It doesn't happen very often that I have a vision for a completed quilt before I even begin it. That's what happened with my favorite quilt that I've made so far.
Remember at the end of last year when I made 500 pins for Philbrook? That little side gig? Seems like it was a dream, a million years ago when I look back on it. I learned SO much from that experience and will always cherish the opportunity I had. It was a little strange when I finished up the last pin, but I had other projects in mind to keep my hands busy! The one I was most excited about starting was this quilt.
When I finished up the Philbrook project, I found myself with TONS of scraps from the pins. I knew exactly what I needed to do with them. I needed to make one last tree. This one.
I started out by sorting through my scrap pile, ironing each piece, and laying each of them out. That alone took a good while. Next, I started piecing. Basically, I made about 10 large improv pieced blocks from the scraps, taking my time getting those seams consistent and pressing my heart out. You would think all of that piecing took the longest, but it was actually the next step that was the most time consuming. Figuring out how those 10 pieced blocks would fit together to form a large triangle was quite the head scratcher, but after much patience and tenacity, it all came together.
I knew I wanted to use leaf-themed fabrics to frame the heart of the tree. I used a 90s fabric I picked up at an estate sale and used the gorgeous outer leaf fabric that a dear friend gifted me. I added a few smaller trees in the background to create the illusion of a forest and I outlined each tree in a small half-inch strip of brown. I continued on adding the sky fabric, which I adore the effect of. That was also a gifted fabric that was absolutely perfect for this quilt.
Once I was done piecing all of that though, it felt like something was missing. I wasn't fully pleased with the transition between the leaf fabrics. They didn't seem defined enough so I started toying with my options. For me, it came down to two choices. Take apart everything I had done down to the first green layer of the tree, or applique something to the top. That's when it hit me! I had used tiny bias tape (a friend referred to it as microbinding, which I liked!) to bind each of those 500 little trees and still had some left over. It was the missing piece. This quilt needed some of that microbinding in there somewhere and appliqued over the trees was where it was supposed to be! I quilted the entire thing first and then hand-sewed on the bias tape. I ADORE it.
In regards to quilting, I did two different things. In the sky, I used my walking foot to quilt wavy lines, to give it an airy effect. I used three different thread colors there - mostly black, dark blue, and dark purple. On the trees, I used a dark green and quilted it in a spiraled triangle, much like I did many of the Philbrook trees. I think this may be one of my best quilting jobs to date.
I backed it in another (!) gifted fabric. It's hard to tell in the photo, but the backing is dark blue with black trees, owls, and moons all over it. A perfect match.
I bound it in a lemony-yellow tape with the help of Vinny, our newest family member. The yellow calls back to the glow of the moon, to me.
I am incredibly proud of this quilt. Its overall concept, the story behind it, its execution, and the final product. I was so excited to hang it last weekend and I'm excited to try and enter it in a few shows this year. It's a little intimidating to continue on with other quilts because I don't feel like anything will live up to this one! Although I have to remind myself that if I could make this one, I can make others that are just as powerful in different ways.
Onto the next one! Until later, my friends!