Monday, April 07, 2008

"Spring Blossoms" has made it's way Home

I was overwhelmed with sadness as I mailed my Spring quilt last week. I think it was mostly just the anxiety over spending 60+ hours making something that I was about to entrust to the Postal service to transport 3000 miles. But oddly, in the swaps I have done this last 9 months, there HAVE been items lost. I really did not want this to be one of them because there would not be a replacement quilt of similar content! This was a very fun project to make. I knew I was making it for a very deserving person, and a very good quilter. Now that Tami has received the quilt, I can show a few additional pictures and reveal a little more about it's making.
Here's the finished quilt, about 17"x21" I think. I started by making 36 of the little hand appliqued tea-leaf squares. Initially I planned on making another quilt very similar to this one that I made for myself this spring. As the sign-ups for this swap continued, and I realized I wanted Tami for my partner. I decided too that I wanted to convey a paler shade of spring than the deep tones of the tea-leaf flowers. Additionally, I decided that I needed to go a little more unique and original for her. She's got a very creative mind, and deserved my best at an original design. Her experience with her last swap was not stellar, and I think she nearly did not sign up for this one because of that. I hoped to rejuvinate her trust in the unknown.

When I began the quilt, it just had the larger center tree. Thanks to my crappy old iron, which left a small scortch mark on the very soft, and pale lavendar background, I had to concoct something to cover it up. With the finished quilt, you cannot even tell what had happenned. I have even nearly forgotten it myself! But I remember the day I saw the orange mark and I nearly cried! The tree still had no leaves, but I knew it was a lot of work to replace it, and I had no more of the lavendar fabric I used.

The entire quilt is hand appliqued (needle-turn) except for piecing the 16 tea-leaf squares together and sewing on the binding. I still cannot always sew my curves without something "wompus" happening (my own word for unruley streaching!), so I just do them by hand. Almost all of the leaves are of separate greens from my stash, with my favorive being the little dragonfly leaf. Just a little whimsey!

I know I showed this as my initial inspiration some weeks ago. It's a kind of gaudy little metal tree I have, but I love the swirls. So I embroidered them onto the tree. I added a few embroidered flowers too - it is spring afterall, somewhere! Here in Maine the snow is just disappearing. Flowers are at least a month away still. Where the little nest sits was a joint of two pieces of fabric that I had to cover up. I thought the robin's eggs and nest was such a springy cover for my blunder!
Hyacinths are one of my favorite flowers so I wanted to add some of them. I'm not sure if California really grows many of the bulbs, but then. I went to grad school in CA, but I wasn't really looking at the flowers much at that point in my life (too busy trying to eye a husband!)!!

Although I am practicing my free-motion quilting more lately, I consider myself to be a hand-quilter. This quilt is completely hand quilted, in lavendar and green threads. I just live quilting the background fabric - it is the softest cotton and the needle just slides through as it is stitched. In the end, I love that the clouds are in shades of purples, and that the quilting resembles rays of sunlight. To me, it is quinticential spring.
So my finishing touch was adding a row of te tea-leaf flowers at the bottom of the quilt. I hated to make all of them and not use any. They are all from the many greens and purples of my stash. The funny thing here is that I actually comtacted Tami to inquire how she made the yo-yo centers that she used on her Spring Fling center block - I wanted them for the centers of these flowers! She gave great instructions, which I later posted here on my blog. It only took me 5 tries to get 3 of them that were close to the same size.

I am anxiously awaiting (and being a perfect swapper and not looking at her blog) my spring quilt. I know where it is coming from obviously, but do not know what magic she is putting into it.


jovaliquilts said...

What a fabulous quilt! She will have her faith in swaps completely restored -- or at least her faith in you! It's a GREAT tree.

Anonymous said...

It turned out wonderful, good idea for cover the scorch mark instead of starting over! It's great you made her an original quilt, I sure she will cherish it!

Tami @ Lemon Tree Tales said...

I've been swooning over this quilt all day long. There's so many little details to look at. That dragonfly leaf is adorable! I thought that you had stamped it. I'm horrible at knowing what flowers are called, but my husband and I really liked the hyacinths! His first words were "Wow, that certainly took a LOT longer than a few minutes to make". LOL, I can see 60+ hours worth of work in this.

I'm still a little speechless, but THANK YOU!!!! You're the best! :-)

Unknown said...

Very lucky Tami! The quilt is just gorgeous: the appliqué, the hand-quilting, the stitchery,...
Feel free to choose me as the recipient of your summer quilt! LOL
Take care.

Kate North said...

It's a lovely piece - anyone would love to receive it. Like me, for instance :)

calamitykim said...

It is gorgeous! I know Tami loves it! You did a lovely job! It just sings!

Marit said...

What a beautiful quilt. You can see all the love that was stitched into this little sweetie! I love the design and composition, the color and the beautiful handquilting!!! I would have been both sad and scared to send this one away on its own. And good luck with the rest of your tea leaf blocks, I am sure they will end up in a pretty quilt to.

Helen said...

It is just stunning, really baeutiful. I am sure you have definately restored Tami's belief in swaps!