Just to give you an idea of how one builds in difficulty in what might otherwise be a relatively easy project . . . the quilt I am working on includes palm trees. Don't even ask why; I just thought they would add the right touch to the overall composition. Silly me.
Anyway, did I have it all planned out how I would make those palm trees before I took the quilt to the quilter? No, of course not. I had machine appliqued the trunks of the trees, but that was all. This week, now that the binding is done and the two sleeves have been sewn on the back, I decided to deal with the trees before all the other embellishments I want to add.
I started with two trees. My decision was to embroider the palm fronds, and I did it free hand with no markings on the fabric. Two trees completed in one night. I hated them; the green thread was too dark against the dark blue sky. The next morning I took out all my stitches, spent some time on research (memory isn't always accurate), did a few sketches, and then that evening I changed thread colors and embroidered those two trees. I hated them; the thread still wasn't right and the stitching while palm-frond-like still wasn't effective. The next plan was applique. I would cut out fronds from green fabric and applique them on the sky fabric. I gathered the fabrics I thought would work, but I have to say I wasn't happy about the many hours of work this plan would entail.
The next morning I woke up with the correct solution sitting there in my head as though it had been there all along and was just waiting for me to find it. Boom and it was there just smirking at me. Wool. That was the answer. Wool and fusible batting to give it that little bit of three dimensional quality. So I drew a pattern for the entire top of a palm tree, copied it on the computer changing sizes so I could fit big and little trees, found my wool and batting, and started cutting.
Tonight I blanket-stitched one top and started on the second (it will speed up as I get accustomed to shifting the entire quilt around on my lap). I love it!
Thank you, you sneaky little brain!