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    Permalink 09:03:46 pm, by dtirico Email , 168 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: Background

    I was fortunate enough to be "artist in residence" at the 2013 Appliqué Academy. I taught my Buttercup Pin cushion to an amazing group of talented needle artists. I even think the wool bug bit a few and they will soon be producing felted wool appliqué creations. In the artist studio I sold over 100 Cherry Tart kits and over 30 students returned to the studio with completed applique ready to have their pin cushion stuffed and glued into the tart tin. What a fun time with some students leaving the Academy with a finished item … how novel. But the best part of the week was spending time with old and new stitching friends. Kris Gowen, Ann Holms, Helene Maszeroski and I met Kris’ friend Amy at the Trellis restaurant for some excellent local fare. The talk ran high and the chocolate flowed. Several of my students sent me photos of their completed projects … I love you guys. Thanks to Jaqui and Dana – hugs!






    Permalink 05:27:17 pm, by dtirico Email , 148 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: Background
    These Cherry tart pin cushions cooked up quickly with a bit of white wool, craft stuffing and tart tins. With only a little appliqué and embroidery for the stems, these pin cushions made sweet favors at a recent tea for quilters. The cherries are ½ inch diameter circles and the leaves are cut shapes from scraps. Matching wool crewel thread is used for the appliqué and embroidered stems. Once the appliqué is completed in the center of a 6 inch square of white wool, you simply use a running stitch in perle cotton (so the thread will not break when you pull it) and gather together stuffing with craft stuffing. Then, glue the stuffed yo yo into a ball and tie off securely. Once this ball is completed, use a hot glue gun to glue into the tart tin and garnish with a few red pins … absolutely yummy.


    Permalink 05:12:11 pm, by dtirico Email , 363 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: Background

    I have just returned from the Great Lakes Region Seminar in Green Bay Wisconsin and I have a lot to share.  Green Bay was an accessible, easy to navigate city and the ladies of the Green Bay Chapter were generous, hardworking and delightful to work with.  There were many talented stitchers in the region and I had an excellent experience teaching 3 classes.  When I left Green Bay I knew this … these people love their embroidery and their football.

    During my Heartsease class my students realized that their acetate templates would stick to the wall for easy storage … that was a fun jaw-dropper.  One of my students had previous penny rug experience and when I told her the surrounding panels were called lamb ears she said she thought they were called lamb tongues … well you can see how this degenerated.  This class was a lot of laughs.

    At one point we marched into Debbie Stiehler’s class modeling our lamb tongues … that class had a good laugh which made us very happy with ourselves. Later Debbie told us she was honored that she was the only teacher the "honor of tongues" was bestowed upon and I was relieved since I didn’t want to be tossed out of the seminar for misbehaving my very first time out.

    The week was also memorable because the Green Bay Packers quarterback, affectionately called “The Donald”, was on Dancing with the Stars.  Naturally we all had to watch.  The next day all the ladies were all a buzz with it … like I said - these people love their football.

    My room-mate, Barbara’s class was filmed for the 5 o’clock news and she was pleased to see her embroidery piece and her diligent students on the local news that night.  We gathered in our hotel room with new friends, glasses of wine and smiles as we watched our seminar and our passion on the evening news.

    If you have not yet attended an EGA embroidery seminar, you should add this to your bucket list.  There is nothing like being with your own peeps for a week of doing what you love.

    Thank you Green Bay!





    Permalink 09:59:03 am, by dtirico Email , 200 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: Background



    To pilot a class is a learning experience for both the students and the teacher. Last month I was fortunate enough to pilot a class at the Hoyt Library in Kingston PA with an experienced group of stitchers who provided me with excellent feedback.  As a result of their combined participation they have enhanced the experience for my class in Green Bay WI next month.

    Some of the students had been in a previous pilot class for my Harvest Penny Rug and they brought their finished penny rugs to class.  This was so exciting for me to see ... like so many children born of my mother rug.  Each rug had it's own personality and one student added an extra acorn.  But with such slight differences the rugs all looked the same at a quick glance. What a treat for the teacher!

    I want to thank my class for being so terrific and giving me corrections, suggestions and remaining diligent.  So kuddos to AliceRae Kutish, Helene Maszeroski, Kathy Baker, Joanne Oliver, Alice Knepp, Jill Bradbury and Regina Phillips! Next time I hope to see your finished penny rugs once again and realize that this teaching thing actually does work!


    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

    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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