Sunday, October 7, 2018

Use Your Best Scraps for Quilts that Sing

I recently finished this commissioned quilt, a gift for a singer-songwriter. This artist's lyrics are full of natural imagery - I listened to loads of them on Youtube before designing this.
What also served me well was a lesson that took me years to learn: To make a beautiful quilt, start with beautiful fabric. 

I know, guilds are always doing "ugly fabric" challenges - but the exceptions only prove the rule. Fun, funny, interesting can be done easily with hideous fabric. But if you need beautiful, on deadline, pull out the good stuff.

In the background of this piece, the light vertical rectangular column below is from a striated batik, the last remnant of a gorgeous yard. The mottled brown/violet batik horizontally along its top was a fragment of a different yard that made me swoon. 
For the tree, I used up a fat quarter of the richest, thickest turquoise hand-dye that someone gifted me  years ago. 
The planetary print fabric along the top is from a thrift-shop shirt, and has a wonderful antiquey look. More of my favorite batik scraps are down the left side and across the bottom.
The back is batik grape fabric. Grapes are, among other things, a Judaic symbol for joy (via wine!).
I included a hanging dowel along with the quilt, and of course added a label.  It was hard for me to separate from it! All the scraps were favorite children, and I couldn't imagine making another one nearly as good. But then I bought some more beautiful batiks! And made more tree quilts!

Update: Three more batik and print tree quilts are posted here.


  1. Absolutely beautiful! I suppose quilting is like cooking -- the best dishes start with the best ingredients.

    1. That is a great analogy, Mary! But at least when you use crappy fabric, you don't get food poisoning!(Although looking at your resulting quilt might make you nauseous!) Thank you!

  2. Love it, Cathy. The tree silhouetted on that gold fabric is just gorgeous.

  3. I love what you've done here. Really stunning!