Welcome to my stop on the blog hop for the lovely Lara's new book, Crafted Applique. There have been lots of great posts on this already - do go back and check them out if you haven't already: you can find the full schedule, with links, here.
There are some great projects in this book - what's not to like about a little vintage caravan? But I know myself, and I know that I am useless at following instructions, so I thought that rather than trying one of Lara's projects and embarrassing us all, I would think about what I would want, as an improv quilter, from this technique. I decided I would use a little cat picture that my youngest girl had produced (actually she's produced about 200 of them, all about an inch across). I enlarged it on the photocopier to get a size that was workable, and then pulled a load of floral prints and went about putting together a garden for it to live in.
The thing that had leapt to the front of my mind at the start of this was that I wanted to be able to work with these applique pieces in much the same way as I do my piecing: I wanted to play around before sewing things down, to try out different layouts, add bits and take bits away. Of course you can do this with pieces you are going to attach with traditional methods, but I have found various drawbacks to this (though that may just be me). Lara's method performed beautifully: no fraying, not one tiny thread, and none of that thing where you've just got it right and someone opens a door and the whole lot goes flying. I played around for ages with these pieces and they were as good as new when I finished.
The second thing I wondered about was whether this method would still work with hand stitching. I don't at all enjoy the painstaking work of machine stitching shapes into place - would I be able to secure these without the machine, ie would I be able to hand stitch through the prepped pieces. I have to say I expected this to be where the method fell down for me but it worked fine. I used a nice sharp needle and Sulky 12 thread, but even when I switched to perle no. 8 (just to do the knots for the cat's eyes) I had no problems. I would certainly feel confident planning to hand quilt a piece made in this way.
As a side note, the book also includes a method for back coating fabric; if I had been more patient I could done this and the cat would not have stripe down the middle of his head!
Now the fun bit: if you would like to win a copy - and I really can't see why you wouldn't want this book - leave a comment. It can be any comment but if you want a starter, how about telling me if you are already an applique person and if so what your favoured method is right now. If you already have a copy, enter anyway, as Lara has offered to refund the purchase prize if you win. A winner will be randomly selected next Wednesday, 1st June. For more chances to win, check out the remaining participants in the blog hop - and good luck!