Thoughts on Fusible Applique

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Fusible web is a man-made fiber that melts when it is heated. Many quilters – especially art quilters – have used a fusible product when creating quilts that require appliqué. When placed between two pieces of fabric, the melting action of the web when in contact with a hot iron causes it to fuse the fabrics together. As a result of this process, it is a wonderful way to avoid turning under fabric to appliqué by hand or machine, and is very secure.

There is a wonderful chart that I found at Stitch em Up that lists a number of fusible products with information about each.
Please check it out!

Over the past year or two, I have frequently used fusible products for appliqué on items that will see little to no washing. I view fusible as tool and option for items such as wallhangings, purses, accessories, journals, and anything that will not be tossed in a washing machine. I have made my grandchildren a quilted calendar wallhanging that hangs in their kitchen. These 18 inch square blocks are a perfect use for fusible appliqué.

November Calendar Block in Progress:
               A fused turkeyiron

I have a concern about the use of fusible appliqué on quilts that are meant to be  saved and used by the owner on a daily basis. As I have attended quilt shows recently and viewed newly-made quilts online, I am noticing more and more appliqué quilts being made using fusible as the method of appliqué. It worries me for several reasons, but here are the two I worry about the most:

Worry 1: On the historical timeline of quilting, fusible products are babies. This is a brand new product, and we have no guarantee what it will do over the long-term in a quilt. It is an ADHESIVE. The edges are raw and exposed. It is basically glue holding two layers (or more) of fabric together. What will years of regular washing do to a fused quilt? Even without a lot of washing, will these quilts be around 50-100 years from now? And if they are still around, how frayed will those raw edges be?

I thought about this a few weeks ago as I was cleaning the basement. I came across my scrapbook from when I was a teenager. You know the kind… where we kept pictures, newspaper articles and programs from shows we attended. We held them in place with tape. I was a teenager in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s. (Yes, I’m that old.) Now, a few decades later when I open my scrapbook, most of the adhesive tape has turned brownish in color and no longer adheres to the paper. My precious memories fall out of the scrapbook, and I have to tuck them back into place and close the book quickly so I don’t lose them. Will this happen to our quilts?

Worry 2: As a quilting instructor, I worry about newer quilters who learn how to do fusible appliqué and view it as THE way to appliqué. Please note that this is a two-fold issue for me.

Example: Amy takes a quilting class and learns how to do fusible appliqué. It’s an easier method than what she has seen other more experienced quilters do when they appliqué, so she makes it her method of choice. She sees a beautiful Baltimore quilt pattern and creates a lovely quilt top that is heavily appliquéd (as they all are), only hers is done using fusible products. She delivers or ships her quilt top to a long arm quilter, and a few months later has produced a stunning quilt.  (She meaning Amy.)

Here’s question number one:


What if this is how we teach young ladies how to quilt from now on? Will the techniques of quilting from the last 150-200 years eventually be lost? Will they ever learn how to do a fine needle-turn or invisible appliqué stitch? Or will they stick to fusing? Will they ever learn how to do a rocking (quilting) stitch, or will all quilts be machine quilted by someone else? (I said it was a two-fold issue).


Before my readers chime in with comments, let me assure you that I treasure modern technologies. I am a computer addict. Just ask my husband.  Give me a gadget and I go ga ga. Seriously!
In 1987 I wrote a book called
 “Contemporary Quilts
From Traditional Designs.”  

I like contemporary quilts, and I like traditional quilts. And remember in the beginning of this post I said I use fusible?      I fully understand that not everyone will want to be a full-fledged quilter and make quilt after quilt. Fusing and paying someone to do the quilting for you may be the only way some people get a quilt done. I get that.

Here’s question number two:

How do we perpetuate the tradition of quilting that our great grandmothers taught us?

Ok, one, two, three DISCUSS!
There is plenty of comment space here for everybody.

Fenton Quilt Show 2010

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Yesterday DH and I attended the Fenton United Methodist Church Quilt Show. It was a nice mix of antique and new quilts.   Here are some that really caught my eye.  I tried to take a photo of each description tag as I went along.  You should be able to click on the photos to enlarge them.

DSC03867Floral Elegance by Sherry Brown

Quilted by Barb Helwig


Baltimore Album by Mary Stone

Quilted by Barb Helwig



Ohio Star, 1890’s the tag says…

Beautifully hand quilted!




Anthurium by Patricia Shepard

Quilted by Barbara Helwig










Jacobean Elegance by Marion Reed

Quilted by Helen Novak







Rainbow Stars by Dan Burke

Quilted by Kari Smith


  No name

by Jane Reed

Quilted by Barbara Helwig

Anyone guess why I love this quilt so much?

I think this group of quilters kept Barbara Helwig busy!  She does nice work!

Cheddar, Block 1 Passes Inspection

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Feathered Cheddar, Block 1 is now complete, rinsed in cold water, dried on the deck and pressed nicely. 

Feathered Cheddar passes Official Cat Inspection. 

Block is put away safely in a fur-free zone

for later assembly into quilt.

More About Cheddar Quilts

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Once you know how to spot a cheddar fabric, you’ll notice them a lot. I love reading Barbara Brackman’s blog and today read this post:

aqsg star symposiumand saw this gorgeous star quilt.  Cheddar all over!   Stunning!


And from  Michelle’s blog at “ is this hand appliqued, hand quilted beauty based on an antique quilt presently owned by the Quilt Study Museum  in Lincoln, Nebraska.”

2007.107.18I love Amish quilts for their simplicity and bold designs.  They have a very contemporary look to them.  And this one with cheddar?  How cool is that?!


Unknown Amish quiltmaker
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania
c1890       82″ x 84″


This beauty was probably made in the 1940s.  The pattern is Rob Peter to Pay Paul, or Orange Peel.  I found this at The Patchwork Chronicles.

GMRST1Rolling Stone/Garden Maze Antique Quilt Top

There are several fantastic quilts from the collection of Sandra Mitchell for you to look at on Julie Silber’s blog.  Please go there and check them out. You’ll want to bookmark her website and keep coming back!  Some of the most gorgeous and unique quilts ever are collected by Julie and her mother. 

Please go there now!

The History of Cheddar Orange

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The name “cheddar” came from a shade of yellow that resembled the color of cheese. 

Baum Textiles website says:
“In the early to mid 1800s, “poison” greens and “cheddar” yellows were very popular colors, a pleasant diversion from the browns, indigos and turkey reds that were previously used in both garments and quilts. The contrast of the wonderfully bright colors afforded dress makers and quilters more creative possibilities than ever before. Although it wouldn’t be until the 1870s for synthetic dyes to enter the market, these particular colors, achieved with natural dying elements, were overdyed to yield bright, intense hues.”

“One of the staple colors of quiltmakers of the 19th century was that strong, deep yellow we call “cheddar” today.  Cheddar was used by Pennsylvania German quiltmakers in a number of variations. As a solid color fabric, it was used both in backgrounds and in highlights, particularly in applique quilts. Less common were the cheddar calicos, a double print similar to the blues and pinks, and one seen more often with a cheddar lattice with a black and red figure overprinted.”

GMRST1Fabric colors can be used to assist in dating a quilt.  “In general the acid  greens, natural turkey red, chrome yellows and antimony orange were around from about 1825 to 1890 in America. Chrome or antimony orange solids continued on into the 20th century. The same chrome yellow and red & black prints re-appeared in the teens and again in the 1940s.”

Star in Stars (variant)
circa 1880

Close-up of Star in Stars (variant)

Don’t you love this one?
Picture 2001.158.03
Four Eagles on Cheddar

Maker unknown

84 1/4″ x 84 1/4″

More to come…

Kat Campau Lecture and Cheddar Progress

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I’m making steady progress on block one of “Feathered Cheddar.”  I’m also loving the colors together!!! Feathered Cheddar 8/26/2010 I did a little work during the meeting portion of quilt guild last night, so almost 3/4 of the way done with this block.

Kat Campau, art quilter from Saline, Michigan was at guild last night and I learned that she lives about 1/4 mile from where my youngest son used to live!  She has even met him out on dog walks because they both had the same breed (miniature pinchers).  Small world, isn’t it?  She also has a quilt in the upcoming Michigan Quilt Artists invitational, so I may see her again in a few weeks at the opening reception.  Oh – and I met a reader of the Michigan Quilts blog!  That was fun!

Here are just a few quilts from her lecture; please visit Kat’s website to see more of this prolific quilter’s work! 




DSC03853  Kat, showing her quilts

Smile and Say “Cheese”

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I didn’t want to do it.  Ok, I really did.  But I had other more pressing quilting issues, but couldn’t stop myself.   I washed my Kona Cotton, both the orange (Cheddar) and blue (Windsow).   And ironed it.  And cut into it. 


<  This fabric




I pulled out my template, which many years ago I made from Xray film with paper clued to the back. 

I traced on the orange background square, which had the center lines lightly pressed for placement.


IMG00118-20100822-1247 I traced again on the blue. I trim around the design as I sew along. Which I began doing.  It is a tedious process with this block, as between the feathers there isn’t much to turn under. But…



I was a happy girl!IMG00120-20100822-1938


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This is a small collection of the quilts made by Caron.  Those available for purchase are notated with further information.

Floral Star of Bethlehem


Bars With Stars



Chinese Coins


 From The Woods To The Water – Private Collectionscan0032

Flushing Sesquicentennial Quilt 

Property of the Flushing Historical Society


Jack’s BeanstalkJacksBeanstalk

Lady of the LakeLady

Red Star Sampler – Sold


  Ocean WavesOceanWaves1985

Blue Lily – For Sale


Feathered Crown


Tumbling BlocksTumbling Blocks

Loren and Margaret’s Wedding Quilt, July 2010


 Baby Quilt for Emma


Circle of Friends (adopted by Stormie) 


 Paper LanternsPaperLanterns2009

Loren and Margaret’s Quilt


Out of the Darkness (Private Collection) 

French Star – For Sale

DSC01928  Close up of stipple quiltingFrenchStar 012

A Black and Tan Finish

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I looked for a quick and easy pattern that I could put together quickly… had to be masculine, and the recipient’s favorite color:   black.  So this black and tan version of the “New Wave Quilt” by Elizabeth Hartman that I found at did the trick!  The hardest part about it was finding enough fabrics that had black and tan in them!  I changed it up a little big from the one on her site… making it longer and narrower. Machine sewn, machine quilted.  It’s the perfect size for a guy to take a nap under, or for a guy and his two sons to cuddle up in and watch a movie.  All it needs is a label and it’s good to go (after I show it off at quilt guild next week, that is!).

Hope my brother likes it!