Each year I make a 100 day quilt that is set to finish on my birthday- you know, a little gift to myself! Since my birthday happens to fall on the 100th day of the year, that means the project kicks off on January 1st. (And here I started this thinking that I wouldn’t be all cliched starting this type of thing as a New Year’s resolution!)
For 2023 I created a hand appliqué design featuring plants found at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio. I wrote about the design process for the quilt early in the year, and I hope you check it out for more context to the finished quilt. The goal for the 100 days was a completed quilt top, but now I have the piece completely finished and ready to reveal!
Constructing the 100 Days of Greenery
The entire quilt was printed on tabloid size (11″x 17″) paper and taped together to give me the life size version of the quilt. This went up on the design wall over the background fabric, and over the course of the 100 days, I cut out individual segments to use as templates for cutting out the appropriate fabrics.
As I finished each component, I taped the template paper back in place to keep the design form disintegrating before my eyes. This involved quite a lot of tape!
I started by placing some of the larger elements of the design and portions of the tree trunks that were instrumental in the flow of the design. Positioning these key sections helped keep the design aligned as the paper template went on and off the design wall.
The templates were all cut on the lines of the design with most components butting up against each other. Since I used needle turn appliqué, 1/8″ around the edge of each section was turned under, ultimately exposing about 1/4″ of the background fabric between all of the components.
Throughout the 100 days, I added components, continuing to focus on the largest sections first and moving into the background and detail pieces.
I finished the top a bit off schedule this year- it ended up taking 103 days, but I love the result. By using needle turn appliqué, I was able to get an effect almost like stained glass into the quilt.
Quilting 100 Days of Greenery
Deciding on a quilting motif really stumped me for a long time. For months I thought that I should do intense free motion quilting, but couldn’t bring myself to do it- something didn’t feel right about putting ornate designs on this quilt. Even though the shapes are all created using curved lines, the overall representation is graphic with a strong linear effect created with the background fabric dividing the primary shapes of the design.
Once I realized that I wanted to enhance the graphic qualities of the quilt, it wasn’t long before I decided quilting in a 1/2″ grid would be perfect for the design. The all over lines allow the viewer to focus on the appliqué. It acts more as a subtle filter than an overwhelming aspect of the design.
For this particular quilt, the grid had another added layer of meaning- most of us have viewed the natural world through a window screen at some point, and this quilting design emulates that custom. Because we so frequently see nature through a grid, it’s easy for us to view the quilt through a similar gridded format without finding it distracting.
If you are interested in the quilting process, check out these posts on preparing to quilt and quilting straight lines:
- How to Pin Baste a Quilt for Straight Line Quilting
- How to Do Straight Line Quilting Using a Walking Foot
- Title: 100 Days of Greenery
- Size: 36″ x 40″
- Techniques: Hand Appliqué, Needle Turn Appliqué
- Quilting: Machine quilted on a BERNINA 770QE PLUS using a walking foot
- Fabric: A mix of solids and tone on tone prints from my stash. The background is a Sky Ombré by Jennifer Sampou
- Batting: Hobbs Tuscany 80/20 Cotton/Wool blend batting
- Thread: Appliquéd using Aurifil 50 and 80 weight threads in a wide range of colors. Quilted using 50 weight thread in Light Aqua
- Binding: Woven green on green stripe, cut on the bias, machine stitched to the front of the quilt and hand finished on the back