creating stories with quilts. It was a day long class from 9:00 am to 4:00 pm (with flexible time for lunch whenever we wanted).

The class was titled: Historic Story Quilt and was taught by the wonderful Janet Storton. The focus of the class was to work on blocks for story quilt (bible story blocks were used as an example) using various appliqué techniques for appliqué skill building.

I signed up for this class to build my appliqué skills for a future of series of quilts I want to make based on stories my father told us growing up (see post Creative Inspiration: Stories My Father Told Me). However I got way more out of the class than just improved appliqué techniques!

At the Stitchin’ Post we don’t attend our classes in a regular classroom – we study in a Textile Education Center!

The teacher, Janet Storten is the Director of Sisters of the Heart Foundation .

Sisters of the Heart Foundation‘s mission is bring hope, build a future, and empower a community in impoverished areas of the world such as Uganda. Janet spends part of the year teaching women in Uganda to create quilts and other crafts to sell in order to economically improve their lives and the lives of their communities.

You can read more about this incredible foundation at They greatly appreciate fabric donations from quilters purging their stashes!

Here is Janet with a heart quilt (Sisters of the Heart) where each one of her students in Uganda made a different heart. She just got it back from long-arm quilting by Barbara of the Stitchin’ Post and trimmed off the extra batting before I took the photo:


Two other quilts made by her students in the community in Uganda, these quilts are sold or raffled to raise money for the quilters’ community in Uganda:



Here is the Bible Stories appliquéd quilt made by her students in Uganda:


My Adventure in Appliqué (what I actually did in class)

Here is what I worked on as I brushed up on my needle-turn appliqué technique and learned buttonhole appliqué techniques:

Our teacher instructed us to create folk-art looking elements, so “imagine” on the left is an acorn!

So you now thinking: “Whaaaat?!?!?” You spent 7 hours in an appliqué class and made two elements on a beige piece of fabric? Well…yes!

It is actually a story quilt I am working on that has to do with an acorn and a tree. Janet helped me perfect my needle-turn appliqué on creating the acorn (and help me select the scrap fabrics I used); and she taught me how to do buttonhole appliqué for the beginning of the tree.  I also learned how to stitch words onto fabric so when I am ready I can add the words that go with my piece.

For now it will be a UFO (Unfinished Object for the non quilters reading) until I finish some of my pending urgent projects (due dates zooming closer!)

The class was a joyous way to spend a Saturday and in addition to the teacher, I got to meet some other wonderful people – the fellow students. They had incredible stories to share during class too.


One other thing I learned in the appliqué class was just how meditative working on an appliqué project can be – I think I might fall in love with hand stitching.

I needed good light to do the needle-turn appliqué on the acorn section and found that sunlight worked best. I spent quiet meditative time sitting in the window of the classroom (it was a glorious sunny day in Sisters, Oregon) and just hand stitching.

Wow. Now I get it.

I plan to take more “techniques” classes. I have been quilting since 1999 or so but I am ready to spend more time “studying” quilting.

7 thoughts on “Adventures in Appliqué”

    1. A combination of techniques – for the acorn I did needle turn appliqué and you do not use a fusible; for the buttonhole appliqué I did use a fusible. I am impressed you know so much as a painter about sewing, I am not sure if I could ask you any intelligent painting questions 🙂

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      1. Tierney, I’ve been a quilter for over 25 years lol. I started when my daughter was small (to keep me sane as a homemaker). Painting is still really new to me. I never thought I could make art, not realizing that, like everything else, it takes patience and practice. I never bothered to really learn the techniques the way you’re doing now but I’m so glad you are because it’s really going to be a great thing for you, I think. Your stuff is already beautiful, so just imagine! 💜

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