Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Quilts of the Past: Tree of Life

I'm taking this opportunity to share a 12-year-old quilt with the Bloggers' Quilt Festival.  I've never blogged about this quilt before, but it was hugely influential in my development as a quilter.  And I love it.  I think I've mentioned before that I love tree quilts.  Ironic that all these years later, I'm teaching at Cedar Tree Classical Christian School and still making tree quilts.

This quilt started back in 1998, I think, when I was living in Colorado and connected with a lovely group of quilting ladies called "Hearts and Hands" (and if any of you read this, friend me on Facebook!)  I grew up in Ohio, and the dryness of the Colorado climate made me homesick for the big beautiful trees on my family's wooded property south of Akron.  So when it was my turn to choose the block of the month, I chose the Tree block, most of them in green but a few in Fall colors.  Since the blocks were slightly different in size, I framed them up with mitered frames and trimmed so they were all the same size before joining them together.  I knew I wanted to complete the quilt with applique leaves of all kinds -- I collected patterns by doing leaf rubbings with my son's crayons.  I made a special point of including some sassafras leaves and several maples, my favorites.  Also some aspen leaves in honor of Colorado.

It took me a few years to design the setting, do all the applique, and finally the machine quilting, which was the most ambitious I had ever attempted (and still is probably the most elaborate machine quilting I've ever done.)  I finished it sometime in 2000, after we had moved to Washington.  It hung in our dining room for a few years, and is now hanging in the fellowship hall of our church.

It's about 60" square.  The block in the center of the bottom row is mine, the rest are from my Colorado quilting buddies.  I did most of the applique leaves using the freezer paper and spray starch method, but a few leaves were done with glue stick where I had to cut through the back to remove the paper.  I quilted it on my Viking 630 with invisible nylon thread; in the ditch around the patches and applique, medium stippling around the borders and close stippling around the trees, with triangular feather motifs in the background setting triangles.



Mom said...

Very nice quilting~ I love classic patterns.


trish said...

Your quilt is just beautiful!! :o)

Margaret said...

It's lovely. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Lyanna L. said...

stunning -- great job. thanks for sharing. =)

Plain Ol' Vanilla said...


I'm so glad you shared this quilt. I particularly like the leaves you placed in the border. I can see from your story and your lovely quilting why this a special quilt!


Lynette said...

This is a beautiful tree of life quilt. This kind of quilt is on my horizon list to do someday. I hope you don't mind that I pinned it for future inspiration. :D

Tina in Boston said...

This is so beautiful!!

Quilt Genius said...

Your quilt is absolutely beautiful. The colors are amazing. Great job!


Myra said...

The quilt is beautiful, and very I catching! How wonderful that you are sharing its beauty in the fellowship hall...