Monday, August 15, 2016

"The Making of Easter Sunrise"

If you can have Christmas in July, you can certainly have Easter in August! This is the story of how I finished my sample of the Spring Cottages collection that was for sale last spring.

Although machine embroidery is the great love of my life, my roots are in quilting. After buying my first embroidery machine in 2002, it was actually a matter of years before the light bulb went off in my head... embroider, then add batting and backing right in the hoop, and you can quilt.

I've always wanted to see what a large, fully finished piece of this nature could look like. "Computerized" is the next frontier for quilting. First, we hand quilted, then by machine, and longarm; each method had to wait its time for acceptance. The mere word "computerized" implies that some of the artistry has been removed--I'd love to challenge that notion and fully explore the technique.

Enter the Spring Cottages. I added a checkered border and pinned it to my design wall with so many other unfinished embroidered pieces. But the creative juices were still flowing. The first thing I did was enter it in a local show a couple of months off-- what more motivation do you need to finish a piece than that!

I took a photo, printed it full scale, and did a tracing paper overlay. Starting with some landscaping between the houses, a rising sun and clouds popped up on the horizon.  I then added some of my other favorite things: dragonflies, fields and daffodils. And being Easter at the time, it wasn't long before bunnies were hiding eggs in the grass!

To prepare for more embroidery, I added three layers of batting-- 2 poly blend and one wool, and a cute Easter Egg backing fabric. Past experience  told me that's what I'd need for maximum pouf-- to hold up to thousands of embroidery stitches. Starting with the trees, one by one, I digitized each element, then hooped, and stitched, again and again.

Over a matter of weeks in my spare time at night, I digitized each new piece and stitched it on. Sky, then clouds, sun, fields and daffodils.

While reading up on quilt shows, I learned that most required a perimeter of 100" or more to move out of the miniature category. I needed a bigger piece- that was the inspiration for my bunny border! While fun to design, the border fought me in construction--- there's at least 6 yds. of extra bunnies hopping on my design wall. I learned that if you need a mirror image of something, rotating it 180 degrees does not do it, and was reminded of that quite a few times! The borders also had to fit perfectly-- I had no idea how much shrinkage was going to occur with a piece this heavily embroidered, so more restitching.

Of course, I finished just a day before it had to be at the show-- tired, but very, very excited! Every inch of this piece has been fully embroidered--how many completely digitized and hooped pieces are in these quilt shows? I haven't seen many-- maybe it's because no one else is crazy enough to do it!  

I firmly believe in happy endings and my little Easter Sunrise deserves one, so here it is:

You like me! You really like me!<3


  1. Oh my gosh Carol,this is Spectacular! This with all the other parts of your life.I just don't know how you do it all. You should be so very proud of your self and accomplishments. God Bless.

  2. absolutely amazing!!! WOW! not sure I'll ever be that good, but now I have something to strive for!

    1. That's really kind, Barbie, thank you! I am 100% sure your own ideas are spectacular, too-- that's what I love about sewing.

  3. Really amazing Carol. Good luck!

  4. It's just lovely. I've never done much quilting with my embroidery machine, but now I'll have to give it a try. I'm finished stitching the baskets of flowers and I've got the fabric for the borders. I'll post it when it is finished. Lorraine (lorwad)

  5. Oh my! This is simply extraordinary! I am so envious of your talent and abilities. It is not only fun to gaze at all the various designs and elements but it is breath taking in its presentation. Congratulations on a project so well done!