At long last! When I started this back in March 2008, inspired by a small post card size piece by BaumCat, I only envisioned doing one 12" block. It didn't take long for that initial vision to expand into 4 blocks for a wall hanging. And now, here it is, complete! It has been such a joy to work on these past 3 1/2 years!
Each block contains some repeating elements. Here is a list of them.
~ A patch filled with buttonhole stitch leaves
~ A butterfly and a bird
~ A trellis of SRE roses
~ A piece of "sampler" lace crocheted by my Aunt Lois
~ A piece of tatting (except for block 4, which somehow missed out!)
~ A piece of cotton/rayon eyelet lace from my adopted Grandmother Florence Scheerer's petticoat
~ A piece of cotton Cluny type lace, either vintage or new
~ A patch of button flowers with embroidered rayon stems and leaves, inspired by the ones created by Moline.
~ A bone bead Bird or Bunny
There are also two needle lace medallions (one looks more like crochet) that came from my Uncle Jake's great Aunt, who was a missionary to Persia in the late 1800's early 1900's. The tatted medallion was made by my Aunt Lois.
I have so many favorite parts on this piece that I wanted to share some of them with you. This is the center of the original block. I loved the robin "silkie" that I picked up at the local scrapbook store. When I pieced the fabrics, I just used what I had and thus ended up with an assortment of mostly cotton fabrics but a couple pieces of silk as well. The seams were stitched in vintage pearl cottons as well as new and some lovely silk pearl as well. On each block, I tried to stitch each seam with different stitches and tried hard not to repeat stitches within each block. For the most part I succeeded!
One of my very favorite elements is the patch of buttonhole stitch leaves. Up until this point, I had never stitched without a pre-printed pattern, so to just stitch randomly as I went, was a real challenge and learning experience for me!
Another favorite element is this patch of a bird on a branch of apple blossoms. This was the only block whose silkie didn't have a bird on it, so I felt I needed to add a special one! I used Gerry's method of doing the embroidery on felt and than appliqueing it on after the rest of the embroidery was complete.
Each block contains stitches that were new to me, things I'd never really tried before. I loved the way this needle woven daisy turned out! I also tatted the clover lace, after seeing a small piece somewhere and writing down what I thought the pattern was.
There were lots of new stitches in this corner, from the button stitch wheel flowers, to the spiderweb roses done in embroidery thread, to the cast on petals of the chamomile blossoms and the granitos stitch used for the wheat berries.
The very last completed element was this spray of Lily of the Valley. I was stumped as to what to do in this space and when I found this vintage motif, knew it would work beautifully in a mix of embroidery and SRE.
Each of the other blocks features a bone bird bead, but I really wanted to include one bunny bead, almost a signature element for me. At first, I tried putting it in the center of the quilt, but it was not at home there, but when I placed it under the fern in this corner, it was perfect!
Feather stitching is one of my very favorite stitches and I love the finishing touch that it added around the seam binding! I would have loved to include just a touch of traditional quilting in this piece, but couldn't figure out where. Now that I look at it, I am thinking I may do about 3 rows of hand quilting to mimic the scallops in the lace. But first I'll live with it for a few weeks and see if it still seems like a good idea down the road!
For the finishing of the quilt, I used the techniques from Allison Aller's Crazy Quilting. The tiny mother of pearl buttons tack the backing to the flannel interlining to keep everything from shifting.
I placed a tube at the top in order to hang it. While I'm using a 3/8" dowel at the moment, I hope to change it out to a slightly larger piece of lath. The tube is large enough to accommodate nearly any size rod that might be used. I also used two tube pieces rather than one large one so that it can be hung from the center as well as from each end, depending on the needs of where it hangs. Again, I tried to use all things from my stash, including the backing fabric and the dowel!
So here it is, in all it's glory, hanging between the paintings on my living room wall.