SUNTASTICALLY  Part of Me: A Quilty Tale

I had no idea what a fun journey lay ahead of me when I  opened an e-newsletter from Southern California Council of Quilt Guilds to see an announcement for a quilt challenge hosted by SCCQG. The idea of creating a textile piece depicting my point of view of Southern California sounded intriguing. The challenge to capture So Cal in a quilt using fabric, embellishments and what not gained my attention.

I am a stand up comedian and my shows have taken me all over the world. My love of quilting and comedy brought me to the realization that I am bonafied QOMEDIAN!
I enjoy driving to local shows which  have taken me all over the west coast top to bottom left to right.  Having seen many beautiful vistas  driving around our beautiful state  I knew I had a Costco sized shopping basket of  inspiring ideas in my crafty cache.

It was at my friend’s home that an idea began to percolate.  My friends have a beautiful photograph of a Joshua tree in the desert taken at dawn as the sun began its ascent.  Bingo! Idea starts to blossom.

 I  began searching my stash and the stash of friends for fabric colors and motifs with a desert feel. I started with this color combination.  Stratosphere to ground cover with black Velcro strips simulating trees.

With the colors laid out I could see potential but with so many hue and tone possibilities I began to feel overwhelmed.  At that point I took a mental 2 steps back and decided it would behoove to start with a smaller piece so I made a desert themed postcard.

Working this small showed me how I might give dimension by adding silhouettes, layering and embellishments.

Here is a beginning layout.
Notice paper Joshua tree at the lower right corner. Wanting the scene to have a desert near sunset appearance I sorted and chose fabrics.

Some of the prettiest sunsets I’ve witnessed have included some kind of shading. In the photo I played with dark crinoline and tulle to see which one would cast the best shadow. Also played with shadow positioning. How landscapes look when the sun began to set, what’s is in shadow.  The tulle while giving best shadow added  a bit too much glimmer.

In January of this year I began wearing long braids. Every few months the braids are removed and a completely new set are braided into my hair, which by the way has grown a lot from wearing the braids.

The last time I got my hair braided I kept a bunch of the old braids. I washed them and added them to my embellishments bag. My thoughts at the time were to up cycle them into a future project.

I like to add elements recycled for an eco quality so it was not out of the ordinary one night well past midnight as I worked on the quilt that a “up-cycling,what if” idea ping pong about my crafty skull.

Something implored me to check out the bag of braids and that is from where the braided tree idea emerged. I was happy I’d used the Joshua tree theme in the fabric postcard.

For quilting I stitched in the ditch and used some stencils to quilting movement in areas of the quilt.

Then I started playing with the braids. How many braids would be most tree like. How big to make the tree, where best to place it? How to give it dimension  and perspective? That tree made rounds all over this piece. My quilting friend Alice suggested looking at the quilt from all sides to see if it was balanced color wise. I took a cellphone photo and using her suggestion I rotated the quilt photo which  helped me see the best placement for the tree. Adding a smaller tree silhouette helped lend dimension.  I thought it would add interest to have the two branches like each other enough to form a heart.

The tree corner still needed some light color.  As I pondered what to do an old familiar song came to mind and I noticed I was whistling “🎼Tie a yellow ribbon round the old oak tree🎶 it’s been three long years do you still ❤me🎵🎶  

Dancing to my yarn box I braided (heh heh on a roll here) a length of yellow yarn and tied it around the tree.  Done and almost done. Next up I stitched a rolled border and started on the hanging sleeve. A four inch wide hanging sleeve is usually needed for most quilts to hang in a quilt show. Having helped hang quilts for many a show I’ve admired the quilts that showcase great sleeveage 😀 it really helps to decipher the bottom of the quilt from the top when viewed from the back of the quilt if the hanging sleeve is a different color from the quilt back. I chose bright rainbow colored fabric to make my sleeve.

My friend Jean a fabulous quilter and blue ribbon winner made the beautifully  embroidered label that I hand sewed into my quilt. 

In return I gave her a set of handcrafted fish embed glycerine soaps. 

Her bathroom decor is ocean aquatic with clamshells, seahorses and dolphins.  It was a joy to see in person the soaps looking so cute in her bathroom. She says they look like they are in an aquarium and She enjoys looking at them while using the facility 😁

It felt so rewarding  to see my quilt on display with so many beautiful quilts. I Look forward to adding SUNTASTICALLY A Part of Me to my trunk show. 

QuiltFest Oasis Palm Springs CA Oct 6-8, 2016.


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