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    To finish is devine


    Permalink 06:53:50 pm, by dtirico Email , 506 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: Background


    They say to quilt is human and to finish devine ... and I find that to be true. I have to admit that I start more projects than I finish, however well intended I believe I am.  My studio, like many of my comrades, is filed with UFO's, fabric I just had to have ... and of course tons of wool.  But, as you see pictured here, I have finally finished my tree of life, and what a journey it has been.

    I started this quilt in a class at the Elly Sienkiewicz Appliqué Academy in February of 2007. The instructor, Judy Severson, is a marvelous designer of broderie purse appliqué and I had always wanted to make her tree of life design.  When it came up again on the schedule, I signed right up completely ready for the adventure.

    Broderie purse is a form of appliqué which became popular in the 17th century when fabric was hard to come by.  When Chintz fabrics were bought they were shared between needleworkers who cut the flowers from their backgrounds and stitched them to plain muslim fabric in order to stretch the yardage.  It seems that economics will often push people to be innovative and creative, and this is what happened with broderie purse. In French "broderie perse" means Persian embroidery, but it also came to refer to the lovely appliqué of printed chintz flowers and other motifs onto a solid fabric. Early examples of broderie purse have been discovered in India, but it became popular in the US in the colonies.

    Once in class, I had plenty of fabrics and set off to designing my tree using batiks on a warm beige background fabric that incorporated some greens and browns.  Of the fabrics I brought to class, I had leaves, flowers, and a variety of earth tones for the rocky mound and the tree branches.  Once the class was over it took me months to locate other fabrics to breathe life into my quilt including birds, bugs, butterflies, crawly things and the like.  When the design was complete I had used 18 fabrics to craft the quilt and all the appliqué was done using silk thread and straw needle in the style called "needle turn". When I was almost finished with the appliqué, I was so familar with the color palette that I actually bought the batik fabrics for the borders without the quilt, and they matched perfectly.

    After the appliqué was complete I had to decide on the quilting.  Many quilters use shadow quilting, but I was never a fan.  I set out to use a contrasting grid set on point to offer an angular change from the soft curves of the flowers and leaves. I have to say it pleases me ... and this is where my friend Helene would say "It doesn't take much" and naturally, I agree ... it doesn't.

    For those of you who are interested in learning this technique, I recommend the appliqué academy and hightly recommend Judy Severson. Learn more at http://www.ellysienkiewicz.com

    Happy Stitching!



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    About Deborah

    Deborah Tirico is an avid quilter, needle artist and instructor. A serious student, Deborah has taken classes in embroidery, piecework, appliqué hand and machine quilting. In 2006 she launched originals designs in felted wool appliqué with embroidery embellishments under the name Pemberley House. Her area of specialization is the creation of a sculptural look to felted wool appliqué by using needle tilting techniques and the layering and stuffing of wool pieces. Unlike the primitive felted wool embroidery popular today, Deborah’s designs feature matching and overdyed wool threads and embroidery embellishments which enhance and define the clarity of her subject.
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