At the Corner of Pumpkin and Vine

Yesterday afternoon I was kind of dragging my feet when it came to getting to work on the Happy Village again. Are you like that with a new technique? I'm not sure what goes on with my attitude, but it's hard to push forward when I'm learning something that is barely within my mental grasp. Anyway...it seemed like a perfectly good time to procrastinate by thinking about how I'm going to quilt the Pumpkin Patch table topper. As a reminder, it looks like this:

So I have in mind to do some quilted pumpkins and vines in the four outer corners and also in the center. The pumpkins are easy enough, but I'm such a terrible artist that I was stressing about how to quilt the leaves and the vine. Often, I gain inspiration (and a guide for drawing) by Googling something like "drawings of pumpkin vines" as I did today. I came up with a drawing I liked, which I won't post here because it's copyrighted. And I'm not copying it exactly, but it gave me a place to start.

The pumpkins aren't that hard to draw, but the vines and leaves had me stumped. Then I remembered a video I'd seen from Leah Day that she calls Twisted Tendril. Here's her video:

If you can't see the video, click right here.

The design is appealing, and it occurs to me that leaves aren't really necessary with this. The eye fills in what it expects to see, and so the little loops work just fine as stand-ins for leaves. After watching her do it, I got to work. First, the pumpkins. For the first ones, I was trying to quilt each "lobe" individually, and I didn't like the look of that at all.

It's easier for me to quilt them as a full circle and then fill in the "sections". These were a little better, but too round. I wanted them flattened out a bit.

Here's the third try...a little better, but still more round than I'd like them.

Then, I was kind of excited to try the twisted tendrils, and so I gave that a go. I started with variegated thread, and I was experimenting to see how it would look.

Not bad, but then I switched to a solid dark green at the bottom, and I like that better.

And then I gave that another try on the second round of pumpkins. I ran out of bobbin thread before I could finish the design, however, and so I decided that was my cue to stop.

So it's only practice, but here's how the whole thing looked when I was finished. 

I want the echo in the vines to be better...smoother, with less hesitation...and so I'll keep practicing for a bit before committing it to my quilt top. Also, I posted this image on the Sit Down Free Motion Quilters page on Facebook. One woman commented that pumpkins are "organic" and so each one is different. That was good feedback, and I can stop trying to make them all look the same.

After that, I got back to work on the Happy Village. Today clipped some threads and repaired some weird little notched cuts. Then I started trying to add roofs, and I'll tell you, I got kind of lost in this...lost, as in, I can't find my way. For a while, I was wishing I'd never started it. But then I started looking at the pictures in the book, and mine didn't look so different from hers.

Also, I started adding in a few windows and doors, and then it started coming together. And, again, I checked the pictures in the book, and it started making more sense. I think it's going to be okay, even if it won't be the best Happy Village ever created.

I can only work on it in short bursts. My posture is absolutely terrible when I'm doing something like this, and that starts making my neck hurt. Today I'll give it some more time, and I'll work some more on my quilting. If there's time, I'd like to get a start on the next block for the Chicken Buffet quilt.


  1. This is going to be so cute. I like your version of the pumpkin too. A cute design pattern,is this your design? I would like to make this..

  2. The Village is looking more like a village. Yes, pumpkins come in all sizes and shapes - have fun with it. Your practice piece looks great.

  3. Yes, non-GMO pumpkins are the way to go. Rugged individualists! I like the tendrils a lot too.
    I can see how that village can be overwhelming. A little bit at a time looks like it will work. Happiness awaits!

  4. Absolutely beautiful quilt and free-motion quilting.


  5. Wow. Very pretty. I love that pumpkin runner ;0 I wish I could free motion quilt like that too. I know it takes practice, but I hate waiting. LOL

  6. If you've ever grown pumpkins or squash you know they're the very definition of organic, and no two are ever alike. I love this quilting motif for your table topper, it's perfect.

  7. Pumpkins in the garden are definitely organic and so quilting them soould be as well. Love the Twisted Tendril design and need to try it. I'm loving how the Little Village is looking-from the first photo to this one it has certainly come to life. I have this book on the shelf so need to get creating.

  8. Your pumpkins and vines look great! And yes, pumpkins are organic, one should not look like the others, if they did they would look manufactured, not hand done!
    Your little happy village is so cute and colorful! It is, indeed, HAPPY! I still want to try that out. She has another book on landscaping which looks pretty interesting too!

  9. Great choice of quilting idea for your topper. Love the Village.

  10. Your pumpkin quilting is gorgeous. I like the pumpkins on the left, but as you say they are all different. Have fun with it. Happy quilting.

  11. I like the pumpkin quilt and think your quilting design will be perfect for it.

  12. You're "circling" the village while your mind works on it, that's a good thing just let it happen. Adding some of the windows and doors is already pulling it together. Love the pumpkins and the plan for quilting.

  13. I love how the pumpkin quilting is evolving. And yes, nothing gets a procrastinated project finished like procrastinating on another one. Another advantage of having many projects in process.

  14. I adore your village. Such a bright, happy place.

  15. Your pumpkins look great! I agree that they should not be all alike!

  16. The pumpkin quilting is perfect for the table topper. Very organic and flowing. Your village is coming along nicely. So very colorful, very European looking.