Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Quilter's quandry

I'm participating the the Fab Little Quilt Swap, and as usual, I let my partner's likes mull around in my head for a few weeks without giving them much thought. Then every few days I'd have a browse through her favourites and re-read her likes, but was still not really trying and think of a design. Another week or so later, I sat down and jotted down some notes, and my design sketch developed itself into this (accompanied by lots of notes and amendments):


I then couldn't help myself and jumped straight into making it. It's wholecloth, and because it's black, I've used charcoal batting.


As is usually the case, the design evolved as I made the quilt. For example, the second ring of feathering was scrapped, because it would have been too broken up by the tree branches, and I decided to use a swirl filler ( a small version of my current favourite!) instead of the meandering feather for both filler rings. The inner feathers and swirls are Auriful 50wt Cotton mako, the blue meandering feather is Guterman 50wt cotton, and the corner feathers are Bottomline (because that was the thread I had in the right colour).


The basic tree shape hasn't changed (though it took a long time to draft!). I used Superior Glitter, a silver holographic thread.


I'm especially pleased with the patterns the interlinked roots make. It's reminiscent of a celtic knotwork design, though that's only by chance.


I did change the birds; My original plan was to applique them in deeper colours, but I decided that they would be too dominant, so instead they're wholecloth as well, but I used lighter threads to make sure they were still visible. I'm not overly thrilled with the colours, but I do feel that quilting them was the right call. I found a bird silhouette with an image search which approximated what I wanted, traced it, then adapted it significantly until it matched my mental image. Each one is double-quilted. I used 40wt variegated trilobal polyester (2 Superior Rainbows, one Gutermann).


Since these photos, I've bound the quilt (in solid black). After machining the bainding to the front, I quilted a line of charcoal Glitter in the binding's 'ditch' to add a bit of oomph, but it didn't stand out much, so after hand stitching the binding to the back, I hand threaded a brighter holographic thread through the charcoal Glitter, and that has helped, but the quilt still seems to lack some oomph.


I've considered adding some tiny crystals, but I don't think that will have the desired effect. I had planned to fill the trees and roots with the charcoal Glitter as well, but I think that will detract from the crisp lines of the tree. I'm interested in your thoughts on what I should or shouldn't add...

8 comments:

Karen M. Walker said...

oh....i love! how very beautiful!!!! ~karen

Lyn said...

It is absolutely beautiful, I would not add a thing!

Milly said...

I love your whole cloth quilts. How about some 'fruit' beading in the trees?

Hettie Pringle said...

Stunning!! Won't you show how you do the swirl filler please?

♥Duff said...

Gorgeous! I think you feel like nothing is standing out as a focal point? So, I think the theme here is definitely circular so I thought if you made the red circle stand out a little more that might bring the metaphor into focus, but I would worry that something else would need to be added otherwise a singular attraction would be too much. I like it the way it is because my eyes move around the quilt, exploring its message. What about adding a thin line of metallic thread through the red circle (the center where the feathers meet) and then just a touch of it in the birds' wings? That way, it would have an added slight glimmer as you walk up to it or around it, but not overpower it.
And I have to say that I would fall over dead if I received something like this. You have such a great sense of design that the answer will come to you soon!

Linda said...

I can't see exactly where you think this quilt needs something more. Your design is clear with the elements that need attention already standing out as they should. The background is interesting with various colors and quilting designs, that are in good contrast to the focal elements. It looks complete to me. But I will admit you have a much better eye than I do, and you're seeing it in person, which also makes a difference. Still, I believe that if you sent it to your swap partner just as it is, she would be thrilled with it. I know I would be!

karen said...

Perhaps you should just put this masterpiece away for a few days and then look at it with fresh eyes. It seems perfect to me!!!

M-R said...

Holy WOW! This is gorgeous, Emma! I'm not sure how I missed this and a bunch of your other posts, but WOW! Fantastic!