Our collaborative COVID winter garden project
My wife, Leslie, and I took on a winter project to keep us busy during the cold COVID quarantine. She wanted to make a quilt for our guest room bed. She had the idea and vision to make it a garden-inspired quilt. She’s made quilts before – everything from king size, to baby size – and t-shirt quilts to fine art-inspired quilts.
This time, her idea required me and my (unpracticed) illustration skills. So she deemed this one to be a team effort. I was game. I learned a lot about quilt making!
Leslie’s Flower Quilt
The idea was to have six panels, plus two pillow shams, each with a flower from our garden. She started off with creating the backgrounds of green ground and blue sky with all batik fabric. Each panel is 35″ x 21″. The finished quilt is a 85″x85″ (give or take) queen size.
This is an applique quilt, so the flowers were sewn over the backgrounds.
One of the “limitations” was trying to keep straight edges on the illustrations where we could. Machine-sewn curves is not her forté, so I made the illustrations a bit angular.
I stared with doing a small rough on an 8.5″x11″ sheet of paper in proportion to its final size, using reference of flower photos and illustrations found online.
Next, I freehand drew them on actual-size rolled brown kraft paper. I made adjustments along the way to accommodate quantity and sizes of pieces (bearing in mind she had to sew each piece!), what colors were being used, where it hit on the green/blue divide in the background, and making sure they all looked relatively uniform in the way they filled the space.
The drawings were the easy part…
The kraft paper pattern pieces were traced onto sheets of iron-on adhesive. Then she ironed the color-coded and numbered adhesives onto the batik fabric, cutting out each individual piece – accommodating overlap on each piece if it went underneath another piece.
Then, like all those people doing COVID jigsaw puzzles, we recreated the illustration on the blue and green quilt panels – in reverse! That was a brain teaser. The backs of the iron-ons had to be peeled–and the pieces placed exactly–so she could iron them in place. Next she sewed the outline of each individual piece. There were lots of pieces.
Once all the individual panels were done, they were bordered by a thin coordinated color batik fabric. Then they were sewn together with thicker borders between each panel. THEN they were sandwiched with the backing and some cotton filling.
It was sent out to a quilter with a longarm sewing machine for the final quilting pattern of vines and leaves over the top of it all. That’s all done by computer with pre-programmed patterns to chose from. Leslie sewed the final edge binding by hand.
I had helped only with the measuring and cutting of the first quilt she made. That was an experience. I’m used to DIY projects with lumber, drywall, plywood, things, that, when you cut them measure the same as after you cut them. Fabric isn’t like that. Each time you measure something to make sure it’s the right length, or even to make sure something is square, it’s not the same the second time. It’s math, but with a lot of –ish‘s.
She mentioned she may want to display it outside during Garden Walk Buffalo next year, let’s hope it doesn’t rain!
Below are all the separate panels and the finished quilt. Our next winter project is now to redo the guest bedroom to match the quilt. Wish us luck.
Here are some past DIY projects I’ve made
Most winters I do a basement garden art project. Here are some of my past projects:
- A garden post post
- DIY garden bench, window boxes and shutters for the garden shed
- My four DIY fountains
- Garden variety Louise Nevelson sculpture
- My marble and granite area rug…
- My vertical hardy succulent frame from scratch
- My ever-raining rain chain
- My homemade copper coral bell fountain
- My DIY concrete outdoor countertops
- Art for the birds
- A potting table for the potting shed
- Hearty art for the garden
- DIY Campy bat & bird houses
- A home-made hanging light of vines
- Spring DIY project Before & After
- It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas