Sew Karen-ly Created...

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Sunday 7 October 2012

Give Thanks

The new Thanksgiving antependium was dedicated in church this morning;  I can now share some pictures of the process.  This is the background fabric I used, Blessings II from Studio e Designs.  I saw images of the fabric online when it was previewed at Spring Quilt Market in Cincinnati and knew it was perfect for my project.  It took some doing to find it, but I finally located it at a shop in Indiana.
It has words such as Peace, Faith, Give, and Love printed in a grid fashion.  My original idea was to weave a background with these words with a light source in the centre, in the manner of artist Anna Faustino.  I love how effective her woven quilts are.  Because I didn't have an abundance of the Blessings fabric, I did my sample using a fall print weaving it into complimentary colours.
In the end, I decided this was too busy for my purpose and that it would distract from the message of the piece.  I opted to use the background just as printed - sometimes simple is the best way to go.
I auditioned various sizes of lettering for my banner, from a 100 point font all the way up to a 400 point.
The letters need to be as large as possible so they can be read from a distance - i.e. the back of the church - and yet not overpower the other elements.
I won't admit how many times I made the grapes...first they were too small, then these too large ones. 
Finally, Goldilocks was satisfied with the proportions.  The antependium features an appliqued vine that flows and connects a sheaf of wheat, a pumpkin, grapes and leaves.  As the appliqued pieces are embellished with stitching (thread-painted) this brought me to my next conundrum:  to hoop or not to hoop.  It was vital that the piece be perfectly flat with no ripples, as it hangs against the lectern.  Hmmm...what to do.  Unsure of how to proceed, I telephoned master stitchery artist Monika Kinner-Whalen in Saskatchewan for advice.  I know she dislikes using a hoop and on a piece this large, it was going to be a pain to use one.  She gave great advice and even suggested thread colours that would make the stitching pop.  Thank you, Monika, for being so generous with your wisdom :)
In the end, I hooped the parts with the dense stitching, and did the rest just with tear-away stabilizer underneath.  The letters are satin stitched for emphasis but the rest of the stitching is free motion.
The piece came out perfectly flat - I could not be more pleased.
I layered it with a wool batting and quilted feathers around the main shapes, echo quilting the fill.
It came out looking very much like my original sketch...except for the blueberries which didn't work.
I used hanging tabs on this one instead of a rod pocket since it's more of a proclamation.

Wishing you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving.


  1. It's wonderful. Well done indeed!

  2. It is beautiful! Thanks for sharing your design process. I find it fascinating, even though I've only ever made quilts from patterns.

  3. Oh Karen, it is simply beautiful! I'm sure that church is very thankful for you, indeed!! Hope you have a wonderful weekend with your boys home, I assume...

  4. Karen, that is superb! Your little teasing glimpses were no indication of how lovely this piece is. Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Once again I am impressed with your creativity and ability. It is beautiful.
    Diane P

  6. Karen, its just so beautiful and the choice of colours is great. God has bless you with so much creativity and you are using it for His glory. Good on you!!

  7. It's wonderful Karen! Thanks for sharing your process too. Happy Thanksgiving!

  8. Absolutely wonderful Karen - such talent you have!
    Happy Thanksgiving!! Lori S.

  9. Hi Karen - your piece is lovely.

  10. Karen, This is beautiful and again shows just how creative and blessed with talent you are. Love the colors - perfect for a beautiful Fall season.

  11. Wow!! I love it. The colors are so wonderful and the background fabric just right. You did an amazing job.