Wednesday, July 16, 2014

How it begins

I've been invited to teach a three day applique class next March. Three days! I'm so used to trying to cram everything I know into just six hours that three days seems like an incredible luxury. I'm excited to be able to devote time to design, color theory and embellishment as well as technique. With this in mind, I've set out to develop the class sample.

My idea is to offer students a variety of flowers (you were expecting something else?), in several shapes and sizes, and allow them to arrange their own bouquets. The challenge is to present enough choices to keep everyone happy, but, at the same time, I don't want to offer so many choices that students can't make good progress on their samples.

Here's my preliminary layout, with some of my fabric choices surrounding it. I've gathered up three different styles of main character flowers, there will be three of each in the handouts. I've used one of each here as a sort of tease, but also because it is this sort of mish mash bouquets I have been cutting from my garden.

So far, so good, right? The vase isn't showing up well here, it is actually a little more complex that what can be seen. As I'm working on the glue basting I'm also considering what sort of embellishments I will add to the shapes. I may do a little ink work on the yellow rose, but I think the zinnia and the painted daisy will need some french knots, at the very least.

Moving on the accent flowers, it's there that I hit a snag. That's my little finger in the picture. That circle is less than a quarter of an inch in diameter. I want to challenge my students, not frustrate and discourage them. Glue basting shapes this small takes skill and patience. Most of my students would probably be able to pull it off by the end of the second day, but I'm thinking that I want to keep this class fun and gratifying. So, I'm back to the drawing board to simplify and enlarge some of the smaller elements. I think I'll leave some smallish ones in place, for those who really want a challenge.

I'd love your feedback! What would you like to learn in a three day applique class? Would shapes this small scare you off, or reel you in? Would you rather work from a proscribed pattern, or would the idea of designing your own bouquet excite you?


  1. I am loving this! Where is your class? I would love to have you spend three days teaching me this!!

  2. Beth, where is your class? I would love it in the PNW!

  3. Anonymous9:03 PM

    I agree too tiny would be beyond a first time student. But I would leave them as "available" in your kit because the more skilled students will likely have extra time in class for them and will give the first timer something to add later at home. But be sure to include a demo in class and let students choose whether to try now or later.

  4. How about a sampler of more than one way to make the quilt? You could have larger, less complex pieces as well as challenging ones for each flower. The students could make samples of each technique for reference, then choose the ones they want for their wall hangings. Please show both hand and machine embellishments; some people just don't do some techniques. You have the luxury to really explore all avenues of creativity in three days.