Marianne : “As a little girl, I always loved making things with my own hands. Watching my mother and my Irish and American grandmothers expertly stitch, crochet, knit and craft, it is needless to say that my creativity was nurtured and tenderly encouraged. After studying fashion design in Dublin and Paris, career opportunities led me into other professional areas, but I continued to stitch and craft throughout the years. A few years ago I discovered “penny rugs” and fell in love with the simple folk art style of appliqué and the homespun textured wools that are so characteristic of these designs. Dating from the mid 19th century, penny rugs were made from all kinds of scraps of felted wool. And so, I started making my own penny rugs using scraps of wool felt.
I really am a « bits and pieces” quilter. I save all my favorite scraps of fabrics, wools and threads, even the tiniest pieces. I love rooting in my scrap box looking for a small piece to catch my eye. Most of my designs begin with a colour idea, quite often inspired by a length of multi-colored embroidery thread or a piece of pattered fabric. From here I choose my palette of wool felt colours, mixing plain and heathered textures in the same colour range. Then, I add the fabric scraps and threads and I am ready to start cutting.
Many of my designs are simple decorative cushions or banners combining wool felt appliqué and pearl cotton stitching.
I love working with Aurifil Lana threads as it is an ideal thread for folk art style appliqué. It’s soft texture matches perfectly with wools or woolfelt and produces a beautiful homespun finish to any creative wool work.
Because it is on a spool, I use it for both machine stitching, when assembling quilts and bags, and for all kinds of hand quilting and embroidery, in particular blanket stitch appliqué. There is a beautiful palette of nearly 200 colours to choose from so I have found a perfect match for every single woolfelt colour that I work with.
Because Lana thread is a little thicker than the usual embroidery thread, I recommend using a larger needle (90 or 100) for machine stitching. For hand embroidery, I recommend using needles with a slightly larger eye.