Friday, March 5, 2010


Every Valentine's Day for a number of years I have made my husband a little quilt.  Well, actually I give him a little quilt top with a promise to finish it at some point.  And let's just say that more of Tom's quilt tops are unfinished than finished.  But this year I actually kept up the momentum and sandwiched, quilted, and faced the top.  

A few months ago when I was thinking about how to make tree trunks I came up with the image of creating one with loops of raw-edged fused fabric.  I thought Tom's quilt would be a perfect place to try this on a small scale so I played around with the trunk, liked it, and then thought this technique might suggest the essence of a tree canopy as well, particularly if I made the loops intertwine, capturing the deep interconnectedness within this complicated living system and then extending it to the ground below.  I know, I know. I have always said that I don't like raw-edged applique, but this is a year of  experiment. . . .

So I moved from paper to my hand-dyes, ironed Misty-fuse to the back of some gradated greens as well as a brown and gray, and started playing.  I thought the bit of red (a commercial fabric) would give it some zing.  For a while I contemplated doing a blanket or satin stitch around the edges of each piece, and even tried it on one, but it changed the look of the tree so I settled for outlining each piece with a straight quilting stitch, which will mean a bit of fraying, but I think I can live with that.  

In the quilting phase I also added the pearl cotton fly stitches, thanks to Laura Wasilowski, who had just given a mini-lesson on her blog about the stitch.

As I was finishing up the quilting and was contemplating a title, I was listening to Mark O'Connor's amazing fiddling where the melody lines and rhythms twine into each other, reminding me of the patterns in the tree.  So, it has officially become "Mark O'Connor's Tree."  

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