Wool and Cotton Applique Adventure - The Beginning

Sue Spargo makes me kinda tingly all over.
Well, her work does.
{Maybe I should be specific with such candid statements. Keeps me outta trouble.}
When I met her at Cincinnati IQF in April, I was pretty proud of myself that I kept my composure and didn't act like a crazed groupie. At least I hope I didn't. 

When I bought this kit from her booth, I totally acted like I knew what I was doing.  Not sure why I felt the need to put on such a charade, but I guess I wanted to pretend, if only for a few minutes, that I belonged in her crowd.
I've never really worked with felted wool. If you count the time I shrunk the crap out of my son's Brooks Brothers wool sweater, then I guess I do have experience felting wool. It went from a roomy men's Medium to a 4T. Amazing and heartbreaking all in one wash load.

So, with the help of some online tutorials, I'm teaching myself the ins and outs of working with wool and cotton fabric applique.

First thing: freezer paper.
Any of you own freezer paper? I had never used it for anything.
When I went online to learn about freezer paper applique, there really wasn't much discussion about the peculiarity of ironing a coated paper to fabric and sewing around it. I was kinda of intimidated by the idea of it for some reason. But hey - I'm gonna dive right in.

This is the pattern. First, you lay the freezer paper over the pattern, with the matte side of the paper up, and trace each individual piece of the pattern.

I numbered them just in case, but it turned out I didn't really need them for this pattern.

Then I cut them out.

And placed them back on the pattern to make sure I didn't miss a piece.

This pattern uses both wool and cotton fabric. After researching techniques on the internet, I decided to do the needle-turn applique method for these cotton pieces. (The "OR" part of this page) For this method, iron the freezer paper template to the RIGHT side of the fabric with the shiny side of the paper against the fabric.

I used a dry iron with a medium heat.

And holy cow - they stick right to the fabric!

For the wool pieces, iron the templates to the pieces with the same iron setting. And - yes - it sticks to the wool just like the cotton.

For the wool pieces, cut around the template pieces on the tracing line. Peel off the freezer paper when done.
It. Comes. Right. Off.
Who was the first person to think of doing this?

For the cotton pieces, I cut around the templates with a 1/4" seam allowance for the needle turn method. DO NOT remove the freezer paper templates until these pieces have been appliqued to your block.

So here are most of the pieces cut out and ready to be positioned. I have been researching how to keep the pieces in place on the base so I can hand stitch them and the answer seems to be something like this glue or this glue. A little dab in the middle of each piece, I'm assuming, will keep things in place while stitching. Will report back on this situation.

And remember when I asked you guys what needles and thread I should use for this project? Well, smack my hiney - Sue put that info right in the pattern! Wasn't that practical and thoughtful of her? I need to go back to 4th grade reading and work on my comprehension skills.

Sue says....

For Cotton Applique
#11 straw needle

For Wool Applique
#24 chenille needle

This all sounds very intimidating. I'm not very educated on threads and needle sizes. This is something I will be researching over the next week or so. I'll share my findings with you, my lovlies.

So, that's what I've been doing this week. I'm pretty excited about this project, so I'm hoping to make good progress on it over the next few weeks. Will post my progress.


  1. This was such an informative post. People are always talking about freezer paper, but I didn't understand the application of it until your post. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Great tutorial! I love colors in this project...

  3. OH, have fun working up this project! I, too, love Sue Spargo's work.

    :) Linda

  4. I have done needle turn applique with this method, though my preferred way is back-basting - a whole other lesson! But I might suggest to you... you can also use the freezer paper on the FRONT of the applique piece. Just turn under the fabric to the edge of the freezer paper. Peel it off when you're finished. No trying to pull the paper out of behind the applique shape when you're nearly finished appliqueing it. So many ways to try, huh?

  5. It's a very nice post I have come across. I really like this post very much. It’s an appreciable post. Thanks for sharing. Keep blogging.
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