Hanami is the Japanese word for "flower viewing," and it is generally used specifically for viewing cherry blossoms. Right now the cherry trees are just starting to bloom in Japan, and, after a big push this week, I have managed to get a tree to bloom right here in Toronto too!
I started making half square triangles (HSTs) for this quilt in December, but then other projects took over and I thought that I'd missed the season. I'd actually banished it to the basement until Mary Ellen left me a comment about an HST exchange last week. After some online research I realized that I still had time, so here I am!
Today I'll talk about my inspiration for the quilt, and in future posts I'll discuss my method.
In 2011 The Quilt Show had Edyta Sitar as a guest for episode 802, to talk about quick, paper pieced HSTs and quilt designs for them. Some TQS members organized a big HST exchange, and TQS member Wilma Moss made a Tree of Life quilt with her triangles that really caught my eye:
|Big Thicket by Wilma Moss, adapted from an Edyta Sitar design|
Thanks to Wilma for letting me post the photo! You can read about Wilma's quilt in the TQS quilt gallery here, and she also has a website, Brick Cottage Quilts. I loved the mix of fabrics and those flashes of bright colour in Wilma's quilt, and I started to think about using up some of my large scale floral fabrics in a similar way.
Then last fall Audrey at Quilty Folk created her own version of the Tree of Life block:
|Tree of Life blocks by Audrey at Quilty Folk|
Many thanks to Audrey as well! I really love the compact trunks on her trees, and the round shape of the crown. Her colour scheme was quite inspiring too! Once again I thought about flowering trees...
Then the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt Grand Illusion started at the end of November, and many bloggers started sewing masses of HSTs. I am unlikely to ever do someone else's mystery quilt, because making and/or tweaking the design is half the fun for me. But I thought, how could I surprise myself?
The answer was to incorporate some random elements into the design, and a Tree of Life seemed like a perfect opportunity for that. I reworked Audrey's design, keeping the outline but changing the construction so I could make it entirely from HSTs:
For about ten minutes I even considered making the whole background from light/light HSTs as well! I dug into my stash looking for a mix of bright florals, but I soon realized that I had enough pink to make all the trees pink, and the cherry blossom orchard idea was born:
I thought, wouldn't it be cool to get it done by the start of the hanami season? Well, it IS cool, and I am pretty stoked.
And it will be even cooler if I can get the top finished by the end of the season in early May! One down, twelve to go. :D