During the height of our second snowiest winter ever, it came to mind that I wanted to do a quilt that just spoke of summer. I love summer with its long days, heat that wilts you and enough green to make everything look alive. I wasn't quite sure what I wanted to make so I started looking online for inspiration. There I found a wonderful image in one of the stock photo sites on line. I bought a copyright image, to keep the copyright cops at bay, and used it for inspiration. It really captured Summer and all the things that conveyed.
Once the image was found, I started to play with manipulating it into my own creation. After a few failed attempts, I realized that it was the image itself that was I wanted to reproduced Not my most creative moment, but looking out the window at inches and inches of snow it seemed to fit my mood. So, I took some tracing paper and copied over my image - adding and editing lines as it seemed necessary. From there I could make an overhead transfer to get a finished pattern. My patterns are usually guidelines, but with the realistic feel of this quilt, this one would be a little more then that.
I went up into my stash, to find the right fabric. I pulled hand dyed cottons and a few commercial fabrics, including the "barn siding" one I've been saving for years. Finally a project to use it on. I started placing fabric right on the batting I planned to use on my quilt. I tried a new idea of drawing the sketch right on the batting with a sharpie marker since the fabrics I was using were fairly dark.
Once the background was all placed and pinned my husband suggested that I sew it all down. It made it super easy to continue the designing of the foreground of the quilt. I added the birdhouses and flowers by cutting them free hand and placing them down on the sewn down background.
Then it was just a matter of top sewing it all down. There is a lot of stitching in this quilt using rayon, poly, and cotton threads. I just kept stitching and stitching until I thought it had the right amount of texture. It still came off a bit flat but it was fun doing it. I added the backing and put in the necessary quilt lines.
It took about 35 hours from start to finish and is about 24 by 36 inches. Its been a long time since I've tried my hand at a realistic quilt. In doing my own critique, I felt that I did manage to capture the dog days of summer. I like the use of splashes of color and the texture of the thread work. What wasn't so successful, was the use of value - especially in the background. This could have helped the piece not look so flat. For its title, I chose the scripture Ecclesiates 11:7 - "Oh, how sweet the light of day, and how wonderful to live in the sunshine".