Saturday, September 06, 2014

Tree of Life : Wall Quilt Completed

[Click on the tree to view a larger size.]
This quilt has been in the works for about 2-1/2 years now.   It wasn't difficult, though it looks putsy.  I just needed to put in the time--and take my time with it.   I am grateful for the sewing table my husband made for me a few years ago.  It makes free-motion quilting so much easier than it used to be.

Detail photos of the quilting ...  I used my new embroidery threads to quilt it.  It's a strong polyester with a nice sheen.  I don't have to worry about the threads breaking as I would with rayon.   And I have so many colors in the set that it's easy to find a match! 


Detail of the stitching on the tree trunk.   
The edges of the tree were top-stitched down to the background layer of the quilt top, along with a stabilizer.  Then I quilted the background through the quilt sandwich (batting and backing included).  This helped to make the tree pop out.  

Originally, I wasn't planning to quilt/stitch on the tree, but I had a doodle in my sketchbook that my mother happened to see.  She liked it and encouraged to transfer it to the Tree above.  
It worked out nicely!


Although I love Hobbs 80/20 batting for bed quilts, I find that it sags over time (gravity's effect on all of us!)  in wall hangings.  I know people like to recommend Warm'n Natural which was originally designed for window quilts / winter insulation, and does NOT sag.  Although I've used it, it just doesn't puff up and look like quilts.  They are too flat for my tastes.  I've started using old mattress pads (after the parts that wrap around your mattress pooch out and tear off).  The padded part makes a nice puffy batting for wall hangings, that doesn't sag.     These are also good for quilted pillows and pot holders.    It's a great way to recycle them, too.  They're good yet, even if they won't stay on your bed!

I haven't done up an official quilt label yet.  I don't have a great way to do it yet.  My printer doesn't do fabric, and writing with a fabric pen is functional, but doesn't look so nice.   At this point, I just have the info written on an old library catalog card (recycling again!) pinned to the back.  Someday, I'll do a batch of them at once. 


Vicki W said...

It's beautiful. I love the glow behind the tree.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Well - this is impressive! Of course, you get my attention with both a tree image and the color palette, but even so...this came out so well. And your mother was right about that quilting on the tree. Lord knows, you (and I) have taken enough tree texture pictures to have an abundant library of inspiration to choose from. ;-)

Labels - I have to say your writing on the library card is very beautiful, so you should not be averse to hand-writing your labels. I know it is more difficult than writing on paper, but there are tricks. Do you know to stabilize the fabric by ironing it to freezer paper? You can even draw guidelines on the freezer paper to keep your writing straight and even.

You can go one step further and compose the label on the computer, choosing a beautiful and traceable font, mirror imaging it to print onto freezer paper. That way, when you iron the freezer paper to the fabric, the script will be the right way for tracing.

The Idaho Beauty said...

Me again. Forgot to mention I too have reused old mattress pads, but only in what I consider "utility" quilts for charity. Never considered them for quilts going on the wall.

I get your problem with the two battings you mention and am wondering if you've tried wool batting? Hobbs makes a good one that I've used on several wall quilts as well as a few bed quilts. Great loft and I can't remember any stability problems from gravity. I'm pretty sure the one I have hanging in the living room right now has wool batting and it is holding up well.

Most batting has "grainline", you know. Most are visibly stretchier one direction than the other,which may account for sagging issues.

Michele Matucheski said...

Yes, we have taken enough tree bark pics between the two of us to paper the world with them!

My trouble is with writing on fabric, even if it's stabilized with freezer paper, is that the ink/pen tends to jump around with the bumpiness of the weave of the fabric. I know those Micron Pigma Pens are always recommended, but gol' darn it, I purchased a couple and they always seem to be dry -- even new. And when they do work, the point is too fine to be effective and readable. I must have gotten too fine a point?

I've heard there's a nice Pentel fabric marker, but I haven't seen it for sale in any of our local shops--and I hate to mail order something that will cost more for postage than the actual item.

I've used the trick with printing the font to paper, then tracing it backwards, but that's usually been words on the quilt itself, not for the labels. You've given me some new ideas, that I may take up when I have a batch of labels to hash out.

Michele Matucheski said...

Sheil--On the batting question :
I do have some wool batting, but I'm saving it for heirloom type quilts. I never considered it for a wall hanging. Maybe I'll try that ... It makes perfect sense that battings would have a grainline, just like fabric. I usually just cut out a chunk that fits the wall-quilt I need, never considering the grainline. I think a light bulb just went on above my head! Thank you!