Friday, October 5, 2018

Lake Michigan Finish

I'm doing a happy dance today because after two  three (!) years, I have a finish: My Lake Michigan Quilt, or as we say in all of our state's ads about things we like, MI Lake Michigan Quilt. I was under the MIstaken (get it?) impression that it took me two years until I looked up my old posts this week and found out that I started it in MId-October 2015. It's as old as one of MI grandsons. I won't put all the links in here of posts along the way, but if you'd like to read them, click on the Lake Michigan quilt label on the right side bar or at the bottom of this post.
I followed the techniques of Karen Eckmeier for making Accidental Landscapes. I've made tiny ones in the past, like this ornament for my daughter and son-in-law. It's maybe about 3 1/2 by 4 1/2 inches.
But when my daughter (MI daughter? Ok, I'll quit now) mentioned that she wanted a wall quilt for her office, I decided to supersize the technique. The new quilt is 30 by 42 inches.

Nearly all the fabrics are scraps. I did buy a piece of Grunge for the back, appropriately when I was on vacation near Lake Michigan. The batting is a leftover piece of Quilter's Dream Cotton Select. 
There's no reason that this quilt should have taken as long as it did. It wasn't difficult. Most of the delay was lack of confidence. I built the layers slowly in between other projects. I'd put some strips up on the wall and spend a few days  months letting them percolate (marinate? stew?), and then I'd sew them down. I started with the water. After doing a bit of sand, I built the sky up toward the top. Most of the sky is pieced with regular seams rather than layered.
Then I layered the foreground, slowly, slowly. 
I like the bits of embroidery that add detail and depth on Accidental Landscapes. I thought it would be a simple task. But I hadn't thought of it that a quilt this size would need larger scale embroidery to be proportionate. That stymied me. Before starting the embroidery I quilted the project with my walking foot. To plan the placement of the beach grass I laid paper strips on the quilt and took a photo to refer to as I stitched. 
I started with a few stems of grass 
and then gradually built them up until I was satisfied. I used 4 strands of floss for the longest stems, and reduced the bulk to 3 or 2 strands for smaller stems or those closer to the water. I used a modified stem stitch, bringing the needle up closer to the starting point than is common, to make the stitch as thick as possible. I took the quilt with me on several road trips. It was an easy take-along project.

A few weeks ago, when I was Gramma nesting while waiting for our new grandson, I suddenly realized that I was almost done. It was a perfect project to work on at a time when I didn't want to start a new mess. In just a couple of days, I completed the stitching, or at least stopped myself from getting carried away with it. 

After we arrived home from cuddling our little grandson (and his big brother who was born right after I started the quilt!), I chose a sandy colored fabric from my stash for the binding. 

I took it out for a photo shoot on our garage. 
I thought I was truly finished, but then I remembered that I have a wonderful supply of ceramic buttons (by artist Sandra Lance--you can find her work under images online, but I think she has suspended her business for now) that I like to use on art quilts. I found two that looked good among the dunes. (I usually try to use three, but these looked the best.)

And closer
So now it is truly done.

This quilt will be living at my daughter and son-in-law's house. As I said earlier, it was meant for my daughter's office, but by now she has found something else to fill the space there, and I know her family will enjoy it at home. (And I can visit it, too.) I was almost hoping she didn't want it anymore, but hey, now that I know I can do this, I could make another one for me in less than three years! Maybe in solids?

The best thing I learned from making this quilt is that the technique does work for large scale quilts. Really, all that is needed is a good supply of fabrics to choose from. The embroidery is fun and works very well after quilting, even with building up fairly dense stitches. 

Let's look at that finish one more time!

I'm linking up today with crazy mom quilts for Finish it up Friday and Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Can I Get a Whoop Whoop

Happy Quilting and Happy Finishing! And if you live anywhere within driving distance of Lake Michigan, Yea for MI Lake MI!


Mrs Parker said...

Hi JanineMarie. What a beautiful quilt, I love it. Definitely worth the 3 years of work. I especially love all the details in the grasses. Your daughter must be thrilled.

Heide said...

Beautiful quilt!

Anonymous said...

Love Love Love Love this quilt! I lived in Wisconsin until last year. So I loved Lake Michigan from the opposite side. You did a fantastic job on this piece of art. WI (get it?;)did you think it wouldn't turn out. lol Awesome. Audrey

Jenny said...

A very beautiful art quilt, and you know that good things take time! What's a couple of years, after all, some of us have UFOs older than that.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Your landscape quilt is just amazing, JanineMarie! I really enjoyed looking at how you put this together. A beautiful finish, and I bet your daughter loves it!

Nancy A. Bekofske said...

Lovely quilt. I have been away from Lake Mic for four years...Brings back memories.

KaHolly said...

Well done! You have more courage than I’ve ever mustered up! I love landscape quilts but haven’t taken the plunge. Check that UFO off your list!

PaulaB quilts said...

It was worth the wait, Janine

Bernie Kringel said...

It has been so fun to watch this develop. It is beautiful Janine. Very serene.

Claire said...

It looks great and sounds like fun. I may have to try one sometime.

Kaja said...

I can't believe it's really 3 years since you started this - where does the time go? It's lovely to see it finished and I like all those decorative elements a lot: the lovely elegant grasses and those buttons, which are just perfect. Nice job!

Linda said...

The colors and the detail on this are stunning. I am just blown away by how beautiful it turned out. Even my husband commented on it while looking over my shoulder this morning. Guess I'll have to try one now!

The Joyful Quilter said...

Oh, how I love this quilt!! I just return from Lake Ontario. Need I say more?

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Wow, that is a piece of art!!! Love the embroidery, too.

Preeti said...

Wow, Janine!!! This is so delicate and lovely. I am tempted to try this. The grass is so real, I can almost pluck a blade and chew on it. The sand dunes, the ocean waters, the sky and the clouds - I love them all including the subtle variations in hues.

Louise said...

It's soooo beautiful, Janine! I think the buttons, with their tiny star fish and little branch, are the perfect touch. Congratulations on finally finishing this lovely piece. I'm sure your daughter will treasure it always :)