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Together We Grow…A Very Special Quilt

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Together We Grow - A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

Two and a half years ago, the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church decided to work on a project that would be inclusive in its participation yet diverse in its individual contributions.  More than sixty members of the congregation participated, learning everything from fabric dyeing to surface embellishment.  This is their very special quilt.

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

Pat Sturtzel and Lori Sargent, the coordinators of the project, reserved much of one week to quilt it.  There is so much to talk about that I’m pretty sure I’ll miss something, but here goes!

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

First, Pat hand-dyed both the background for the top and the backing fabric.  Can you see in the picture of the whole quilt how the background starts blue for the sky, then gradually changes to green?

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

The tree is made up of many shades of hand-dyed, fused brown fabric.  Some are plain, but many have comments resist-dyed or embroidered on them.  Each comment was written by a congregation member to express how they feel about Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church.  One of my favorites reads, “We are free to ask questions.”  The birds were drawn and carved into foam stamps by the members, then fabric paint was hand-stamped on hand-dyed fabric.

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

Pat and Lori gathered leaves and flowers from around the church (along with a few from their own yards) and used them as patterns for the plants at the bottom of the wallhanging.  Some of these plants were embroidered or beaded by the congregation.

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

As you can see from the photos, the finished quilt is enormous!  Pat, with a little help from Lori, quilted the project freehand on the front Millie over two and a half days.  They used variegated thread for the top and went through eleven L bobbins of 60 wt thread.

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

Can you believe this all started from a six-inch sketch?  The finished quilt is eight feet by eight feet – wow!  Thank you, Pat, Lori, and the Thomas Jefferson Unitarian Church congregation, for including us in the journey.  It was an honor to watch you quilt Together We Grow!

A stunning Wall Hanging for a local church depicting a tree featuring hand dyed fabrics and hand embroidery

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