The Cloths of Heaven 10: leaf and branch

I am going slowly bonkers.

It’s the leaves, or rather, the stitching carefully around every bloody 64 of them. The first sheet is done, stitched and cut out. The second and larger sheet of leaves is in progress. Sort of.

Leaves and tendrils notesI had to stop and do something else as it was getting to the point where I wanted to hurl it across the room every time a pin snagged my bare arm. Again. So I moved to applying the 1/4″ bias strip for the ivy stems, only to discover that it wouldn’t go round the tightest of the curves, the tendrils at the ends. Three hours and many tested options later I have the answer. Apply the strip wherever possible. Migrate from strip heat-sealed to the fabric and stitched down with zigzag to plain zig zag just a little narrower than the stripe, done really, really s l o w l y to maintain a smooth curve.

Anyway, after that, I was ready for a little light relief. Normally, pinning a quilt sandwich would not fall into this category, but the panel is only 44″ square and even though I’m pinning closely, it was done quickly and pleasantly, with minimal cursing and bloodletting.

Pinned sandwich with corner testivy corner detailI tried out how the leaves would look. I like it! I have everything ready to start hand quilting the central panel, but I’m going to force myself to finish the leaves first, so I don’t have to dread coming back to it later.

The clouds will be quilted with grey variegated thread, the sky and mountains with dark blue. I shall use silver thread in a spiral on the moon, and around the outer edge of the clouds and the top edge of the mountains – just a single thin line to suggest the edges are moonlit. I want a tiny bit more sparkle for the stars, so I’ll either embroider a star within each shape, or I’ll apply a single tiny sequin or glass bead in the centre of each.

Thank you all for your help with the dreaded ear worm; I have classical music in the background now, which tends not to get too stuck in my head.

Time for a quick break and then back to the leaves.

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35 thoughts on “The Cloths of Heaven 10: leaf and branch

  1. claire93 says:

    I applaud your patience, with all these trials and testing to make sure you get the desired result

    • katechiconi says:

      I think with a job of this size and scope, it would be foolish not to test I can achieve the results I want. Otherwise something will go wrong, and all the time and fabric is wasted – or if not wasted, then I’m not happy with the final quilt, which is nearly as bad… Plus, it’s actually very interesting, and I’m learning a lot!

  2. Grannymar says:

    The leaves look fantastic.

  3. EllaDee says:

    I love the way the leaves cascade… they look real! And I like the complementary thread especially the silvery moonlight.
    Your adaptability amazes me; one day a chook shed, the next the next beautiful handiwork.

    • katechiconi says:

      Today has been digging post holes till it got too hot, then clearing out the stinky black gunk at the bottom of the Frogtopia pond, cleaning the pump and getting it all running again, and this afternoon will be stitching leaves again once I’ve been to the library and done the grocery shopping. I may not go to an office every day any more, but I’m definitely not lounging around being idle… Plus I have to take advantage of ‘good days’, when the pain is manageable, to do stuff like that.

  4. This is a true work of art. Félicitations.

  5. anne54 says:

    They look fantastic Kate. All the preparation time as well as the care and thought you are putting in is certainly paying off.

    • katechiconi says:

      Normally, I don’t do as much storytelling with a quilt as I have with this one, so piecing it together, maybe a bit of appliqué, etc, is usually about as far as it goes.
      This is destined, I hope, to become an heirloom, so it’s worth putting in the extra effort.

  6. lucyannluna says:

    It’s going to look fantastic

  7. Lynda says:

    You bring real meaning to the words, “Blood, sweat and tears”, Kate. I am afraid I might have actually hurled them anyway! 😉 You have such patience.

    • katechiconi says:

      It’s so funny to read that! I am SO not patient, I always want everything done now. I view this as a long term project, and am pleased with progress so far, but sometimes things take time. And as far as the blood goes, I’ve never made a quilt that didn’t draw blood in some form – it’s my way of inserting my DNA!

  8. tialys says:

    You do like to make work for yourself don’t you? This is going to be another winner. Is there any quilt show coming up that you can enter it for before giving it away as I can almost see the rosettes now.

    • katechiconi says:

      The next Mackay Show is at the end of June next year. By that time I hope this quilt will be in its new home… And I’m not going to enter it anywhere else, it’s not really about the ribbons!

  9. vivjm says:

    I am sorry you have been having such a hard time with the leaves, but they do look wonderful and it will be all worth it in the end. This is an absolutely beautiful piece of work.

    • katechiconi says:

      Thank you! I gave myself a whole day away from it, doing somewhat strenuous things in the back yard in the heat, and now I feel quite keen to get back to my air conditioned sewing room…

  10. I’m sure you will be pleased with the result ! and so will the person that’ll get this !!

  11. Gorgeous!

    I don’t stitch nearly as regularly (or as adroitly) as you do but lately had many good reasons to sew. As I do I’ve been thinking of your incredible works I made a size two Little Red Riding Hood costume, a large soft zippered ottoman (for stuffed animal storage), and lately have been plotting a giant squid creature for my daughter.

    • katechiconi says:

      That sounds fun! I have tried many different creative routes: drawing and painting, ceramics, pyrography (which I still do occasionally), embroidery, knitting (very badly), etc. Quilting is by far the most satisfying and versatile form for me, and I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of it.

  12. Keep those pins away from bare arms. If you get blood on a bloody leaf, you will have to make it again!

  13. Jen Gardener says:

    Wow they look amazing! You’re so patient!

  14. rutigt says:

    You are doing so well!! Keep up the good work!! Hurrah, hurrah, hurrah!!!! What more can I say 🙂 You are really doing a great job! I would probably had thrown the whole quilt away and forget all about it !

  15. Debbierose says:

    But it’s looking fabulous. Slow n steady will rule

    • katechiconi says:

      I got a bunch more leaves done today, but still not finished. Slow is the word…. With luck, I’ll be done tomorrow and will finally be able to start hand quilting the centre panel.

  16. […] we just love to see how creative projects are progressing? I have been following the progress Kate’s Cloth of Heaven, a beautiful quilt she is making as a special present. So, I thought you might like to follow the […]

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