Friday, April 4, 2008

Neatness counts

I had a funny thought this evening, sitting here appliqueing teacups. I can't wait to receive my swap blocks because I am dying to see the reverse side of the applique! I've seen plenty of pictures of applique posted on blogs, most of it better than mine, and now I'm curious about how the reverse sides look. Do you hide your starting knots? Do you tuck in your thread tails and bury your end knots? These blocks can be done many ways, and I'm sure many will be machine appliqued, but I hope I see a few hand stitched blocks to compare.

I once knew a woman who belonged to a needlework guild. She did blackwork embroidery and, honest to goodness, the back side of the work was as neat as the front side! It was absolutely incredible. The fact that she made the back look that good was a sign of her dedication to her craft.

I've been a solitary quilter all my sewing life. I've not had the opportunity for much constructive criticism. I have given quilts to family and friends, but most of the recipients were not quilters themselves and, while they appreciated the gift and the work that went into it, they certainly did not have the technical knowledge to evaluate the quality of my piecing or quilting. (Now, when I gave a bed quilt and a lap quilt to Mom, it made me a little nervous because I knew that she knew what she was looking at!) Nonetheless, I don't get sloppy just because the people who will get the quilt wouldn't notice if the pieced corners met exactly or not.

The instructions for this block swap specify that the maker tag the blocks with name, email address, city and state. I don't know if those tags will stay with the blocks, but I hope that they do. This is an open invitation to anyone who receives my blocks to email me and give me an honest critique of my work.


paula, the quilter said...

Any stitchery that I do, like redwork, I do not use knots. I bury the thread ends in the stitches. That way there are no long threads visible through the fabric. On my applique, tho, I have knots, but the thread is clipped close to the knot. I use a variety of threads when appliqueing, I use whatever matches the applique piece. So I tend to have some finer threads in use and they just really need a knot.

Joan said...

I tend to hide my knots when doing hand applique. Before I place the applique on the background, I fold under a bit of the seam allowance of the applique piece, and bring my needle up through from the back, just one or two threads from the fold (that's harder to explain than it is to do!). That way my knot is hidding in the seam of the applique. Does that make sense??

I can't wait to see your cat appliques! I love the idea of making one for each cat in your life. What a wonderful memory quilt that will be!