Tuesday, July 28, 2009


Each year I try to make several significant pieces for the Alzheimer's Priority Quilt Auction event held in the fall at Quilt Festival in Houston.

I just finished my first piece, and for the 2nd year in a row, both of my donations pieces will feature beading on wool felt. It's titled "Inner Strength", measuring 9" x 12" (to comply with the guidelines)....here's the process.....

I marked a 8" x 11" rectangle onto a non-fusible lightweight stabilizer, rough cutting it out with about a 1" margin. Next, using a permanent pen, I traced my design (which I had previously worked out on paper) positioning it in a pleasing manner.

The stabilizer was then thread basted to a slightly larger rectangle of wool felt along the outside lines. I do this because when viewed from the right side, I always know where my outside edge is.

Now, viewing from that right side, you can see the white basting thread along the outside edges and some machine stitching which constitutes the branches and stems of my design. That stitching was done from the stabilized side, following the marked lines. This step not only quickly transfers much of the design, it also strengthens the fabric which helps to provide further support for the beads.

The machine stitched lines will be hidden beneath the beading, however, because of the beading pattern I was planning on using for the leaves, I decided to hand baste their shape (again following the marked lines on the wrong side). The hand basting can be easily removed once the leaf has been beaded.

The center branches have been beaded and about half of the leaves are now complete. As is my practice, I ALWAYS bead in a Q-snap frame....it was removed for this photo.

The beading is now completely finished. Before trimming the top, I decided to add hand embroidered french knots to the background for a little more texture.

Then I remeasured and remarked to assure a 8" x 10" shape before taking the final step of cutting away the excess fabric.

I used a rotary cutter with a wavy blade to provide more interest to the edge. Naturally, a backing is necessary to hide the stabilizer and protect the threads. So, using a darker green wool felt, I cut a rectangle 9 1/4" x 12 1/4". The top was then centered on this backing and thread basted together.

In this finished view, you can see how the layers are permanently held together by beading along the center wave cut edge. Remember, I cut the backing slightly larger than necessary......this gives me wiggle room for any uneven stretching that may occur during this final beading step. So, to complete the piece, I trimmed the outside edge of the backing to 9" x 12".

I hope some of you will be at Quilt Festival and take the opportunity to bid on this piece for a very worthy cause.

Project #2 is already designed, beads selected.....now all I need is some time to stitch it!! Stay tuned......


Julie Bagamary said...

Gorgeous piece Mary. Thanks for sharing your steps in making it.

Carol Sloan said...

I love this Mary! Can you bring it to Judy's?