For Springwater Environmental Sciences School’s annual auction, I volunteered to make a quilt that would incorporate the embroidered artistic symbols of each of the classes: Acorn (preschool), Oakleaf (kinder), Dragonfly (1st), Salmon (2nd/3rd), Blue Heron (4th/5th), River Otter (6th/7th), and Fox (8th), as well as the Meadowlark – the school’s symbol. The trick was to create a quilt that would appeal to a wide audience, and that represented Springwater, as well. I went to the Pine Needle and chose batik prints in greens, blues, and neutrals, many of which have “nature” prints incorporated (leaves, ferns, etc). I pieced them together in a very simple design, to emphasize the embroidered pieces, but then used a complicated quilting technique to add some flair to the finished product.
I saw a quilt in the fabric store quilted with outlines of ferns, but learned that the quilter had used a quilting machine and computer software to accomplish the effect, so I had to figure out how to do mine the old-fashioned way. I located a good line drawing of a fern on the Internet, then drew my own version onto plastic, cut it out with an exacto knife, and that was my pattern. I then used a quilting pencil and pen to trace the template onto the quilt, one fern at a time, and then freehand quilted along the drawn lines. I wanted a shiny thread with varigated colors, but every one I tried broke off – I finally used Gutermann machine embroidery thread with just enough sheen, and color variations between silver and green, which worked great.
I varied how I laid out the fern template, changing it up from vertical to horizontal – I didn’t quilt over the embroidered pieces, and I thought quilting the ferns in the middle, with the grouping of four embroidered pieces, would make it look too cluttered, so I freehand quilted the school’s name instead.Pin It