Friday, June 12, 2015

Newest Quilt and Life

Late Autumn Birches by Cathy Geier

Well, this is what I started work on yesterday afternoon. I've been REALLY busy, whine whine whine, and YES I'd like some cheese with that!

First though, as I was getting my camera out to show progress on my quilt I figured you might want to see what a genuine online fabric shop looks like!

This is the real thing folks! 

My fabric shop! Lol
 It is over 100 bolts of landscape fabric goodness and it is all in a corner of my family room. And now you know.
(Oh, I do have a few more bolts down in my sewing room...)

On to news.

(Scene from Young Frankenstein)
 If you watched Mel Brook's movie, you know what is coming...

You see, I had a mammogram about a month ago. 

And the news?

Sooo, I had to have a biopsy. I got the results back and all is WELL! (Whew).  But, it was a stressful bit of time for me the last few weeks. I had what is known as a Stereotatic Biopsy -still scary, but not as scary as having surgery. (But maybe it is because you are awake the whole time and the needle is big?!)

And that is why I haven't blogged for a while.

I don't mind talking about it so if you want to know more, just leave a comment. We can also chat over email so it won't be so public if you'd like. 

~~One last thing~~
(Cue mood music)
Get your regular mammograms! 
On to an easier subject - occasionally I like to create patterns or kits for customers who shop at my store. Sometimes picking out working fabrics is challenging and since I'm surrounded by them all sorts of combinations come to mind. 

I generally like brighter colors, but those muddy leaves sang to me when I put them next to this gradated golden batik. So I cut some 1/8 yard pieces from fabrics which might work with these birch tree trunks, leaves and background batik. 
Fabrics I thought I might use.... 
 I started out by cutting 3 birch tree trunks of differing widths.  Here they are.
 All nice in a row.

First lesson for you. DON'T arrange them like jail bars! Lol.
How not to arrange tree trunks!
 It seems like I always have two tree trunks somewhat together and one separate. I didn't want that again so I'm going to clump them like so. 
Clump of birch trunks
 Then I thought maybe there should be some extra skinny ones on the sides...
Starting to arrange things....
 Now I added a few dark branches and decided I really liked the drama in this simple scene! 
Dramatic branches

 When I'm making projects, there is a lot of time arranging and messing around with arrangements and rearranging messed around with arrangements, lol. 

I'm showing you progress, but if I showed you every possible way I tried to arrange things, you would have clicked off my blog by now!!!!  It takes a lot of time to come up with the 'perfect' scene and that is why when you buy kits, they cost more than just the fabric. So far, this scene has probably taken me 8? hours+ to get to where it is at the end of this blog. 

But I digress. 
Rough Draft
 This was the state of affairs when I went to bed last night. 
Better arrangement
 Ok, so I lowered a few of those branches and liked it better.

Now, if you were buying this kit and following directions, those tree trunks would be glued down and colored.  Because I'm arranging though, I can't do that.

Why do I care?

Because now I have to pull everything off the design and glue things in a proper order. Before I glue the trunks, they need to be colored up.

Once again, I'll show you how I shade tree trunks. It is easy peasy, just DO IT. Get a gray Sharpie Metallic, pick one side of the tree trunks and using a horizontal motion and the flat side of the marker, color them 1/3 - 1/2 way across the tree trunk. 
Shading birch tree trunks

Add a skinny black line down the shaded side
 Now, this print has a regular pattern of black blobs. Notice them on the right? (See below) 

3 regular evenly spaced blobs.... not in MY quilt, lol

Blob Redo
 All I do is use my black Sharpie and build a better blob. I can add more blobs, make some bigger than the others, add dark lines here and there, whatever. Some blobs I just darken more than their neighbors. It's all good. 
New/Improved tree trunk

See the difference? (The tree on the right is colored up.)

Variety of markers
 I have a bag full of markers and some of the gray colors are different, this one has a bit of blue. I thought 'why not?' and added a bit of gray blue shading here and there. 

All done with the tree trunks
Now that the tree trunks are done, I have glued them on. I really really like Elmer's Glue Sticks now. They have changed their formula and the glue goes on soft and easy and it sticks.

Fusing on branches
 I pressed a fusible web to a fat quarter of dark fabric to make the branches. Branch patterns will be included in the kit for the store, by the way. I use a fusible because those skinny branches fall apart too easily with the gluing and it is much easier just to fuse them. 

 I cut out clusters of leaves. You see those markers? I'll be adding a little more yellow here and there to some of the leaves just to give them a sun kissed look. 

Adding Branches
 Once the branches are arranged but not all the way fused, I round off the ends. Then fuse them down.
After that I used my black Sharpie to shade the underside of each branch. Now I make "U" shaped splotches under the branches where they come out of the white tree trunks.  

Adding U shaped splotches
 You can see how the splotches work by looking up the left tree trunk. Here they all are finished...
Trunks are glued down and the branches fused and colored
 Time to start adding leaves! 
Late Autumn Birches
 Can you see the difference that little yellow adds to the leaves? Its a great color for landscapers. 
Bright yellow marker adds a bit of sun light
You may remember all those other prints I pulled out in the beginning? I'm kind of thinking that I don't need to add anymore prints here. This is a simple landscape and will take very little time creating. Sometimes all the messy cutting that one has to do when creating a forest scene can take 8 hours by itself. I'm going to start trying to come up with landscape ideas for quilters who don't have a lot of time to play.

What do you think? Do I need to add more to it? 

When I look at it, the only problem I see is the upper left corner and the skinny tree trunk that looks empty at the top. I can fix that by adding a leaf or two or three.

I still might add some foliage at the bottom though... hmm. You'll see the final product next week. I am curious though and would value your opinions!

In the meantime, I'm taking my poor bruised poopsy and we are heading to a quiet spot for a bit of summer reading.

Seriously, get your mammograms. If there had been something there, we would have caught it REALLY early and that is a very good thing.

Bye for now and have fun with your fabrics!

Comments Welcome


  1. Love the tree trunk fabric. The markers make it all a complete work, lovely!

    1. Thanks! I'm in the To-Be-Quilted stage now and I hope to finish it within the next couple of weeks. (I ended up adding more stuff to it... and I just finished blogging about that this morning.)

  2. ugh! Biopsy.....had that 3 years ago....glad you are fine. the waiting stresses you out, I know. It did me too. Love the birches, yet I want you to anchor the base, maybe some grasses ? I haven't tried the coloring with markers, I usually do some thread sketching/painting to darken areas. Now I will try the markers. Thanks.

    1. Your comment is brilliant. Anchor the base - it started a chain reaction and jump started my motivation. THANKS!

      I'm still swollen and bruised and it has been a month now or so! Can't believe it... I'm told that is completely normal though. Ugh. I'm so thankful that there was no weird stuff in those cells though.

  3. I'm so glad to hear you're doing fine & the tests were negative. The landscape is really turning out beautifully. Your blog is wonderful & so motivating ...makes me want to get started!

    1. Oh good, that is why I blog what I do. I'm making landscaping art quilting addicts, lol. Art quilting opened up such a big door for me in terms of my joy in life and satisfaction, etc. And really, some of these things are so easy to do. Have fun!

  4. Great post Cathy.....I especially love the blue you added to the trunks....never would have occurred to me. I know you want to keep this simple, but could you add a little line of something behind the trees to give some depth? Of course, one thing always leads to another :)

    1. Yes m'am. :)

      I blogged this morning about this 'keeping it simple'. Basically I was bored and just wanted to finish the thing... I needed an attitude adjustment! I added more and like it sooo much better!! Thank you for your imput Ellen.

  5. What a great tutorial! All the added markings really make the quilt. I'm so glad to hear you got good news from your biopsy. Hope all future exams continue with good news.

    1. Thanks and I'm glad you enjoyed it! Yes, good news is good! On to the next mammo in 6 months... hopefully there will be nothing more. Thanks for writing to me. :)

  6. I thought the tree trunks were Aspen (I live in Colorado)If you want them to be Aspen, Use yellow and a little rosy read to accent.

  7. I would LOVE to get my hands on the tree trunk fabric you use. can you tell me where to purchase it?? Thanks so much. Your work is amazing!

    1. Hi Nancy, this blog was from 2015 and that fabric is no longer available. I do have birch/aspen fabric though at my store. ( Or you can follow the link to it on the purple bar at the top of my blog.
      Thanks for the compliments!!

  8. What kind of yellow markers did you use, water based?

    1. These are my favorite markers. I probably used a golden color and a really bright yellow on the leaves. It's so nice now that we can order single markers without having to buy them in bulk!