Charley Harper Water Drop Quilt – 17 Organisms

It’s a lot of fun figuring out how to replicate each one of the organisms, except when my plan goes completely awry.  One of my favorite organisms is the one with the ruffly edge and the giant hairs sticking out.  Hand applique was not an option for me on this one, but instead of my usual technique, I decided to try fusible, which was a huge mistake.  Even the lighter fusible versions result in a stiff feel, and are practically impossible to stitch through by hand.  I finally managed to finish it, and then ripped the whole thing off and did it over.

The technique I use to applique these more elaborate shapes is sort of weird, but it works well for me, and ends up being pretty soft and stitchable.  First trace the outline of the motif on the wrong side of the fabric.  With a small brush, apply a light coat of fabric glue right on the line, no wider than 3/16″ (or less if you can manage).  I use Aleene’s Fabric Fusion, because I find Fabri-Tac too thick for this purpose.  Let the glue dry, or blow it dry with a hair dryer if you’re impatient like me.   Now cut out the piece (the glue will prevent it from raveling) and lay it on a sheet of paper, wrong side up.  Brush a thin layer of glue on the very edges of the piece (again, no more than 3/16″) and using your hand, press the piece onto the background fabric and let dry.  Now you can stitch it down near the edge — sometimes I do this by hand using blanket, running, or back stitch; other times I use the sewing machine.  In the case of one organism (green with white edge and French knots), I ended up painting the edges of the piece, which replaced the first application of glue.

There are 33 organisms in this drop, so I’m excited to be halfway done.

11/11/11 UPDATE: I have just completed 25 organisms — see this post for new photos.


The original illustration

Previous Post
Next Post