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What I did on my Quilting vacation - catlinye_maker [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]

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What I did on my Quilting vacation [Sep. 17th, 2012|10:28 am]
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Christmas Houses I
Click to embiggen if desired.

The dishes never got more than a lick and a promise all weekend, because I was too busy having fun with quilting during the Quiltathon. We took Saturday and drove to Turlock to check out RV Parks; that’s where we’ll be going in November after Gilroy. But the rest of the time was quilt-full.

Holly berries is done, the binding made and set aside. The Holly Berries pattern I’m working on just needs one more day of writing and then it will be ready to go off for beta-ing. Photos to come, as I kept forgetting to set up for pictures while the light was good.

I got a good start on the Christmas Houses quilt. The Quiltathon time was invaluable here. In the general run of things it’s easy for me to find 20 minutes here and there to do pre-planned sewing or cutting, but what I needed for this was longer periods of sustained design work, and a lot of laying things out and pondering.

I’ve fallen in love with the borders Judy’s been showing for the Christmas Block of the Month quilt. They reminded me very much of the little cardboard village my mother put out every Christmas. Tiny, brightly colored cardboard houses with cellophane windows, set on glittery ‘snow’ batting, with small Christmas lights carefully poked through holes in the backs of the houses so their windows would glow in the winter night, there on the mantle.

But I’m not generally a fan of sampler quilts, and besides, I wanted to make this as the third Christmas quilt intended for my sister and sisters-in-law. Those quilts are intended to be couch quilts, and the Block of the Month quilt would finish larger than I wanted for that. Before the block posting started, I mocked the border up in EQ. By pulling one block from each side of the borders and reducing the size of the sashing and the center blocks, I came up with a smaller version. To make the house blocks as designed, the inner borders would have to be uneven. But looking at it in EQ, I really preferred that the borders be even all around. Thankfully, those charming border blocks are nicely modular, so the needed adjustments are jotted down in my quilting notebook, and when it comes time to assemble them I’ll just take half an inch here and there to get my sizes just right.

Every Christmas Village needs a church, so one was designed and added in. Every village needs some trees here and there, so some of the houses were replaced with a park. I found the perfect background for the house blocks, a dark speckled blue that evokes a nighttime snowfall. That led to reversing the sashing colors. And that made the center look very much like a stylized… quiltilized… window.

And that was the inspiration for what to do with the center. How about a window scene? Initially I was thinking about doing something that would look like an outdoor scene; I had a dim concept of a pine tree on a snowy hillside. Since this is intended to be finished for this Christmas, I didn’t want to start from scratch with applique, so I started looking at panels. There weren’t any outdoor scenes that I liked that were anywhere close to big enough, but there were a ton of panels that would be suitable for an indoor scene. And actually, that would be even better; outside (in the border) the Christmas village at night, then the center looks through a glowing window into the decorated house.

EBay yielded the perfect panel of a decorated tree in primary colors. I’ll broderie perse that to a 'wallpaper' background and add flooring and some other applique bits and bobs. I don’t want to get too fancy or too realistic with the indoor scene; this is a ‘quiltilized’ version. Cutting the panel to enlarge it a bit while keeping the tree looking good will be tricky, so part of the Quiltathon was spent making a graph-paper mockup of the finished sashing so it can be laid out and tested with the panel.

The center needs to be done or at least designed first; that will dictate the colors I’ll use in the village border. I made some sashing units to lay out while I’m working with cutting the panel so that I can choose complimentary colors for other elements inside the window scene, and since the size is 2 ½ inches (reduced from 3), I elected to do a center strip at 1 inch and then ¾ inch strips on either side instead of going crazy and cutting strips at 1.3333 inches.

The next step will be to lay out panel, paper mock-up, sashing, and all, and choose backgrounds to match. Then, with great trepidation, begin to cut. Stay tuned for further developments. And don’t forget to see what’s developing on other design walls, at Judy Laquidara’s Design Wall Monday.