Willow’s Spring Garden

I knew that I shouldn’t take on yet another project, but I couldn’t help myself. I just had to make my little stinky a quilt for her very first birthday.  At first I was thinking of something pieced and intricate. I made a stack of beautiful fabrics and as they sat there on my desk, I threw my plan out the window.  I wanted something a little larger than a crib size but smaller than a twin. I ended up with a perfect couch sized lap blanket.

While the baby napped, I took a large cut of incredibly soft linen and a washable marker and started “sketching”. I  drew two wavy lines and from there started filling in the spaces with flowers, circles and hearts.  I wanted this to be reminiscent of spring, slightly wild and imperfect, like plants waking after months of lazy slumber. I also didn’t want to spend an eternity on this one, so I went with reverse applique to fill in all the shapes. I’m a huge fan of the reverse applique look. Its fun, modern and a little more relaxed than traditional hand turned applique (which I have neither the time nor patience for). I just got an awesome new free-motion foot for my Singer that is so far and above better than my old one its not even funny. Using that helped me get the appliques finished in less than half of the time it took with my special purpose foot.

I used several different techniques when it came time to actually quilt this little gem. I found myself thinking (longing) for my moms garden while I made this. In Maryland, the weather will be easing up soon and the lilacs, wisteria and cherry trees will begin to burst with color and the hopeful unkempt look that signifies a new season on the farm. I found myself thinking of the millions of little wildflowers that grow in the pastures, of hedges desperate for haircuts.  I tried to work in those little memories to ease my longing for home (but mostly just my mommy).

In the outer “fields” I free motioned flowing organic lines interspersed with little “wildflowers” ( free motioned, to give them a sketchy look, fighting my impulse to make everything perfectly matchy). Then, since a garden isn’t really a garden without hedges, I added rows on either side of pebble quilting. I really like the look of pebble quilting, but hot damn does it take a ton of thread. Just these two rows used a spool and a half!! Inside my “flower bed” I used a really teeny tiny stipple and some echo quilting on some of the larger flowers to anchor them really well to the backing.

I went with a lovely shade of Kona cotton for the binding ( I think this is turquoise, I’d go check but there is currently a baby asleep on my lap and a cat on my feet!) I really like the way it rounds the whole thing out while giving it just the right amount of pop.

I’m a big fan of pieced backs and I’ve never made a quilt with a completely solid backing. Until now that is! I used one of my all time favorite fabrics. It was a little hard to use this much of it at once, but I’m so very happy that I did. Its a reproduction print by Timeless Treasures and not the fanciest or most expensive fabric in my collection by any means. But, never-the-less, I just adore it. My favorite shade of green with a lovely little coral and purple flowers.  It almost has a Flea Market Fancy vibe to it, can you see it? I fully intend to pair them together again at some point, once I’ve hoarded collected more. I’m happy to report that the munchkin loves this one… almost as much as I do!! Now I should really get back to my single girl…. hoping to find motivation to keep working on that this week.


About Alexandra

Mother. Chef. Artist. I live in beautiful Portland, Oregon with my husband, Ben and our daughter, Willow. This is an account of our rambling adventures and a place for what's inspiring me right now.
This entry was posted in Fabrics, Quilting, sewing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Willow’s Spring Garden

  1. Linda says:

    I can’t remember if I commented on Flickr, but this quilt really is something else! And it was great to read about your process for marking the design and doing the reverse applique. I am sure this is one that your family will enjoy for ages. (and I envy your mastery and presumed enjoyment of the free motion quilting!!)

    • Alexandra says:

      Thanks Linda! I’m bringing this one to our next PMQG meeting so you can check it out then tooo! I wouldn’t call it mastery of the free motion quilting, but I do enjoy it! Hope you’re well lovely lady!!

  2. Madison says:

    I LOVE!!! I spotted your quilt in the Fresh Modern Quilts Group pool and I had to come over here to get a better look! Your daughter will have this forEVER. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen 🙂

    • Alexandra says:

      Thank you very much! I love that when you relinquish control and just go for it artistically, you often end up with something really wonderful. Which is the case here. I just started drawing with an washable/disappearing fabric marker and made it up as I went along. I’m so glad you liked it:)

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