Sunday, April 27, 2008

Family Tree Quilt

There are just some projects that you have such great hopes for - that end result is just a tad disappointing. I really wanted this to be something super special and while I know that the finished project will be much appreciated .... it just didn't make the 'A' grade for me. I'm trying to apologize less - so that is all I will say and I will talk about how this project came to be.

I was reading an old craft book that I borrowed from my mother last Christmas ... and in it I found a pattern for an embroidered family tree.
Not being that talented at embroidery and thinking that using Bernie would be far quicker and easier - I set about changing the design into a quilt pattern. Here is my sketch ...
... I stuck together lots of pieces of paper together to make the pattern for the applique design ...
... and what followed were some rather long days of feeling not very thrilled about the project.

I had chosen to recycle silk ties for the applique - silk ties (because of the pretty woven designs) fray like anything once you cut them into small fiddly pieces. I have vowed not to use a lot of silk ties for a large applique project again. I am also a total beginner at applique and machine quilting and making sure that all the layers were flat without any proper large flat area or table was near impossible. Regardless of my excuses about a large flat area - I need to practice machine quilting ... Bernie did his job ... but his handler was struggling with where to start and how to constantly move the huge amount of fabric through and around him.

So once all the applique was finished and I felt like I had wrecked the quilt further by my bad machine quilting ... I decided that the cream fabric I had selected was a tad dull ... and the family tree trunk was too wide ... and that this kind of project really needs a dry run first and then on your second attempt you can correct all the things you found out didn't work on the first. But isn't every new project like that? And what would I do with the first version of the quilt once the second perfected version was finished? I couldn't throw it away - way too much time, love and sweat went into this.
So lets say what I like about the quilt - because parts of it are quite pretty. Although the silk was hard to work with - the patterns in the fabric are really lovely and when I hung it in the garden to take photos the gold and silver threads really glistened in the sun ...
... I like that we will be able to add names to the tree as folk get married and or have kiddies ...
... there are cute little insects crawling around ...
... and it fits a queen bed perfectly.
So to Elke - who is bestowed this gift - I am sorry it isn't quite what I wanted it to be but it is filled with all the love, effort and thought I could muster. Wishing you a very Happy Birthday xx

10 comments:

Lily Boot said...

mmmmm... I know exactly the feeling you're describing - I walk away from hours of work with my mind churning through all the ways this project is not doing it for me and how much time and money I have devoted to this **** - I hated my first chop at the Prairie Paisley fabric and practically cried as I went for a walk that night! But - you 're right - your leaves and sun and snail and butterfly - they're BEAUTIFUL! you should be pleased as punch :-) and what a lovely heirloom for your family.

LizzieJane said...

Well, I think it is just beautiful
because you made it with your own two hands, and more importantly it was made with love.
I am sure the recipient just loved it.

OliverandOlivia.com said...

Hello!

I have been a "quiet" reader of your blog ever since I purchased the vintage rabbit softie from your shop a few months ago.

The quilt is GORGEOUS! The love and determination to complete it is very clear and I am sure the recipient will be blown away!

Well done!

Rachael said...

You are being WAY too hard on yourself. I know you probably had a vision of what it would look like and it doesn't .. but it looks beautiful as it is. I now try to let projects evolve naturally without having too strong a preconceived idea of them. Then I can love things for how they turn out. I made an embroidered family tree for my Dad's 60th, but it is now out of date (and unchangeable) and also discoloured due to the adhesive (why?!) used by the "professional" who mounted and framed it. I haven't quite got the enthusiasm to do a new one. And I certainly wouldn't attempt to applique one! I think yours looks just lovely and love the fact that you CAN add to it. I really like the recycled tie fabric - might have to borrow that idea. Could you make it easier to use in future by using an iron-on interfacing fabric before cutting the small pieces? (Just a thought - I don't do applique so have no idea.)

LOUISE @ HOME IS WHERE THE HEART IS said...

The quilt is absolutely wonderful. I love family history. x

PG said...

I think you will look back on this one day with new eyes and realise its merits - and sometimes the things we think are the biggest mistakes are the things we learn most from - apart from all the effort and love which went into it, which is, of course, priceless.

bettyninja said...

Whoops, I think my last comment got deleted by accident. I wanted you to know that my projects, particularly my quilts end up way different than they start out as. Really, truly, your quilt looks wonderful. It has amazing details and will really be treasured for years.

I know everyone says this- but give it time- step away from it. You'll see- in no time you will actually think it is not so bad--and then one day you will really like it. It is a treausre! And you were very creative to produce it.

c.Rachel said...

This is a beautiful quilt!

I quite like the sturdiness of the trunk. It's solid, firm and will weather any storm. =)

Sandra said...

This is the most beautiful family tree project I've ever seen! You should be very proud of this quilt even if it didn't reach your expectations. The rest of us think it's a masterpiece! Well done!

Anonymous said...

I love this! Its so inspiring. I'm wanting to make something similar for my Grandma. She's turning 90! She's an avid quilter. . . made quilts for one and all. I haven't been able to find a pattern for what I had in mind and wasn't feeling confident enough to draw up my own. But now I'm going to go for it. Your work is beautiful!!! I love that you used both quilting and embroidery. I think its so much prettier than putting photos on the quilt.

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