Applique is Story Telling

Applique is essentially story telling and I make up stories as I am making my applique pieces. Two blogs ago, I introduced you to the unearthed treasure of a hand dyed batik that was a gift from my brother about 30 years ago. (I asked, and he doesn’t remember giving it to me!!)

As I looked at this beautiful piece, I started thinking about the man in the batik, carrying a bundle. Where is he going? He is going to market, carrying bread to sell. While he is at the market, he sees a vendor selling baskets and stops to pick one out for his wife. Which one will he choose??

The original batik piece.

One of the challenges with this piece is using a color palette that is far outside my usual color range…Browns, orange/gold and burgundy. I have to admit that the color range was a nice change of pace!

I did a raw edge applique (not wanting to lose any of the center after I trimmed ragged edges) onto the 3/4″batik border around the center. The border batik was a fat quarter in my stash that I loved, but had only used a few bits of it.

Flanges added. Flanges are a great way to add depth and interest.

The Moda grunge background is “Mon Ami Grunge Moutarde” and a really nice complement to the orangey gold of the hand dyed center. The color does not photograph well, so there are some inconsistencies in the photographs.

The baskets are a 50% reduced size from the Esther Aliu Juliette pattern. I was going to do them all in he same color combo, but couldn’t decide which one, so why not use them all? Vendors make a variety of color choices to please their customers. (I know I have done that!)

The baskets are all edge turned and machine appliqued. Three different variegated threads were used to stitch the baskets to add texture in the piece. Adding the 1/4″ flanges also brought more texture and interest.

My three threads. The one on the left was used for echoing the melons. The middle one was used for the rest of the quilting.

Now I am ready to quilt and get this wonderful piece up on a wall! First things first! SID around the center elements, which is all the quilting I am doing in the center. The batting is two layers of bamboo batting, which is what I have on hand. It gives a nice poof and definition to the center batik. SID around the narrow border and the baskets, as well.

Stitching with my Tiara

Then some McTavishing between the baskets, further emphasizing the center piece (which is the “star” of this piece, of course) using the lightest of the applique threads. The melon shapes are echoed with the deepest of the applique threads.

The binding is a 2 3/4″ wide strip in the burgundy batik with a deco stitch in burgundy to finish up.

Happy quilting and story telling!



  1. Ohhh a wonderful story Lennea, which was the basket for? to carry things to the market? or a gift for his wife? I like the thought it was a gift LOL Your tiny piece of African art is now preserved for another generation to enjoy. I Hope you have printed this off to attach to the back Lennea. This story must go with the hanging. Thanks again for such a GREAT read. My first day I have been able to take things easy so it was a joy to sit and read your blog. Cheers Glenda PS can yo add the photo of the finished piece as well in a message . Would be lovely on WOW for others to see.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Definitely a gift for his wife. I don’t know if that’s culturally correct, but I like that story! Posted the completed piece in your last WoWs and WiPs. Good luck on your move!


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