I started with these two marbled squares that were a not-too-successful attempt at creating a flower effect. Hopefully I could make them look more like flowers with Ann’s machine embroidery method. Following her directions, I backed these with WonderUnder, trimmed away excess fabric and tried them out on different background fabrics.
Now that I'd chosen the background, I could see I needed to trim away a bit more of the yellow. Once that was done, I arranged and fused the flowers in place. Rather than use a hoop or the type of removable or cutaway stabilizers Ann suggested, I fused Decor Bond to the back since I've had such good luck with it in the past.
And now the stitching begins - all free motion with a #100 Top-stitching needle as recommended in the book. I was afraid that would be way too big, but with the two layers of fusibles, the smaller needle I tried first just frayed the cotton thread. Ann tells you to run your stitches just over the edge to help secure the raw edge, even though it is fused. That works fine for flowers and leaves and such but I don't know how well it would work on other types of applique. I started with dark thread to outline "petals," then changed to paler threads to highlight.
Here I'm building up more stitching. I tried to add a little more depth in the spaces between petals on the larger flower with a more variegated dark thread from my Oliver Twist collection. I introduced a more aqua blue into the smaller flower which I'm not sure really worked all that well. After the stitching is completed, Ann suggests blocking the piece with steam before layering for quilting. There was no draw up or distortion with the Decor Bond on the back so I skipped the steam when I pressed.