Thursday, July 17, 2014


Since I'm still sewing bits and strings of scraps together on my current project and don't have much to show you yet, I thought I'd share with you a bit of the process behind making Watchman.  The quilt was an experiment, I wanted to see what happened if I combined vertical strips and horizontal strips in the same landscape.  I had a lot of  desert colored fabrics in my stash plus I'm going to Tucson, AZ  in the fall to teach and these things kind of came together in this quilt.

Laying out strips, designing the background

For smaller quilts, I have a 48 x 48 panel of insulating foam board covered with batting. I can just set the thing on a chair and don't have to rearrange my small sewing room to fit a large design wall.   (Of course I could take down my aquarium and use that wall, but who wants to do that?!  I like my fishies.)

Designing continued

 Once the quilt top was designed, I drew out a life size tree on freezer paper - I had google images of bristlecone pine trees and I somewhat modeled my tree pattern after them.  I pressed the freezer paper pattern onto a light weight fusible interfacing. I pressed it very very lightly and drew the outline of the tree on the interfacing with a metallic silver sharpie marker. Then I tore off the freezer paper and cut out the tree.  The fusible is side up - I can now fuse bark prints to it and see what I'm doing.

Beginning to add fabrics on the tree

 At this point I can cut out fabrics and layer them on the interfacing. I chose to use bark prints and angle them to make the tree look twisted.  I also brought in a mucky green bark to help give the appearance of age and lichens and slimy wood. (Though now that I think of it, slimy wood wouldn't really be in the desert...)

You can see that I use a color value tool when I'm arranging fabrics. I don't want all the bark to be the same value, I want darker patches to suggest more shadowed and deeper grooves.

Filling in the tree bark

 I pressed the tree to fuse the fabrics to the interfacing. It worked pretty well, but not perfectly so I used my glue stick to anchor the fabrics as I needed. 

Tree is mostly done
 Once the tree was done, I positioned it on the quilt top and began to fix the bottom.

Adding more bark strips to anchor the tree to the quilt

Here is a closeup so you can see what I'm doing better. 
Bottom of the tree
 Once the tree was arranged, I glued the bark strips down. Then I stitched the tree to the landscape and trimmed off the bottom to add borders and quilt. 
Closeup of quilting and highlights on the tree
 I'm a big fan of dye markers and white highlighters. So.... I shaded portions of the tree and highlighted others. You can see the white highlights on the 'up' side of the branches.  I also added some rocks on the middle left portion of the landscape.

Bristlecone Pine Tree , closeup

I still have the pattern for this tree and lately I've been thinking about doing it again only in a different setting and maybe adding my hawk from Night Hunter.  BUT, before that I need to finish that woven strip thing I have been working on all summer. 

This morning Ellie Cat was helping me sew on a sleeve to a quilt which is going to a new home. She is such a sweetie.

Ellie Cat

Comments and questions are welcome!
That's all from both of us today.  Happy quilting adventures everyone! 


  1. Enjoyed this post so much and wish you could put it into a tutorial so I could find it again. Interesting to see that the horizontal and vertical strips worked so well together. I was surprised.

    1. That's a good idea Ruth. Maybe sometime I'll do one on trees like this. I used the same tecninque when I made the tree in my Interwoven quilt. I'll have to think about it setting up tutorial pages.

      In the meantime, if you have a pinterest board, you might "pin" this blog page there. I find myself using pinterest as a pictorial bookmark folder, if that makes sense. I bookmark/pin things I want to remember. Thanks for writing in and I'm glad you like the quilt!