Kits to make quilts are wonderful. They are a great way to make a quilt if you don’t have a large fabric stash, if you aren’t comfortable selecting fabrics, or if you just want to jump right in with a ready supply of coordinated fabrics in the right colors. A good friend advises that they are great for travel or retreat projects, because they are packaged ready to sew on the go.
Hartwell Commons was made from a kit. I ordered the block-of-the-month kit early in my quilting career, I suppose it was in 2002 or so. When the first package arrived, the schoolhouse block, I opened it ready to jump right in.
Instructions were given for two techniques; paper foundation piecing, and appliqué. I did not know either one. So I bundled it all back up and put it back in its big ziploc bag. It waited month by month as its companions arrived in the mail and the charges were added to my credit card bill. I paid the bill knowing that maybe someday I would have the skills to make the quilt.
My friend’s advice came to light a couple of years down the road when we were preparing for a girls’ getaway to a friends’ lake house. I was lamenting that I didn’t know what project to take, and Dale said, “do you have a kit?”
Why, yes, as a matter of fact, I did. I grabbed the first couple of month’s packages, some substitute fabrics (I had already realized that using someone else’s idea of fabric combinations was not my way of working) and off we went to Lake Hartwell.
By then, I had learned both techniques of paper foundation piecing and needleturn appliqué. I love to do handwork and don’t like to travel with my sewing machine, so appliqué was the approach I used.
Once started, I quickly finished all the houses, but uh-oh, I didn’t know all the embroidery stitches and had never worked with silk ribbon. So the blocks sat again waiting. The next retreat with the same group of gals to the same place meant the embellishment phase could begin.
The embroidery was done, blocks were assembled by machine, and I was ready to do the quilting. I referred to Leah Day’s 365 Free Motion Quilting Designs website for ideas and video instructions on filler designs for the background. All the varied filler designs are still favorites of mine, and I often run downstairs to look at this quilt on the wall when I need ideas on another project.
Quilt details: Finished size is 85” x 88”. The pattern is called The Quilted Village by the City Stitcher. Cotton fabrics, silk thread embroidery. Completed 2010. Cotton batting. Quilting thread DMC machine embroidery thread, two-ply, 50 weight cotton. Free motion quilted on home machine. Since there are lots of goat farms around Lake Hartwell, I made the label in the shape of a goat.