Today I’m talking about Wandering Quilt. Wandering Quilt is a traveling quilt group I’m in that runs January to October of this year.
Just in case you are not familiar with traveling quilts here is the idea: Each member of your group creates a starter block and usually writes a journal with details, theme and style they would like their quilt to end up. You send your starter block to another member in your group (usually there is a list, and you send it to the next lady on the list), they have a month to add on to your starter block and get your quilt going. Then, they send it to the next woman on the list and so on and so on until your quilt arrives back to you. In the meantime, as your quilt is traveling to each member of your group, their quilts are as well, so you will be adding to their quilts.
We have 10 women in our group. That means that 9 ladies besides me will be working on my quilt and I will be working on 9 different quilts. All themed. Here is my wandering quilt.
Late January, Susan’s wandering quilt came in the mail.
Susan’s wandering quilt is called “Tree of Life”. Before I’d ever seen it, I figured that I would make tree blocks. Wrong.
In her journal, Susan writes to go stand under a tree and look up (I love that) and that is your inspiration.
Her starter block (above) is supposed to be a looking up from the bottom of the tree. You can see the extended branches, but also birds, bugs, mushrooms, a nest, a butterfly, and a few more that your eyes might not catch on first glance.
Her quilt is going to be a wall hanging and my block only needs to be 16″ big, which isn’t much to work on at all, but Susan has asked that we include things like embroidery, lace, buttons, so though my section is rather small, I can get all fancy with it and do some difficult things.
And I have….
I went outside to the woods behind our house and piddled up under the trees for a bit.
I saw a red cardinal, but I heard a woodpecker.
For my block, I decided to work on a woodpecker block. I have been Craftsy obsessed lately, so I looked for a pattern there first. I found this one. It was a free pattern, and I LOOOOOOVED it. I showed it to Susan and she loved it too.
It took me several days to complete. I worked on it a little each night until I had it completed. It’s probably one of the most intricate patterns I’ve done and I was really amazed that it turned out so well. I know how to paper piece, but I don’t do it very often.
So that was the ‘easy’ part. I was rushing so that I could spend the rest of the month doing the really intricate stuff.
Susan’s starter block featured a large flower in the center of her tree that she embroidered along with several smaller flowers. She used some kind of folding technique to make the limbs of her tree, so I wanted to add something to my woodpecker to really make it work with hers.
I went to Pinterest and found a few things for inspirations.
I love that piece! I was wowed by it. I knew I had to include something similar in my block.
My block was 12″ and it needed to be 16″, and also Susan wanted the tree limbs extended out to each of her blocks, so I had to get creative. I used more of the cream background on the right side of my block, but used brown for a tree limb on the very top of the block. It was a little thicker (4 inches) than I wanted it to be, and that turned out to be a perfect spot to put my leaves, so that your eyes don’t just see this thick strip of brown.
My inspiration leaves require two things: knowledge of embroidery and the ability to needle turn applique.
I’ve never needle turn appliqued in my life. In fact, I’ve gone out of my way to not use it. But my love for those blue leaves outweighed my fear. So I turned to the bestest at needle turn. Sarah Fielke.
She might be my new favorite person.
I took her class here, which I will discuss in great detail while I’m making my first word quilt. I’m waiting for fabric to arrive, but in the class she also teaches how to needle turn applique in GREAT detail.
Before the class, I watched and ready many, many tutorials on it and ended up having to take all my leaves off after I’d done them because it just didn’t look right. Then I watched Sarah’s class and I got it. She’s a great teacher and pretty much the guru when it comes to this skill.
I just can’t believe I was able to pick this up so quickly. I truly thought it was for sewing masters. I’ve still got a ways to go on them being perfect, but I’ll get there with a little practice.
I actually just finished the applique just a few minutes ago, but I didn’t want to show it just yet. It looks kind funny without the embroidered stem to go with it. But soon.
Here are a few other inspirations that I plan on adding to this quilt block.
I was thinking that little yo-yo bloom might look nice on my stem of leaves as well, just to fill in some of the gaps.
Note the embroidery on the birds feathers and tail. I’m seeing that in my woodpecker’s future.
I’ll post more about this soon.