I did a class with Kellie in February and while I didn’t particularly enjoy the class, I did learn plenty and I am very happy with the result that I got from my finished ‘Thinking of You’ cushion. Every time I look at it sitting in my loungeroom I feel very pleased with myself that I could make something so elegant (well I do 🙂 ).
The technique that Kellie was teaching is raw edge applique which I have to say I’d always been dubious about as durability is one of the things that I think is very important in a quilt – I like to make my quilts so that they can be thrown on the bed or lounge, used until they start to look a bit grubby and then thrown in the washing machine. I also found out when I loaned a quilt to my parents when my Dad was sick, that having an easy to wash and wear quilt makes people more likely to use and clean a quilt – which seems like a good thing to me. Ideally I want people to love my quilts to bits and have them disintegrate from good use rather than be kept in perfect condition in a cupboard forever.
Anyway, back to the raw edge applique…having now done Kellie’s class and seen how this works, I think I’ll use the raw edge applique more. It gives a lovely delicate look even though each piece is stitched around two or three times as close to the edge of the piece as humanly possible. In fact, to get my stitching right on the edge of the fabric I found I had to actually look at the background fabric edge rather than the applieque piece – odd but it seemed to work.
While the raw-edge applique works beautifully for the naïve style applique that Kellie W specialises in, I think this you could also produce a more traditional or celtic-style quilt with a lot less fuss this way. Having said that, I’d recommend plenty of practice before starting on a large important project, or taking on a large one as practice as the technique needs quite good control and patience to get a neat and consistent result. Interestingly, unlike some free-motion quilting, this works best by slowing down rather than speeding up.
Kellie also taught some free-motion quilting as part of the class (which you’ll see on the background of the cushion). What I liked about Kellie’s approach was that she insisted on not rushing and on aiming for consistency of size and proprotion of the quilted shapes.
This is a different but complementary approach to what I’ve learned from Deb Louie and Jenny Bowker. With Kellie’s consistent style you get an even overall pattern. So it’s good for filling large areas, doing tone-on-tone/white-on-white work and gives a very flat finish. Like everything it’s another technique to add to the toolkit which is useful in certain circumstances, but I have to say I didn’t think my quilting would be as neat as it is on this cushion.
A short word of warning on the Thinking of You pattern – I think there’s some inconsistencies in the cutting and trimming sizes for finishing the cushion which are a little problematic. If you have the pattern, the finishing sizes of the front and back should be 18 ½” x 18 ½”. Kellie and I are working this out and I’ll let you know what the outcome is. I was frustrated to say the least when these issues became evident when I tried to put the cushion together. Anyway, it’s done now and I’m happy with it.
Back to the sewing machine.
PS: I haven’t washed my cushion with the raw-edge applique as yet, but I’ll let you know the result when I do.