Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Roots and Wings

...aka Project from Hell.

It all started many, many moons ago, when I awoke with a vision in my head. It involved the picture of a tree with many leaves. Somehow, these leaves would involve pictures of family members (or possibly these pictures would appear somewhere else). There would be birds or butterflies in the sky, and possibly pictures embedded in the bark of the tree itself. The lines of quilting would include the words "roots and wings." I don't mean to hit you over the head with this message...

The vision of this project came to me before I had any real clue as to how to acheive this goal. Until that point, I had only sewn straight lines. Would I have to learn to (gasp) applique? Would I have to learn to free-motion quilt? What was up with image transfers, anyway? When I saw a class being taught on creating landscape quilts, I jumped at the chance to see what I could do. It was a Snippet Sensations class taught by Walters, and was extremely fun. The class gave me the means I needed to create the tree design, as well as the courage to try free-motion quilting.

In choosing the picture that I would use as a guide, the design ended up changing. I stumbled across a photo of a tree from underneath the branches, with the sun shining through. The composition intrigued me, and I loved the focus on moving upwards and out into the sky. Now, the idea of including pictures in the design itself was unthinkable. Surely, then, I could include pictures in the border. I would quilt family members' handprints around them!

But then, as the design took shape, I knew that I didn't want to interrupt the color of the border around the main design. So, the photo-transferred images went by the wayside pretty quickly. I ended up quilting the handprints in the border, and then quilting heavily around them to make them stand out. Before I assembled the quilt sandwich, though, I machine embroidered the names of all the family members in the border where the corresponding handprints would appear.

The end result is what you see here. I didn't get a chance to get too many photos of the quilt, as I normally would, because my camera ended up running out of battery juice. I'll have get more pictures later that showcase the machine quilting I did, which was more complex than I had previously done.

And now, friends, it's time to rest for a bit before tackling the next quilt on the list.