My swap partner received the quilt yesterday, so now I can post it! Here is my mini-quilt take on the theme "hearts." I know it may not be immediately apparent, but I wasn't feeling too inspired to just appliqué on some hearts, so I took this approach instead. Each of the flower petals is a hand-appliquéd heart, and there are 16 of them! I took the long way around and made freezer paper templates, ironed them to the fabric, cut the hearts out with a seam allowance, basted under the seam allowance, stitched 70% of the heart to the quilt top, removed the basting, pulled out the freezer paper, and stitched the last 30%. Sixteen times! I left the one petal falling off because I wanted to make it a little more obvious that there were hearts in the quilt!
I used my free-motion foot and first outlined all the patchwork, embroidery, and appliqué (and those darn buttons kept making things tough!) and then quilted the entire background in a curlicue pattern. For whatever reason, stippling is really hard for me to do but these curlicues are not nearly so difficult. I think it's because I have a distinct direction I need to go in. Go figure.
I love love love how the bees turned out! Originally I was going to do a traditional honey bee block with just one bee, but once I cut it out I realized that the scale was all wrong. Then I had a light-bulb moment where I realized that I had some cute bee buttons I'd been hoarding for years and waiting for just the right project to use them on. So instead of one bee and one flower, I ended up with two bees and three flowers!
This picture was taken post-wash, to remove the cat hair and most of my pencil markings from the stitched label on the back (picture in this post). I think the quilting really transformed this quilt into something much more spectacular. I'm very proud of how that turned out.
My swap partner was very generous and sent along three half-yards of fabric with my quilt, so I wanted to include a little something extra for her as well. I had some extra needle books from the weekend of unsurpassed productivity, so I did up a little embroidery (inspired by the needle book labels in this book) and included this with the quilt. I'm pretty pleased with the entire package, and my partner was delighted, but I still can't help but think that all my embroidery of words looks like it was done by a third-grader...