Saturday, September 21, 2013

Floating on Air...I Mean, Water

Floating on air because the lake quilt is finally finished! I say "finally," because this yard of fabric (which was destined to be lakewater from the moment I saw it) first went on the design board in May of 2012. I immediately had a mental image of ducks or geese swimming on it.

And sure enough, geese were the first elements to go on the quilt top. Their original home was in this drapery/upholstery fabric my friend Kathy bought at a yard sale for $1. I trimmed the bottom of the gander to make it appear he's swimming instead of wading.

The turtles were patterned from a photo I took at Bernheim Forrest in Claremont, KY, and the rocks were cut from the strange but awesome fabric on the right. I stared at it until the rock shapes started popping out at me and I knew where to cut. Large and small pieces were overlapped and glued onto the quilt top to make a more natural-looking sort of 'rock jetty.' Fabric markers were used to shade various areas of the rocks.

The flowers, both the blue ones and the dogwood blossoms, came from the same fabric--an old sheet. Cutting these out was quite a project, especially those skinny little stems. I fused the fabric to some Steam-a-Seam2 first; otherwise it would have been nearly impossible, both to cut the flowers and then to apply them to the quilt top. Fabric markers were used to shade and deepen the color of the flowers.

The grass in the foreground is made up of 3 or 4 sections of the grass landscape fabric below, and the larger dogwood branches came from the beautiful 'burl' woodgrain fabric on the right. The smaller, more twiggy branches were drawn in with a brown Sharpie and then thread-painted with a variegated thread. The same thread was used to free-motion stitch the larger branches, pretty much just following the printed grain of the wood. That's one thing about landscape quilting--you rarely have to come up with a particular free-motion stitch, because it usually works better and looks more natural if you just follow the lines of the element you're quilting. Then again, if you want to use a specific stitch design, you can--it's up to you!

The aquatic grass came from a strip of the fat quarter pictured below. I used fabric markers to shade it in some areas. That wavy green area integrated well with the background (lake) fabric, since it was just about the same shade.

When the piecing was finished (except for the caladiums, a recent save) and everything was tacked down with 100-wt. thread, I realized there simply wasn't enough space in my tiny bedroom to quilt this. So the finished (minus caladiums) quilt-top languished for many months in a closet (alongside my lizard totem quilt)--until our son's old room was made into the new quilting studio and everything could spread out again. Hallelujah! That was a big day for me!

I thought it might be fun to look at some 'before and after' photos. Until I see them, I forget what an amazing difference the actual quilting makes. However, if your time is short and you want to skip on down to the photo of the finished quilt, it won't hurt my feelings. :)

First, the geese:

Sorry about the pins!

Then the turtles (which were embellished with fabric paint) and the rocks (which were embellished with lots of fabric marker and free-motion satin stitching):

And, the entire quilt:

All right, cutting to the chase, here's a bigger photo of the finished quilt:

Again...sorry about the pins, but this time they're just holding the quilt up on the design wall!

All that's left to do is to make a sleeve and a label. Some people say your quilt isn't finished until you've done those things, but by golly it's been long enough, and I say it's finished! :)

Hooking up a day later than usual with Leah Day's FMQ Friday and Sarah Craig's Whoop Whoop Fridays. Leah's up to a secret project again (and she turned a pen--how cool is that? I've always wished I knew how to do woodworking. My husband and son do, so I should be able to learn, right?) Sarah has had company this week, so she's again very generously sharing other folks' work. Check them both out; you won't be sorry you did. Don't forget to look at their reader hookups, either. Lots of inspiration!

Happy almost fall, everyone--my favorite season!! :)



  1. Linda...what can I say...this quilt, the process, your's just amazing, stunning, fabulous....I could write more adjectives but I'll stop so I don't bore you!!

    1. Rhonda, thank you so much. You know, sometimes you work on these quilts so long that you start questioning whether they're really living up to your original vision--even when you can't put your finger on anything wrong! Fresh eyes are a such a help, and your message encourages me to try even more challenging things. Thanks again~~

  2. Outstanding! Thanks so much for showing the entire process and your notations explaining the amazing

    1. Suzanne, you're more than welcome, and thank you! I really enjoy sharing the origins of the quilt elements, and showing how even an old sheet can become an integral part of a quilt top.

  3. It's lovely! It's great to see the before and after photos.

    1. Thank you, Vicki! So glad you enjoyed them.

  4. This is awesome! I am learning so much from your pieces and how you show what you are doing. I need to learn about perspective and how to do it on pieces. Where is the best place for me to get information? Thanks!

    1. Teresa, until recently, all of my perspective was guesswork (except for Rock of Ages), but for the garrison quilt, I went looking for some tips on perspective for my tree shadows. YouTube came to the rescue. Just go there and do a search for 'perspective in drawing,' and you'll find several. For the shadows, I really liked this one:

  5. An amazing quilt. Thanks for providing the link so I could come back to it.


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