June 05, 2017

My Happy Village

Last week I thought it would be fun to take a quilting class and learn a new technique.  It is always a good thing to get 'out of your comfort zone' and try things that you never thought you could do.  Kathy Van Pelt was teaching a class at Quilts and Lace from Karen Eckmeier's Happy Villages book which provided a perfect opportunity for me to do just that.

The technique is basically a fabric collage.  Karen's book Happy Villages, which we used as inspiration, shows many different types of villages that we could create using her technique.  The book gives you some various shapes as a guide to cut out your fabric, then you build your village from those basic shapes.  The 'out of your comfort zone' part comes into play at this stage.  You have to turn off the part of your brain that wants a 'pattern' so that you can create the exact village shown in the book.  The point of the exercise is for everyone's village to look different.

Of course we all wanted ours to look as good as Kathy's!

Kathy with her Happy Village sample she made

Then once you get your basic building arranged you start adding different elements to make your village.  You add roofs, windows, trees, plants, and anything else that you want to make your village unique.  One very interesting factor was that the houses didn't really come alive until you started adding windows.  It's amazing how they all look so different!

Even after two days of adding roofs, etc., none of us finished.  Every time you looked you saw where another roof needed to be added, or another window, or some greenery, or something else. 

Once you do decide that you have enough goodies added, you then place a piece of tulle over the top.  It was fun to audition different colors of tulle to see which looks best with your village.  Each one of us actually chose a different color which really surprised me. 

Then the fun begins.  You free-motion quilt the top so that everything stays where you put it.  You quilt around the buildings in a sort of stitch in the ditch method.  You don't want to stitch right on the edges of the buildings because that will make them fray.  You don't want to do too much because you want your buildings to be the focus, but a little greenery here and there might be a nice addition.  Once you have finished you can embellish it with beads and/or yarn.

Since I love machine embroidery I am pretty sure that mine will end up with some machine embroidered items added.   I am thinking a sun, some birds in the sky and maybe a palm tree or two? 

I am still adding windows and roofs to mine, but here is a picture of my progress so far.  Yes, there are kitties and birds added, and even a little tiny mouse, but he is hard to see.  I think the most fun part of this exercise is you can add anything you want, there are no wrong pieces or parts!

Cherri's Happy Village in Progress

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