Stretch yourself beyond cotton fabrics and the straight stitch on your sewing machine. Experiment with your machine's decorative stitches as you couch wool strips on this folk art table runner.
- 11-x-26-inch rectangle of black felted wool (applique foundation)
- 9-x-24-inch rectangle of brown felted wool (background applique)
- 6-x-18-inch rectangle of pink felted wool (flower appliques)
- 3-x-9-inch rectangle of red felted wool (flower center appliques)
- 2-x-12-inch strip of green felted wool (leaf appliques)
- 60-1/4-inch-wide felted wool strips in assorted colors, varying in length from 2 to 12 inches (couched strips)
- Scraps of cream wool roving
- 1/4 yard solid black (binding)
- 3/8 yard backing fabric
- Variegated thread
- Lightweight fusible web
- 36-gauge felting needle
- Foam block for needle punching
- White chalk
Finished quilt: 11 x 26 inches
Measurements include 1/4-inch seam allowances.
Kit: To order a wool fabric kit (batting, backing, and binding not included), send $48 ppd. (within U.S.) to Joined at the Hip, 547 1st Ave. SE, Britt, IA 50423; www.joinedatthehip.com.
Cut pieces in the order that follows. Patterns are on Pattern Sheet below.
To felt wool, machine-wash it in a hot-water-wash, cool-rinse cycle with a small amount of detergent; machine-dry it on high heat and steam-press.
To use fusible web for appliqueing, complete these steps.
- Lay fusible web, paper side up, over applique patterns. Trace each pattern the number of times indicated in cutting instructions, leaving a small space between tracings. Cut out fusible-web shapes just outside traced lines.
- Following manufacturer's instructions, press fusible-web shapes onto wrong side of designated fabrics; let cool. Cut out fabric shapes on drawn lines and peel off paper backings to make appliques.
From brown wool, cut:
- 1 of Pattern A
From pink wool, cut:
- 3 of Pattern B
From red wool, cut:
- 3 of Pattern C
From green wool, cut:
- 3 each of patterns D and D reversed
From solid black, cut:
- (2) 2-1/2-x-42-inch binding strips
- Place the brown A piece on the black 11-x-26-inch applique foundation and lightly chalk around inner and outer edges. Set aside A piece.
- Set up your sewing machine for a decorative stitch with variegated thread in the needle. Designer Avis Shirer used an overlock stitch, setting a 1/4-inch stitch width and a short stitch length.
- Referring to Couching Diagram, place a wool strip at one foundation end. Beginning and ending 3/8 inch from the foundation long edges, sew over the wool strip, couching it in place. Place a second wool strip next to the first, leaving 1/4 inch between strips; couch second strip in place.
Continue couching strips until foundation is covered outside the inner chalked line; the strip ends can extend across the outer chalked line, as the brown A piece will cover them there.
- Arrange appliques on couched foundation (Applique Placement Diagram); fuse in place.
- Using threads that match appliques and working from bottom layer to top, machine-blanket-stitch around each applique. Straight-stitch a vein in the center of each leaf.
- Tear off a small section of cream wool roving, pulling and stretching it slightly. Roll roving between your fingers to make a 1/8-inch-wide, 4-inch-long strip. Center the foam block under the applique foundation beneath a flower center. Roughly coil wool roving strand atop a flower center.
- Use felting needle and a quick up-and-down motion to poke wool roving into place; keep needle perpendicular to foundation and poke several times in the same place, then move a short distance and poke several more times. Continue poking until roving is nearly flush with flower center. Repeat for each flower center to complete quilt top.
The 1/4-inch-wide wool strips used for this project are the same width as No. 8 cut wool strips used in hooked rugs. If you have a nearby shop that sells rug-hooking supplies, check to see if they sell precut strips of hand-dyed wool.
From backing fabric, cut:
- (1) 11-x-26-inch rectangle
- Lay quilt top on the wrong side of backing; baste. Avis left her piece unquilted and did not add batting. (If quilting your piece, you'll need to cut the backing rectangle larger.)
- Use solid black binding strips to bind quilt. (For details, see Complete the Quilt.)