The Tree of Life part 9: Taking Root

So, we’re there at last. The big scary bit of template making is over. The Tree has sunk its roots.

The Tree takes root

The Tree takes root

And before some of you point out that the roots are actually in the sea, I know, I know, but I didn’t want a big splodge of dark brown ‘soil’ in the middle of the quilt. Think of it as a hydroponic tree, if that helps… salt tolerant, too. It’s mythical. It can grow wherever it likes. After all, what other tree grows both grapes and sunflowers (see Part 1 for the design)? And the grass is growing on the sea too, so it’s altogether wrong, but looks right, or will when it’s done.

Now that this bit’s finished, I can give myself permission to start work on the strip piecing for the trunk and branches. I’m going to cut this beautiful tree up into manageable sections, and assemble trunk and branches separately. I’ll use line-up marks on trunk and branch to show where they join, and number/name all the pieces with symbols to match. How I’m actually going to apply the pieces is still slightly mysterious to me, but I expect I’ll work it out. I’m liking the soluble applique tape I used for the fish, but you can’t run it accurately around curves. It just holds the piece to the background, like pinning. I’ll probably use my new Japanese applique glue stick, a scary fluorescent yellow, but at least you can see where you’ve been. It washes out too, and doesn’t stiffen the fabric at all or gum up the machine needle.

Fabric selection for strip piecing the roots, trunk and branches

Fabric selection for strip piecing the roots, trunk and branches

Here’s the fabric selection for the tree. I think the roots are going to be in the paler end of the spectrum, to give good contrast with the water background, and the colours will get darker towards the tips of the branches, to look silhouetted against the sky. Probably. Possibly… I don’t want to waste fabric, so if I have to turn some pieces round in the layout to make good use of the pieced strips, I shall, even if this means the colours grade the wrong way.


Now that I’ve got this far, I can contemplate how much work is still to be done to get the top finished:

Make the strip pieced background for the trunk and branches. Cut out and apply to the background. Sew down. Select fabrics for leaves. Cut out and apply to background. Sew down. Select fabric for birds, in branches and in sky outside the circle. Cut out and apply. Sew down. Select fabrics for fruit and flowers. Cut out and apply. Sew down. That’s the top done. Then it’s time to quilt.

Oh. Help. I won’t think about that for the time being. I wish I had a bigger throat in my sewing machine… I have such a beautiful vision of what I want to do, but somehow I feel it’s going to get dumbed down because of the technical restriction a small throat imposes. Oh, and my limited capabilities, of course!

Remind me to make something MUCH simpler next time.

5 thoughts on “The Tree of Life part 9: Taking Root

  1. alisonsye says:

    Love the idea of a hydroponic, salty tree! Can’t wait to see the finished piece as it looks brilliant already

  2. It’s a mangrove… forget the stereotypical stilt roots, mangroves are simply trees that grow in tidal zones… and that’s clearly saltmarsh grass!

    • katechiconi says:

      I knew all the mangrove swamps round here were good for something… clearly, they’ve sunk deep into my subconscious. I’ve got the whole day to work on it tomorrow, so look out for progress in tomorrow’s post.

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