I almost hate to admit this; I drink instant coffee! In a world of Double Tall Skinny Lattes, Iced Cocoa Cappuccinos, and Espresso Con Panna, I heat a cup of water and stir in a scant teaspoon of coffee crystals. It’s not too strong, just the way I like it. Plus, it’s fast.

This cheap coffee fix started with the arrival of our youngest son. He didn’t sleep through the night—no matter what we tried—until he was well over two years old. A quick cup of java became my early-morning friend.

When traveling, which is a significant part of my job, a weak cup of coffee is difficult to find. I end up ordering a cup of water along with my cup of coffee, diluting the coffee as soon as possible. Drinking coffee that is full strength gives me the jitters.

“What,” you are thinking, “does this trivial information have to do with sewing or quilting?” There’s a connection, it may be a stretch of the imagination, but here it is!

When preparing for a TV show on applique techniques, my plan was to include as many edge-finishing techniques as possible. Creating a workbook where you could practice the applique options was my plan. One of my favorite finishes is nontraditional. It looks like it was created after sipping one too many cups of full-strength coffee–see here’s the coffee connection! Truth is, the applique finish is sewn with a zigzag stitch at a free-motion setting. I call it the Espresso Applique –it’s a  fun technique! Not to worry, non-coffee lovers can enjoy this creative stitching, too.

After fusing an applique design to your fabric, use these tips:
• Select the zigzag stitch with a stitch width between .05 and 3.0 (it’s always great to test the stitch).
• Lower the feed dogs to the free motion setting. Check your owner’s manual for specifics for your machine.
• Move the fabric from side to side, approximately ¼”-1/2” as you stitch. You, rather than the machine, control the stitching. (The DVD or TV show details this step best.)

• Use creativity in turning corners. You don’t need to have definite pivoting points!

This is just one of the 18 applique techniques found in the workbook/DVD/TV series entitled Applique Know-How. Besides the basic applique techniques, here are a few of the other options: Decorative Stitch Bling, Folk Art Fancy, Yarning for Attention, Bold ‘n Bias, Button Bonanza, and Confetti.

Rather than a book, we created a workbook, which includes durable laminated sheets with instructions. I encourage you to try out a new applique technique, and secure your sample to the laminated sheets with double-sided tape for future reference. It’s great to try out a new technique before making a total commitment. The workbook/DVD combo has been a popular learning tool with viewers.

What’s your favorite applique method? Please post your thoughts. We’ll choose a random winner on Friday with the prize being Applique Know-How Workbook.

With my lack of good taste in coffee, I’ll never be a Barista. Yet, I can vicariously be an Applique Barista with the Espresso Applique stitch. Creative sewing is always in good taste.

Bye for now,