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Forest & Foliage

Stitching the above quilted forest was like a yoga exercise. This project was a refreshing flex from other structured piecing and quilting projects I was working on at the time. The wholecloth panel required no piecing (except for the optional addition of a border) and the woodgrain stitch design is one of the easier and more forgiving free motion patterns.

The hand dyed panels used for the quilts above and below were made by a local artist who sells her pieces at our regional quilt shows. They are available in both cotton and silk charmeuse. Her "trees" are created with a vertical folding technique in all color combinations representing different moods and seasons. I interpreted the purple version above as an icy winter evening. The golden version below conveys daybreak and a forest floor full of foliage. (Of course, these pieces can also be created from scratch in your own studio using dyes, paints, or other color media, and some strategic folding and color placement).

The trees only require a chalk liner to sketch in their basic layout. These lines also serve as guides for stitching in the bark. The bark is stitched and over-stitched adding in tree knots and free-form branches. The beauty of the process is the random repetition within the chalked-in guidelines, spreading to branches with no guidelines at all.

The back of the quilt, densely textured with all of the quilting, also makes a big impact. In fact, the entire design could be stitched on a blank piece of fabric and filled in with color afterwards, or not at all.

Each project was finished differently. For my icy purple forest, I added a dark purple border, heavily quilted with a planned, structured design. This project is faced, allowing the quilted border to extend to the edge of the quilt.

For the golden forest, I added a double border, with decorative stitching as my frame, and french binding.

I love the uniqueness of each piece and thinking about the quilting and finishing possibilities that can be applied in future renditions. Couching and/or embroidery would be great options, as would beads, crystals, or other 3D elements. As always, I hope these ideas fuel and inspire your own creative thinking.

Until next time, happy stitching!



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