My HUGE Family Tree
I first saw a picture of a "scrabble" quilt on Pinterest a few years ago. I fell immediately in love with the idea and decided to get right to it. I made one for my sister Maren and her family in the spring of 2018. I included all of their names and their pets and the activities they love to do as a family...the things that make them the Buchanans! I thought it turned out great! This following picture is at the halfway point.
This year marks my parents 50th wedding anniversary. To quote Tevya from Fiddler on the Roof, "wonder of wonder, miracle of miracles". Molly and Terry have an amazing story, a story worth telling, just not on a sewing blog- long story short- they had 10 kids and managed to stay sane and stay together and the occasion must be marked with a quilt! My Dad has always wanted a family tree, one that shows everyone on it. But I personally struggle with family trees only because a solitary name on a branch points out that not everyone's life turns out the same- and I don't ever want anyone to feel sad about things they may not be able to control. So to show our family as a tree, and to show the togetherness that we all truly feel-- I morphed the family tree with the scrabble quilt.
In the beginning....
a plan was made. I started with my parents names "Molly & Terry Byrnes Family" you can see this about 2/3 of the way down the page. I meant for this to be the middle, but this is how it turned out, so I am not going to change it now. I listed each of the family groups on the left, to make sure I got everyone and that the names are spelled correctly (I love a good unique name-but not a misspelled one).
Next I started to build the scrabble board with the names sprouting out of our parents. I didn't really try to keep families together...that takes a mind much sharper than mine, not to mention someone with more patience. The best I could do was hitch most of the married couples (sorry Rhodric and Krystyna- if you happen to see this and have a suggestion I am open to it, up until the letters come together- you may have until May). If you look closely you can see the roughly drawn tree silhouette in the scrabble mess.
What did I want the quilt to look like? Since I had come up with the family tree idea, I roughly had the colors figured out, but in Maren's quilt I did the family names, etc. as black letters done on the embroidery machine on a white background. I liked this on her quilt, because the contrasting colors and fabrics all give it dimension and make the names really stand out--but I am not sure I want the same for this one. I really want the tree idea to show through and be obvious without being the main idea - which is the people on it. If I do the black on white with this one, the stark white may cut up the tree to the point that it will be hard to tell it is a tree and it may end up a big mess.
My solution: Black letters embroidered on the colors of the background! I am going to use my embroidery machine to make the black letters on the appropriate color fabric (sky, leaves, trunk, grass). I currently have 2 corresponding colors for the sky, about 6 colors for the leaves, 2 for the grass, and 3 for the trunk of the tree. I initially counted up the letter totals for each letter, but then had to count up the number of each letter for each color. This will make the embroidery process a little harder, but not really. As long as my count is correct... I decided to use one of the preloaded alphabets on my Babylock Ellisimo embroidery machine that is about .6" tall and wide and I am cutting 1 1/2" squares because this thing could turn out massive if I go too big. I have never used squares this small, and I am a little worried about that, but if Beverly was here she would tell me it will be fine. So I will probably confer with her first.
I hope this turns out how I have it in my mind....I am a very visual person, but I can't really visualize in advance, I can sketch roughly and pray it turns out how I want it to....stay tuned folks! I will keep you updated.