What is an applique’ quilt?

An applique quilt is constructed totally differently than a patchwork quilt.  With a patchwork (or pieced) quilt, different pieces of fabric are stitched together at the edges, and the more pieces you put together, the larger the quilt becomes.  You are, in essence, creating the cloth top of the quilt one little piece at a time.

An applique quilt is somewhat more fussy to make.  With applique, you start with a background fabric. Then, following patterns you have purchased or designed yourself, separate designs are cut out of another piece of fabric (normally colored fabric); those pieces are then appliqued or sewn on to the top of the background fabric.  An applique quilt can be a two-color quilt, as in the blue and orange photo you see below, or it may be constructed of many different fabrics in many different colors.

The following are all examples of applique:


You can also combine patchwork (piecing) and applique in the same quilt, as seen here in “Floral Star of Bethlehem.”


What is a "patchwork quilt?"

There are many different kinds of quilts, and the term “patchwork quilt” is an old name for quilts which are pieced or “patched” together.  In the United States during pioneer times, the main purpose of making a quilt was to provide warmth for someone.  Quilts were often made by taking pieces of old clothing, scraps of fabric from aprons, old blankets and whatever fabric you could find.  The maker used what they had, cutting around worn areas and keeping those parts of the fabric that still had some life left in them.  These pieces of fabric that were still good were trimmed to a certain shape (square, rectangle, triangle, etc.) and then pieced together with other shapes to produce a piece of cloth that was a mixture of “patches” held together by stitching. 

An artistic person would often assemble all the scraps they could find and carefully create a pattern of the colors, rather than simply sew the bits of cloth randomly and quickly, paying no attention to design. 

The following are examples of some very basic, simple patchwork quilts.  Any of these patterns would be good for a beginning quilter!


Tomorrow we’ll take a look at applique’ quilts!

Flushing Historical Society Quilt Show April 30, 2011

I love a good quilt show, and I really like old quilts.  So I was thrilled to visit the Flushing Historical Society’s quilt show this morning.  The Society owns the old Flushing Depot in downtown Flushing, and quilts were hanging throughout the entire building.

Virginia Anderson was present at the show explaining the details on various quilts, and showing the quilts collected and made by Mary Schafer.  The way the exhibit was set up made it difficult to get photos of each quilt in its entirety, so I did the best I could.  Here are some that grabbed my eye.

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I was excited to see my quilt hanging in the exhibit!  The Flushing Sesquicentennial Quilt was made as a fundraiser for Riverbank Park’s walkway in 1984.  Designed from old photographs of Flushing, it includes the old mill, Depot, old Flushing High School, the original fire station and more.  People paid to have their signature placed on the quilt to raise money for the brick walkway.

I Need Some Sunshine

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It’s no secret that I live in Michigan, and this winter has been unusually cold and snowy. In fact, February 2011 is reported to have set a record for snow totals. I am ready for some sunshine!

We have a place in our hallway for a quilt to hang. Several years ago, we purchased a curtain rod which the Woodworker hung up for me. I rotate quilts as the urge hits me, and yesterday I decided I needed some sunshine in the hall. So this quilt came down…


as it was too dreary for spring, and this quilt was hung up (after I put a hanging sleeve on the back).

The quilt is called “French Star” and it is hand appliqued and pieced, and hand quilted. The center of the block is stipple quilted (all by hand) and I really enjoyed the stippling process. The stippling really makes the open stitched design pop out, almost like trapunto (see picture below).
I have to find some other things I can do to SPRING UP the house.


You can click on the photos to enlarge them and see more detail.

What do you do to bring the warmth inside?

Two Tops From Old Quilt Parts

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RestoredPinwheel1983I love hand quilting so much that in 1983 I bought these blue and white pinwheel blocks just so that I could put them together and start hand quilting. The problem was, I bought a very heavy cotton batting, and once I started quilting it was a killer on the hands.  But I kept going!  It’s called “Restored Pinwheel.”


I found another set of 30 album blocks not long after that and tossed those together to have something to hand quilt on.  Love the colors in this quilt, though the outside border could have been jazzed up a little more.

At the time I made these quilts, we were living in our first home, which was formerly my husband’s grandparents home.  It had a garage with a good southern-facing wall for photography.  On the days I photographed these two quilts though, it was a bit too sunny!

From the Woods to the Water

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Made for my parents in celebration of their retirement in 1983


One of these days I’ll put it back in the frame and add more quilting to the outer border!

Feathered Cheddar–Finished!

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“Feathered Cheddar” was started in mid-August of 2010 using Kona Cotton in Windsor Blue and School Bus Yellow.  The School Bus Yellow was chosen because it most accurately matches the traditional “cheddar” color utilized in quilts dating back to the Civil War.  Another traditional element is the use of a “four block” setting.

“Feathered Cheddar” was finished on January 9, 2011. 
It is entirely hand-appliqued and hand quilted, and measures 62 x 62 inches.
Here are a few random photos showing details:
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It’s difficult to capture the stitching, as different settings tend to wash everything out.1092011X 

I think my next quilt will be much more contemporary… stay tuned!

I Love Hand Quilting!

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My favorite thing to do is sit and hand quilt.  Through the years, I’ve done most of my quilts by hand.  2010 Longway


I’m nearing the end of “Feathered Cheddar” and looking forward to putting a binding on it.  While I’m quilting, I’m dreaming of the next hand quilting event… what should it be?

Bill’s blog over at Wonky World is causing me to consider an “intense quilting event.”  Check out the last few posts of his beautiful antique Album Quilt.   Oh my, my heart is singing!  While I love the album style applique, it’s the quilting that has my attention.   Just look at how close that is! 

Randomness in Browns and Golds

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Loren and Marge’s Wedding Quilt

Bars With Stars

Streak of Lightening miniature quilt

Rail Fence

Loren and Marge’s Quilt

Ocean Waves, 1985

Bear’s Paw 2007

Paper Lanterns

Randomness in Blue

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BlueLily Blue Lily

AtticWindows Attic Windows

BobsQuilt2 1985 Bob’s Log Cabin

DSC01565 Loren’s Rail Fence

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DSC02292 Loren and Marge’s Quilt

LadyLady of the Lake

I guess I do like blue after all!