Brick and Mortar Threads

Yesterday afternoon, I moved the Happy Village quilt along to the quilting stage. The northwest corner still needed a little work.

I can't say I'm completely happy with how it ended up at this point, but I felt a little bit about it as I did in graduate school when writing papers. At some point, you just have to call it quits or you'll never stop changing it. So the photo above is where it ended up.

After that, I spent some time looking for areas that didn't look right to me. For example, doors hanging in thin air. Steps that didn't look anything like steps. To those areas I added in some trees. The trees were cut using the pinking blade on my rotary cutter.

When I was satisfied with placement and all the loose corners were glued down, I was ready to lay it on the quilt back and spread the black tulle across the top. 

To move it onto the quilt back, I used my largest ruler like a spatula, slid the whole quilt onto the ruler, then placed it on the quilt back and slid the ruler out from underneath. (Huge sigh of relief that I didn't drop it on the floor, or worse.) I cut myself a generous piece of tulle. I wanted plenty of room so that I wouldn't need to drag the tulle over those little pieces. I just wanted to lay it down and be good with it.

After that, I checked carefully for any loose threads that needed to be removed, clipped, or tucked under. You can see a stray where the point of my tweezers is lying in the image above. When I was satisfied I'd dealt with any offending threads, I cut the tulle even with the quilt back. Then, I was ready to pin baste it.

Karen Eckmeier suggests using straight pins for this. She says that safety pins are too large and difficult to remove without tearing the fragile tulle. I used flower top pins. I wanted them to be easy to see as I'm machine quilting it.

When that was finished, I was ready to set up the domestic machine for quilting. I'm using a 75/11 quilting needle, which was a small as I thought I dared. When I started on this a while back, I think I mentioned the thread I was using. In the meantime, I discovered this nice Aurifil multi-colored variegated thread. 

It's hard to know when or why I acquired this. It's a 100% cotton thread, and a brand new spool.

Before starting, I read the section on machine quilting over again, and I was glad I did. My plan was to stitch right along the edges of the fabrics. In the section below, you can see that she emphasizes stitching right alongside the edge without actually stitching on the edge of the fabric. This makes sense because those little pieces do fray very badly.

Satisfied that I understood what to do next (ha!), I turned to my sewing machine to discover an impawdiment to my sewing experience.

Fortunately, the fireplace was turned on and warm, and so he didn't complain (much) when I moved him over next to the fire.

Although I was getting kind of tired by this time, I threaded the machine and loaded on my quilting foot and did just the first bit of stitching so that you could see it.

And I have a free day today, so I should be able to get quite a bit done on it. It's good to be this far. Hopefully, it's not just wishful thinking to believe the hardest part is behind me.


  1. I am certain;y enjoying readin

    Following this project with interest. It is looking great

  2. I love this piece. Great choice of thread Barbara and I can't wait to see the next instalment.

  3. At first I wasn't quite sure where you were going to be stitching. I was on wrong side of the edge! Now I understand! And it makes sense with the tulle holding everything in place. I think the trees look mighty fine in the village too.

  4. I'm so excited to see what's next! You really zoomed along on this one! I want to try!

  5. Great close-up with the spool of thread, allowing us to see the multiple layers. I look forward to following along to see how the stitching makes it all come together.

  6. I like that thread. It is looking good. I finished sewing borders on a top today. I walked away for a rest and when I came back to get the top to press, Angel was curled p in it. Oh, well. I can press tomorrow!

  7. I was wondering why black tulle went over the whole thing and then I looked at how small some of the squares are compared to the needle! OMG! Now I understand! Nice work!

  8. The picture with your tweezers on the quilt sure gives perspective! I thought it was a much bigger quilt than it really is! I can't imagine how teensy some of those pieces are. It is such a fun quilt and interesting process. Thanks for taking us through it. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

  9. Wow such a fun post with so much going on ...I love the scenic shots and your cute embroidery and your quilt projects. And of course the kitty :) An imPAWdiment, lol ....

  10. How did you steal my tweezers? :) When I saw those in the store I had to buy a pair for all my sewing friends. Lucky I had a red headed friend, blonde, brunette and persons of color friends to buy a complete set. They work well, too.

    Your village quilt is coming along well. Interesting as to why one uses tulle. I was thinking it was to tone down colors and used as a a blending medium. Does one use quilting to add details? Well, I will have to be patient and wait for the next episode of "Cat Patches"!

  11. The tulle does just disappear on it, I expected it to tone down the colors but I'm not seeing that, interesting.

  12. Very colorful. I like the trees, they make a nice break from all the straight lines.