Category Archives: wool applique

Happy Mail #1

Question: What could be more wonderful than finding a happy surprise in your mailbox?
Answer: Finding two happy surprises.

Last week a package arrived from my friend Deborah, a fellow member of our small quilt group the Quisters (Quilt Sisters). Look what was inside:

It’s Bertie!!

If you are a fan of wool appliqué and the designs of Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night, you will surely recognize this as a block from Bertie’s Year, introduced in 2014. Bertie’s Year is made up of a dozen 13″ x 17″ wool applique projects, one for each month of the year.

The Bertie Deborah made me is the May block. Here’s the entire year:

In the past few years Deborah has made me two other blocks in Bertie’s Year, January . . .

. . . and September:

They never fail to make me smile.

I had never done wool appliqué before but I was so charmed by Bertie that I bought the pattern for July . . .

. . . and wrote this post about it. That was back in 2014.

This is how far I’ve gotten:

I can’t believe it’s been five years since I started this project. I need to bring Bertie out of the closet (so to speak) and get back to work on him. He will definitely be in good company. Thank you, dear Deborah, for the lovely Happy Mail!

Oh yes, I did mention a second surprise in my mailbox. I’ll tell you all about Happy Mail #2 in my next post.




Posted in appliqué, Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update, wool applique | 5 Comments

Bewitched by Bertie

I tried to resist, really I did. For several years I was the only one in my quilt group, the Quisters, who didn’t do wool appliqué. Not that I wasn’t tempted or didn’t admire it. I just didn’t want another hobby on top of my quiltmaking obsession. Nor did I need another category of fabric — wool — vying for space with my quilting cottons.

All that changed when I saw Bertie’s Year on display at the Pine Needle’s Open House earlier this year:

Bertie's Year originals by bonnie sullivan
Bertie’s Year by Bonnie Sullivan


Designed and made by fellow Oregonian Bonnie Sullivan of All Through the Night (“Folk Art designs with a bit of whimsy”), Bertie’s Year is made up of a dozen 13″ x 17″ wool applique projects, one for each month of the year. The projects are bordered by different designs of half-square triangles made of Woolies flannel (designed by none other than Bonnie Sullivan for Maywood Studios). The monthly projects can stand alone or be combined into a quilt.

So am I going to make the entire quilt? Heavens, no! I’m just dipping my toe in the water. I’m going to make one month’s project to see how I like it. My Quisters promised I could raid their wool stashes, which are ample because they are also rug hookers.

The hard part was choosing the month. Every single one of the projects is absolutely charming. I finally decided to make the July project for the simple reason that it makes me smile every time I look at it. Here is Bertie perched on a slice of watermelon spitting a seed. He’s sporting a jaunty hat (probably made from a folded newspaper) and tucked under his wing is a little branch loaded with blueberries:

Bertie's Year July original by Bonnie Sullivan
Bertie’s Year — July

This little vignette speaks to me of summer, sunshine and good times with friends and family. Can you see now why I gave in to temptation?

This is how far I’ve gotten:

Bertie's Year July initial prep
Thanks for the Wool Scraps, Quisters!

The background is flannel the color of espresso and the appliqué pieces are wool scraps courtesy of my Quisters. Bertie is looking a little bare at the moment but that’s only temporary.

Of course I had to get a bundle of fat quarters in the Woolies flannels:

Bertie's Year July red flannels
Fabulous Flannel Fat Quarters


Bertie is coming along with me on an upcoming trip so I hope to have something to show you in the next few weeks. I am eager to get started!

Tell me, have you been bewitched by Bertie, too?




Posted in Quisters (Quilt Sisters), update, wool applique | 7 Comments

Quisters’ Show and Tell

Today is the last full day of my quilt group’s retreat in Central Oregon. Our fellow Quister Deborah had to leave early but Peggy and Vickie and I are still here enjoying the brilliant sunshine, crisp air, and each other’s company. We are also taking great pleasure in surveying our various and sundry completed projects and works-in-progress.

Vickie is working on two wool appliqué projects. In my last post, you saw one of them in a tableau. Here is a close-up of that project, bursting with vivid color and texture:

Vickie's circles

The project measures 12″ x 15½” and contains 35 multilayered wool discs, each uniquely embellished.

Vickie is also working on a series of seasonal pillows. Here is her Summer Sampler pillow, designed by Debbie Busby of Wooden Spool Designs. It measures 14″ x 16″:

Vickie's wool applique

I finished another sewing machine dust cover, number four. I didn’t need another one but I was teaching a class at the Pine Needle recently and needed to demonstrate a particular construction technique. This one is made with three prints from the Madrona Road line by Violet Craft for Michael Miller:

Dawn's sewing machine dust cover

I’m working on some other projects that I can’t show you yet. Birthdays coming up. ‘Nuff said.

Peggy finished the most wonderful quilt while she was here. Last summer she took a class from Janet Fogg called “Illustrating the Past” in which a fabric piece from the past — it could be a quilt, a quilt top, a fragment, a block — is updated with piecing and appliqué techniques to create a new original work. Peggy had been given a vintage quilt containing blocks of appliquéd flowers. She transformed it in the most amazing way:

Peg's Sunshine quilt 1-001

Here is a close-up of that sunshine face:

Peg's Sunshine quilt 2

The sun is pieced and then appliqued to the original quilt. Peggy hand-quilted parts of the face and some of the rays.

Here’s another look at the quilt, which measures 74″ x 88″:

Peg's Sunshine quilt 3

The batting in the appliquéd blocks had migrated so badly that Peggy made a slit in the side of each block, removed the batting, and replaced it with new batting. Then she sewed narrow strips around the blocks to cover the slits. The strips add more color to the quilt and tie the old and new elements together. The result is a highly original quilt that honors the past while celebrating the present.

Peggy is also a talented rug hooker who has designed and hooked several rugs. Here is a look at her current work-in-progress, an image of her beach house on the Oregon coast:

Peggy's hooked wool rug-in-progress

This wool rug will measure about 25″ x 48″ when it’s finished.

As you can see, my creative Quisters and I have had a great week!




Posted in Quisters (Quilt Sisters), sewing machine cover, update, wool applique, wool rug hooking | 1 Comment