Tag Archives: log cabin

Tree of Life – a bespoke modern patchwork cushion

I had a lovely commission before I went away on holiday … a (belated) wedding gift. It was a fairly straightforward brief – a simple, contemporary cushion cover in white/cream tones, patchworked and quilted. The only unusual part of this bespoke cushion was that the quilting was to be in the form of a line drawing, touching on the artist Rob Pepper’s work, and that (more conventionally) the piece should incorporate their initials and the date of the wedding.

And so evolved the ‘Tree of Life’ … I didn’t want to do a straight copy of a Rob Pepper drawing, but I did want to draw on the spirit of it, but with my own twist – so my design is perhaps less free than his drawings, more stylised, but I felt it appropriate for my medium ;). I’m pretty pleased with the outcome:

Tree of Life - bespoke contemporary cushion, patchworked and hand-embroidered

The patchwork was pretty straightforward – a log cabin variation called ‘Courthouse Steps’, worked in shades of white and cream and a variety of different textures – the geometric lines of a ribbed knit, the denser structure of cotton drill, cotton voile, muslin, silks, linen and cartridge paper (which I interfaced before I started working).

 I loved it as it stood, but I decided on that patchwork structure (rather than a more romantically named block) because it supported the design best, with its strong geometric layout and the way it pulls perspective. I worked the quilting in single strand cotton embroidery yarn – a combination of cream and a dark chocolate brown (using black would have been *way* too heavy) – with gold embroidery silk (again single strand) to work the detail of their initials, wedding date and the lazy daisy stitching to set the leaves on the tree.

I’m pretty pleased with the result … and this project has inspired me to experiment more with different materials in. I already have half in my mind an idea with quilting bark onto silk, with beading …. but that’s for another day 🙂

Happiness is …

working slowly ….

In the intermission between tea-time, bath-time and bed-time, I sat on the bench in the garden and worked some quilting. One stitch at a time, the project is slowly filling out, from the centre of the piece, reaching the edges and starting to near completion. In the peace of the evening garden, still full of sunlight and shadows, all was quiet … and it reminded me how wonderful it is, sometimes, to just be able to sit quietly and absorb the silence, letting my thoughts run where they want, while my fingers are occupied.

 It all started as a simple log-cabin patchwork cushion … destined as a gift for a friend who is moving away at the end of term. She’s going on a big adventure – she and her family have rebuilt an ancient cottage and are hoping to move into in in the middle of August, so I wanted to make her something for her new home, but that would remind her of her time here. The central hearth is cut from a school sweatshirt, and I chose scraps of co-ordinating linen to surround it.

 As chance would have it, I had an old man’s shirt in stash, and I thought that the colours and pattern would work perfectly with the front of the cushion …. and because I’m most dreadfully lazy, I thought I could massively cheat on the closing by using the existing button fastenings.

With the piecing done, I pinned on batting and backing … lots of pins to hold everything steady until the stitches joined it all together.

The surface quilting is done in cotton thread, in alternating white, pale blue and pale gold to echo the colours of the fabric beneath. I love the way the quilting helps to make a series of separate pieces of fabric a single, coherent whole.

It’s been a lovely project to work on … I like being able to take my time and let the piece evolve – all the flowers are free-form, and I hadn’t initially planned on incorporating the text ‘Bless This House’ into the piece … but it just worked.

I want to do more work like this … I hoped to join in with the mini-quilts quilt along over at WhipUp, but  I’ve got another commission on hand for a wedding gift which will also be a small, quilted cushion cover, and that will pretty much knock me out until we head out for our Summer Holidays.

I will have to hold on … I’m going to treat myself to Jude’s ‘Cloth to Cloth’ quilt weaving workshop in September, and I’m incredibly excited about learning this new technique and exploring how it will change my own work. A new adventure for me to look forward to 🙂