(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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
Leave me a comment so I know you were here. Thanks for stopping by!!
“Blowin’ in the Wind”
Category: Hand quilted quilts
48″ x 52″
An original by: Sewfrench
Inspired by: 12 Trees by Oakshott
Backing and Binding by
Robert Kauffman, shot cotton
Self quilted in a freeform style
using Aurifil 28wt thread
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