Thursday, July 28, 2022

Forest Jewels

This month, Accuquilt is celebrating Christmas in July.  They sent each Island Batik ambassador their new Tree of Life BOB die and tasked us with creating something to then gift to someone who needs joy.  When I got the challenge details, I spent some time thinking about what to make and who to gift it to.  And then, practically all at once, I knew what I wanted to make, who I wanted to give it to, and that I was setting myself up for a capital-C challenge.  

I have planned to make my best friend Laura a bed-sized quilt for a while.  I started one for her years ago, but fell out of love with it many years ago and my skills have progressed significantly since I stared it.  She has had some real challenges in recent years so she fit the "needs joy" criteria, though I will not share her story.  And she happens to have a PhD in forestry.  And I had to use a tree block.  The best, and simultaneously most challenging part, is that I was going to see her the second weekend in July.  I live in North Carolina and she lives in Massachusetts, so we aren't frequently in the same place.  But I didn't yet know when I would receive the die, so I didn't know how long I would have to make the quilt. 

In front of the Upside-Down Tree, Kenyon College

I did, however, have the prefect fabric, a 10" stack of Jewel Quest, a collection from early 2021.  Jewel Quest is a stunning collection of purples and greens.  It may be important that Laura and I share the favorite color of purple. And to further cement Jewel Quest as the perfects fabric collection for this project, many of the prints have trees and/or leaves on them.

Trees & Leaves in Jewel Quest

Accuquilt has a printable coloring sheet for the Tree of Life block, so I figured out my placement while waiting for the die to arrive.  My version has 71 pieces in each 14" block.  And I would need 16 blocks!  Fortunately, the Accuquilt makes cutting a breeze and cut all my Jewel Quest fabrics in one evening, then cut the background and trunk fabrics in a second cutting session.  I used solid Black for the background and the basic Cinnamon for the trunks.   

Laura's favorite block

One of my favorites

Laura's second favorite, but she kept changing her mind!

While piecing and pressing, I used my new pressing mat from Prairie Spirit Alpaca.  The mat does make a difference in pressing, as the pieces get the heat from top and bottom, since the mat retains heat.  The mat is a generous size, too, so I could press the longer seams that ran the width of the 14" block and it fit on the mat.  For quilts with a black background I absolutely Hobbs black batting and I was lucky to have gotten a queen size of it in my most recent ambassador box.  I don't like using black thread with black fabric, so I both pieced and quilted with Aurifil color 2784 Dark Navy and of course Schmetz needles, my favorite needles and the only ones I use. 

On the pressing mat

I started cutting out the blocks on June 30th and finished the quilt on July 11th, giving me 3 days to spare before my trip. Yup, I made a bed-sized quilt in 12 days!  I've never done that before, and I don't ever plan to do it again!  But it was totally worth it.  Laura loves it. 


We took pictures together as best we could. We were on our college campus and there is a somewhat famous tree there, called The Upside-Down Tree by students.  We took the tree quilt to the tree for photos, and the best ones came from inside the tree.  I named this Forest Jewels, a nod to the trees, Laura's degree in forestry, and the beautiful Jewel Quest fabrics.  



For a week after we saw each other, I got a message each day with some sort of praise or story about the quilt in her day.  She agrees it was perfect, the trees, the purples, all of it.  Her 11-year-old daughter has threatened to steal it, but I'm confident she will not be successful. 

blocks laid out on my floor

The products featured in this post were given to me by Island Batik, Accuquilt, Schmetz, Aurifil, Prairie Spirit Alpaca, & Hobbs.

 The quilt inspector approves!

Buttercup approves

While it was a bit of a challenge to get it finished in time, I love it and I love that Laura loves it.  Thanks, Accuquilt & Island Batik, for creating the perfect challenge for me to finally make a quilt for this amazing person in my life!



  1. What a beautiful quilt, and great story. I really like the dark background you chose. Have a great day!

  2. Wow! That's georgous - Hat's off!

  3. What a pretty quilt, and the design is perfect for your friend in forestry! How fun that you both like purple (whenever I see purple fabric, I think of you). You rocked this design, Emily!

  4. Beautiful project and story. I hope she gets lots of comfort with it.

  5. Totally AWESOME!!! Beautiful quilt!

  6. Oh, my goodness. That your quilting skils have improved is an understatement....Like WOW I love it xo

  7. Great quilt, Emily and a beautiful story to go with it!

  8. Sometimes things just come together as they should, she will have much joy from this quilt.

  9. Love this quilt! Can’t believe you made it in 12 days but boy what a beauty. How lovely to hear that your friend just loves it - a true labor of love!

  10. Love the quilt and love the story behind it! Good for you getting it done in 12 days, whoo hooo!