Class Project: Denyse Schmidt

I finished a class project from last summer. I took this class with Denyse Schmidt while at the Slow Stitching Retreat in Washington, Maine.

It is hand applique and is an original design called Laid-back Hawaiian Style Applique by Denyse for the Slow Stitching Retreat. It is now available on her website.

I hung it on the wall in my office beside my Carolyn Friedlander Collections quilt. The fabric is from Stitch in Dye in Austin, Texas. It finished at 22″ by 22″ and it is hand quilted.

Tips for Needle Turn Applique

I am a newborn when it comes to needle turn applique. That is why I’m taking a block of the month course at Quilting Adventures to learn all the ways to needle turn applique.

In my first two months, I have learned some valuable tips from our wonderful teacher, Phoebe.

The needle matters

I first tried using Clover Black Gold Needle No. 9 and they were too short, and although the needles pierce smoothly through the fabric they didn’t turn the fabric smoothly. When I switched to John James Gold’n Glide Applique Size 11, I got great results.

Marking with a pencil works fine

This BOM is Carolyn Friedlander’s Collection quilt pattern and she bastes each piece then needle turns the fabric. Phoebe uses a pencil instead of basting and it works great. It is probably faster this way too.

Thread should match the applique piece or a shade lighter

I’m using 100 weight thread because I have a large assortment of WonderFil, but it its really thin and I worry the pieces might come off. So I might change to 50 or 60 weight Aurifil or 60 weight  Mettler.  I might try silk thread. I have a collection of YLI Silk Thread. I’m still learning.

Enjoy the process

I am using mostly scraps for my pieces and I’ve enjoyed picking out each little bit and slowly stitching them to the background.



One tip: perfect needle-turn applique

I am very good at raw edge applique, but needle-turn applique intimidated me, and every attempt looked sloppy. Until now. Carolyn Friedlander suggested in her book, Savor Each Stitch, that you baste the piece to the background one-quarter inch from the applique edge as a guide for turning under the fabric. This changed everything. I deviated from her instructions and instead I stitched one-quarter inch from the edge of the piece, separate from the background:


I applied starch on the edges and ironed:


I used temporary glue to attach to the background fabric:

no sew glue

At this point I had the choice to stitch down by machine or by hand. I choose by hand, using a Size 11 gold needle by John James and 50 weight thread from Mettler in a matching thread. I’m experimenting with curves as part of the Savor Each Stitch Book Bee and studying Contrast. The pink and orange seemed like a good place to start.

needle turned applique

If you aren’t into this method, there are ways to get the same effect with no fabric turning. Jenna Brand has a tutorial.

I’m linking this post to The Late Night Quilters’ Tips or Tutorials Tuesday.

One tip at a time,