Before the swap began I had all kinds of ideas rolling around in my head, so I thought it would be easy. I actually made a little mini quilt with about 100 3/4 inch HST's, but it ended up being too small! The swap rules state that 9 inches is the minimum size and I was no where near it. Faced with trying to 'grow' the mini or begin again, I decided to begin again.
Now Marilyn is in my Bee, too. During January our bee played a silly fill in the blank game. "If I were a _________ I'd be a ___________." Each day I'd fill in the first blank and the bee members would fill in the second blank. (I'm the Bee Mama!) Well, one day the sentence was "If I were a VEGETABLE I'd be ___________." Marilyn filled in that blank with the word ARTICHOKE, and then waxed poetic about her great love of California Artichokes. That kinda stuck in my mind, although it seemed kinda crazy! After wrestling with the idea for a few days, I finally started looking at hundreds of images of Artichokes on Google and started doodling. Eventually I had an image to work with. Next I grabbed my box of green scrap and went to work. I spent a couple hours choosing all the green bits that would make up the leaves.
That brought me to this point. The green pieces are attached to the background with Steam A Seam Light.
Next I did raw edge applique in charcoal grey thread. This ended up being more of a challenge than it needed to be. As I've mentioned previously, I have a new sewing machine that I'm still learning to use. This project showed me that I needed a new foot for my machine as none that came with it has wide enough toes to provide good visibility for this kind of sewing. To help give the artichoke more texture and dimension I put the batting behind the flimsy and appliqued it to the batting.
Here it is again with all the threads taken care of. Even now, I wasn't sure I was going to finish it. It seemed kind of silly, but when I shared the photos with several of my quilting friends they all laughed and said "Keep Going!", so I did.
Once I hit this point it stayed up on the design wall for a few days. I couldn't decide what to do with it, how to finish it. I was stalled! My sweet friend spent a couple hours one day emailing back and forth with me and helped me make the final decisions about finishing it up. Thank you again, Leslie! I really needed someone to help me that day! Over the next couple days I finally finished it up and mailed it out, just skimming in under the deadline.
I set the vegetable on point and surrounded it with several Lakehouse prints. The Artichoke has echo quilting around it, and then I quilted straight lines radiating from the center to the corners. The mini finished about about 13 inches square.
This is the back. I embroidered a little artichoke on the quilt label. I was very unhappy the ink on the label ran a bit, but I simply did not have time to do it over. For extras, I added some hand dyed fibers, buttons and a couple silly things. I forgot to take a photo, but if you'd like to see, a photo of the whole package is HERE. Marilyn added the words on the text bubbles.
Now, for the really good stuff! Let me show you what Marilyn made for me! Remember, my chosen accent color is RED. She called this mini quilt "Winter Feast". Isn't it wonderful? She appliqued the cardinal using fuzzy wool to keep him warm in all that snow! He's utterly charming and just perfect. I love Charlie Harper's work, so this mini quilt was just perfect for me! Marilyn is so clever and sews so well. Her work is just beautiful.
Marilyn sent along such lovely extras, I am just amazed! The little pouch is a sewing kit with a tiny walnut shell filled pin cushion, red thread, a needle minder, teeny little scissors and a covered retractable measuring tape. She added the best mug EVER and a charm pack of Weeds, the perfect fabric for my color choices.
Marily said after all that black, white and red, she felt the need to use colors again, so she made me ANOTHER QUILT!! She calls this one "His Summer Home". Isn't it clever? Don't you love the selvedges? She made the summer birdie from cotton, too, which I thought was clever.
I'm still just amazed & humbled by what I received in this swap.
Keep stitching, friends!