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Spirit Totems - Tigard

A totem is a symbol, usually an animal, which serves as an emblem of an individual or group of people to remind them of their ancestry (or mythic past). Often this belief is accompanied by a legend or myth. Every animal has a certain personality and a totem may be chosen from a desire to absorb that character be it strength, cunning or wisdom. The process of making this project is similar to making a Mola (Central American reverse appliqué) but incorporates Seminole strip piecing or foundation piecing for the body of the image. You may use any one of three methods of appliqué – hand, fused or raw-edge machine appliqué; all three techniques will be covered in the class.

Please be courteous to others by arriving for class with the correct supplies. Contact me at 503-631-8806 or if you have any questions.

A Note to Students: Many students do not realize that once the teacher is paid, the shop offering a class makes little if any income on the class itself. The shop is relying on product sales to continue offering quality classes to you. Therefore, I urge you to patronize this shop when buying your supplies for this class as much as possible and remind you that big chain stores do not offer the variety of classes that the smaller shops do. Keep quilt classes alive by supporting this shop.

Thank you, Helene


  •          Fabric: You can choose any colors you wish but keep value in mind. You need a distinct contrast between the Seminole insert, the outline and the background panel. My philosophy is to bring more fabric than you will actually use, this will give you the opportunity to fine-tune your choices.
  •          Animal Silhouette(s): Solids or fabrics that ‘read’ as solid will work best for the basic silhouette (you can make just the primary silhouette or frame it with a secondary outline if you wish). Fat Quarters will be sufficient.
  •          Background Panel:  Choose a print that compliments your other fabrics. For a tribal or primitive look choose a graphic ethnic print but make sure it does not upstage your totem; a Fat Quarter is sufficient unless you are aiming to make your totem into another object such as a bag or a vest.
  •          Seminole/Strip-piecing Fabrics: These can be scraps left over from other projects (for foundation or strip-piecing) or quarter yard pieces for Seminole piecing. You will need an assortment of colors, at least 5 or more. If you do not wish to make your insert from foundation or Seminole piecing you can choose a very bold vivid print for your insert, however then you should choose a more subtle print for your background panel.
  •          Borders: You will most likely not get to the stage of adding borders in the class, however bringing some border fabric choices may be helpful to decide how you want to handle the borders later.  
  •          Thread: 100% cotton in a variety of colors to match your fabrics.
  •          Sewing Machine: With a piecing foot and a free-motion foot (if you intend to machine appliqué). Don’t forget your power cord and foot pedal!
  •          Regular Pencil: For tracing pattern.
  •          Rotary cutter, mat and ruler: to cut long strips for Seminole piecing.
  •          Embroidery scissors: To cut your reverse appliqué. These are absolutely necessary! I prefer the small-jawed stork type of embroidery scissors for better precision.
  •          Seam ripper: This tool is also absolutely necessary for this technique.
  •          Golden Threads™ Quilter’s Tracing Paper: A 12” wide roll will be sufficient.
  •          Masking Tape: Blue painter’s tape.
  •          Sewing Pins: Regular sized pins will do but you may want to bring small appliqué pins if you plan on doing hand appliqué.
  •          Pattern:$9 fee payable to instructor


The following supplies are technique specific based on the appliqué method you wish to use.

 Hand Appliqué:

  •          Graphite Paper (Saral brand):you can use smudge-proof graphite/dressmakers’ carbon paper to transfer the design instead of drawing on fabric with pencils if desired.
  •          Hand Appliqué Needle: Bring whatever type (Sharps or Straw/Milliners) you prefer.
  •          Appliqué Thread: Some stitchers prefer silk thread, others prefer fine cotton, bring colors that match your outline fabric(s)
  •          Basting needles (if you prefer basting to pinning)
  •          Small appliqué pins or basting thread

Fused Appliqué: I personally do not care for the stiff hand of fused appliqué preferring a raw-edged machine technique but if fusing is your preference you will need the following supplies; NOTE: Prewash fabrics for better adhesion, most adhesives do not stick well to fabrics with sizing.

  •          Fusible web of choice: One designated ‘Lite’ will create a softer appliqué, I recommend one with a paper backing such as Heat n’ Bond Feather Light or Soft Fuse.
  •          Light Box: This will be necessary to trace your pattern in reverse onto the fusible web (unless you don’t mind having your finished quilt reversed from the pattern).
  •          Teflon® Appliqué Pressing Sheet: To protect the iron and board; you can also use baking parchment or release paper.
  •          Scissors: You will want to bring a pair you don’t mind using on paper/adhesive covered fabric.

Raw-Edged Appliqué:This method yields a softer hand than fused appliqué and is almost as easy as fusing. The raw edges must be covered with satin or blanket stitching for a neat finish.

  •          Embroidery stabilizer: To help prevent distortion when sating stitching raw edges; alternatively, you can add the satin or blanket stitching during the quilting process in which case stabilizer will not be necessary
  •          Embroidery floss & hand embroidery needles (OPTIONAL): For those who enjoy blanket stitching by hand, the raw edge method is a perfect choice for a hand stitched finished edge.


Other Incidental Supplies:You may or may not need these things; some are for comfort others are for techniques you may or may not wish to utilize.

  •          Hand Embroidery Needles and Embroidery Floss: If you would like to embellish your totem with hand stitching.
  •          Decorative Threads and Embroidery Stabilizer: For decorative machine stitching if you wish to embellish by machine.
  •          Border Fabrics, Batting & Backing: It’s doubtful you will get to the stage of layering and quilting but you might. If you do, you will also need some safety pins to layer the quilt.
  •          Embellishments: Buttons, beads, etc; you probably will not get to the embellishment stage in class but you may want to audition embellishment articles.
  •          Lighting: additional lighting may be helpful; a portable Ott light would be appropriate.
  •          Extension cords and plug strips: check to see if these will be provided or if it’s advisable to bring your own.
  •          A Pillow: Many venues have less than comfortable chairs, a pillow may help.
  •          Lunch: This is an all day class, there may or may not be food available nearby.
  •          CHOCOLATE! They say dark chocolate is good for the heart; it’s certainly good for the soul.

Skill Level: beginner
Skill Details:
Instructor: Helene Knott

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Included Materials



This class cannot be purchased online. Please contact the store for more information.


  2414 Portland Rd,
Newberg, OR 97132

12185 SW Main St,
Tigard, OR 97223


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