The Answer My Friend is…

(I have edited this post to add, easy access, voting links.)
To vote on the top 25, Viewer’s Choice, click here.
To vote for your favorite hand-quilted, click here.
To see and vote on all the other categories, click here.

“Blowin’ In The Wind”

Welcome to my little part of the world! I hope you are enjoying the Festival as much as I am. Grab a drink and sit back and let me tell you the story of my quilt. Then hop back over and enjoy all the other beautiful creations!

I am a hand-quilter it is what I do. I’ve been hand-quilting for over 35 years. I enjoy the slow pace of stitching love into each quilt and carrying on a tradition passed down to me from my grandmother. For so long I thought there weren’t many of us left. I now know there is a revolution going on and it seems everyone wants to learn. If you are a hand-quilter or think you might want to be you should check out the most friendly Facebook Group I know, Celebrate Hand Quilting. With over 6,000 international members, there is always something to learn, be inspired by and help close at hand.

"Blowin' In the Wind" hand quilted by Sewfrench

Are you familiar with Oakshott cottons? It was February 2013 for me. If you have played with Oakshott you know it is a memorable experience. If you haven’t played with them let me explain. The fabrics are hand-dyed and hand-loomed by master weavers in India. The warp and weft are woven with two slightly different colors, creating an irridescent  shimmer of light and beauty, that does not photograph well. This creates a glimmer, a sheen, almost a sparkle and makes it such a tease!

Oakshott cotton

I played with my collection a long time before I finally decided to cut into it. My plan was to whack up some fat 1/8ths of this lovely fabric to make my version of the 12 Trees Quilt by Helen Howes, for Oakshott. I also shopped for 1/8th yard cuts of different batiks to use as the actual trees. I had a vision that by using batiks my trees would sparkle even more.

As I played around, I began to worry that this beautiful fabric, which feels more like a voile, than my go-to Kona solids, felt a little too fragile to make the queen/king size quilt, I originally planned.

About that same time I came up with the idea of making a special quilt for an annual fundraising auction that is near and dear to our hearts.  This would be the perfect project. I would make a wall hanging that would also be big enough to use as a lap quilt. All the trees would represent the forested area of Northern Michigan where the auction would take place. If you have been followed along you might remember this went by the temporary name of Fundraising quilt.

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by Sewfrench using Oakshott fabrics

I feel like I need to explain why I am still in possession of this beauty and why it took so long to finish. This quilt was put on pause because the fundraising committee decided they were changing their direction and were no longer interested in my quilt being part of their auction.

Right.

I know. It is still painful.

But I picked up the pieces and continued on…

On to *my* quilt.

On the recommendation of my friends over at Celebrate Hand Quilting, I decided to try wool batting for the first time. I didn’t understand all the raves, for wool, until I tried it. It creates the perfect amount of texture. It has enough poof to define your stitches, but not too much. It has a loft similar to a polyester batting but retains, or releases, heat as only wool can.

If you have never hand-quilted with a wool batting, it really makes such a difference. Nice, small, hand stitches are possible and it is like stitching through butter. No wrist and hand pain with this! Your needle just glides through the layers. Between the Oakshott and the wool this was so much easier than any other hand-stitched quilt I have ever worked on. Seriously. If you haven’t tried wool, you should look into Hobbs Heirloom Wool.

And I probably shouldn’t have worried about making a bed quilt with this fabric. Though it comes off as frail, I have no doubt it will hold up well. 100 years heirloom well? Not sure about that. The zero bleeding or fading, of these intense colors, is very impressive, for sure!

Blowin' In The Wind hand quilted by Sewfrench

Then came the question of how to quilt it. I knew it would be hand-quilted but struggled with an exact plan. I tried several different ideas, big stitch, outline stitching, stitching in the ditch, falling leaves… Put them in, take them out, try another, take it out….

I finally said stop all this indecisive silliness and decided to go with my very first thought, when I dreamt up this quilt.

The answer my friend is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind.

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by Sewfrench

Wind swirling around the trees. Trees blowing in the wind.

Freehand style wind blowing through the trees. Seasons of wind and seasons of trees.

I first discounted it because it seemed too time consuming and too *hard*. The time consuming part was actually the indecision, lots of wasted time, there. The hard part wasn’t hard, it was just something I had never done before. I’m traditionally an outline quilter. I had to break a lot of self-made rules to do this!

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by SewfrenchStepping out of your box, taking chances and trying something new is not comfortable. But boy  can it be rewarding. This is now our very favorite sofa throw. 🙂

Leave me a comment so I know you were here. Thanks for stopping by!!

"Blowin' In the Wind" quilt by Sewfrench w/Oakshott fabrics

“Blowin’ in the Wind”
Category: Hand quilted quilts
48″ x 52″
An original by: Sewfrench
Inspired by: 12 Trees by Oakshott
Oakshott cotton
Backing and Binding by
Robert Kauffman, shot cotton
Machine pieced
Self quilted in a freeform style
using Aurifil 28wt thread

To vote on the top 25, Viewer’s Choice, click here.
To vote for your favorite hand-quilted, click here.
To see and vote on all the other categories, click here.

May 24-29 – Vote for favorites in each of the categories
May 30 – Winners announced

 Previous Festival entries:

Flower Garden ~ Fall 2009
Mosaic Tiles ~ Spring 2011
Shoot For the Moon ~ Fall 2011
Bubble Quilt ~ Spring 2012
Out of This World ~ Fall 2012
Thousand Pyramids~ Spring 2013
Head Over Heels in Love ~ Baby quilt ~ Fall 2013
Take A Hike ~ Art quilt ~ Fall 2013

 

Also linking up with:
Show and Tell
Finish It Up Friday
A Stitch in Time
TGIFF

 

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This entry was posted in 2014 completes, Bloggers' Quilt Festival, Crafting, Design, fabric, Finishes, Photography, Quilt stories, Quilting, Sewing, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

101 Responses to The Answer My Friend is…

  1. Carol says:

    Wow. My mom hand quilts so I am familiar with the time it takes. The density of this hand quilting is impressive! And I love what you did outlining the trees and the windy waves. It is beautiful!

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Hand quilting does take a lot of time. The drape and texture can’t be duplicated by a machine though. Nor can the calm, and peaceful feeling, that comes from quieting the mind while quilting! Thanks for the appreciation!

      Like

  2. Now, aren’t you so happy to have this glorious quilt among your treasures! Their loss, and your gain. It is beautiful and the hand quilting sets off your trees perfectly.

    Like

  3. knitnkwilt says:

    That quilt is just beautiful! First I like your color arrangement, then your quilting wowed me. Not to mention the cool photo on the fence. I too have wondered if oakshots would be durable enough for bed quilts and hesitated.

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      I find that by taking digital pictures, rearranging, taking more pictures really helps in layouts. It really helps me *see* my quilt through different eyes. If not for that, I would be driving people crazy asking for their opinions. And I can’t believe that fence has been at the back of our property as long as we have lived here and I was so slow to *see* it as a perfect place to photograph quilts!

      Like

  4. knitnkwilt says:

    PS I also meant to say that I have also spent more time figuring out how to avoid something that seems too time and energy consuming, only to find that the doing takes less time than the avoiding.

    Like

  5. nsturgill says:

    I love your combination of contemporary fabrics and doing hand quilting! And I share your appreciation of wool batting! And how many deaths will it take til we know that too many people have died?

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      This is what happens when I am torn between the bright modern fabrics and the vintage classic quilt styles that scream for hand quilting.
      And Yes, how many times must a man look up
      Before he can really see the sky? 🙂

      Like

  6. Anita says:

    This quilt is absolutely gorgeous! I love it! I am shocked that anyone wouldn’t jump at the chance to have it in their charity auction. But as you say, their loss, your gain.

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      I know. Right?
      I do believe the committee needs replaced. We didn’t bid on anything this year and usually we are bidding, and bringing home, several items :/

      Like

  7. Liz says:

    Fabulous saturated color!

    Like

  8. Mina says:

    WOW! This is beautiful! I love the color combo and the quilting really enhances the quilt design.

    Like

  9. The fabrics sound wonderful to work / play with! Yes CHQ is a friendly group indeed! 🙂 This is a lovely quilt and I can certainly tell that you enjoyed every minute of hand quilting it! 🙂

    Like

  10. Kathy says:

    As a relatively new follower, I’d never seen this quilt before. And I must say that I’m glad you chose to enter it as it is so marvelous!

    I am seriously debating using a wool batting the next quilt I make … I prefer a very low loft, though, and am concerned about puffiness. Still … I love the prospect of quilting with a wool batting.

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      I think you should try it. The more quilting you add, the less puffy it will be. I always quilted on 100% cotton, I liked that old-fashioned crinkly quilt look cotton gave. This is different, but I still love it!

      Like

  11. Sue says:

    I also,hand quilt up here in Eastern Canada. Do a fair share of machine quilting as well… Too many quilts too little time… Love using wool bating. It comes in different lofts and it not too puffy. I love echo quilting and putting a lots of it into my quilts. Yours is beautiful!, love it!!, I do not blog but love seeing,what mothers are doing. I have recently joined the Celebrate Hand Quilting group.

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Yes, outline and echo quilting are my hand quilting go-tos. I don’t think I knew wool batting came in different thicknesses. I will have to see what I can find. Thanks, Sue, for the sweet comments and for stopping by!

      Like

  12. Vicky says:

    I absolutely love that quilt! I also love to hand quilt and just recently started English paper piecing. I have never used Oakshott cottons or wool batting but I will try them out.

    Like

  13. Brianna says:

    All I can say is, that charity is insane, the quilt is gorgeous. I don’t comment unless I absolutely LOVE something and I love your quilt!

    Like

  14. Rose Marie says:

    Oh my …. what a stunning quilt!

    Like

  15. Ashley says:

    Wow!!!! This quilt is so stunning. The colors, fabric choice and placement, quilting, everything. I. Love. It. This is beautiful!!

    Like

  16. Elena says:

    This is amazing! Absolutely love the colours!

    Like

  17. Hi Lori. It’s beautiful! I’d say you’re lucky they didn’t want it for the fundraiser, because you get to keep it for yourself! I love the colours and especially what you’ve done with the hand quilting. It really does look like the wind.
    I’m a member of Celebrate Hand Quilting too, and like you, have never gone ‘free style’ yet. All of my hand quilting to date has been straight lines, but I did break out and do diagonals out in the open on my last quilt.
    Your photos show the quilt off brilliantly. I love the last one, outdoors on the old fence.
    I’ll be adding my entry to the hand quilting category today – the more the merrier to show hand quilting isn’t just for grandmas!

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Hand quilting can still be for Grandmas but Grandmas are getting hipper all the time, LOL
      You should give freestyle a try. I actually started out by drawing some of the lines in with a blue washable pen before I got brave enough to just go at it. It is very liberating. In the past I was a straight-line or echo quilter, too. Thanks, Wendy!

      Like

  18. Dolly says:

    It was a blessing in disguise that this quilt did not get donated ! How wonderful it must be to get a glimpse of it daily ! That is a thing of beauty, and the quilting is wonderful !

    Like

  19. Elena says:

    What a gorgeous quilt! A feast of colours… I have discovered the wool batting too, and it is now my favourite!

    Like

  20. citricsugar says:

    I have been waiting soooooo long to see this one finished and it was totally worth it!! It’s so beautiful, L! Love it! And your quilting is always so beautiful…

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Well, someone was watching after all!
      I’ve had some health issues and just haven’t been very productive over the last year. A slow mover for sure. I can always count on you to be a great cheerleader!
      Thank you,Carly!

      Like

  21. Di J says:

    Making the quilting appear like wind blowing through the trees was a wonderful idea. I’m so glad you got to keep this beauty for yourself – the silver lining to that sad treatment you received.

    Like

  22. Beth says:

    This quilt is just amazing. Love it. Your hand quilting is so perfect for it as well!

    Like

  23. rachaeldaisy says:

    I love everything about this quilt!! I can’t beilieve it wasn’t accepted for the auction. The universe works in mysterious ways and maybe there’ll be somone else whose life will be brightened by this quilt in the future. In the meantime you get to enjoy it. It was great to read your thoughts on wool batting.

    Like

  24. carla bynum says:

    Hi!!!! I love it all!!!! The colors are wonderful and the quilting is exquisite!!!!

    Like

  25. Steffi says:

    That is a very beautiful quilt, and I love your hand quilting! Absolutely amazing!
    Thank you for your comment on my blog. I tried to answer you via email, but I received an error note.

    Like

  26. audrey says:

    Very beautiful! Your stitching is fabulous!

    Like

  27. Pam says:

    You create beautiful and interesting quilts that are a feast to the eyes and mind. Your talents are amazing! And now you have sparked something in me that says I need to look into learning to hand quilting. I used wool batting on one of the quilts I finished this past winter and the recipient loves it. He tells me it keeps his 86 year old bones very warm and cozy at night! I love to quilt modern and when I show them at my quilt guild the clapping is the golf clap and not the rousing, “wow, you just blew my socks off clap” (like I just gave your quilt), but I am learning that is ok. I tell myself they just “don’t get it”. I am sure an “online” auction of this quilt would raise a very nice sum for whatever charity you wanted to donate it to.

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Hand quilting may be slower but I think it is so worth it. I hope you take it up. The Facebook group is very helpful and so are the many youtube videos that are out there.
      I love how wool works to keep you both warm or cool. Besides how easy it is to hand quilt.
      I can appreciate the modern, lack of appreciation at your guild. Just keep at it and eventually you’ll have a few come around to your side, I bet!

      Like

  28. moira says:

    seriously lovely quilt

    Like

  29. This is stunning! A visual feast. So impressed

    Hillary

    Like

  30. Teje says:

    Hi! This became gorgeus! I remember how you began this quilt and already knew that it will be something Special! Colours and design are fantastic and I love your hand quilting! x Teje

    Like

  31. Sonia says:

    Your quilt is beautiful and the quilting really makes it a work of art. I admire your patience and talent to hand quilt!

    Like

  32. Lori,

    oh my goodness! this quilt is truly breathtaking. since they didn’t want it for the auction (I can not even fathom…????) you get to keep it, is that correct? it’s a true beauty! you did an amazing job on all parts of it….it glows! I just love it. can you tell? 🙂

    thanks for linking up to finish it up Friday!

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Why thank you, Amadajean! I do get to keep this beauty, for now. I will wrap myself up and continue shaking my head and whining, “I just don’t get it”… 🙂

      Like

  33. wendy says:

    that is such a gorgeous quilt! The fabrics are special and the design is great, but it’s the quilting that really makes it. Well done for stepping out of your comfort zone, it really paid off!

    Like

  34. Lea says:

    This quilt is gorgeous! Your hand quilting is stunning. It’s for the best that you have this beauty but hard to believe they didn’t jump on the opportunity. It would have raised a lot of money with their support. Their loss, your gain.

    Like

  35. Romy says:

    Absolutely gorgeous.

    Like

  36. Wow-oh-Wow! I just popped over from the Blogger’s Quilt Festival to get a better look at this this beauty! This is truly a special quilt and I’ve no doubt you will cherish the opportunity to keep it. Just stunning…

    Like

  37. Joanne says:

    It’s absolutely beautiful. And thanks for the review of wool batting. I’ll have to look into that.

    Like

  38. Olga says:

    Wonderful quilt! Beautifully! Original! Great!

    Like

  39. Pingback: And they all played games… | Sewfrench

  40. I so agree with you the pleasure of slowly hand quilting a quilt and watching the design emerge in a very organic fashion. I would like to try wool batting sometime so thank you for the recommendation, Good luck with the viewers choice contest but as long as you love it, its a winner.

    Like

  41. I’m kind of in love with it 🙂

    Like

  42. anonamouse1 says:

    Oh my I’m in love . That quilt is divine!

    They were nuts for not wanting it in the auction.

    Is it for sale?

    Like

  43. anonamouse1 says:

    They are nuts for not wanting this amazing quilt in the auction.

    I love it ! Such a stunning array of colours .

    Is it for sale 😉

    Like

  44. Kay says:

    Beautiful. This is by far my favourite quilt, it just jumps off the screen with life. So happy to have found a great new blog too.

    Like

  45. Pingback: It’s Time to Vote! | Sewfrench

  46. Cheryl Howell Ford says:

    This is absolutely beautiful!! Hope you win, I’m sorry but I didn’t see where to vote!!

    Like

  47. Marie says:

    Lucky you! You get to keep this beauty. My sister always says, “Things happen for a reason.” It is gorgeous – I think you’ve just added Oakshotts to my TO DO list. Love the way that it is quilted and thanks for the tip on the wool batting. I’m a pokey hand quilter, primarily because it’s one stitch at a time, but maybe wool will get me doing a running stitch.

    Like

  48. Lostinspace says:

    Came upon this just by chance, I live in Venezuela, I quilt and every day I thank God for the Internet. I love your quilt and voted for it in both categories, simply stunning and I hope you win First Prize although keeping it is pretty cool too! Debbie Kemball uses Oakshott a lot, have you seen her work? Now I have seen yours Oakshotts have become a must have!

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      I love finding new blogs randomly! Debbie Kemball does *amazing* work! Thank you for reminding me to see what she is up to!
      You should try your hand at Oakshotts if you get a chance. They are beautiful to work with!

      Like

  49. gertrude1959 says:

    Absolutely stunning! What a treasure!

    Like

  50. Cille says:

    Congratulations on the nomination 🙂 It’s a beautiful quilt and I love the ‘warm’ feeling it has

    Like

  51. DeborahGun says:

    this is so beautiful

    Like

  52. Beth T. says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this quilt and your story. I imagine you might have felt a bit vulnerable, telling us that the committee had declined to include your quilt in the auction. Their lack of vision does not diminish your quilt or your talent in any way. This is a work of art. For me, it is the best in show, and that is in a crowd of very beautiful quilts.

    Like

  53. Diana says:

    This is beautiful, and that you’ve hand quilted it…wow! My daughter, who loves trees, would love this. 🙂 Thank you for the inspiration!

    Like

  54. zooperson says:

    Thank you for the information on the Oakshott fabric. Is it readily available in fabric shops or is it online only? Your quilt is a work of art and the “committee” who decided against it would be so mad at themselves if they saw it now. Perfect choice for the quilting–blowin’ in the wind, and beautifully done.

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      Thank you for your support! As far as I know Oakshott is only available online. There are some other shot cottons that are available online, Peppered Cottons, Kaffe Fassett, Rowan, Robert Kaufman… I know Kauffman’s are heavier, almost a chambray weight, the others I have not tried.

      Like

  55. I love your quilt! Kudos to you for doing all of that lovely hand quilting! I truly love it. I’ve never hand quilted. I doubt I could stand to with the hand injury a couple of years ago( smacked a door right on my lower thumb bone). It still hurts today and messes with my creative side 😦 Maybe I will try something small one day. good luck in the competition 🙂

    Like

  56. quiltncards says:

    Love this quilt… I’m sure I saw it before – during the making of it you shared it somewhere on some linky. I was and am very impressed. It is more simple than some, but that is part of the charm. Love the wind!
    Hugs

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      I did share it a couple of times, Terri. I had such issues figuring out a quilting plan among other things. While I do love the complicated stencil quilting, it just isn’t me! Thank you!

      Like

  57. Pingback: Blogger's Quilt Festival :: Winners!! | Amy's Creative SideAmy's Creative Side

  58. Congratulations on your win! This is a beautiful quilt. You did a fantastic job. Love the story too!

    Like

  59. Beth T. says:

    Oh, hooray for you! I am so happy and heartened that your beautiful quilt won. It was absolutely this viewer’s choice.

    Like

  60. Laura B says:

    Congratulations on your win. I’m not into hand-sewing anything, so you definitely have my kudos for your patience in hand-quilting. What a terrific job!

    Like

  61. Nic says:

    It’s beautiful. Plus nice to find out there are more hand quilters out there. I’m hoping to try my hand at hand quilting this year. I’ve got a hand pieced quilt top that’s been waiting for me to dive in. But it’s a queen size quilt so I might try with a cot size quilt first.
    Do you use a frame?

    Like

    • sewfrench says:

      I do not use a frame. I quilt in my lap after pin basting my project. I quilt all sizes this way with even stitches and smooth backs. We take a lot of road trips and I enjoy being able to take them along to quilt as we travel. Give hand quilting a try. You can make it as simple or complicated as you want and yes, there is a lot of help, out there, to answer your questions, now! Thank you, Nic!

      Like

  62. helenehowes says:

    Bless you, this is a most fantastic version of my design.
    Oakshotts wear just fine – I have skirts made from them that I wash frequently and work in.. Don’t be afraid of the fabric (Have you ever tried to tear it?) I have made lots of OS quilts
    Helen Howes

    Like

  63. Pingback: How to Mark a Baptist Fan | Sewfrench

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