Working on a Tree

I made a tumbler quilt a while ago, had it quilted (thanks again Sandy!!) and thought it was just OK. I decided to put a tree on the quilt- a tree with no leaves, and calling the piece Last Tree Standing. I appliquéd the tree to the quilt, then painted on more branches.. better but still not great So it sat, while I waited for inspiration.

Then I remembered a discussion with Lorraine Roy at the Toronto Outdoor Art Fair a few years ago. She is a local textile artist whose work I have long admired. Her images of trees are stunning and the foliage is created by cutting incredibly small pieces of fabric, then overlaid with organza, and free-motion quilted.I have since seen this technique elsewhere, called confetti quilting.

I wasn’t sure if this was for me, so I cut some light, mid and dark green fabrics into small bits and tossed them onto the quilt.. this might work! When I overlaid this with organza, however, I felt it created a barrier to the leaves and seemed too visible. Back to the drawing board. How else could I attach these tiny bits to the quilt?

First, I tried just doing some stitching to attach them to the quilt. I did like the way it gave a 3D look to the leaves, but I decided this required more time than I wanted to give it.

I ended up using two different techniques to attach the fabric. The first involves Mistyfuse. I cut some into small pieces, placed it on parchment paper, and distributed my fabric bits on top. I added another layer of parchment paper on top of this, ironed the fabrics to the Mistyfuse, and let it cool. I carefully peeled this off the parchment paper, and fused it in place on the quilt. I liked this, but needed to fill in some areas more lightly.

Enter glue sticks! The glue sticks I have say washable… does this mean you can wash the item and the glue still holds the fabric together? I never intend to wash this quilt, but decided to make a test sample and wash it to see if it holds. So far so good.

And here is where I am today.. I think I will be adding a few more areas with “leaves”, but I am pretty happy with it so far. It will also need steaming, and the facing and hanging sleeve to be added.

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