My partner didn't request anything specific and left pretty much all of the design details up to me, other than mentioning that the Bound fabric line was her favorite of April's. After digging through her Instagram account, I found out that she is a huge fan of essential oils. I knew I wanted to incorporate essential oils into her banner, and I went through a bunch of ideas before I settled on the final design. Initially I thought about piecing together essential oil bottles, but then it came to me: create a personal totem pole for her using essential oil ingredients. I also wanted to incorporate feathers without using actual feathers, so I shrunk the wonderful Feather Bed pattern by Anna Maria Horner to 33% of its original size. I used the Kid Giddy Paper Pieced Totem Pole pattern for reference and also added some teeny tiny flying geese. I had most of the elements ready to sketch when my IG friend t_jaye posted the most awesome fabric weaving tutorial. Perfect for the top of my banner! It looks super complicated but was actually pretty easy to execute.
Here's the final result:
I am in love with it. My fingers have never felt so huge working with the tiny tiny pieces. Perhaps I would have had an easier time paper piecing some of the elements, but I have no experience with paper piecing. Now for some gratuitous detail shots.
I hand embroidered the essential oil ingredients on the totem pole and the face, except for the beak—that's a small piece of fabric. I like how it adds a little depth to the face.
Oh those flying geese! Each triangle is 1" wide by 1/2" tall. Never. Again.
Early on in the swap I was playing around with weaving. I liked the result but I didn't want to include it on the front of the banner because it was too big and not as precise as I'd like. But it's fun hidden element on the back of the banner. The Weaving for Beginners course by Annabel Wrigley on Creativebug was super helpful. I ended up making my loom out of a Cheerios box and it worked out great!
So concludes my first swap. I really enjoyed the design process. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I had made it out to be in my mind. I hope my partner loves the banner as much as I do!