No, I have not gone out and decimated some tropical rainforest.
The Tree grows apace. All branches are now prepared for appliqué, and I’m considering how best to do the job. The trunk has to lie over the ends of all the branches. But there’s no way I can appliqué the branches down first, since how they fit onto the trunk is critical. I could appliqué round the outside, and start and stop between the branches, leaving unsewn lengths to feed the end of the branches under. That’s one option. I could leave all the branches pinned on in place while I whizz round the outside of the trunk, capturing the ends of the branches under the edge of the trunk. That leaves a small problem: peeling off the fusible backing once I’m ready to fuse the branches down, since one end is going to be sewn in. Minor, but a consideration. And thirdly, fusing everything down at once and trundling round all the outlines in one fell swoop. I like this option least. Manipulating the top through my sewing machine will rub off the smaller fused bits (experience speaking here), and the edges will fray, and it’s generally not going to work so well. I think I may go with option 1. Do one piece at a time. Take time. Have the freedom to make adjustments. Ensure the branches are in the best possible condition when I sew them on. They are, don’t forget, one quivering mass of bias edges, ready to stretch if you just look at them funny. They stretch, fray and come apart at the seams. No, option 1 it is.
So, the process is: Unpin everything. Take down the top from the design wall. Lay the centre along the length of my ironing board. Peel the backing off the fusible I’ve already ironed onto the back of the trunk section. Lay it out so it’s straight and butts up to the root section. Offer up the branches to the edge of the trunk and mark both edges with pins to show where to stop and start. Remove the branches and carefully iron down the fusible, leaving unfused areas at the branch junctions to help stick them down. Stitch down with satin stitch, all the way round, starting and stopping to leave the branch slots unsewn. After that, it’s a question of doing the same thing with all 7 branches. Holy cow… I’ve got a bit of work ahead of me, eh?
Now, does anyone have any suggestions for making this easier? If so, I will receive them with glad cries and expressions of appreciation. This quilt has been a learning process throughout, and I’m always happy to learn an easier/faster/cleverer way. (Yes, I know cleverer isn’t a proper word…).
And now for the guilt…
I’m in the middle of a serious quilt, I have loads of others lined up, I’m taking two weeks out of my quilting schedule in April, and yet STILL I’ve ordered some new fabrics. Two packs of 5″ squares. Amy Butler Lark and Cameo collections, which go amazingly well together, and are destined to be turned into a nice lap quilt, sashed in white. I don’t have enough lap quilts… Yeah, right. But aren’t the colours lovely? Don’t you love the cuteness of 5″ squares, just small, so the fabric doesn’t shout at you, it just sings quietly? Don’t you think they’ll be fresh and pretty all together, sashed with white? And maybe a nice aqua binding? I’m going to need a holiday from serious quilts when the Tree is done, and I’ve nominated these fabrics to get my creative mojo going again.
So, tomorrow will find me cursing the day I started this quilt. But I’ll get through. See you on the other side!