Sunday, January 30, 2011

... seeing the forest for the trees

do.good stitches: trees quilted

at long last, i have managed to finish my tree quilt for the do. good stitches charity bee. yay! i don't know why, but it always takes me longer to finish quilts than i expect it to. i have this naive optimism when i set out making my quilt sandwich that, in just a few hours, the whole thing will be finished. sure. cut to a week later as i'm on the third day of hand sewing the binding thinking why in the world did this take me so long?

i think i can answer that with a little more clarity right now, and the key is my sewing machine. while i love my little project runway edition brother, it's time for me to admit it's just not cut out to be doing any major quilting. i swear, there were times this week when i wanted to throw the freaking thing across the room. i can baste the bejeezus out of my quilt and use my walking foot and go as slow as a snail, and every quilt still manages to bunch and pucker in the worst of ways. i spend so much time ripping out seams and cursing up a storm, but going back to redo areas doesn't even help that much. my only consolation is that washing and drying the quilts makes the most egregious mistakes look slightly less so, and i've gotten pretty good at taking photos that don't show you the worst of it. but still, it hurts my heart to see a quilt i've spent so much time on end up looking less than perfect, and it is doubly hurtful when it's a group quilt for a charity project where i want us to be represented in the best of ways. (i know, i know, it's not really that bad, but as fellow quilters i'm sure you can sympathize with this kind of thing, right? also, sewing machine recommendations are welcome... i'm leaning towards a bernina, but still looking around.)

so anyhows, despite my griping, i do love how this one came out. i love how each block is so different, and yet they all look so perfect together. i love the variety and harmony in color. and, despite the flaws, i love the quilting. i chose to do random "straight" line quilting since it seemed like anything too geometric would interfere with the blocks. in retrospect i should have quilted it a bit tighter, but that would have made me lose my mind, and this was enough to keep the whole thing together and functional and able to withstand many years of some good use.

trees binding

i also love the binding. i chose a nice, bright yellow kona cotton (actual color name long forgotten... i've got to get one of those color cards) to set off and complement the greens in many of the trees. and also, i just love yellow. so there.

trees back

and i love the other side, too! mari made some adorable blocks that i featured on the back of the quilt surrounded by this simple tone-on-tone green fabric.

tree quilt back

see the little frogs under the trees? adorable!

what else? the quilt measures 48 x 48 inches, so each block is 12 x 12. i will package this little baby up this week and ship it off to wrap them in love, a very deserving charity, indeed.


  1. LOVE it! Especially the yellow binding - that brings it all together so very well.

  2. Love love the tree quilt!! So adorable.

    I upgraded my sewing machine last year, and it's improved the finish of my quilts (and all my sewing) about a million percent. I have a husqvarna (emerald 122, I think) which I absolutely love. I think Bernina is best if you don't want to replace your sewing machine for 30 years, but I just couldn't afford to double my budget for a machine that would last longer.

    Oh, and I have a shade card addiction. If you search my blog for the kona card I think there's a link to the etsy seller I got it from - she was able to order one for me, as I think they can be hard to get hold of.

  3. Oh, that is one of the sweetest quilts I have ever seen! I am on the fence about quilting, and that one inspires me :-) I really like the random straight line quilting, too.

  4. There is nothing more frustrating than being held back by a sewing machine. A Bernina would be wonderful, but they are soooo expensive. I recently upgraded from my entry level Brother to a midrange Janome and I love how much better my machine is coping with big chunks of fabric and wadding.

    Hope you find something that works for you.

  5. I love it, really! And, yes, the yellow is great. I love my kona color card - use it all the time. And, yes, sometimes for identifying fabrics already in my stash.

    You know, I sew on a mid-range Kenmore (sears) machine. Kenmores are made by Janome, but cheaper. I've been very happy and it was so affordable. Someday I think I'll upgrade to a fancy Janome, but that's far off!

  6. The yellow binding really looks fabulous, especially against the white! Those blocks are super cute, too :)

    I had a twinge of jealousy when I read that it only takes you a few hours to finish a quilt once it's sandwiched. I'm working with a very basic Brother and I don't think it could handle machine-quilting. So, I resort to hand-quilting everything. I love stitching, but sometimes it just takes FOREVER!

  7. The random straight line quilting and the yellow binding are just perfect! Love it.

    And thank you for your kind words and the link:)

  8. The quilt is fantastic! I've had my Janome (Memory Craft 6600P) for just over a year now and I am very happy with it. I wanted a Bernina but for the amount I had to spend I found I could get more machine by going with another brand.