I decided to hand-quilt it in what I call a "primitive stitch", using embroidery floss and making really big stitches. I don't think I coined the term, but that's just what I call it. It takes some time, but I love the way it looks with applique.
I have a sketchbook that I keep. It's full of photos cut out from magazines that inspire me, sketches from my mom's sketchbook with her writing on them (she's my guardian sewing angel), and then my own sketches and notes for projects I'd like to create. This is the sketch from which my Whimsical Garden sprouted. It is easy to tell that the quilt came from this sketch, even though the finished quilt is much different. That happens a lot in my design process. I often go off on a different tangent, and things come out differently than I imagined them, for various reasons. Some of the elements I didn't use in my Whimsical Garden I will use in future projects. All is not lost.
This was a really fun quilt to make. Mostly because I love applique, and I've finally found a method that I really like. It turns out, it's the method my mom originally taught me. At the time I didn't like it, because I had no patience for the turning under, and pressing, and needleturn nonsense. So, I tried several other methods. Only to wind up right back where I started. But with one difference: now I love the turning under, and pressing, and needleturn nonsense.
I created each block separately. That is to say, I started with two of the large blocks from my sketch. But then I decided the quilt would be really fun with some birds and other flowers. So, I designed some additional blocks with birds and other flowers. It was truly a design-as-I-go (read: fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants) process. And literally, when I got a set of blocks that fit together nicely, I stopped. Then added the pieced blocks to sort of frame in the appliqued blocks. I sewed it all together and lived with it for a few days, spread out on the floor of the guest room (oh, my queendom for a design wall!) to make sure it was fully baked. When the egg timer went off in my little pea brain, I sandwiched and bound it and quilted it.
No sooner did I snip the last thread when LuAnn said, "Won't you please teach this as a class in June?" How fun!, I thought, and we agreed on a date. It will be a really fun class, because I'm going to talk a lot about my design-as-you-go process, we'll work on our applique techniques, and I'll have plenty of my doodled flowers and birds for you to incorporate into your own Whimsical Garden. You can get more information or register at Fibers in Motion.
If you're in Multnomah Village, you can see my Whimsical Garden quilt hanging over the counter at Fibers in Motion. (Quite a thrill for me. I've always thought of that spot as sort of the place-of-honor in LuAnn's shop. Truly never imagined my own quilt hanging there. A dream, really. A really nice, wake-up-happy dream.)