The quilts I am entering in to Blogger’s Quilt Festival this season are ones that my regular readers know well, so thank you for bearing with me if you have read all about these quilts before. If you are new to my work, welcome, and I hope you enjoy my entries!
My second and final submission is Namibia Trees for the Small Quilts Category. Below I have a short synopsis and finished photos of the quilt followed by much more detail on the inspiration and process I went through to create this quilt.
55″ wide by 55″ high
I started this project with a yard of Bella’s Poppy Lind Fabric from which I carefully pre-cut random-ish sized tree blocks. With no real plan, I started adding simple borders. About mid-way through piecing the borders, my husband reminded me of Frans Lanting’s National Geographic photograph of trees in the Namibia desert. I decided to add even more orange to help the framed trees pop in the same way the sand dunes lit by morning sunlight highlight the dead camelthorn trees in Frans Lanting’s photograph. For the quilting, I strove to add more detail framing around the trees.
Creative Process for Namibia Trees
I had about a yard of Bella’s Poppy Lind Fabric by Lotta Jansdotter for Windham Fabrics (in orange) left over from the backing on the Pink Tumbling Block Baby Quilt I made a little over a year ago. When I was pulling orange fabrics for the Orange, Jade, and Cocoa Placemats, I re-discovered this fun fabric in my stash. After completing the placemats, I pulled out the fun trees and figured out how to fussy cut as many of the trees as possible from what I had remaining.
I kept the remaining orange fabrics I had pulled for the placemats on hand. I had also recently purchased 2 yards of Kona Coal, which worked pretty well with the gray trees, and I pulled a few other light gray fabrics for some contrast. With no real plan for how large this quilt was going to turn out or goal in mind, I started by adding borders to each of the tree blocks. I quickly settled in on making 14″ tall blocks for the top and bottom row and 10″ blocks for the middle row . With that being my only guideline, I kept working on each block. Once each block was trimmed out, I started with the lowest row and pieced them together. That set the overall width for the remaining two rows, and I carefully trimmed down blocks a bit to make sure each row stayed the same width as the guide row.
At this point it was pretty clear to me that I was going to need to either piece some fun and colorful strips to go between each row or add borders to frame out the rows. Each row measured 46.5″ wide, and if I had just sewn them together at this point the quilt would have been 37″ tall by 46.5″ wide, which felt a bit oddly proportioned. My husband had been checking in on my progress, and about this same time he reminded me of Frans Lanting‘s beautiful National Geographic photographs of trees in the Namibia desert.
After being reminded of the stark and stunning photograph, I wanted to add a bit more orange to the quilt top to help pop the framed trees in the same way the sand dunes lit by morning sunlight highlight the Namibia Trees in Frans Lanting’s photograph. I really like how the focal point of the quilt top is the center block with the dark Kona Coal gray border.
Knowing that I want to bind this quilt with Kona Coal as well, I pre-cut my binding strips and set them aside. Then I had to figure out how to use my remaining fabric to piece together a backing for this quilt which now measured roughly 57″ square. I did not have much of any one fabric other than the Kona Coal, and it took some time and head scratching to make sure I was going to have enough material, but I am pretty pleased with how the backing turned out as well.
I was really loving how the quilt top for Namibia Trees turned out, and I wanted to spend more time thinking about the quilting than I normally do. Instead of an all-over quilting design, I wanted to do something a bit more around the tree panels themselves. I have never really quilted a meandering, rounded, stipple pattern, so why not start by doing tiny stippling on a quilt that you really want to love (*eek, no pressure*)?!?!? Well, it seemed like the right thing to do, so before I could second guess myself, I jumped right in. I started quilting in the middle and worked my way out to keep the backing as flat and un-puckered as possible. Which meant I was quilting the middle focal block at the beginning, yikes! I wanted to change the quilting pattern up for the borders around the tree blocks, and I changed the quilting again for the extra border around the focal / middle block.
I did not really give myself time to stop and think too much as I did the first row of quilting. When I finished the row and pulled it off the machine to look at and photograph, I was really excited and happy with how it was looking! Next, I added quilting detail into the borders around the center row of blocks. I chose to use the meandering leaf / vine pattern that I practiced this weekend and featured in Part II of my Free Motion Quilting Tutorial.
This might just be my favorite quilt to have worked on (so far!). I really enjoyed creating this quilt, and I love how the quilting detail pops when viewing the quilt back.