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Cardinal in the Pine

Cardinal in the Pine by Sarah Ann Smith

Cardinal in the Pine is my contribution to this year’s Coastal Quilters Chapter Challenge (see this post for all the quilts).  Once again, I–the art quilter–went traditional!  Since the Ohio Star of course reminded me of Christmas, I thought I’d make a holiday quilt with mine.  Online I found a couple free Tree of Life blocks.  I wanted my tree to be vertical.  Since the vertical axis of the tree is usually on the diagonal of the block, I figured out what size I needed the block to be so that it would fit vertically within the 20 1/2″ square format.   (PS–sorry about the double watermarks on the bottom of the photos…I’ll fix that on the next batch.)

First, there were a LOT of half-square triangles to make, both green-and-white and then red-and-white for the sawtooth border. The red pile on the bottom left is what I had after I “un-stitched” the original block (seen in last photo in this post).

For the reds, I used the red in the original red-green Ohio Start block plus a range of red batiks, all tone-on-tone.  Here I’m trimming, finger pressing, squaring up.

Hooray! I LIKE IT! I’ve got the components of the block pieced and ready to sew together. I used all the green and most of the red in the original block. For the Tree of Life I opted to use just one red square for my favorite East Coast bird: the cardinal; alas, we don’t have any our yard, but they are here in mid-coast Maine. I set the pieced bits out on my 20 1/2″ square ruler to gauge size.

Then on to the really FUN part:  quilting!  I knew I wanted to use a feathered vine as the wind swirling the snow around the tree, and I knew I wanted it to stand out and sparkle, so I used Superior Threads Glitter (a holographic thread–basically ya know the stuff they use to make mylar balloons?  sorta like that except cut into looooonnnngggggg flat strips) in Pearl / Crystal #111 (here).  This thread is amazing, as it looks clear/white/opalescent here, but when used on dark fabric, it looks like an irridescent green (the black quilt on the cover of my book uses the same thread!).  It’s important when using holographic and metallic threads to use a SLIPPERY thread in the bobbin;  I use The Bottom Line, a smooooooth, fine poly from Superior.  Once could also use clear (ugh), rayon (not my fave at all) or silk.  You do *not* want to use cotton, as the slubs on the cotton will grab the glitter or metallic threads and play not-so-nice.

Close-up of quilting on Cardinal in the Pine. Feathered vine stitched in Superior Threads Glitter (Pearl #111). Other background quilting uses Superior’s 40-wt trilobal poly thread in white.

An angled view of the quilting in Cardinal in the Pine shows the relief and (to borrow Pamela Allen’s word) puffosity of the quilting.

And the quilt with the block which inspired this challenge:

Cardinal in the Pine, 20 1/2″ square, with another of the original Ohio Star blocks. I used one of these blocks, a white-on-white (the back side so it wasn’t so garish), and red and green batiks.

3 Responses to “Cardinal in the Pine”

  1. Donna Says:

    Very nice–perfect for Christmas! I like the simple lines against the white!

  2. Dorothy Karman Says:

    I like that. It’s lovely! And the quilting is very impressive. Ya done well!

  3. Heidi Says:

    really wonderful . The quilting is superb !
    do you mark the pattern or do you do it freehand ?