Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Jen's Tree All Grown Up

It was a big project, now it's a big quilt and that means this will be a big post! Lean back and enjoy :)

The quilt was presented at my March guild meeting, but unfortunately, I didn't get any good pictures from that, so what follows was taken at night, on the floor of my apartment :)

One thing I will point out is that I changed some things from this photo: 1) see the zig-zag line to the left of the trunk? I didn't like the look of that falling leaf, too unnaturally straight, so I took it out and did a softly looping float-to-the-ground line. 2) not/or barely visible on this photo, there was unquilted space around the crown of the tree - I filled most of that in and even quilted over the edge onto the border and am happy I did - I didn't want batting to float around the edge in 5 years!

On my home floor it looks like this:

To start the story at the beginning, my friend Jen asked for this quilt and picked some photos of the net, one of which happened to be a wall-hanging from Anne of Film and Thread, one of the blogs I love to keep up to date with. I used her tree shape and the fallen/falling leaves as inspiration but chose a different (simpler) leaf shape since I appliqued instead of Cherokee printed, and I added a border. Anne had pebbled the ground around the tree trunk, and I knew I needed to pebble something because when Jen first asked for a quilt, it was in reaction to my Mossy Monkey Mechanic, which is pebble-central. So to not copy Anne entirely, I pebbled around the leaves/crown of the tree. Oof, lots and lots of pebbling (I calculated that I used roughly 1.5 km of plum thread doing the pebbling, based on the # of bobbins I used (I went through 1 and a half spools of 1200 m thread of the plum colour alone, but that includes other quilting and some piecing).

I knew from the beginning how I wanted to quilt the trunk:

Next came all the pebbling - a loooooong time quilting those! My foot got so hot from the pedal some days, I had to stop because it burned even through the sock (luckily, no meltdown of wires in the pedal!)

I quilted in the ditch around the squares in the border and it looks really puffy when you bent down to eye-level (does a quilt have an eye-level??) - more so than in this photo!

I was stumped about what to quilt in the empty space between leaves and ground. I considered flowers (too cheesy), a mountainous horizon (too clichee) and ended up putting in what I consider the best compliment in the world: "Stay as you are"
To not have that be too cheesy, I made the letters organic, so to say, by having them sprout leaves, flowers of different shapes, have roots penetrate the ground etc. I figured it wouldn't be quite so obvious and would have to be pointed out to most people, so it's a little code-compliment to my friend. Plus it gives her something to discover everytime she looks at the quilt (though I stopped before I started having raccoons poke out of the letter A or woodpeckers chopping away at the T... :)

Then I had some leaves falling, either quilted or appliqued, also inspired by Anne:

The leaves are rough-edge appliqued, and I bet they would look a lot nicer hand-appliqued since I like clean edges, but I figured rough edges are more natural and I would still be appliqueing leaves now if I'd done it by hand.

The backing shows the quilting nicely in the eggplant-coloured space, and the leaves puff out against the pebbled background.

I used up almost every scrap of fabric Jen gave me! Hence the patch-worked, random backing :)

I delivered it last Friday and wow, was she happy! That's the best about quilting, next to finishing a quilt... when the recipient really really likes the quilt and appreciates the work and shows interest in how it was done... makes me absolutely happy :)

So, between this quilt and the raffle quilt (I'm at 1364$!!!!!!!!!!!), I've been busy, and on top of all that, I'm moving across an ocean in less than 2 weeks, so my fabrics are packed and there won't be any quilting (or a bare minimum if I manage to squeeze a small project into my hand-luggage) for the next 6 weeks (shipping things by freighter takes a long time!).

Please stay tuned, I'm sure I'll come up with something to blog about :)

Oh, and I know someone will ask: I think it's around 75" x 100", which is supposed to fit a queen-sized bed with 1 foot overhang all around. I used polyester batting to get the fluffyness - I always buy the thick/high loft stuff and tear it in two. This is my first quilt using Connecting Threads thread for the whole thing. I had a lot of breakage and was warned correctly that this thread is very "dusty", but I do love the many colour choices. The breakage got less when I slowed down a bit... my my, you should see me pebbling, I'm just zooming around in circles! :)


Kim D. said...

Wow, your quilt is gorgeous! I haven't visited for quite some time, but wanted to stop and say your tree quilt is awesome. Love the variation in the quilting you've added. Good Job!

Anne at Film and Thread said...

Oh my, oh my, oh my! This is just stunning. And I don't think when you started it that you ever mentioned how BIG it is. I really love how you did the trunk of the tree. I love the words you quilted in it. Um . . . pretty much everything about it!

I feel like I'm going to miss you with you being across the pond, so hurry up and post something when you get to Germany so that we know you arrived safe and sound.

Leslie said...

oh my goodness this is amazing. you id such a beautiful job. i am so in love with the quilting you did on the tree trunk. it is amazing....absolutely amazing!!!!

Pokey said...

I'm so glad you took the time to post all these close up photos, this is an absolutely wonderful accomplishment, and a true work of art. Beautiful!!
I hope your move goes well, too. Please keep up your blog, I'm sure there will be further influences of creativity in new surroundings!

Crispy said...

OMGosh Christine this quilt is amazing!! I love all your choices for the quilting and am happy you left out the cheesy and cliche stuff :0)

So where across the ocean are you moving to and why? A new job opportunity????


Unknown said...

OMG...there should be hundreds of postings on this quilt. How long did it take you to do this? It's stunning to repeat from the above comments!
Where are you going across the pond dear girl? What a surprise.

I'll be moving too, but to the cottage. All the packing! Hope you get a studio room when you move.\