The Process…

Creating a landscape or art quilt is a little intimidating…because I’m never quite sure how it will turn out.  Sometimes I get “stuck” trying to think of an idea, or imaging the fabrics I’ll use.  So I tend to procrastinate instead and make another baby quilt (much easier because it’s so much more predictable).

So, to get inspired,  I went through a bunch of my photos one night last week and pulled up several that just might make a good landscape project.  So, I decided to start with this one…


I took this photo last fall when we were taking a hike at Aztalan State Park, near Lake Mills, in Wisconsin.  There was something about the bright reds in the foreground, and the depth, that really appealed to me…

Using the photo as a starting point, I started pulling out all my fabrics.  I have bins full of fabrics–some that I’ve hand-dyed over the years, some purchased, … all sorted by color.  It takes hours to go through them and  pick out ones might work–and makes quite a mess!  But it’s fun.

Confetti 1

Then comes cutting.  After laying down the background fabrics (I found just the right blue/greysky & hand dyed green for the grass), I decided to cut up “confetti” with my rotary cutter for all the fabrics I’ll use for the bushes and tree leaves.

Here’s the tray full of little bits of fabrics in a range of colors…

Confetti 2

After that, I started sprinkling the fabric “confetti” onto the background fabrics, a little at a time–moving them around with a sharp stiletto.  You have to be sure to add lights and darks to make the landscape come to life and look more like the real thing.

Stiletto 1

Stiletto 2

After it’s just so…I have to cover the area I’m working with a mesh fabric (tulle) and pin it heavily before taking it to the sewing machine–so all the little pieces don’t fall out…

Once there, I set up my machine for free-motion quilting with cotton variegated thread (I love the Sulky Blendables) and quilt through all the layers to make sure all those little pieces stay where I want them to!

Sewing 1

Each area (the foreground, the tree and bushes on the left, and the tree on the right) have to be “sprinkled” and sewed separately.

Aztalan State Park has stockades that were put up (like telephone poles) to simulate what the area was like when the Mississippians lived there 900-1200 AD.  To create the detail, I decided to cut a strip of fabric into tiny logs and place each one by hand .  I think it made a difference.

Cutting LogsPlacing logs

Here’s a close-up of cutting the fabric “logs” and placing them on the fabric background.


And a close-up of the trees…see the “confetti” under the mesh tulle?


Photo of the free-hand quilting over the leaf fabric in the foreground.

Clean up

Have to keep my cleaning wand close at hand!

It’s a messy job…so many little bits of fabric get everywhere!

After several days of working at it, it was finally finished.

Closeup Tree

But I felt something was missing …  So I added some flying geese.

After binding, hand stitching the back, adding a label and a hanging sleeve, it was finally finished…

Full photo

This will be uploaded for sale at my Etsy Shop sometime this week-end!

Come see it at Mulberry Patch Quilts.


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