Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Winter Trees

As well as plodding on with Sam's Quilt, I've been trying to get a little more of my Tree Quilt finished. My plan with this one is that, among other things, there'll be a tree block for all seasons in there. And for the last few days I've been playing around with 'Winter'. This was my initial sketch that I've been sort of working to:

I chose some thrifted, dusky blue fabric for the background, and had my silver birches all ready to go from an ancient jacket I cut up. I've been using bondaweb for the tree appliques with this quilt. I do usually try not to use the stuff for applique too often, purely from a cost perspective. I usually manage with just pins, but I decided all my fiddly branches warranted spashing out on some bondaweb. It does make life much easier (you can find it here). So I was all set to iron on my birches when I had an idea to try and bleach some snowflakes on to my background first.

After lots of experimenting (much more fun than bleaching the toilets, which is what I really should have been doing!), I finally decided that my preferred method was:
  1. Use the girls' snowflake hole punch to punch out snowflakes in some tacky back paper I found hiding in the back of the craft cupboard.
  2. Stick this down on the fabric and very delicately dab a cotton bud dipped in bleach into the centre of the snowflake - I removed any excess bleach from the cotton bud beforehand each time.
  3. Then, again very delicately, dab the cotton bud around the very edge of each of the snowflake points and remove my tackyback stencil. It would have been great to just dab the bleach on the whole snowflake stencil, but unfortunately I found it bled through around the edges far too much and left me with a big blob.
  4. After removing the tacky back, I dipped a needle in bleach and carefully traced a small line from the centre to each of the bleached points. Some of these snowflakes worked better than others, and it was extremely easy to dab on too much bleach, but I wasn't expecting a perfect, uniform snowflake pattern.

Before I got going on my actual square of fabric I roughly drew in where my trees were going to go, so I could concentrate the snowflakes in between them.
 Once I'd finished I left the fabric to dry and then washed it. Here it is drying again:

I liked it, so I went ahead and ironed on the silver birches. After sewing around them, I drew on some bark detail and began machine sewing it on to the trees.

It took a lot longer than I expected, still more fun than bleaching toilets but I was very glad to finish!

I think it looks quite simple and it's not a particularly large square, but I think it could be the longest I've taken on a quilt patch this size. I'm not really sure how that happened! I do quite like it (though I sort of wish I'd bleached more snowflakes on there now) but I have got far too many other things to do (including toilet cleaning!) to repeat the process too often!

Quick wins are always great, unfortunately they don't often go hand in hand with quilt making, but then I suppose the time and effort that goes into making a quilt is what makes it so special.

Back again tomorrow, Sally.

PS I did eventually get the toilets cleaned too!


  1. Perfect amount of snowflakes, any more of would take away from the trees.

  2. Happy you think so! I look at it and think, mmm, maybe just one more snowflake right there would have been good, and perhaps one last one just there...! It's always so hard to be completely, perfectly happy with your own work.


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