I'm an applique lover
If you have been following my blog posts you will already know that I'm an applique lover. I love creating applique because it is different than anyone else's applique since I design from scratch. My designs are usually based on photos I take so I know no one else will have the same.
As you can imagine, over the years I have tried many different forms of applique. I started out with hand applique (needle-turn applique) which I love to do, however it is slow and would take me too long to create patterns if I had to make them all by hand. I still do it on occasion. In fact, last year I wrote some blog posts on how to do hand applique that you might find useful.
My first blog post was getting prepared - tools, drawing and cutting out. http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/needle-turn-applique-part-1/
The second part was the actual stitching and how to go about it: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/needle-turn-applique-part-2/
I had to include a post on how to make a quilter's knot which I use to begin my applique. There is a video with this one so you can see how it's done: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/quilter-s-knot-starting-and-ending-hand-applique/
And the last post was on circles which I create a little differently: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/needle-turn-applique-circles/
Since hand applique was a little slow to produce, I knew I had to move to machine applique. Since I already loved machine quilting, this wasn't a problem at all. I started out with satin stitch applique and stained glass applique (bias binding the edges). That was in a time before fusible web when I used an iron-on stabilizer to help secure the edges.
I also tried the freezer paper method which resembled hand applique and I rather enjoyed that, although I found it a little messy and fiddly so I moved on from there to fusible web applique. (If you need to know more about fusible web, read this article I wrote for my online school: Fusible Web)
Last year I also wrote several blog posts on how to use fusible web.
The first is requirements you'll need: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/fusible-web-requirements/
The next was preparation: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/fusible-web-applique-preparation/
The third was how to build an individual element on a Teflon sheet before applying it to the background: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/more-on-fusible-web/
Fusible web certainly made the satin stitching easier and stained glass applique too. However I find the satin stitch a little bulky for me and stained glass applique, although I still do this (my latest was the rose above), doesn't allow the detail that I was looking for. I much preferred blanket stitch to finish my edges. I used blanket stitch for many of my earlier designs but for the past fifteen years or more I have developed my own free-motion stitching style which I refer to as soft-edge applique. This is great for fine details like pointed tips on leaves and petals. I still use blanket stitch from time to time, but for the most part it is free-motion for me.
Here is another blog post showing both methods: http://learntoapplique.com/quilt-blog/30-day-challenge/blanket-stitch-and-free-motion/
Here are some photos of how I've used both blanket stitch and free-motion soft-edge applique.
What's your favorite method?