Spring is here by the calendar, let us celebrate with some beautiful folk flowers!
In my country, Hungary has a very old tradition of embroidery. The different regions of the Carpathian Basin have their own traditional flowers and colorations, that run through the centuries and decorate people's folk clothings, homes and churches.
No wonder why I turned to this exuberant source for inspiration to create a quilt for the 2013 Houston Quilt Festival Exhibition called Traditions.
The theme of the quilt is May Tree. Boys standing a May Tree in front of the house of the loved girl on the 30 of April and guarding it through the night is a tradition in Hungary for centuries. Then on the 1st of May they go out in their nicest, embroidered folk clothings to celebrate life, new growth, love and rebirth of nature.
I designed a tree and appliqued on a countryside background, where there are fields of crops and villages with church. I used the folk flowers to decorate the tree along with some other leaves and there is the Sun in the middle as the source of light and life.
I made the dancing folk people three dimensional, the skirts, shirts and hairs are standing out of the picture. The girls have white laced underskirts, that are visible if you peek under. The hairs are needle felted wool, braided and tied. The flowers in the front are made with chenille technique. First I created the branches of the bushes, appliqued them on the picture with satin stitches, then I cut out several flowers and leaves from different tones of greens, pinks and whites in three different sizes. The flowers are circular, so the grainline of the fabric does not matter.
But the leaves are the best to cut 45 degrees to the grainline.
Then I layered a large, a medium and a small element of different pinks for the flowers and stitched on the quilt, starting in the middle with a straight free motion stitch going out the center line of a petal, going back to the middle, going out to the center line of another petal and so on. With the leaves I did the same, layering three different colours of different sizes and stitched down at the veins only. When you are done, get a brush (I used a clean nailbrush) and ruffle it up with it, you will get a nice fluffy flower and leaf. The colours will nicely blend together. I also added some french knots to the flowers to create the stamens.
I am starting today a block of the month series of 12 folk fowers. The flowers of this May Tree are going to be available for you to download for free from my website, from the Patterns page.
The original colours of the first tulip are yellows, reds and greens, but feel free to use the colours you like. It can be appliqued by hand or by machine. You can make them individually as pillows, drum cases or tote bags for example, or you can collect all twelve of them to create a nice bedspread.
Enjoy and if you have any questions, do not hesitate to contact me.