Quilting and Swimming


I had a vision while swimming across Lake Ontario. I was struggling on how to quilt a tree trunk, on my friend Joan's appliqué quilt. A solution came to me, just like that! Gary used to say mowing the lawn was cathartic and he could solve all the problems of the world, driving back and forth across the acreage. He doesn't mow anymore, so that might explain the sorry state of global affairs, but I digress.

Swimming lets my mind work on all kinds of quilting ideas. You know, I'm not really swimming across Lake Ontario. I'm logging laps in the YMCA pool in the “Swim Across the Great Lakes” challenge. Lake Ontario is 53 miles across, so 12 miles done, 41 to go. And 4 more lakes after that. I can't even think about how many miles, but that's a lot of quilt inspiration!

Joan's appliqué is absolutely perfect and my number one challenge was to keep my quilting stitches close to the shapes to make them pop but not quilt over the edges. Look at how smooth and beautiful she stitched the branches.
The twiggy quilting around the leaves is a little different. I wanted something special for Joan's quilt that would be unique. My delima was, do I quilt on the appliqué or just outline it? The leaves are small and we had a serious discussion about quilting a vein down the center. An expert consultant said, leave the leaves alone! I think he was right. The tree trunk was too large to leave unquilted and would have puckered a bit, so two lines near the edge was the solution.
I wanted to quilt this little bird so badly to surprise Joan, but I was scared she wouldn't approve. Whew! She spotted him right away and laughed. She liked him and her quilt.



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  1. Oh Terry..this quilt is so charming! Love that little bird!

  2. Lynne Laino says

    I’m just in love with everything about this quilt!

  3. Andra Rudershausen says

    Grace under pressure! You nailed it!!! LOVE the bird. And the leaves in the quilting lines. And the extra twig

  4. Just perfect

  5. I like the appliqué & quilting line combo a lot. I think the quilted bird is sweet. And I like the quilted leaves repeating the other leaves. I like the strength of the verticals in contrast to the roundness of the colorful design.

  6. Ellen McMillen says

    Beautiful and creative work Terry. Your quilting enhances Joan’s lovely applique.

  7. Janet Phillips says

    Absolutely amazing! Thanks for sharing the pictures.

  8. Fran stanley says

    I LOVE it! The bird is a fantastic bit of joy to a beautifully done quilt!

  9. Cheryl lynch says

    Very nice

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