I was in the toy department doing some shopping for the Easter Bunny (I thought I'd help him fill a basket for my grandson ) when I found myself looking at the coloring books and my thoughts drifted to quilting (somehow they always do ).
I consider myself very fortunate because I got along very well with my mother and father-in-law, my husband got along very well with my parents, and our parents got along with each other! We lived next door to my in-laws and were able to spend alot of time with them. My mother-in-law was a quilter. She did all of her piecing on her treadle sewing machine and appliqued by hand. Ma (as everyone called her), would then either tie her quilts or send them to a longarm quilter to be finished. I do wish she had lived long enough to see that I became a longarm quilter!!!
When I was looking through the coloring books I was remembering that when Ma was looking for an applique pattern she would look to coloring books. The baby coloring books with the large, plain pictures work the best. Ma would choose a picture and trace it onto heavy cardboard to make a template. Then she would trace the pattern onto fabric, cut it out and applique it to a square. She would typically use twenty squares, placed in a four by five grid, to create her quilts.
If you find a coloring book picture you want to use as a pattern I suggest you trace it onto plastic template material instead of cardboard. You may also want to apply a product like Heat and Bond on to the back of the fabric before cutting so you can fuse the applique pattern to your block and it will hold still for you while you applique. Those books aren't just for coloring anymore!!!