Back in early 2021, the Modern Quilt Guild did a Challenge where you had to create a quilt based upon trees. Back during the time I was deeply embedded in hand embroidery, I had started a whole series on stump work insects. One of my projects during that time was a combination of quilting and hand embroidered stump work. I made this stump work luna moth and also made some bracket fungus and even some little mushrooms…and then quickly stashed it all away.
When this challenge popped up I decided it was time to redeem this UFO and make something of it – or at least finish it. I decided to leave off the bracket fungus and mushrooms and just focus on the luna moth. I had originally planned for this to set inside a shadow box, but when I decided to turn this into a wall hanging I knew I would need to extend the sides a bit and make it larger. I ended up just adding a few more strips of brown on each side – quilting them down and moving on.
I had originally bought a mixed bag of green trims for the bottom of the tree and digging that out, I decided to sew down a few bits of that for the bottom.
I finished up a stack of green hexes for the tree top and sewed those down on the top. I used some brown Essex linen for the binding and the back and voila…a mostly redeemed unfinished object that is now happily hanging in my daughter’s room.
I’m thankful for this challenge that pushed me to get rid of at least one unfinished project in my bottomless box of UFOs.
Every year our church does an amazing Lessons and Carols service around the start of Advent. Over the years various artist members and friends have designed the cover for the booklet. After the 2020 service, our worship pastor asked me if I would be interested in working with him on one for 2021. I can’t even begin to tell you how humbled and honored I was to be considered and it was a joy to work on this project. It’s been such an amazing thing to sit in church over the Advent and Epiphany season and stare at my quilt hanging from the pulpit. I’m so grateful for the opportunity to use the work of my hands to create such a gift for our church.
We talked through a bunch of different designs options, but we nailed down this star design pretty quickly. I decided on Liberty lawn from the get go and was able to get my hands on all the fabrics I originally picked out except for the lighter yellow. I had chosen a design that was a bespoke line for Duckadilly Fabrics and by the time I was able to order everything it was sold out. Robert Kaufman has a lawn series called London Calling and I was able to find a lighter yellow that worked pretty well. The center gold and all the blues are all Liberty lawn and they were amazing to work with.
Knowing that I was going to have to work with upwards of 500 diamonds, I decided to go all in and purchase templates from Paper Pieces and I even broke down and purchased the acrylic diamond for cutting too! This was the first time I glue basted with the Sewline glue pen and it totally converted me to a firm believer in glue basting AND this pen. Up until then I had been using just an Elmer’s glue stick. That had been working fine – but the Sewline pen was totally a worthwhile upgrade.
This was completely English Paper Pieced by hand. I started basically with the center half of the star and worked outwards. Once I got out about as far as I thought I wanted to go, I started adding the bottom half of the yellow center and then worked my way out. Once I had as close to a rectangle as I thought, I ended up cutting out a piece of flannel to the size I was going for and started filling in diamonds where I needed in order to make the rectangle size I wanted. I ended up stitching more diamonds on in some areas than I needed to and I was thankfully able to salvage those for another project.
For the quilting, I hand quilted it just enough to keep it together on the diagonals. I used Aurufil 50 weight for the whole thing and it’s hands down my favorite thread for any type of handwork.
My sister in law is an indigo dyer and I had asked her from the beginning of the project if she would dye some fabric for me. Honestly I think this was the crown on the whole thing. She dyed some solid fabric for me and then some print. I used the print for the back and the solid, variegated indigo for the binding.
Overall it was an exhausting project and a bit stressful at times, but I’m over the moon with how it turned out and completely humbled to have been invited to participate.