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The Anatomy of a Landscape


Paradise 82″x73″

It’s finally done!  Today is the deadline for the Tri-State Quilt Competition and I was able to get this quilt appraised and submitted yesterday.  It’s been quite an intense month!

FabricHere’s where I began.  I just love these colors.  I have everything in here…hand dyes, silk, Chinese brocade, sheers, you name it.  I just knew I loved these colors and I knew something would evolve.  I’d been collecting images in Pinterest of art works and landscapes which I find especially beautiful.  You can find them on my “Art” and “Beauty” Boards   https://www.pinterest.com/derstinedesigns/

Monet’s water lilies were especially intriguing and Maxfield Parrish is a good study for how to create a light source.


This was the skeleton of my piece.  I know the trees on the left background are floating in mid air but I figured they’d be covered up eventually.  I used grey tulle to make them recede into the background and I also used bright lime green and cream tulle to create the rays of sunlight.  They are hard to see here but more pronounced when quilted later on.  I was fascinated, when looking at pictures of water, that often it has very different sections of hue and color.  Water near the back by the horizon is usually dark and gets lighter near the front.

IMG_0344Next I added the willow leaves.  I knew these would be a big part of the landscape and wanted them to have a lot of texture.  I had studied Cathy Geier’s blog about how she create her amazing leaves using confetti batik and tulle.  I tried a similar method with Sulky Solvy as my stabilizer, topped with bright green tulle, then my wavy strips of various green batiks, then another layer of green tulle, then another layer of Sulky Solvy.   I pinned it, added leads to both sides and loaded it on the longarm to quilt it like crazy.  On subsequent batches of leaves I left off the top layer of Sulky since it seemed really unnecessary and expensive!


It looked like this when I was done.  I detached the leads, soaked it in water, rinsed it a gazillion times to dissolve the Sulky, and was left with beautiful wavy strips of textured batik.  I backed it with Misty Fuse before cutting it up into strips then fused it to the quilt surface.  I tacked each wavy strip down with one line of stitching down the middle.  It was a very 3-D effect which I liked but was worried that they would catch on something and rip off so later used much more quilting to secure them.


Here’s what I had so far.  Pardon the spot light on the upper left.  My next project was the deciduous tree on the left.  I thought I had the perfect color of batik leaves and had them all cut out but after taking a picture, realized they were way too busy.


Here you can see some of them on the left (the small leaves on the branch in the left foreground.  Here I was trying out some copper metallic leaves and they made a much better impact.  Half a day wasted making all those leaves but glad I caught the mistake before they were fused on.


Here is the branch with all the copper leaves – much better.  Lily pads were also added.

I then added the floral elements and auditioned various colors for lilies and iris.


Also note that the water at the very bottom is the most gorgeous radiance fabric dyed by Lisa Reber with a shibori technique.  Here’s a better picture.  It has these wonderful water ripple effects.  You can also see I worked in some Chinese brocade in the caladium leaves.


I was really looking forward to finally loading the quilt onto the longarm to quilt it.  It was so much fun for the first few days……

LoadedThen all the thread color changes really got to me.  The quilt also seemed so huge compared to what I was used to making.  I’d done quilts this large before but not with this much detail.

Thread ChoicesDon’t get me wrong, the quilting was still fun but standing and quilting for days with very little break can be grueling.  NPR was doing their fund drive, unfortunately, so I was listening to lots of reruns.  The Tri-State deadline was looming.  But I digress.

Paradise_DetailI chose to do very little satin stitch on this quilt.  I quilted a double straight stitch around almost all the applique and left a raw edge.  This is new for me and a little scarey but I’m taking the leap.

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Here’s the final result:

ParadiseI’m in paradise just realizing that it’s finally done!


  1. Rachel, this is positively exquisite on first sight, and so much more so on reading all your commentary! Your work is awe-inspiring.

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