I've chosen to enter Hiding in the Sycamore in the applique category of the Blogger's Quilt Festival. I originally posted about it back here.
This is a quilt I made on commission, inspired by an earlier one I made which also featured a possum in a tree. Every time I post about one of these, I get all sorts of comments from North Americans about the cute possum. The opossum you have there is not a true possum, and is totally unrelated to the our Australian natives. Despite the fact that in many outer suburban areas (such as where we are, near a forested national park) the possums make a noise running on the roof at night and like to eat the flowers and fruits growing in the gardens, they're popular.
I build the possum applique buy doing the tail, then the branch, then the 2 legs, followed by the tummy, then the arms and shoulders, and the head. This series of photographs of my original possum shows how it comes together.
To achieve the furriness, they're stitched on using free-motion, moving in a random zigzag pattern. I use variegated threads, and go around each piece twice, using two different variegated threads, one slightly outside, slightly overlapping the other. Different parts get different thread choices.
The eyes and nose are done with a pattern satin stitch, but the pink ears and paws are completely free-motion painted. Only the whiskers are hand sewn. The strawberry (like the remainder of the applique on the quilt) is done in a small buttonhole stitch, with matching threads. The applique is done prior to sandwiching, or the back would be very messy with the zigzags, but to maintain the soft edges, I free-motion quilt around the possum in a fine thread matching the background in a random zigzag.
The bluebirds were a special request from my customer. I was fortunate to find an odd floral in my stash, which included some red roses on the bright blue background, which worked perfectly to give the birds their red breasts. I 'hid' a third quilted bird above the appliqued pair, too.
Another personalised request was the quote which you can partially see in the photo above. It reads, "I see the moon and the moon sees me". Hence the appliqued moon! The words are quilted in a darker thread to help them stand out a little from the background quilting without being too dominant.
Finishing off the personal details are the sycamore leaves which are scattered around. I roughly traced a few in position with an erasable fabric marker, and free-motion quilted them as I was doing the background. They just might be my favourite part of the quilt.
The rest of the background is filled with a simple swirl, which fits conveniently into the gaps between the branches.
Thanks to Amy for running the Blogger's Quilt Festival again. I encourage you to check out all the beautiful quilts in each category, and to nominate then vote for your favourites.