Monday, January 28, 2013

More Than Meets the Eye...

I once heard a take-off on a familiar saying that kind of stuck with me when it cames to trying out new stitching methods. It goes like this: "Anything worth doing is worth doing badly." That was a little of how I felt getting into the creation of this small "Happy Villages" quilt. There are tons of mistakes, but still the process as a whole was worthwhile. It took some time as I cut, and glued, and netted, and stitched my way to completion of a fantasy town using the instructions in Karen Eckmeier's book. Making the village is quite a spontaneous and whimsical exercise. And the project built some new skills that will hopefully take me to more achitectural and landscape quilts.

Here's the instruction book I used. It's full of clear directions and inspiring ideas. You can see more of Karen's villages on her Quilted Lizard website here.

I was working on the project around Christmas, and it had me looking at Christmas cards in a new way. I kept several of them that had village scenes and have tucked them into the book. I could see this card serving as the inspiration for a wintry village. All in all, a fun project worth repeating!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Sampler Quilt Top Ready...

This is the sampler quilt top from the 2012 free online Craftsy block-of-the-month. I told myself I was not permitted to sign up for the 2013 class unless I put these blocks together. Since I made only 15 of the 20 class blocks, I assembled the quilt top in five rows of three. However, this presented me with a slight problem. Generally long, skinny quilts are not my favorites. So I widened out the side border pieces, and narrowed the top and bottom ones. Because it's just a top at this point, it doesn't look as if it's hanging straight, but it is in square... at least I hope it is! Instructor Amy Gibson did a great job leading us through the various techniques for the blocks and quilt assembly. 

Part of the fun in quiltmaking is playing with the blocks to come up with a pleasing arrangement. The California Dreaming fabric line I chose for this project is so bright and bold that they all kind of worked wherever I put them. So high marks for bright... if you like bright! 

This photo shows the border in progress. I seem to be an incurable floor-quilter. Getting down there to work is not much of an issue, but getting back up is another story. But I'm so messy when I work, and I make piles of stuff all over the place. So there is no table big enough... it takes a floor.

And I just wanted to show this photo. I started the New Year with a lovely Yoga retreat held at this retreat center. Could you be anything less than peaceful here? Ahhh.....

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Quilts DO Equal Love!

This quilt may be small, but it is chock full of new and fun techniques! I sure love it. I made it as the class project in "Fabric Fancification", a free online class offered by instructor Lauren Vlcek at The Quilt Show. We began by piecing the background, and then added fused elements along with embellishments in each of the small sections. The project calls for beading, couching, raw-edge applique, embroidered accents, decorative machine stitching, and even printing text on ribbon. I must say that Lauren made it all very easy and lots of fun to do. 

The project will serve as a little encyclopedia of embellishment techniques that I'm sure I'll use in upcoming quilts. Lauren made some of the hard-to-find items such as the small sequin flowers and beading thread available in a kit on her Etsy site. That worked nicely for me because it gave me just the right amount of each type of sequin for the project. I didn't have to shop around and wind up with excess items. Believe me, there are excess beads galore in my sewing room already! Thanks to Lauren and The Quilt Show, I'm geared up to use them rather than just collect and admire them. You can join The Quilt Show site for free, and Lauren's class is free, too.