Friday, May 28, 2010

trees in bloom quilt :: complete



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.



32 comments:

  1. I love everything about this: trees, sun, different quilting patterns, the back!, the scrappy leaves; it's all great!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wow, wow and wow. What an original and striking quilt. I love it.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I love the quilting, it really makes the quilt!!! Simply lovely.

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is a really fantastic quilt! In fact, I was surprised when I saw phrases like "not how real quilters would have done it" and "the part that always stumps me" because I thought it looked like a "professional" quilt. Honestly, you need to listen to your inner creative voice, because it's telling you all the right things.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I love this! What creativity you have and what a dear gift for your mil. Thank you for sharing.

    Joyce

    ReplyDelete
  6. I love how you tell about your decisions regarding the quilting designs. Your post shows that you put a lot of thought into all stages of this quilt. Thanks for sharing this quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  7. This is so cool! What a wonderful gift. I love the way you quilted it! (And I admit I chuckled when you said "the part that stumps me." Stumps! Ha! Cause it's a tree!")

    ReplyDelete
  8. this is so great...i love it. that tree design is awesome. i love your quilting as well.

    ReplyDelete
  9. very cool --your quilting is just perfect for the quilt!! http://erinlebeau.blogspot.com/

    ReplyDelete
  10. I really like the quilting in the quilt. It is a fun quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Love the tree trunks and the quilting!

    ReplyDelete
  12. This is an amazing quilt. I love the quirky nature and fun look of it. Your MIL is very lucky to have this given to her.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Fantastic! I love the way you adapted as you went. I believe that's the best part of creating a quilt!

    ReplyDelete
  14. How fun and creatvie! I like your quilt

    ReplyDelete
  15. Everything about this quilt is wonderful!...tell your mother-in-law I am jealous!

    ReplyDelete
  16. That is a great quilt and a wonderful inspiration! The quilting is perfect for the design, I love your sun, and the idea of quilting the pieces separately is genius! This is my first time here, but I"ll definitely be back to see what else you create!

    ReplyDelete
  17. What a fun quilt!! Thanks for sharing :)

    btw ... what is the name of the fabric you used on the Elephant Parade quilt?? I'ts adorable!!

    ReplyDelete
  18. Amanda ArnoldJune 01, 2010

    Oh Shel...I can't believe how much I've missed you doing but you NEVER seize to amaze me! You are such an amazing crafter and SO creative! I wish I had half of your talent! Everything looks amazing! Love you all and miss you more! Give the boys hugs and kisses for me :)

    ReplyDelete
  19. WOW!!!
    So fun - so creative - so Beautiful!!

    ReplyDelete
  20. Amazing! Your creativeness in designing this one turned into a perfect piece! I love the way it all turned out. How fun and exciting for your mother in law.

    I have enjoyed looking at your other quilts too :o)

    ..I am off today so will hopefully get to some others on the quilt fest. I have some drawing orders to work on and then clean house... Now that our children are grown and my hubby and I are empty nesters, I can't be a "stay at home mom", but I would love to be a stay at home wife :o)

    Blessings & Aloha!
    If you have a moment to come over, please let me know by leaving a comment at my post. It was fun meeting you!

    ReplyDelete
  21. Oh Michelle! I can't believe you made this for me. I absolutely love it. I love the uniqueness and playfulness in the design. The first thing I thought of when I saw it was that it reminded me of my 2 special grandsons. I think the trees are symbolic of the boys' growing, blossoming, and happiness. What a treasure.

    ReplyDelete
  22. You are a quilt artist! The design is great and you did a wonderful job with the quilting. Thanks for showing this quilt.

    ReplyDelete
  23. You amaze me over and over with your creativity and originality!!! I wish I had half your talent. I love the quilt -- it is perfect for Shae's Spring Birthday! The colors are fun and I love your idea for the sun. Your originality makes every project special ... no two are alike. I love hearing all the thoughts you put into making them. Makes me believe that maybe one day I can make a quilt myself! :)

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow - this is only your 7th quilt? It's incredible! So creative and imaginitive. The quilting you've done is stunning. I love the sun!

    ReplyDelete
  25. I'm in LOVE!! This is so whimsical and fun and pretty and I just love it! I am SURE your MIL loves it too!

    ReplyDelete
  26. Oh wow! So glad I clicked on your link! This quilt is amazing! Simply Awesome! I love everything about it. Thanks so much for sharing.

    ReplyDelete
  27. What a unique and happy quilt! I bet your MIL loves it!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Beyond your super creative and personal piecework, you are truly a quilter! And only a week late...that doesn't even count as late. The quilt says so much about relationship...these are the ties that make the world bloom.

    ReplyDelete
  29. Such a fun, whimsical, funky and creative quilt! I love it!!! Thanks for sharing. ; )

    ReplyDelete
  30. What a great quilt! I really love it!

    ReplyDelete