Let’s Chat…Taking designs to another LEVEL!

Whenever you are creating beauty around you, you are restoring your own soul.

– Alice Walker

(long post/tutorial)

This post is the beginning of a “Let’s Chat” series. I hope you will join me. Today Let’s Chat about taking Wool work and Embriodery to another level. 


It never ceases to amaze me how changing things up in my sewing techniques, tools and habits can send me to design places I never thought about. The evolutionary process of a design just blows my skirt right up! Here is an example of what I’m talking about, where I’ve been and where I’m going.

I love any form of hand work, I’m talkin serious love. The addition of applique and embroidery to a design puts a stamp of originality on a quilt design more just about anything I can think of. It says this is Pat’s design, this is her drawing and here it is in fabric.

A couple of years ago I took a one day class with Sue Spargo. I wrote about that class on my blog.(note: if my blog were better organized I could link you back to that blog post…not gonna happen right now, it ia obvious I need help in this area!)  Thus began my facination with embellishing. I have loved wool applique for many years. I have combined wool and cotton in many projects which I love to do. When I wrote Spotlight on Neutrals I did Kitty’s Baskets which was a combination of wool and cottons and I enjoyed that very much. The extent of my embellishing was adding some buttons or rick rac, which was pretty terrific, but only a tiny step into the embellishing world. Since that first class with Sue I have taken the time to read, research and “play” with different techniques, tools and a big wide world full of materials used to take my wool applique to another level. I have discovered that this process is quite endless. One thing is for sure I am officially over the top and totally hooked. When I look at some of my older wool projects compared to the newest they scream at me for some more decorative stitches and goodies to be added. The sky is the limit. I would like to break down some of my discoveries into different blog posts so let’s just begin at the beginning. THREAD and BASIC STITCHING. 

i should begin by saying that I do not..repeat DO NOT use fusible innerfacing of any kind to adhear my motifs to the background.I do not like it. I do not like it under any circumstances. This is my opinion. You would want to decided that as your choice or not On a few RARE occasions I use a tiny dot of GLUE and I mean tiny, teeenie tiny.I would choose either Roxanne’s Glue Baste It or my handy dandy fabric glue pen.  


When I choose stitch my wool motifs by hand either on a wool or cotton background I use a whip stitch. I used to use a blanket stitch. The difference between the two stitches is that the whip stitch does not have a thread showing that sits in the “ditch” between the wool motif and the background. Here is the Blanket stitch.

Blanket Stitch

Here is the Whip Stitch.


whip stitch

Both stitches are equally strong and do their job which is to hold the motifs securely in place.The diagram above shows the stitches at an angle. Mine would be perpendicular to the edge of the motif. The whip stitch is just more subtle, which is my goal because I’m going to add decorative stitches later therefore I want less of a visual statement here. Whip stitch rocks!

I have used  floss or sometimes pearle cotton in this process but not any more no no no! Now I use wool thread in this application. I tried several different brands of thread and found that I liked the Aurifil Lana by far the best. (please note I am not paid to say this, I promise!)  The fabulous thing about this thread is that I can use it on my machine or by hand. When I choose stitch the motifs down by machine I lower the speed at which I sew and switch my needle for a larger eye needle (110/16).  My favorite brand in this category is Schmetz. I particularly like the MicroTex. They are very sharp!

Schmetz 110-16


If I stitch by hand I use a Chennile Needle either  22 or 24. Hemming and Son needles are terrific as well.

Needles 24


A must have item in my tool box is the Clover needle threader for large eye needles and thicker threads.


Did I say??? must have…I meant MUST HAVE!!!!


I have just covered the beginning of bringing wool applique to another level in your applique. Try the whip stitch, with AURIFIL LANA  MUST HAVE…I promise your skirt will blow up you will be in love just as I am. I will post next week on another topic..decorative stitching. OH MY GOODNESS this is a subject with no end!




  1. 1

    Glad you got your blog back, wondered what was going on with it. Loved reading your wool tips.

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