So this is what I've been up to for the last two weeks and I just finished it today. This quilt is a birthday gift for my mother-in-law (which she would have celebrated over a week ago). It was the hub who asked me to make one for her, and since that's a rare occurrence, I jumped at the chance to oblige.
I chose this tree design because it reminds me of her. She is sweet and nurturing and has a wonderful love of life. And she very much enjoys cutzie and colorful things. I know she will enjoy the happy colors in all the leaves.
The tree trunks were patchworked into the quilt, but the leaves and sun were appliqued. That's probably not how real quilters would have done it but I didn't have the time to figure out how to work the leaves into the quilt itself. And since the sun was an afterthought (because I didn't like all the white space above the small tree), I had to applique that using some orange cotton and yellow fleece from my stash. I am very pleased with how the sun turned out and I think the fleece adds a bit of extra texture.
And then comes the part that always stumps me: how to quilt it. Instead of stippling (in which I lack confidence because I've only done it once before on this kid-sized quilt), I decided to quilt it in parts to give me more time to think. I quilted the tree trunks first using staggered boxes; I used my darning foot and worked my way up the trunks in straight lines.
I quilted the leaves next using a pebbling technique (very fun, but definitely time consuming) while adding a string of loops to the branches.
Then after a full day of pondering, I decided to simply outline the trees in the white space. I'm super excited about that decision. I think it adds dimension and calls attention to the focal points. Stippling would have looked great, I'm sure, but it tends to blend everything together. I wanted the trees to stand out.
I hand-bound the quilt in a light green, large floral print fabric that I bought on a visit to a fabric store with my mother-in-law in January. How fitting. And because I love little personal touches, I added two of them:
A small strip of little birdie fabric in the binding . . .
And a personalized tag stitched with embroidery thread . . .
Here is the back. This blue-green, small-flower print fabric again reminded me so much of my mother-in-law that I just had to use it for the backing. And I decided to tie in some of the prints from the front. Isn't it neat how you can see the outline of the trees on the back? I wasn't sure how it would look from the back, but I really like it.
This is my seventh quilt but only my second adult-sized lap quilt. I'm still getting the hang of my darning foot, but I was really surprised at how great the quilting looks even though the lines surrounding the trees are not evenly spaced. I'm a perfectionist (and an engineer), so I thought I would be bothered by the uneven stitching or the accidental zigzags. But I'm not. Maybe I appreciate these small little errors because each of them makes the quilt handmade and personal.
This was such a great quilting experience! I wasn't sure about quilting after my first one, but with each new quilt I gain confidence and knowledge and I can proudly say that I was a little sad to actually finish this quilt. On to the next one then . . .
This quilt measures 55 inches wide by 51 inches long.
Just for fun (and because I love this quilt so much) I'm submitting this quilt to the Blogger's Quilt Festival Spring 2010! Jump on over to see other quilts handmade by fellow bloggers.