Thursday, April 8, 2010


I know it's spring and I'm certainly not trying to make time go any faster, but I just finished up a piece that I started last fall and that I titled "Fall" as well.  This piece actually began at a guild tea last September, where I was one of the lucky winners of a door prize.  Most, perhaps all, of the door prizes were fat quarters and there nestled under many tiny florals and civil war reproductions was this piece of obviously hand-dyed fabric.  I still have not figured out who donated it, but it must have been created by a guild member.  It was filled with wonderful splotches of deep reds and greens and browns.

As I was on my way home I was already planning to use it to make some kind of autumn tree.  It soon merged with an idea I had put in my sketchbook about using the Robbing Peter to Pay Paul block, otherwise known as the Drunkard's Path, to give the idea of the crown of a tree.  But I only had a fat quarter so I was not sure it would work.  I settled on three-inch blocks and hoped my rough calculations were correct enough and I would end up with enough blocks to make a suitably sized tree crown.   And sure enough I made it stretch, with just enough left over for some colorful leaf litter on the "ground."

I decided on a split background of gold and yellow from my own hand-dyes to give that golden autumn glow.  But the first big experiment on this piece was the trunk.  I set myself the task of creating some trunklike fabric with some texture to it.  So I began by ironing Mistyfuse to the back of a grey and a darker brown hand-dye, slicing them up into thin undulating strips, then weaving them loosely together and ironing them to a brown.  And you can see the result.

The other big experiment was the amount of quilting on this piece.  I had decided to do diagonal lines, but felt that straight lines would be a bit too static.  So I decided to practice my FMQ and quilt lines close together that danced a bit here and there.  The result was little puffs of fabric sprinkled over the background.

I ended up adding some pearl cotton quilting at the base of the tree:

The whole quilt measures 30" x 27".  And now, aside from the label, it is finished in the 78 degree heat of this April day.  And if you're still with me, thanks for the company.


Anya said...

Right now I'm wishing it was a cool fall day!

The quilt is lovely, Madalene...I really love the quilting!

Kathy P said...

Your technique for the tree trunk is impressive! I never would have thought of that!

Ester Kiely said...

I love the colours in this and the quilting is gorgeous!