Wednesday, November 18, 2020

The Final Season

Welcome to my stop on the Island Batik blog hop! I've been dropping hints and showing some peeks at my tree blocks, some partially done, and one, the winter one, complete. They were quite the hit, and I can honestly admit I loved making them, and love how they turned out. I wanted my audience to see them and love them too.
However, I did want to convey a pretty strong message about my beloved trees, both the fabric and the sentient ones.

All of the fabrics for the front of the quilt were given to me by Island Batik. I used batting supplied by Hobbs Batting, and Microtex Chrome needles and Super Nonstick needles (great for going through appliquéd pieces) supplied by Schmetz Needles. Most of the Aurifil thread used was supplied by Aurifil; some is my own, and a couple of other companies are also my own. I feel so lucky to be able to sew with these products. The line I was given to work with for this hop is a Summer 2020 line, now available at your LQS and online.

I added in black, grey, and white solids, two Basics, Rain, which I used as the background, and Pinecone, the dark green which I used as binding and a couple of strips in the autumn tree. You can pop over to this post where I show you my trees in each season. Winter was the only one that didn't have this line in it.

I highly recommend Super Nonstick Schmetz Needles. I have sewn since time immemorial with Schmetz Needles, so this isn't just because they happen to be a sponsor this year. From Topstitch 90 for thicker threads, to Microtex Chrome to double needles and more, I love them and use them all. (double needles not for a while, hmm, should remedy that). Anyhow for going through appliqué, these are new to me, and terrific.

Here is the flimsy.

Quilting brings a flimsy to life. Every. Single Time. The more variety of threads, the better IMHO.

Without saying too much about the quilt, I hope you see the symbolism, the darkness creeping in from all sides, yet the hope embodied by the rising sun in the centre. I constructed the sun using Christina Cameli's book, Wedge Quilt Workshop. The trees were constructed using Mary M. Hogan's book, Classic to Contemporary String Quilts. That was a serendipitous loan from my library: I'd seen it and requested it, thinking of RSC 2021 and how badly I need to sew up my strings. When I came upon the trees mini quilts at the end of the book, I knew I wanted to make those for my hop quilt. I'd always known I'd be doing a tree-themed quilt. These trees are foundation pieced using strings, straight, crooked and pointy.

I wanted to show the dangers to trees, which are dangers to our environment and our planet. I don't have a huge amount of hope for our future, I'll be honest. When people cannot even wear a damn mask, how can they be expected to pay a little more for a laundry detergent that isn't in a plastic container and looks like a stick of gum (see Tru Earth, no affiliation, just a very happy user), or stop buying plastic bottled water, or walk somewhere instead of drive, and on and on.

Forest fires of epic size, nuclear power plants, reliance on fossil fuels, factories whose emissions are full of toxicity all contribute to shortening our planet's vitality and viability. I want a planet that is healthy, and thriving, where humans live in harmony with the ecosystem, instead of trying to eke out as much wealth as they can from it. I used Crafted Appliqué for all the appliqués, outlining them all with a straight stitch. It's a great method for tiny appliqué like the oil derrick as there is no fraying. Using batiks also is fantastic for fine appliqué as the thread count is very high so there is virtually no fraying.

I cannot draw, but I can get a decent facsimile if I have a picture or photograph to look at. So I looked at flames and drew some large 'tongues' on newsprint, using them as templates, and then free-form cut out others to fill in. The trees were just cut freehand. Three different batiks from the Sweet Hearts line make the flames.

The nuclear reactor is based on Fermi II in Michigan on the southwest shore of Lake Erie, which I can just see on a clear day from my side of the lake, and past which I've driven many a time. It terrifies me. I drew it after finding a good photo of it, as drawing from memory or out of my head I cannot do. The smoke appliqué is FMQ-ed and the lines on the cement funnel part of it I stitched when I did the outline stitching. The derrick I found online which is actually a metal ornament! Easy to copy.

It took a long time for the top two corners to happen, simple as they are. I tried various ideas from the earth rising behind the summer tree to words, even considered slashing and/or burning the quilt in all four corners... I may yet if more massive chunks of ice break off into the Arctic and Antarctic oceans, or millions more animals perish in forest fires... or the coal plant in the Crowsnest Pass in southern Alberta goes through, coal that will be mined by and then sent to Australia. Grizzlies that will die, salmon that will be deformed due to selenium. It's happened before, next door in BC. It's debilitating to contemplate so much destruction. Anyhow, seeing my trees' world shrink with more blackness occurred to me. And so it is.

The back is pieced: a piece of teal from the line, and two old pieces from my stash, which are now all but used up, which I like. 

Here is a closeup of the label, and yes I remembered the satin one this time which you can see above.

I quilted back and forth lines in the black areas using 40 wt dark purple, as I don't have an Aurifil black, and the Exquisite that I used for straight stitching the black appliqués did not want to flow nicely in Avril. I actually really like the effect of the dark purple thread, and it was easier to see as I quilted! I used a ruler as my guide for the top two black corners but then just free-hand quilted the straight lines in the bottom two black corners.

Flowing lines with little swirls and leaves as I've done on several quilts were what I used across the quilt centre, using Aurifil 2908. I really like the palest of pale colours they have. It's in the green family, but looks terrific across the light blue and blends in on all the trees. I put in a few paisleys in the flowing lines, an idea I got from Wendy's (Pieceful Thoughts) quilter, Connie.

Binding was done by machine using Pinecone, a rich chop from Basics.
Be sure to hop over to my sister ambassador Sharon's site, Sew Riley Designs to see what she has created with this same line. Also remember to enter the draw for fabric on Island Batik's blog.

I hope you'll think of what small change you could make in your life right now to effect a change for the better for our world. Let's not let this be the final season for our beautiful blue/green planet. Let me know in the comments what you have done or will do to leave your children and grandchildren a healthy world.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design using tree blocks by Mary M. Hogan 
Size: 50" x 46.5"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Island Batik and various scraps
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Natural 100% cotton 
Quilted: on Avril; 54 099 stitches
Threads: pieced with Aurifil; appliquéd with Exquisite and Sulky; quilted with Aurifil 50 and 40 wt, Superior's The Bottom Line in the bobbin

After I published, I got an email from Connecting Threads (affiliate link) that I just have to let you know of because it's only today and well, I love and use Hobbs Batting all. the. time 

With any purchase $85+ you will get a free FREE!! Queen size package of Hobbs Batting 80/20! That is suh-WEET! I really like that particular blend, gives you a little more texture because of the 20% polyester, and it is slightly lighter weight, good for quilts that need to be mailed. There is a new deal every day, so if batting is not on your 'need' list check in with them tomorrow to see what the deal is.

Linking up

This is one of the items on my Q4 List.


  1. Wow this is both a gorgeous and powerful quilt. Thank you for sharing and for your thoughts. We recycle anything that can be recycled. Others I have found places that will take it and either recycle it or take care of it properly. I know I do more, my brain is just not working at this time in the morning. LOL Have a wonderful Thanksgiving

  2. I love it, Sandra. From recycling to growing my own fruits and vegetable to moving to live "off-grid" and use solar for power and capture rain for water, I'm definitely all in for doing what I can to make things better.

  3. Beautiful quilt with a powerful message. We installed solar panels in March. So far we are producing more than we use. We recycle what we can. Sadly our recycling options seem to be reduced each year. We try to avoid using any chemicals on our yard. I proudly boast that we have the ugliest lawn in the neighborhood.

  4. OMG!!! I love this quilt and the powerful message it brings. We all need to do a better job of recycling.

  5. That is a masterpiece, Sandra! So well thought out and well crafted. Love it!

  6. You put a lot of thought into this quilt, Sandra. The batiks are perfect for it. The trees have been fascinating me in your teaser photos, so it's fun to see the finished quilt. I'll tell Connie she inspired you; she'll be delighted.

  7. Thank you for using your platform to deliver another much needed (but likely to be ignored) message. Besides the usual recycling (some of which still winds up in the landfill), we've reduced our use of plastic by using cloth bags for shopping, getting bulk mulch delivered instead of bagged, and using glass storage containers. I also buy classic clothing and wear it out. I compost, don't fertilize or use weed killers and reuse pots and plant trays whenever possible. We keep the heat set at 68F during the day, even though my hands and feet are always cold, and 62F at night. I use the water from the dehumidifier to water container plants during the summer. Again, just little things, but hopefully they add up to making a small difference.

  8. Hi Sandra, what a beautiful quilt; hopefully it will get the message through to some people. I recycle as much as I can. Just bought re-usable bags to put vegetables and fruit in that I don't grow myself. I cringe every time I use cling film/saran a wrap but haven't found a good alternative yet. I hate that my rubbish bin is full of plastic no matter how hard I try to avoid it - must do better :-(

  9. WOW! oh WOW! I love this quilt. I love the trees and the sun ... but when I read through the rest of the symbolism ... WOW!!!
    This quilt is amazing!

  10. Sandra, your quilt is beautiful and chilling at the same time. And I hope you know I mean that as a compliment! You sure made me think. I am proud to live in a small city that has an award-winning recycling program, and we participate in every way we can!

  11. Reduce... Reuse... Recycle...
    Use it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without!
    You've quilted a clear message in this one.

  12. Quite the statement piece, Sandra. I believe your environmental message rings loud and clear. It speaks to the air pollution we cause and the ever enlarging hole in the ozone (all BEFORE reading what you had to say about the quilt!)

  13. Beautiful quilt, Sandra, and a powerful statement. Over time, I've reduced my use of paper towels to about one roll/six months (really!). I've completely switched my use of laundry detergent, dishwasher detergent, and hand soap to products that don't come packaged in plastic. I recycle anything that can be recycled. And I try to follow the 4 R's - Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.

  14. Thank you for this powerful message. We try to be mindful in everything we do, from the things we purchase to how we dispose of the items we no longer use, to which vendors we give our business to and whom we endorse for leadership positions. Still, it's hard not to become discouraged, I agree. But I think we have taken a turn in a positive direction and I am committed to staying focused and not letting negativity slow me down (for long).

  15. Hi Sandra! I've been trying to find those Non-Stick needles. Well, I only tried MSQC so far, so I can definitely try harder! My dear friend, I think you message comes across loud and clear. I have a LOT of hope for the future and our Earth. Just the tiny changes you've made and discussed here have made an impact. No plastic straws for me, for example. I've never used a plastic water bottle yet, and don't plan to start now at age 62. You've got young Brady to mold and get fired up about the environment. I've laid the seed well with one great-niece - she's going to be an environmental attorney in her first year in college. Don't give up the fight or the cause! Small voices can still make a huge difference. Just look to the election in the USA to see all the small voices that are ready for a change. {{Hugs}} A lovely piece worthy of these fabulous fabrics. It's a winner in my book. ~smile~ Roseanne

  16. Like the Lorax, this quilt truly speaks for the trees! They will outlast us, being wise and connected through their roots and the mycelium. Connection is what will save us. Connection to each other and to all living things on our tiny, precious planet.

  17. Another thought provoking quilt Sandra. I was thinking of what you would be making and saying about your beloved trees. Your message rang clear about my fear with the proposed coal mine which will double (or more) the production from that area. Did you hear about the Orange Monster auctioning off oil rights in a protected area in Alaska? I still am I’ll over that one. I can only hope that it can be stopped and the coal mine won’t go through. As for me, I discovered that wonderful stick of laundry soap, make my own hand soap. I use homemade produce bags and am trying to repurpose my clothing into new to me wearables. The first couple of attempts are quirky, but I have a friend who is a seamstress suggesting and tutoring me. Small steps, but if it keeps fabric from being wasted I’ll be happy. I used to always donate to second hand stores but am trying to keep costs down while helping our environment a bit.

  18. I absolutely love it. Great job all around with color and design.

  19. I loved the visual of your quilt for a start, which of course was followed up by your thought provoking message. Well done Sandra on making your quilting journey (journal?) so real. Interesting to see The Lorax mentioned above...YD has requested this as a baby quilt and I have found it really interesting to re-read it in today's world.

  20. I really like your quilt but I love your environmental message. My heart aches with the destruction of our environment. I do recycle items, compost, and am trying to make my carbon footprint smaller.

  21. If only each one of us put as half as much effort in our care for the planet as you put into one quilt, we'd solve the problems of global warming and climate change. Thank you for leading by example, Sandra. Kudos to you on not only a fabulous ribbon-worthy quilt (Hope you enter it into shows/contests) but also inspiring others to be cognizant of our impact on the environment.

  22. A very meaningful quilt & love the colours of your seasonal trees. The message you convey is so hard for many to comprehend, but we try our hardest by recycling lots, have 12 solar panels & water tanks for garden watering & grow some of our own veg (weather permitting at times). Take care & stay safe.

  23. A beautiful quilt with a powerful message. Use cloth masks, recycle everything I can, compost everything I can and am planning for some solar lights around the outside of the house. You put a great deal of thought into your message and it is something that my husband and I talk about a lot. How to keep mother earth going in spite of the abuse we have given her. Thank you.

  24. Thank you for sharing your quilt and message.

  25. Thank you for the beautiful message in your quilt

  26. It is gorgeous, but more important is the message from your heart. I love everything you did with this, so perfect. Thank you Sandra, for your creativity and your heart.

  27. Beautiful quilt Sandra! I really like your swirls in the wind quilting - nicely done

  28. This is amazing. You did a great usual.

  29. I love your quilt and its symbolism. Did you really mean coal mined in BC and sent to Australia? or Austria. We in Australia have too much coal mining and a government that seems pledged to get as much out of the ground and sold as possible, despite the general populace disagreement with this policy.

    1. Hi! You are a no-reply and because you brought up a good query, I'll answer it here. I DID mean Australia. And I meant the coal to be mined is in Alberta, in the Crowsnest Pass, which borders the province of BC, and yes it is by an Australian company, Benga Mining, a wholly owned subsidiary of Riversdale Resources.

      Interesting that your government has the same 'care not a whit' attitude towards the earth as the Alberta government's, and well, of several provinces, my own, Ontario included where an asshat of a premier is planning to decimate a wetland with endangered species for a condo development. What is incoprehensible is that another asshat of a premier is allowing a section of the Rockies, in this beautiful province, to be decimated with long-lasting irreversible effects BY ANOTHER COUNTRY and FOR another country. Money is the root of all evil.

  30. Sandra, this is both beautiful and heartbreaking. I love, love, love your trees! And the symbolism of the threats to our natural world are too true and real. Your quilt is truly beautiful and I love how you use your quilts to convey powerful messages.

    I'm a "little changes can go a long way" person in terms of environmental impact. Reusable bags at the grocery store (harder during covid), walking when I can. I wish my city had more robust public transit. I look for non-plastic packaging when possible, buy larger quantities that I can turn into smaller quantities instead of individually packaged items, things like that.

  31. This is awesome. I love the trees and what they represent .And all the thought you put into it, this will be cherished for a LONG time!

  32. Hi Sandra, what a great quilt. Congrats on the finish!