Today I finished embroidering 15 palm trees. To be honest, I only used a blanket stitch around the fronds of those 15 trees and a detached fly stitch on the trunks which isn't as much work as you might have thought after reading the first sentence. But . . .
The task was complicated by not being able to draw the thread through to the back of the quilt since it had already been quilted and having stitching showing on the back is unsightly. Keeping stitches uniform was also impossible. The whole job was further complicated by the designer who decided that not 1 but 15 trees were necessary - really? Who was the designer? Oops, me.
What have I learned? First, embroider before a quilt is sent to the quilter. If I choose wisely (and I did), my quilter will be able to deal with the embroidered areas. Second, it will be a thousand times easier to maintain evenly spaced stitches that are the same size! Not having the bulk of the batting to contend with will make holding the quilt much simpler, and stitches can go through the back because eventually they'll be hidden by the layers of batting and backing. Third, design with the amount of work to be done in mind. Would I have changed the number of trees? No, I really think the spacing and the color of the trees add to the overall composition, and they are important to the "picture" as a whole. But I do need to make sure ahead of time that the work load is possible and any problems with execution have been kept in mind.
Next I have "finials" to put on the points of the walls, but there are only six of those. Also, I plan to use the blind applique stitch so at least I will only have to be sure the stitches are invisible!