Tree of Life Duo - Summer and Winter

I got excited about wool applique a few years ago. What I especiaaly love is that wool does not ravel, therefore, no needle-turning is required as you stitch and build the designs.

Knowing we needed some throws to go over the backs of our sofas, I decided this "need" gave me a chance to play with the techinique. I had saved a photo of a wonderful Celtic Tree of Life that became my design centerpiece. I loved the idea of a rich deep color for the background so that jewel tones could "pop" out and chose a nice rich aubergine wool as backing. Since I have a lovely "cafe au lait" seude cloth purchased to recover out sofas, the colors work quite nicely together.

Knowing this was going to be a long process, First I made sofa slip covers out of fleece material... we had made the HUGE mistake of letting our big soft and cuddly Bernese Mountain dogs get up on the sofa to cuddle with us <G> and as a result we are now living with their cuddly fur all over the sofas. No way was I going to recover the sofas w/o having slip covers to use most of the time to keep said sofas clean ... so, as I made the slipcovers, I also began handwork on the throws.

As life does, interruptions got in the way of sewing and the wool got taken out and put away over several years until last summer, I pulled them out again and determined this was the year to finish them! I finished both centers and began to concentrater on the borders for the Summer Rendition of the tree with leaves and herons in residence. By early Fall, the sections were sewn, beaded and put together on the one throw. I realized I needed to put a cotton backing on the piece so it would not be itchy - this also allowed my to quilt the throw. Carl came in one afternoon and mentioned, "who are these for again?" I reminded him they were for the sofas... he took one look and said, "In this house you are going to put those on the sofa? They will be covered in dog fur in three seconds!"

I had to admit he was right. With visions of having to keep the throws under the slip covers most of the time, the following week, I went to SF for an early Christmas present from my Mother-in-law. I took the quilt with the idea I might get a few more stitches in it over the weekend as she and I chatted. It worked ... we chatted and shared and had a terrific lunch at a Writer's Seminar. The next AM, she mentioned that she did not recognize what I was working on, so I opened it up to show her. She gasped, said she loved it and it needed to live with her.... as soon as she said it, it felt right, so she now has lifetime possesion of both throws (I still have to finish the second one) with the caveat that her Will put them back into our branch of the family when the time is right (she will probably outlive us all, the way she is going!).

I am very pleased with how the technique worked and looks. Wool is a dream to work with and extremely versatile - here is the finish of the Summer Tree of Life:

The picture does not show it well, but all the leaves are beaded with dew drops, and the fuschia stamens are all beads as well...

The second throw has a more elaborately cut out center and features a full harvest moon with owls in the trees - just like life on the farm in the winter. The border will be chrysanthemums and I suspect the pattern will include some of our winter starling swarms. Here is the center as far as I have gotten it:

All I need is time ...