Lone Pine

Last night I finished my Lone Pine art quilt. I am so glad I resurrected this UFO and finished it. Two years ago I pinned a lovely art quilt that is listed in an Etsy shop, Prairie Fiber Arts. I just loved it and I based my project on hers. Overall, I am very happy with the finish.


The background is pieced with three different low volume fabrics that exude winter. Once the background was pieced I added both the red and brown borders. I wanted to be able to let the boughs from the tree extend into the border. I fused some stabilizer to the back before I started any applique. Because I wasn’t exactly sure where I would be fusing the applique, I applied the stabilizer to the entire back side. You can see on the below picture that somehow I bubbled part of the background. Once I removed the stabilizer it all smoothed out.


The stabilizer was problematic. It took quite a bit of time to remove it. I finally compromised and left a fair amount of it behind the tree. With the thread sketching, it was close to impossible to get all of the paper off.

Once the tree and my little cardinal were complete, I sandwiched top, batting and backing and planned my quilting. For whatever reason, I quilted the red border first and then worked the inside. I ended up with a pesky fold on the backing. It must not have been pin basted tightly enough.


By the way, what was I thinking when I used this blue and white fabric for the backing. I know it doesn’t really matter, but every time I see the backing I wonder at my choice. Honestly, I think it was that I was so excited to quilt it that I didn’t even stop and think about the back. Yikes!

I am not going to list the negatives here.  Rather, I will celebrate what I love most about this piece.

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I love, love, love the thread sketching on the pine boughs. To give texture and color to the tree,  I used a variegated green YLI thread.  For the branch that makes up the core of the bough, I fused teeny tiny strips of bark and then thread sketched over it tightly. Again, I used a variegated brown YLI thread. I love the texture obtained with YLI threads. I also ran stitches up and down the main trunk of the tree. (I did most of that stitching prior to adding the boughs.I am also happy with the boughs that extend over into the red. I wasn’t exactly sure how to handle this when I was quilting the ribbons on the red. I made shorter waves where I had to. Rather than turn the corner with the ribbons on the red border, I stopped and made a little snowflake in each corner and then moved back into the ribbon motif. Hard to see with the red thread but I am pleased.


I love cardinals and we don’t get them at my house.  When we lived in State College, PA, we had many that would visit the feeder in the winter. They are such a pretty suprise. My little bird would look like any sort of bird and only by making her red did she become a cardinal. (Drawing isn’t my forte!)  On the outer border, I quilted wavy lines and did some pointy spirals to imitate the knots in a piece of wood. (Tutorial is available here from The Inbox Jaunt.)

It was an easy call to use a facing rather than a traditional binding on this project.  For those who haven’t faced a quilt yet, here is an excellent tutorial by Terry Aske. If you have not had the opportunity to look at Terry’s art quilts, please do. She is very talented!

This was so much fun. It makes me look forward to another small and satisfying project like this. The weekend is nearly here. We are supposed to have cooler days and maybe a bit of rain. Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Linking to Free Motion Mavericks, Finish it Up Friday, Off the Wall Friday, and Can I Get a Whoop-Whoop. All links are listed at the top of the page under link ups.


27 thoughts on “Lone Pine

  1. Kathy h

    I love everything about it. The cardinal, the tree boughs, the quilting. Plus finishing a UFO!

  2. JanineMarie

    This is amazing. I keep looking at the close-up of the tree. The boughs look so real! You really nailed it with the thread sketching. I may have more questions for you eventually because I would love to learn how to do this. What is the function of the stabilizer? Is it possible to do the thread sketching without it or does that make the background bunch up? I love the cardinal, too. As the trees grow bigger in our neighborhood, we see more and more of them, and they are one of my favorite birds.

    1. Bernie Post author

      The stabilizer gives substance to the fabric you are stitching over. I think without it, your fabric would be all puckered. But then I try to pick it off the backing. If this was a quilt that would be used, I would have tried harder to get the stabilizer off. Since it is going to hang on the wall, it doesn’t matter as much. I did the thread work first and then quilted it.

      For the sketching, I left the feed dogs up and set the stitch length to zero. Then I just started sewing. Back and forth, straight and wavy- whatever seemed to work.

      Janine, you have such a touch with your art quilts and your FMQ is gorgeous. I am sure you would do wonderful things if you did some sketching too.

      Lots to learn with this but so far it is a lot of fun.

  3. Yvonne @Quilting Jetgirl

    The thread texture you gave the pine tree leaves / spines and trunk is so great! <3 I agree that living in the west, I miss Cardinals. In our last home my husband and I had a couple we loved to watch while we sat and ate dinner on our deck.

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you! It was a great project to practice this on.
      I really enjoy how freeing this type of stitching is. It’s very forgiving. I’m definitely planning to start another project to keep practicing.

    1. Bernie Post author

      You’re welcome Terry. I appreciate your tutorials and am happy to share them. Also- I love the various trees you have done. Your work is so pretty- I am inspired by it!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Tonia! This is my second attempt at something that was made by cutting the pieces freehand. It was a great experience and I look forward to practicing this a bit more. Have a great day!

  4. Kate Heads

    Oh Bernie it is lovely. From your colour choice to the lovely little bird, the wonderful thread sketching to the quilting. You are right to celebrate it, it is a piece worth celebrating.

  5. Carol mcdowell

    Excellent job! Very striking . I was perusing the thumbnail photos on Nina’s blog and yours stood out to me as the first one I wanted to look at. I agree, the boughs look 3 dimensional.

    1. Bernie Post author

      I suppose the cardinals are not warm weather birds. I don’t see them here in Northern California either. Its a shame because they are so pretty. Thank you for the compliment on the quilt Diana!

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Mihaela. It was very fun to create texture for the boughs and the trunk of the tree. I’m so glad you stopped by!

  6. Muv aka Lizzie Lenard

    Hello Bernie,
    The boughs poking into the border really makes the tree stand out – it was the first thing I noticed! I love this project. Drawing with variegated thread is such fun.
    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!
    Love, Muv

    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Muv. I am not sure why it makes such a difference, but it sure seems to. I had taken a class from Carol Taylor once and she spoke about this. I have used it twice since then, both times it worked well.

      Happy Weekend!!

  7. Kyle

    I’m embarrassed because I am so late to reading this post, but this is one of my favorite projects that you have done, Mom! It’s so cool! If you ever feel like repeating a project I want one. It would bring a little reminder of our tall trees out here in treeless Toronto.


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