Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Wild Flowers Quilt

 "Wild Flowers"  (12" square)
My two most recent little flower quilts were such a joy to make that I found myself smiling often while playing around with construction possibilities.  No doubt about it,  I love bright cheerful colors, a bit of whimsy, dashes of the unexpected, and of course exploring my favorite recurring floral theme.
Surprisingly, I noticed that having a 'workbook' mentality loosened my approach and expectations.  Perhaps having two similar foundations contributed to my explorations?  A new finishing technique surfaced with this project.  After hand sewing the conventional binding on "Spring Fling", I purposely opted for a machine zig-zag stitched edge on "Wild Flowers".
Heavy machine embroidery without extra stabilization causes the background to pucker, which I then had to heavily machine quilt out later on my first flower quilt.  Therefore, I hand embroidered the stems and leaf outlines on the second quilt.  Let me emphasize how tough poking a big eyed needle with 6 strands of embroidery floss through heavily quilted fabric is!  My finger joints ached for two days.  I fabric fused the green fabric inside the leaf outlines and machine stitched the edges to secure it.

Most enjoyable was inventing new flowers from jelly-roll selvages.  If you read my blog posts here and here, you will notice how my creativity just sort of evolves over time in a serendipitous progression. Look closely at the flowers ~
I folded the 'jelly-roll jiggle' in half lengthwise onto itself, then sewed along the fold, anchoring the fold permanently.  From there, I cut a small, medium and large strip for each flower, sewing the ends to form circles with donut hole centers.  Flowers were machine stitched to the quilted foundation and gluing the centers was my final step.
Floral centers are all different.  Buttons with the plastic shanks removed so they would lay flat are on the two smaller flowers.  The largest flower center holds an art clay (FIMO) cabochon I made nine years ago.  (Some things take time you know).  :)   My remedy for filling a concave area inside the flower center before gluing the buttons/cabochon in was to glue a piece of pellon down first, then glue the center on top of that.  

Final treatment is applying the kumihimo braid (I made 5 years ago) just inside the quilt edge, using a straight machine stitch to tack it down every inch or so.  I pulled the tiny ladybug sticker off mail that arrived yesterday and stuck it on the leaf.  I like how it looks but I don't think it will stay long term.  If it falls off I'll replace it with a more permanent alternative. 


  1. I love your flower works and found the reference to the braiding fascinating. Think I will order a disk and try some!

  2. I just love the life and the texture of the jelly roll selvage daisies! I wonder if the "workbook" mentality is the same thing that happens with a timed challenge - like make one thing every day for a week or a month. After a while our hesitation barriers break down under the demand to "just do something - anything". I see that in writing challenges and in video challenges. I'm thinking I might like to explore a quilting challenge to break down some of my hesitations. Great insight and great quilts!

  3. Judy I think you'll enjoy kumihimo. Great for traveling with the small portable disk. Google kumihimo and you will discover the traditional apparatus are beautiful wooden structures of many sizes. I taught myself on the small portable foam disk and it works great. If you have the option, get the larger bobbins. Let me know how you like kumihimo.

  4. Marguerita I haven't forgotten our retreat plans. The guest bedroom will be free in June. I think we should plan on playing around with whatever strikes our fancy. I certainly have ALL the supplies but you'd probably like to bring your own machine. I'm so looking forward to this!