****If you read this already on my WIP post #13 skim to Part Two on the finished quilt!
***** PART ONE
How I design my quilts goes something like this:
1. Have a dream about it.
2. Think about it for a day or two.
3. Just go for it and start! LOL
The quilt I am working on now took me a couple of weeks to figure out how I was going to do it. For those that know me I am not a procrastinator at all. If I think of something I will just go ahead and do it the next day or within a week. For some reason that didn’t happen with this quilt.
I love Birch trees. Actually I love all trees. I have seen a lot of quilts with trees in them done with different methods. I wanted to try something new to me and not sure if it’s new to you as well. I am right in the middle of this quilt but I wanted to share the steps as I am going along. If you wish to follow me come along and try something new.
The first thing I did was go for a walk around my wooded area and take pictures of birch trees. Just the top half of the tree. I didn’t really want the lower trunk part but the branches and not to many!! Then in my photo shop program I made it black and white. I then went and made it the size that I wanted. Went to my poster program and printed out lots of sheets that I tape together to form the print in the size that I want. This was my template for my branches! I eliminated a lot of the smaller branches and just outlined the larger ones.
Birch tree photo
I had some left over white batting (I use Quilter’s Dream Batting) and with a light box, outlined the branches one by one on little pieces of batting with black marker.
Batting is marked and ready for next step!
I then covered the batting with two layers of white cheese cloth. There is nothing under the batting, just cheese cloth and batting. After this step I cut up small pieces of black tulle to add to the edges of the branches. This gives it a shadow effect. On top of that I cut small pieces of black hemp and placed them here and there on top of the cheese cloth and black tulle. Then I added one more single layer of cheese cloth on top of that!
tulle and black hemp
last layer cheese cloth
I then took white thread with my darning foot, feed dogs down and just went back and forth to form what looked like bark. If you look at birch trees they look like the bark is all going in the same direction. Once I liked the way it looked, I cut along the line of my tree limb. I did learn, with all my threading, that it shrunk my branch quite a bit so the next ones I marked bigger so they would shrink to the right size.
Last I added some fibers of grey and black to the top to give it even more texture.
Extra fibers add more texture to the branch
I had purchased a beautiful piece of dyed fabric going from grey to black to put my branches on. I am going to leave you here till my next post to explain how I attached the branches to the fabric. I am in the middle of quilting it right now and love the way it is coming out!!
****** PART TWO
Connecting the branches to the background fabric:
First I cut small pieces of Steam a Seam #2 and heat set them here and there to the back of each of the branches. I peeled off the paper to the back of the steam a seam and placed the branches on top of the background piece of fabric. At this point you can move the branches around on the background. Then I took my iron and heat set them into place. (Please excuse the uneven lighting of this top!) LOL
Branches Attached to the background fabric
Now it was time to pin baste the quilt. I use small safety pins every 4 inches just to hold the backing, batting and quilt top in place.
I used white thread with my walking foot to stitch all the branches down. Now was the fun part. How to quilt it! After looking at my quilt top I realized I needed one more color to help make it pop a little. I decided on gold and to do leaves throughout the background of the tree. I did find a wall stencil template with the leaves I liked. I eliminated some leaves and added some leaves where needed and I made them into a continuous design so I wouldn’t have to stop and start.
gold leaf pattern
After finishing up all the gold leaves I decided to extend the tree branches out into the white border using a light grey thread. There is just enough of a color difference to see the branch. I used a small zig zag stitch free hand, with feed dogs down and a darning foot. I then did a stipple stitch in white thread on the white border and a dark grey on the rest of the quilt. I also did a dark grey zig zag within the tree to create more of the shadow effect.
I did want to say that I bought this beautiful dyed fabric on etsy from Vicki Welsh ~ http://www.etsy.com/shop/vickiwelsh
Here is the finished Tree.
Moonlight Birch Trees
If you would like to see more photo’s of my quilt please visit my etsy shop ~ http://www.etsy.com/shop/thebutterflyquilter