The book makes it seem easy, and actually, I think it is. I'm farther along than I thought I would be after just a few hours. And I don't know how things go in your sewing room, but I always want supportive friends close by when I start something new.
The first step was to choose ten fabrics, and to make this bright village, the colors are listed in the book. Here's my group:
The squares were set in two piles to be cut according to a diagram contained in the book.
Although some measurements were provided as a guide, the author points out that the exact measurements aren't important. It's more important to get some similar shapes. Little cuts are made from each corner of the whole.
Then the large piece (on the left in the image above) is cut again into smaller pieces. Mine was cut wrong, but it was true that it didn't matter in the end.
Then, I cut the second piece. I went to great pains to measure the red stack and cut them just like it showed in the book. Still, I did it wrong, and so I marked the second stack more free form and worried less about the measurements. Honestly, it really doesn't matter.
After marking, I cut those too. You might notice the tiny little squares in the lower right and left corner. Those are 3/4-inch squares. They are set aside to be used as windows later.
Once the cutting is finished, you just start working from the center out on a 16 x 16 piece of batting. I really didn't expect to do the whole thing in one sitting, but there it is.
There are three things to keep in mind:
1. Leave no holes where the batting shows through.
2. Keep the light fabrics under the dark ones so there is no shadow showing through.
3. I forget the third thing.
When I had these laid out, I decided to stop for the day and come back to it with fresh eyes today. I'll probably shift things around a little bit. It seems a little crowded there in the upper left corner. That was the last section I completed, and so I was trying to fit all the pieces into a small space. It isn't necessary to use all the pieces, but I'm just messing around with this for now.
The next step (once I'm happy with placement) will be to use the rectangles to create roofs, archways, windows, steps, and awnings. There are other suggestions for shapes as well, such as trees and flower pots. There are ways of cutting and ways of thinking about this listed in the book, and I'll say more about it as I go along. For now, it seems a good start, and I haven't spoken a single bad word...well, maybe one bad word. That's just to show that I care. I will say this, however: I think I would separate the squares into three or four piles before cutting. I was using sharp scissors, but I still got some weird cuts because of the thickness, and this really can't be done with a rotary cutter.
It was late in the day at that point, but I still wanted to spend some time experimenting with the sparkly threads for quilting snow on the Gingerbread Square quilt. This first snowflake was quilted with the Sulky white metallic thread:
The lighting is weird, I know, but I wanted you to get some idea of the sparkle. The next one was done using the spool I had in my collection with no brand name. I think it has a little more sparkle than the Sulky thread, but it pissed me off when it broke before I could even finish a single snowflake. Also, it seems to have a slight pink cast.
I cut threads and continued on. Within a few inches it broke for a second time. Grrrrrrr. Okay, so that made my decision pretty easy. I decided to go with the Sulky thread, although I might relent and try again with the no-name thread today. I haven't tried using a silicon thread lubricant on it yet, and so I'll do that and give it another chance. For now, I've been practicing some ideas I have for quilting the snow, and the Sulky thread is performing beautifully.
Initially, I had a YLI 40-weight cotton thread in my bobbin, but I switched to a 60-weight Bottom Line polyester thread. The Sulky is fairly thin and lightweight, and I think the lighter Bottom Line thread is a better choice.
This being Sunday, it's time for Slow Stitching with Kathy.
Yesterday I shared my progress on Hocuspocusville:
Kathy asked us to say something about the lighting we use for hand-stitching. My favorite lighting is this Black Diamond Headlamp.
It's rechargeable, and it puts out a nice bright light. The one thing I don't like about it is that it's made for bicyclists and that means it has a flashing red light at the back. It can be turned off, but sometimes I forget. It doesn't really matter (aside from its comedic value) except that it runs the battery down faster. It'll last for about three sessions of embroidery for me...maybe about 5 hours...and then it takes a couple of hours to recharge.
It's not the sort of thing you'd want to wear out and about...unless you're hiking, or biking, or something like that. (Warning: Scary Picture Of A Woman With A Very Bad Bedhead Ahead. Once seen, it cannot be unseen.)
Yes, she does have kittens on her sweatshirt. Anyway...my headlamp puts a nice bright light right where I want it. Using that lamp I can see that I have a vast expanse of unstitched hoop in my lap.
Better get after it. What's on your agenda for Sunday?