"Birches," 23" x 18", made for Project Quilting, Season 6, Challenge 1: Trees, Jan. 2015 in Yellow Springs, Ohio
Challenge recap for "Trees":
Your inspiration for this challenge is trees. Your project does NOT need to include a tree (but certainly can).
When I saw that the challenge was “Trees,” I immediately thought of the dozen or so quilts that I’ve made featuring tree, including three that have been for Project Quilting challenges. My first instinct was to go with a pine tree, perhaps because my Christmas decorations haven’t been put away yet, but when I looked back on the three quilts that I’ve made, half of them have been of pine trees.
So instead I decided to do my usual brain storming while looking through my fabric stash to see if the fabrics would speak to me. That’s when I found this batik:
This fabric didn't just speak, it screamed "Birch Trees." So I continued to look for fabrics that I could use for the background. I chose a navy blue batik with small green dots and a deep green batik for the lower part.
I cut the birch fabric 2" wide, trying to avoid the parts that looked like tree trunks, then I folded the fabric the raw edges in on itself but I didn't try to keep it even or straight so they'd have more of an organic feel. One reason I did this was because I wanted to have two layers of fabric so the seams wouldn't show through when placed on top of the darker fabric. I also didn't want to have raw edges. I did put 1/4" fusible tape along these edges.
Next I made the quilt sandwich and quilted the edges of the trees. I knew I wanted to have heavy quilting on the background fabric to make the trees seem to pop off of the quilt, but I wasn't sure how I wanted to quilt it, so I decided to sleep on it.
The next day I had a quilting idea, which I thought was called "Matchstick Quilting" so I Googled it. It wasn't what I thought it was, but it did spark some ideas. Matchstick Quilting is usually done in straight lines 1/8" apart, and sometimes with different threads. It looks pretty cool on solid color fabric because it changes the color when looking from a distance.
Instead of just straight lines, I decided to echo the shape of the birch trees. I also decided I only wanted to do 1/4" apart instead of 1/8" because it would take half the amount of time and I didn't want to obscure the beauty of the batik fabrics. I did decided to use different colored threads, although I stayed in the same color family of the fabric. I used three shades of dark blue and one dark green.
I used a knife-edge binding technique so the lines of the trees wouldn't be interrupted.