Sunday, May 18, 2008

Making a village

I think this is going to be the last village for awhile. So many people asked me how it was done that I decided to do a step by step pictorial. It sounded like a few people were going to order the book too so I guess I'll be forgiven if I show I how made this.

On Friday late afternoon (around 5:00 pm.) I decided to make a village and I gathered my fabrics. I found 10 fabrics I liked and cut a 6 1/2 inch square from each. I also cut a 6 1/2 x 2 inch piece from each fabric to use later.

After stacking the fabric together (actually in sets of 5 because my scissors won't cut through 10 layers) I cut the squares into stair shapes and then cut those pieces into smaller pieces. I suppose this could be random though the book gives a pattern for cutting the squares. I made a mistake on last week's village quilt but it didn't seem to make much of a difference.

Next I got ready to put the pieces on the batting. The finished village is supposed to be 16 inches but I decided I liked putting a border on it so I used enough batting for 4 inch borders around the whole thing. I also marked the village 16 inch square so that I knew how far out I was supposed to collage.

After that it is just a "chose a color and shape and place" making sure that the fabrics overlap a bit in order to keep the batting covered. This is the fun part and goes very quickly. Probably by around 7:00 pm, I'd made the basic collage which doesn't look much like anything.

I think I took a breather about then and ate dinner.

The next part is a pain but it has to be done before you can use the table again or before the cats start jumping on your collage to see if they can help. Each piece has to be glued down with a small drop of glue. This is just to keep the pieces from blowing away and if everything is glued down you could probably put this away for a few days and work on something else. Just one drop per piece but it is easy to forget which pieces you've already glued.

I should have gone to bed at this point but Tetsu had let me know he was going to be late and I decided to continue on village building. Truly though, go for a walk, have a cup of coffee and some chocolate or just continue tomorrow!
Next I started cutting up those 6 1/2 x 2 inch rectangles into triangles and roof shapes. All different sizes, all colors, a few domes maybe, a tunnel or two or arches. If I cut out arches from one piece I saved the little cut outs to use as doors. I guess the only rule is to put a roof on a contrasting color shape and you can put the roofs almost anywhere. With scraps I started cutting out little slivers to use for steps and with the tiniest squares I cut those up again and made windows. This is the fun part though you begin to wonder if all this stuff and fluff is just filling up empty space (not much of that even) and maybe you are only making something that looks like an up-turned crumb basket. Finally when I got tired (maybe 9:00 pm.) I started gluing my roofs and windows and steps down with little drops of glue. Tweezers are recommended.
"Yeah, I guess that looks like a village. It's 10:00. I'm going to bed."

Next morning I was raring to go (I'd had dreams about my village that night!) and as soon as Tetsu was out the door I was upstairs in the sewing room. Now is the time to put tulle over the whole thing. For the other two villages (and Ochiai-san's) I had used light pink tulle but this time I wanted to try out black. BLACK! What do you think? Here is the village piece with black tulle on the left side and pink tulle on the right. Can you see the difference. Black doesn't kill it and I went ahead as planned using only black. I straight pinned the sandwich together (didn't use safety pins).

After that it was only a matter of machine quilting around all the edges of the shapes and roofs and steps and doors etc. Instead of cutting threads I just went around and backed up and re-sewed to get to new places on my quilt. I don't think I ever stopped the machine except when I ran out of bobbin thread. I had to take a break at 9:30 am. to run some errands but the village was half quilted at that point.

When I got back in the late afternoon (around 4:00 pm.) I started in with the quilting again and finished everything but the windows. I sewed around each window (do some minor back stitching to hold the thread) and then "jumped" to the next window. I went over the whole village and did all the window this way and later went back and clipped the jumping threads (on the back too.) Village done! This is another good time to get some chocolate and take a break.
And finally the border which was applied as usual. It was the quilting that gave me stiff shoulders! I knew I wanted to try Ochiai-san's village border quilting but of course there are no lines anywhere so it was done free hand. A lot of going back and forth over already stitched lines and I had a hard time keeping my lines vertical and horizontal. The triangles for the roofs tipped a lot too but I got around the whole border, went back and added window squares as before by jumping, and I was done!
Ahem... Can you see the cat I quilted into the corner? I really think all villages need a cat!

I watched a movie with Tetsu while I sewed on the binding and by 9:00 pm. last night, my village was up on the wall! A good two day project!


Jane said...

wow that looks fun. You could use some of the charm squares that perhaphs did not fit into another project.

Amanda said...

I think these village quilts are absolutely charming, and I'm staggered that you could complete one in just two days. Your machine quilting in the border looks great too. I really must try to get hold of the book.

Ulla said...

What an interesting method and what a lovely result.I'm so happy to find the different steps to this lovely quilt.Thank you so so much.
Ulla who also wishes you a lovely new week

Catherine Quillé said...

Thank you for explanations to achieve this charming little village.
I allowed myself to give the link to you on my blog ( ... I hope you will see no disadvantages with this.
(sorry for my english not as good as I wanted it to be !!!)

Fiona said...

Great tutorial - I have had that book in mind for a while and your village looks so effective.

anne bebbington said...

Absolutely fabulous - will definitely have to give that one a go - thanks for taking the time out to show us how

dee said...

thanks so much Tanya. I have definitely put this on my "to-do" list when I get back from vacation. I like the way the black tulle sharpens and defines everything. Very nice.

Shelina said...

Gorgeous! I am definitely going to have to try this.

Nancy said...

Thank you for taking the time to share this. It's amazing!

n, np

Chocolate Cat said...

Love the machine quilting in the border, you've done a great job!

jovaliquilts said...

Thanks for showing this! I ordered the book and it's supposed to arrive tomorrow!

Sonnja said...

What an interesting method and what a beautiful result.
Kind regards

Sonnja & Beertje Zonn
from the Netherlands

Marilyn R said...

Wow! What a fantastic village! I was amazed at how the black tulle seemed to make the colors of the fabrics richer. Your village quilt is great!

The Calico Quilter said...

I am amazed at how fast this went together! It looks like something you slaved over for months. It's interesting how the dark netting gave the fabrics so much more depth and richness. You would think it would make the colors muddy, but it's just the opposite. Good job!

Katie said...

That looks like fun. I have the book but it's so nice to see how another person does it. Thanks!