Thursday, August 11, 2016

A Floral Wreath, The Secret Garden, and a new website!

Click here for the catalog!
This has been an exciting week! On Monday, the 2017 Class Catalog for the Academy of Appliqué in Williamsburg, Virginia, run by Barbara Blanton, was posted. Kara and I (Teri) can't begin to express how humbled and honored we feel to be a part of this amazing group of teachers. Please check out the catalog to see the opportunities offered in this wonderful week of appliqué! It is such a fabulous experience to gather together with others who share the same passion; an immediate kinship is felt with your fellow stitchers. Having been a hostess at the previous Academy, and then a student last year, I can attest to the fact that it is a warm and comfortable feeling to be surrounded by so many stitching sisters. (Even for an introvert, like me!) The Academy offers something for everyone: beginners to veterans; basic appliqué, wool, crazy quilting, ribbonwork, embroidery—you're sure to find something to tickle your needle fancy!

The Academy is located at the lovely Kingsmill Resort. Kara had to stop to take a picture of the daffodils,
which opened the week we were there this past year.What a great way to welcome spring!

We have taunted you a bit over the past few weeks with a few detail shots of the blocks we will be teaching, but today, we thought it only fair to share the full blocks.

Floral Wreath class with be held on Tuesday and Wednesday, February 28 - March 1, 2017.

Our first class is a Floral Wreath, based on a poem called "The Use of Flowers," by Mary Howitt, from the book Floral Poetry and the Language of Flowers, published in 1877. The last verse of the poem is inked in the center of the wreath; if you'd like to read the poem in its entirety, click here.

Each bloom in the wreath began with a photograph of a flower that I took. (See Flowers—The Appliqué, Ribbon, and Embroidery Way.) This is a mulit-media wreath: cotton and silk fabrics, various threads, and lots of ribbon. The class kit includes everything you need to create these lilies, clematis, pansies, roses, and jasmine. You'll be amazed how a couple of pieces of silk ribbon becomes such a realistic pansy! So much easier than it looks.

Our main conference class is based on a children's classic: The Secret Garden, by Frances Hodgson Burnett, published in 1911. Kara and I wanted to create a block that reflected two of our loves: stories and flowers. The Secret Garden was the perfect inspiration for this block.

The Secret Garden is our main conference class, held Thursday-Saturday, March 2-4, 2017.

The garden walls are appliquéd with cotton fabric, sari silk transforms into a gnarled wisteria tree, and embroidered flowers fill the garden. Silk flower swags frame the garden, with an inked quote from the book. We will be using lots of silk ribbon and threads to create this beauty! Everything you'll need to stitch this block (except your background) will be included in your class kit. That makes packing easy! 

To add to the excitement of the week, Kara and I were invited to present our lecture, The Stories in Our Quilts, to a local quilt guild. What was especially fun about this lecture is that we both were members of the Four County Quilters Guild when we first started quilting. Life got busy, and our memberships lapsed, but it was wonderful to be back visiting a lovely group of ladies, many of whom taught me a lot about taking risks to learn new skills.

Now, since we couldn't share our Fairy Tale Album during our lecture—because it's in Houston!—and most of the pieces we have created using those motifs are rather small, we thought that perhaps instead of just sharing our Academy blocks, we should try to border them, so that they would look a bit more finished. Bordering the blocks is not part of the class, but you can see some possibilities for turning your block into a wall-hanging. Kara chose a scalloped frame with a scrappy pieced border for The Secret Garden, which really pulls the colors from the garden.

Won't this be lovely when it is quilted?!

The wreath seemed to call for a simpler frame, so I thought I would create a flange with the dupioni silk that was used to make the jasmine leaves, and use the rose leaf green for the border. Of course, I knew it would look better mitered, but I wasn't sure how to succeed in mitering the flanged border. I don't suggest using the method I used, if I could even articulate what I did. I had a close relationship with my seam ripper for a couple of days. It turned out pretty well, I suppose, but I will recommend NOT choosing to make a flange with dupioni. It's just too wobbly, and it unravels way too easily. It was amazingly easier to appliqué!

To round out the excitement of the week, we launched our new website. I won't bore you with the details of how I knew nothing about web design or how to do anything more than a blog, but I will tell you that they make it easy enough even for a novice like me. I'm sure that many changes will be made as we learn more about the whole process, but I surprised myself by even enjoying the experience. I'd have to say that it was easier than mitering a silk dupioni flanged border!
The website will give us the opportunity to offer patterns and kits as we have them available. So . . . we hope you'll stop by and explore a bit, and let us know what you think. At this point, it mirrors the blog, but we hope there will be shopping opportunities in the near future. (Please be patient with us, though!) I have a few kinks to work out yet, but—we have a website!!

Thanks so much for stopping by and reading my ramblings about our week! We do hope that we might meet you at the Academy of Appliqué next winter. Enrollment opens on Labor Day, and classes can fill quickly, so take a look now.

How about you? What exciting things have you been working on? We'd love to hear about it!


  1. Lots going on with you! The web site is really, really good. Easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye. Congratulations on EVERYTHING!!