Let's Book It: A Finish!

It was mostly a sewing day yesterday, but I still managed to fit in laundry and a baking project. First, I'll tell you about the quilt though because I'm so excited about this finish. Here's my Happy Village:

Here's how it looks from the back:

It was hard to decide what to use for a binding. The backing fabric seemed like the best choice. If I chose a solid color, I was afraid it would bring out only a certain color from the whole piece. Black seemed too boring and hard to sew, and any other kind of print seemed as if it would clash. I decided to stick with that same fabric from the back.

If you'll recall, this project was from one of the first books I ever purchased, Karen Eckmeier's Happy Villages book.

I can't say enough good things about her instructions...they were excellent. Several of you have written to say you have this book and that you'd like to try it. My best advice to you is to follow her instructions and not to give up. The project kind of goes down in layers, and when you put down the first layer of fabrics, all you're going to see is a big hot mess. With each addition of roofs, windows and doors, quilting, and then stitching in details, you'll see the village pop out more and more. And that makes it one of those projects that, even with its tedium, keeps propelling you forward.

It took me several hours to stitch around all of the "buildings". For this, Karen advises traveling back and forth from one overlapping piece to the next. The extra lines of stitching just add character to the whole. Eventually, however, you're going to have to stitch the windows and doors and those will require traveling from place to place. You can cut threads if you want, but Karen advises simply taking a few short stitches (I simply took three stitches in place) at the beginning and ending of each travel stitch.

Then, you'll simply clip those threads and brush them away. For this, you'll want a good pair of applique scissors with a curved and pointed tip. Remember those windows are only about 1/4-inch squares.

You can even travel long distances to do this. In fact, if you travel in a relatively straight line, you'll be able to follow your own path as you clip your threads.

See that? Who's to know what you did there?

You'll also need to trim the bobbin threads from the back.

Yeah, I don't know what happened with that bird's nest there. But look below...good as new. On my back, the smaller travel stitches were barely visible. I just ran my hand over the piece looking for them. I probably missed a few, but this is a wall-hanging, and so it doesn't really matter.

The piece is very forgiving. She mentions that you might find some places where the fabrics have shifted to reveal the batting below. In those cases, just stitch back and forth a few times to cover it.

You might recall from an earlier post that I suggested cutting fabrics to fit and use as band-aids if your original cuts didn't cooperate to give you the details you wanted. The image below shows an example. If I remember correctly, I cut the arches but then had too many different colors of fabric below. For the blue door on the right, I added a piece of blue. It revealed itself as I was stitching in the details.

Not to worry...I just stitched in some doors on all three with little lines for the door handles.

You can add as much detail as you want. To some of the larger windows, I added window panes.

Different kinds of roofs. 

Stone walls...

Brick walls...

And eventually, I called it finished.

Then, I just needed to trim the edges, sew on the binding, and voila!

There are a few things I'd like to improve about it, but I'm very happy with this first try. It was actually a lot of fun.

Of course, none of this could have happened without my four-footed helper.

If a cat's worth is measured by the length of its tail...well, enough said.

Since the last time I mentioned Sadie's short tail, we've learned a little bit about Manx cats. Our vet thought her short tail was explained by her being part Manx. Since then we've learned that Manx cats also have rear legs that are longer than their front legs. We'd noticed that she moves her rear legs in unison (rather than one at a time) when she runs or when she goes up and downstairs. It's sort of comical, actually, and she looks something like a rabbit when she runs. Then, we read this on Wikipedia:
The hind legs of Manx are notably longer than the fore legs, causing the rump to be higher than the shoulder and creating a continuous arch from shoulders to rump giving the cat an overall rounded or humped appearance, though the breed is comparatively long when stretched out. The fore legs are strong and straight. The shape is often described as rabbit-like.
If we weren't convinced of her Manx origins before, we are now. You can read more about the breed right here.

So the Happy Village wasn't the only thing I did yesterday. I got back to work on my big stitch hand quilting project. All I can say is Oy. I'm not enjoying hand quilting as much as I enjoy embroidery, but I'm committed at this point.

Also, I baked these Hillary muffins.

The recipe accompanied this great article I read on NPR about relieving post-election stress through baking. I always think baking is a good idea, and I've said for a long time that I enjoy both baking and cooking because they engage all five senses, and because they keep me fully present in the moment...which doesn't leave much room for thoughts of the imminent end of civilization. Of course, I'm just kidding about that last part, but you probably realize that some people are genuinely frightened. These are billed as being a fat-free oatmeal muffin and tasting like chocolate hazelnut cake. And you can believe that fat-free claim only if you believe chocolate chips and hazelnuts are fat free. But let's not quibble, okay?

Speaking of baking, since I've finished the Happy Village, I'm ready to finish reading the boring, educational part of this book that I've been plodding through.

There were 103 pages to read before I reached the first "formula" and the article on NPR convinced me that my plan to bake every loaf in the book is sound. That ought to keep me busy for the next four years. So, all of that to say that today's goal is to finish reading the rest of the educational part (13 pages to go), and move on to the baking part. Soon, very soon. Also on today's agenda, my monthly pedicure, which was bumped from its original place on the calendar when I had to go to the dermatologist last week. Booooo! Anyway, today...ahhhhhhhh.

16 comments from clever and witty friends:

QuiltShopGal said...

Congratulations on another beautiful finish. I love your cheerful village and think you picked the absolutely perfect binding (and backing). great job. Very interesting insights on Manx, which I had no idea. Now I want to pay more attention when I see one, and see how they run.


Debbie said...

I really like your little village and applaud you for your patience to get it built.The binding is a good it too.;

claudia said...

Hurray for the finish of the Happy Village! It is so cute! I would love to do one, but I've promised myself I would finish other projects that I just had to do!
Those muffins look delicious! You do know there are no calories in foods that you eat while standing don't you? So those muffins are fat free...just stand whole eating them!

Elaine Walker said...

i love your Happy Village finish. I also admire you patience and tenacity. I really don't think I would have the patience to do this project :-(( , but Ido admire it.

gpc said...

I love the way the village turned out! Oh, if only I had patience. :) Love the hand quilt piece, too, and you know I love bread, so your life is looking glorious from where I sit, being lazy, doing nothing . . .

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Lovely finish - congratulations on your Happy Village. Hmmmm - fresh baked bread, so my down fall.

Brown Family said...

The happy Village looks like a project that you could keep working on! Every time you get ready to stop, you see something else that can be added!

Sadie, we love your tail! It does not matter to us how long or short they are!

crazy quilter said...

Moving right along with your monthly goals! horray for you! I love it! And since embroidery isn't my thing but hand quilting is I understand your ho hum attitude toward your hand quilting project. I absolutely love the process of hand quilting and the way it looks. Keep on keeping on when it is finished you will be so happy! Give those sweet furbabies a nice scratch for me.

Marlene said...

Looks fantastic. Love all the different designs you quilted on the roofs. Great choice of backing and binding-I agree a solid fabric for the binding might have really highlighted one colour only. Look forward to following the bread making journey.

quiltzyx said...

Happy HAppy Village! Great job putting all those different textures into it. I have decided that my favorite building is the one with the Orange roof, 3 colors of arched windows and the "field stone" walls. 😁
Only 13 more pages of educational stuff, then on to the breadmaking. I shall bring butter when I visit!

Quilting Babcia said...

Happy Village certainly lives up to its name, and the binding fabric looks like colorful little cobblestone walkways all around the village square. Those muffins look mighty good, I might just have to make some before heading to quilt ministry later this morning ... 3:45 a.m. currently ... sigh

Dana Gaffney said...

The village is certainly bright and happy, what a great finish. We had a part Manx cat named Bob, no tail but an amazing personality.

Auntiepatch said...

I love your Happy Village! 1/4" windows? You are my hero!

Janarama said...

Honestly, I was skeptical when you were laying out the pieces for the houses. I thought that there was no way you were going to be able to make a village out of that layout. Boy oh boy, was I ever wrong. It turned out fabulous! Another new technique under your belt. Oh, and there you go again with the food porn. Those muffins look delicious.

Michele said...

Your mini quilt really turned out wonderful. Nicely done.

Kate said...

A very beautiful Mediterranean village. Makes me think of the pictures I've seen of sea side villages there. Congrats on a fun and lovely finish. Where are you going to hang it?