It's all done!
I sketched the tree on muslin and based it on a metal tree on the school playground (see previous post). I cut out the sketch and then laid it out on the woodgrain fabric. Then I cut it out. I only had a yard of woodgrain fabric, so I had to put a seam in for the top half of the tree. Also, I have lots of woodgrain scraps for another project...someday.
Here's what the muslin tree looked like. I had outlined where all of the owls would go just to make sure I could fit all 19 on the quilt, so you can see that one in the center of the tree plus a half of one below it. I also have some muslin scraps. There's probably a more efficient way to do this, but I needed to see it whole:
I considered adding leaves, but after I laid it out, I thought it was far too busy. So, I have a stack of homeless leaves :(.
I didn't take photos of the kids cutting out their owls for privacy reasons, but the blanket stitch helped to even out any uneven edges.
Here's what it looked like before quilting:
This is my effort of messing around with how to piece the backing. I like the backing to have some interest, like a hidden present. I ended up leaving that mustard fabric off of the back, but I do love that fabric and will have to find another use for it.
I'm not skilled at free-motion quilting and I was nervous to do it on this quilt. But I've watched and tested a bunch of Leah Day's FMQ Project videos and decided it was time to actually try it. I decided on a beginner pattern, Loopy Lines. Here's what that looks like:
It ended up being one big line with loops around the outside of the applique and I'm happy with it. It sort of feels like the path a bee would take. I added a loopy line in the center:
And a couple of stars above the teacher on the swing:
The loops on the swing are a stitch from my machine, so they are uniform. I used the Sprinkle background fabric to bind the quilt.
And here's the whole thing, front & back:
I have a hard time getting even-sized quilt stitches. At some point, I told myself to go for complete, not perfect (did Leah Day say that?). I also have to fight the thought that every space should be filled with beautiful and elaborate quilt stitches. I like empty spaces, so I'm going with that.
Now, on to the next project!