Friday, December 13, 2019

Holiday House

This is my first project for the December challenge with Island Batik. We were to incorporate 3D elements into our project. As you know, I love depth perception, shadows and layers in quilting, so to say I was excited about this challenge is a bit of an understatement! Truth tea: I have exactly six project ideas for the challenge... Here is the first:
It's my House Block pattern (see sidebar link to it) with a 6" presents block on the side! All of the fabrics were supplied by Island Batik.  Hobbs Batting supplied the 100% wool batting (which I originally used in my suitcases quilt Oh! The Places You'll Go!) and Aurifil supplied most of the thread I used in the project. Some of the threads and the embellishments are my own.

I had such fun creating this 16" finished cushion cover that could easily be a wallhanging. I already have several wallhangings, so I thought a cushion cover would be best.

I drafted the presents on graph paper and then drew the block in EQ8. It is pieced, without any y-seams. The only Christmas-themed fabric I had in Box #2 was the Nordic one I used for the top and bottom of the frame around the block. I wanted it to look like the trees were a hedge and the diamonds either eaves or a Christmas decoration the homeowner had hung. I needed 6.5" for the top and bottom, so I had to piece the both strips, because the chop is printed horizontally, at a strategic point. I'm pretty pleased with both! The 5" wide by WOF stash builders Island Batik includes in our box give us a wide variety (but no red had I!) of fabrics and colours to use in our projects. I was pleased to have a light, medium and dark in the colours I used for the presents.

I used another 3D technique, trapunto, where you put an extra layer of batting under a portion of the quilt block, often appliqués, or a quilted element like a monogram, that you want to pop. I did it under the wreath over the front door. I used several Aurifil threads to quilt the block,
and several quilting techniques including ruler work (swoops on house front triangle, back and forth lines on present sides), walking foot (stitch in the ditch, the siding on the front of the house) and FMQ (everything else). All the threads are 50 wt but for the purple which is 28.

I just love my Bernina for the way she sews merrily with all thread types. Here is the back of the cushion before assembly:

Check out the matchstick quilting, all FMQ, and the FMQ present fronts (multiple colour changes): the loop where the top thread and the bottom thread are perfectly inside the quilt sandwich. Yes, part of that is longtime practice of FMQ and marrying my foot speed to my hand movements and 'feeling' my machine, but it's also a testament to the quality of Bernina sewing machines. No I am not an affiliate, just love my almost 17-year-old girl!

Below is the front view at that point. Isn't the snow fabulous? Both the fabric which was my neutral in this box, and the 100% wool beneath it which puffs up just perfectly under the 'drifts' I FMQ-ed.
I wanted the presents to pop so I squashed down the background of the block with matchstick quilting. I am still undecided as to whether or not to embellish the present tops with a button or some dangling beads. I've tried both but feel 'meh' about them. I did three different FMQ motifs on the present fronts. For the orange one I simply followed the chop. For the purple one, I did a few beads with an echoed wavy line between, and for the yellow one I did a four-leaf flower and echoed it. I love how it turned out! Don't believe I've seen this one done anywhere. Here is how I stitched it in one pass:
Start at the top and stitch a curved line to the centre of the block. I find I get better curves if I stitch the opposite side of the opposing petal, making an 's' shape, so once at the centre, stitch the bottom petal's right side if you did the top petal's left side. Make the other side of the bottom petal so that you're back in the centre. then do the horizontal petals in the same way, ending back at the centre. Finally make the first petal's second side and you end up back where you started. From there just echo around the petals!

Information about the quilt:
I always put it on the cushion backing which I know, is hidden inside. I'd rather have it there than on the cushion back.

I only had two 10" squares of the forest green I used on the sides of the frame, so I had to dig to see what I could use as a Christmas-theme back. Here is the backing, a gorgeous rich fabric called Leaf Vine Teal Twilight from Box 1 this year.

I think my favourite embellishment is the glass-like button I sewed on for the doorknob. I also like the effect of the seed beads I stitched onto the wreath. I am happy to finally use a couple of decorative buttons bought forever ago, the trees on either side of the door. Embellishments is yet another 3D element to this little quilt. And yup, I planned to centre the partridge (I'm calling it that anyhow) in the peak! I could have trapuntoed him, but he still puffs out his chest and wing nicely as he perches on the lower curved line.
Of course, that multi-loop bow is pretty cool too.

It currently sits on our bed with another little pillow from 2013 which you can read about here. After taking 15 minutes searching through my blog, it appears that here on my bed is yet another TBT quilt I need to write up, the Christmas star Stack 'n Whack kaleidoscope one (my own design, using one of Bethany's star block patterns) that you see below!

This has been such a popular little pattern, first on Craftsy and now on bluprint. For the month of December, if you purchase it, I'll send you for free the presents block pattern. If you are not a member of bluprint, then you can find the house block with the presents block included in my Etsy store. For those who have already purchased the house block pattern this month, I will be emailing you the pattern, not to worry! I can see options for this little block: a runner with a few of them in a row on each edge, maybe as part of a Christmas wallhanging with other 6" Christmas-themed blocks...

A huge thank you goes out to Wendy Pieceful Thoughts and Roseanne Homesewn By Us, who both were able to test the presents block within a very tight turnaround time. I so appreciate that they were able to do this because it only makes a pattern that much better.

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design available on bluprint for $1; now both patterns in one download on Etsy
Size: 16"
Fabric: Island Batik
Backing: Island Batik
Batting: Hobbs 100% wool
Quilted: on my Bernina
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with Aurifil and Gütermann cotton; quilted with Aurifil 50 wt and Aurifil 28 wt dusty mauve; Aurifil 50 wt in the bobbin

Linking up
Confessions of a Fabric Addict
The Madd Quilter
Quilt Fabrication
Alycia Quilts-Quilty Girl
TGIFF at Storied Quilts
Clever Chameleon


  1. I want to live in that house! Love it so much. Your quilting is perfectly chosen for the block as always. Can't wait to see the next 5 projects :-)

  2. That's such a fun pillow, Sandra! It fits your challenge so well, and I loved looking at your fabric choices, too. Perfect for your holiday decorating!

  3. This is so cute. I love the wreath with the bow. Well done!

  4. All those tiny details, I almost missed the partridge, and then there is the trapunto and a door knob, this needs to be on show in a HUGE way. Beautiful all over.

  5. I could move right it, your house is so welcoming. Love the partridge and the little doorknob is way too cute!

  6. I think we all want to live in that house - or at least have a quilt retreat there! Testing was great fun!

  7. Oh Sandy, such a wonderful little house. I love all the embellishments and you fabric choices which are so scrumptious. You do know how to stretch the fabric supply to get what you need. That cushion cover will bring you happy memories each year when you put it out.

  8. So many sweet details! I love the landscaping and the wreath. And that doorknob!! So great :)

  9. After the work you put in last month's challenge, I'm glad to did a simpler, but beautiful, project this time.

  10. This is so cute, and I love reading how you sort through your fabrics from your source boxes to find just the right ones to interpret your theme. Working within those limitations could be a real challenge, but you always make it work. I love the row of trees and the partridge. For the presents, I'm a real fan of buttons, but to simplify and not draw attention from the cool wreathe, you could use a length of all six strands of embroidery floss and tie it in a simple bow. I like how you did the presents without Y seams! Now I'm really wondering what else you have up your sleeve for more 3D.

  11. What a great project! I love that you added to a successful pattern with great testers! I have to study your quilting, you always do such a great job.

  12. You came up with a fun project for your challenge. I love your attention to detail with all the various quilting motifs and the embellishments. I like the way you label the your pillow tops on the inside. I need to be more consistent with labeling. I just gave away another quilt without a label. Oops!

  13. Very cool 3-D effects! Congrats on finding a unique approach to the challenge.

  14. It is a house full of love, warmth and holiday cheer. Love all the details, especially the shiny door-knob. It shows that many folks have been turning it :-)

  15. Six ideas?...... overachiever! Especially if they are all as cute as this little cottage pillow! I hope you get some down time to enjoy your lovely Christmas decor and have a peaceful break over the New Year too. xx