Lately I've been working on the orchard quilt, last seen here. Having finally settled on an arrangement for the trees, I fused them down and began quilting in the extra branches. It was quite a bit of thread work through all three layers to get all those extra branches in, as all of the skinny and most of the medium thickness branches are thread, not fabric. There are a bunch of unfortunate knots/birds nests on the back that are really frustrating but that I can't really pick out because they're on top of a bunch of other thread work. I did discover that when coming back through with the snow colored thread on the branches, that I could sew over the brown branches and then color over it with brown/black/purple marker if needed (those were the colors with which I quilted the trees). Saved me quite a few stops and starts.
Unfortunately, I realized (after doing all the work on the trees), that I definitely should have quilted the background first. FIRST FIRST FIRST. You guys cannot imagine, I had to stop and start my thread (and then BURY THEM ALL) for every little tiny section of background that shows between tree branches.
Then when I started quilting the background snow, I got a whole section quilted and my thread broke. I turned it over and was horrified to see a giant disaster. I had to rip out the whole section. I was so frustrated and only after much tribulation realized I'd been using the wrong bobbin. ARGH. Not as in the wrong color/thread bobbin, but as in a bobbin that goes to a different sewing machine all together.......
But anyway, it's coming along nicely now. I'm switching back to the dog portraits for a while, but the next steps on this will be to put in the shadows for the trees, quilt the sky in the inset, and add a frolicking dog in the foreground snow.