The first time I tried to quilt a tree with branches, it was pretty much a failure…I don’t even have a picture to show. I’ve looked a little more closely at trees since those early days and I can represent a tree a bit better now.
You’ve seen the tree I created out of recycled sari yarn, right? That was easy because I just kept adding more ‘strings’ of yarn to get more texture and more branches.
Lately I’ve made a couple of fused applique trees and branches and those extra twigs and branches have been added during the quilting. The quilting does not have to be perfect, because you are only trying to give the impression of lots and lots of tiny branches and twigs. And from a distance, lots of random thread lines accomplish just that.
A closer look shows just how jerky and disjointed that quilting really is…which is what you need to convey that multi-branch look. The process is just to take random little side trips as you quilt along a branch. Don’t try to count them or balance them…just wander along your branches.
As you work on it, you might think your quilting is really out of control, but the unexpected little jerks and twists add a bit of realism.
Don’t worry about trying to create realism…all those tiny thread tracks add up to an overall tree branch picture. It’s actually a good place to practice if you haven’t done much free motion quilting, because the unexpected jumps that happen when you begin really only add to the twiggy effect!
Adding grass along a horizon line works in the same random way. Just move your quilt in irregular ups and downs across the horizon, mix straight and curved lines and don’t worry about how grass and weeds really grow! Our brains fill in the blanks!
Twigs and grass…random is better.