Applique Outside the Lines – I did!

Detail of Quilt made by Piece O Cake Designs

Detail of Quilt made by Piece O Cake Designs

For Christmas this year I splurged and bought myself a few titles from my publisher, C & T Publishing.

I took my time and went through each one slowly, unwrapping each page like a present.

One of my favorite projects was from Applique Outside the Lines – No Rules, No Ruler, by Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins. (You might remember me gushing over seeing Becky at Quilt Market in an earlier blog.)

I had first seen this dynamic duo years ago on Alex Anderson’s televised quilt show. I remember them showing how to make appliques and thinking – I like how the work looks, but I could never do that! All the pieces and the precision and the fussy fussy. Cripes!

I went to a quilt show in the fall of 2010 and I took photos of only six quilts. (That means I only really liked these 6) One of them was very whimsical and charming.  I didn’t write down the name of the maker, but…

Live Well and Be Happy Quilt

Live Well and Be Happy Quilt

…it just happens to be from a pattern found in the book that I just bought! This is a project called Tree O Life and it is a great example of the lively, lyrical approach found in Applique Outside the Lines. 

Each time I see a quilt from their creative team, called Piece O Cake Designs, I feel a bit green with envy because their applique work really appeals to me.

However, the fact is that I avoid applique like it is a four letter word. This is strange, when you know I wrote a whole book about applique chair quilts! While I espouse using a glue stick at every turn, Becky and Linda show both hand and fusible applique directions in the book, so you can use either approach.

Leaves in the Wind quilt page from the book

Leaves in the Breeze quilt page from the book

The leaf quilt on the cover really called out to me and I hopped at the chance to make it in raspberry, pinks, and greys with green stems. This would give me a chance to use all these great greys that a dear friend sent me as a Christmas gift. (Winning!)

Pink Leaves - on the design wall

Pink Leaves - on the design wall

Of course, I started out using glue stick like I do for my large pieces on the chairs. But I found that this really stretched the edges of the leaves and with the small pieces it was a real pain – I got glue all over everything BUT the leaves! The leaves ended up in stupid little curls of fabric or with so much fringe they looked like J Lo’s false eyelashes.

Then I smartened up a bit and began to put fusible on the back of my pinks.  I couldn’t be patient enough to use the books’s templates, but I didn’t think the girls would mind if I rotary cut them.

Leaves in waiting

Leaves in waiting

What I did was remove the paper off the pieces first and then cut each leaf with a swoop, swoop of the rotary cutter. Then each one was ready to place and fuse quickly and easily. Boss!

Four rows ready to sew

Four rows ready to sew

I sewed a funky zig zag stitch around each fused leaf and then added the green stems.

Detail of edge stitching and green border

Detail of edge stitching and green border

another close up

another close up

Then I added a fun and funky border – just like the girls! I even made a great pieced binding, too. Love it!

Pink Leaves in the Wind, by Alethea Ballard; 2012

Pink Leaves in the Breeze by Alethea Ballard; 2012

So what’s next, you ask?

The Ground (as seen from above)

The Ground (as seen from above)


Or perhaps?

Picasso's Garden

Picasso's Garden

Yes, please!


About maverickquilts

Artist, Author, Quilter View all posts by maverickquilts

3 responses to “Applique Outside the Lines – I did!

  • Jeanette

    I too am a Piece o’Cake of fan and like applique as a mode of keeping my hands busy as a passenger while driving or while watching TV. I made the Tree of Life quilt as a BOM from a local quilt shop–took me almost a year to complete (while doing other projects at the same time). But I LOVE your approach to rotary cutting the leaves (generally I don’t have much patience to do too much applique). Your version–Pink Leaves in the Breeze–is funky and I love it! Keep the interpretations and designs coming!

  • louise

    I am so glad you were inspired by that book because you have I inspired me! Gorgeous.

  • Cathe Hedrick

    I love the “Applique Outside the Lines Book” they are so talented and I love what you did with the process and they way you simplified it, inspired me I am going to try it! Thank YOu!!! Cathe

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