Textiles and the Triplett Sisters

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For the Love of Applique

Applique is fabric applied or "laid on" to a background fabric. The technique has been around for centuries and used on clothing, tents, animal blankets and other everyday items. One of the older surviving examples of applique is an Egyptian canopy quilt from 980. B.C. Different cultures developed different uses for applique and in the US the development of a “quilt culture” supported a long history of applique.

The applique quilt is usually “designed” as opposed to leftover scraps pieced together randomly. Applique quilts can be made of a repeated block or an album with a variety of different block patterns. An applique quilt may even be used to tell a story with different blocks having symbols or representing a family history. The rise of the Baltimore Album Quilt solidified the art form in the US quilt culture, even if the BAQ didn’t “tell your story” pre-packaged or pre-basted blocks could be purchased to create your art. Applique quilts sometimes have no blocks at all. It is a very flexible form of expression.

It’s no wonder that the applique art form has survived various new methods and approaches in quilting. For some it is the love of the technique, the love of the story, or the love of the design presented in fabric. Each year at the Houston Quilt Festival, the love of applique is showcased as the tradition continues.