Tuesday, September 8, 2015

There's gold in them thar hills...and blues and purples and greens

My  Hillside Houses quilt is a finished top now.

and what once looked like this..
now looks like this:

That's what I call "Labor Day" without the "Labor".

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Monday, August 31, 2015

Yes, it's true.

I am a Trekkie. 

I've seen all the Star Trek series and all the movies, many times each. I own the entire Voyager series on DVD.  It is something that both my husband and I enjoy watching, so when I saw this pattern for a Star Trek uniform shirt, I just had to make one.

 If you ever watched Star Trek The Next Generation, you'll recognize this as Captain Picard's shirt. The pattern is paper pieced and was a free download from fandominstitches at this link.  The whole thing measures just 10 inches square.

I added the details of a tiny red zig zag stitch for the piping on the collar, 
and 4 miniscule beads for the Captain's pips. What fun!

For the back, I used a long-hoarded piece of  Star Trek fabric that I just knew would come in handy someday.

As an added bonus, I used insulated batting so it can be used as a trivet for a hot plate.

There is only one possible way to end this post...Make It Sew!
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Friday, August 28, 2015

Reaching the summit

After a couple of weeks of creative playing I have finished the top of my Hillside Houses quilt.

As I was building toward the top row, the last decision to be made was which fabric to use for the sky.  All along, I had these candidates in mind:

The palest ones looked too washed out compared to the house fabrics.  The turquoise one on the right blended to closely with my church fabrics.  The blue fabric on the top was most likely to succeed, but only if I cut it small enough to keep the bird silhouettes from showing.

I had pretty much decided that I needed to purchase some sky fabric when I dug out this fabric that was hiding among the turquoise:

With all the colors in the houses, this multi colored sky fabric seemed to be the right direction.   I decided to go with it, and I'm glad I did.  It holds its own against the bright oranges and pinks in the rest of the quilt, but doesn't call too much attention to itself.

This has been such an enjoyable quilt to make.  Working my way up from the bottom was an unusual way to approach a quilt, but it made so much sense for this project.  I even love the way it looks at night:

There is a behind-the-scenes photo I just have to share.  
What started out at the beginning of this project looking like this:
now looks like this...
I call it "craftermath".  

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Monday, August 24, 2015

Here is the church, here is the steeple...

What's a little Hillside village without a little village church?  As I was working my way up the hill on my Hillside Houses quilt, I decided I wanted to make one of the houses into a church.

The turquoise house seemed like a good candidate.   It already had one long side with a row of windows.  All it needed was a steeple to make it into a church.

I cut out two rectangles of the church fabric, and a few squares for the roof and for the red house in the background.

From the squares, I made half square triangles and added them to the church fabrics.

Then I trimmed down the church fabrics to make the steeple.

Next step was to add the other parts of the red house in the background.

Here is how it looked when I added it into the rest of the blocks

Ta da!  Ordinary house turned into quaint little village church.  Love it!

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Saturday, August 22, 2015

Fact or Fantasy?

Been working away on Row 3 of Hillside Houses.  To me, these bright batiks make me think that surely this must be just a fantasy hillside,right?

Then I saw this photo online....
photo courtesy of GettyImages stock photos.

This is a picture of a hillside village called Cinque Terra, a portion of the coastline in what is known as the "Italian Riviera" in the Liguria region of Italy.   I must have visited there in a past life.
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Friday, August 21, 2015

Halfway up the hill...

I'm working away steadily on my Hillside Houses quilt.  With the completion of the bottom 2 rows, I am officially halfway up the hill.

My husband asked me if this was a kid's quilt.  I thought he was implying that all the bright colors made it look juvenile.  I was a bit disappointed because I plan on hanging this one in our upstairs hall.  I had hoped he would like it.  Turns out, he really DOES like it.  He asked about it being a kid's quilt because he thought I was going to be donating it to Quilts for Kids.

I'm now putting together the puzzle pieces for the next row:

Don't you just love that crazy pile of batik scraps up in the right corner?  I flip through them to find just the right fabric for the windows.

Can't spare any more time blogging about it when I could be sewing it together.  Thanks for stopping by....

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Sunday, August 16, 2015

On the street where you live..

The first three houses are done, and the little street is taking shape.

Block three, on the bottom right, went together fairly quickly because it was the same pattern as Block 1.  Here they are, side by side, before the final seams were completed on Block 3:

I did a little fussy cutting for the windows, making sure the turquoise circles lined up in straight lines to suggest curtains.

Since the purple of the house was fairly dark, I chose the lighter areas of the roof fabric to provide a bit more contrast.  Love how you can manipulate different areas of a batik fabric to get different effects.

Saturday night found me deeply absorbed in preparing the pieces for Block 4. This took me quite a while because there are 5 different house fabrics in the same block, and maybe also because I was tired.  Okay, probably mostly because I was tired.   I cut into the wrong fabrics at least twice.
Hmm...I knew that orange fabric in the left photo looked familiar....
I already used it! 

I left the sewing for this morning, in case I had done something wrong.  Here is Block 4:

With the addition of this house to the first row, the 3 dimensional effect of the lights and darks is really starting to become visible.

Onward and upward!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

New Neighbors

My little hillside house now has a neighbor:

This is actually a house and a half.  The greens in the top area are part of a house that is farther up the hill.

I have so much fun choosing fabrics for these blocks.  My first pass looked like this:

Then I switched out the window fabrics and decided to go with turquoise for the orange house, and brighter green for the house in the back:

This combo packed a little more punch.  I love the fact that all the windows throughout the quilt are the same size, so that any window candidates that don't make the cut can likely be used further along in another house.

Welcome, neighbor!

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Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Construction begins

I finished the first block in my Hillside Houses quilt.

I thought I had all the planning done, but I realized this morning that I hadn't yet considered what fabrics to use for the windows and doors.  Since the lighter sides of the houses are supposed to be bathed in sunlight, I decided to make all of those windows with yellow fabric.  But which yellow to choose?

I made a very large mess of all my batik fabrics, trying to find all the yellows, and in the end, I decided I liked the one on top.  With that decision out of the way, now it was time to figure out what to choose for the other windows and the door.  I came up with this combination.

After all the pieces were cut, (36 in all) I laid them out and decided I liked it enough to start sewing.

The actual sewing was pretty easy, mostly rectangles with a few half square triangles.   Lunchtime rolled around, but I just had to finish the block so I could get my first glimpse of how this was going to turn out.  I was very happy with the outcome:

The triangles in the top left and the top right are parts of the houses in the row above.  That's why it was so important to plan out the fabrics in advance.  I was very happy with my system of fabric swatch cards, allowing me to quickly pick the right fabrics for those 2 spots.

I really can't wait to see what House #2 will look like!

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Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Hillside Houses

I recently came across the Hillside Houses pattern by Christina Tepsick who blogs over at Pretty Little Quilts.

Christina offered the patterns for free as part of a weekly quilt-along that she organized earlier this year.  I missed out on the quilt-along, but the patterns are still available, so I am going to work on this solo.  Christina wrote the pattern with 3 different size options: a bed size, a wallhanging and a mini.  I'm going to do the wallhanging.

I don't have a stash of solid fabrics like the ones shown in the pattern, but I do have quite a collection of batiks, so I'm going to make mine using those.  Only problem is that for each medium to dark batik, you need a lighter one to pair with it.  I don't have much for light batiks, but I did have a gift certificate to Keepsake Quilts burning a hole in my pocket so I purchased a selection of light colored batiks:

I immediately started pairing up lights and darks and set them out on the spare bed.

For a couple of days, every time I walked by I would go in and rearrange things to make new combinations.

Finally, I decided on the final pairings, and made up a little fabric swatch card for each set so that I would remember who went with who.

Then the real fun began, deciding which set of fabrics to use on each house.  Christina's instructions included a coloring page to help sort it all out.  I always love a good session with some colored pencils.  Over the years, as the kids got boxes of new colored pencils, the old ones were given to Mom.  I've collected a nice assortment from their castoffs;

Soon, an arrangement of swatches that looked like this:

were translated in a coloring that looks like this:

I am going to use the same fabric for all of the roof pieces.  It's a dark teal and purple batik with designs that reminded me of shingles.

Now that I have the blueprint, this architect is ready to start building!

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