Donna from Canada, wrote me this email:
I have two questions about Paula's quilt, which perhaps you might answer by incorporating the responses into a future post.
1. I see that after you fuse the ferns onto the fabric, you have stitched around each finger of the fern. I cannot see the details, even though I have tried to zoom in. Is the stitching a zig zag stitch, or a blanket stitch? What length of stitch do you use? It looks very precise, but it does not look as though the stitches touch the fingers of each fern, yet I cannot imagine that the fusing is the only thing that keeps it in place. (Forgive my ignorance, as I am just learning to applique, and have only used shelf paper.) On my next trip to the USA, I intend to stock up on Wonder Under.
Perhaps you might be able to enlighten us on your process, but I don't want to keep you from your art, so you don't have to answer this email. I check out your site almost daily, so hope you can give the answers for some future post.
Although it may look like I stitched around ever finger of the fern, I did not. I use a straight stitch (3.0) and never sew down the fused top pieces.
Here's why the fabric does not come up. I use only hand dyed cottons (or silks) and they are unlike commercial cottons in that they do not have a factory coating like Perma Press, Easy Care, Wash and Wear, which would not wash out and would prevent perfect fusing. The PFD fabric is uncoated and the fibers of the cotton bond perfectly with the glue fibers of the fusible, Wonder-Under 805. Fusing is the only thing that keeps each fern frond in place.
My whole teaching and quilting career has been based on making designs with fusing. Think of them as surface design, like painting or stamping or silk screen, except not using paint, but using fabric instead. I have found that any shape idea that comes into my head can be cut and fused into a design.
Click photo twice for a really close up look.
A word about fraying:
When I fuse fabric, I iron the fusible onto the back of the fabric and then REMOVE the paper (after the whole thing has cooled) and never cut the fabric with the paper backing attached. Pulling the paper away from the cut shape encourages the edges to fray. Without the paper, the cut edges are less likely to fray.