Saturday, June 6, 2015


Picking up where I left off on the newest landscape project last week, there was just enough Mistyfuse in the drawer for the sky fabric. So it's now fused to the muslin base. I love Mistyfuse; it doesn't seem to gum up the sewing machine needle at all.

(Click on photos to enlarge)

For anyone who hasn't pieced a landscape quilt, notice the extra sky fabric below the treetop line. That's the overlap (I think I called it a 'seam allowance' last week, which comes from a garment-sewing background). This overlap ensures a gap-free join of the sky and tree fabrics.

But now the overlap covers the treetop line on the muslin (as well as the birdhouse top)...which is why it's important to have the vinyl overlay.

You might ask, why bother with drawing lines on the muslin if you're just going to cover them up as you work your way down? Well, if you need to remove the vinyl and take the quilt top to the ironing board to do any fusing, like I did the sky fabric, you'll have to re-clip the vinyl afterward--and it needs to be in the very same position as before. Without those lines on the muslin, you'll have nothing to go by. If the sky overlap was an exact measurement all the way across (it isn't) you could sort of wing it and guess where the lines should be. But I guarantee you, after doing that with a few more sections or pieces, your landscape would start looking pretty wonky.

The next section was designed offsite--seperately, off the quilt top.
This is the hill beyond the river bend. The outline of that whole section plus overlap was traced onto freezer paper from the lines on the vinyl overlay. The freezer paper piece was ironed onto a mottled gray fabric and then was cut out. Why gray? In the photo, that section is distant enough to actually look gray in places, and an even further set of gray-looking hills shows faintly above it.

Compare with the previous photo: the colors are softer.
A tear-away stabilizer was used beneath the base fabric.

Then, little snippets of color were glued to the gray fabric to represent groups of trees on the hill. The colors were a bit too vivid to be in the distance (the further away, the more muted the colors should be), so a layer of white tulle was laid over the section and basted, free motion, around the edges (after the glue dried). The difference in appearance is subtle but will add to the illusion of depth.

Then the whole section was glued with a glue stick, edges only, but heavily (ran out of fusible), onto the quilt top, using the vinyl overlay as a placement guide. So this section now overlaps the sky, as it should.

Note: the vinyl didn't need to be un-clipped for this step, but of course it needed to be laid back out of the way. Remember though, vinyl sticks to itself. If your table isn't bigger than mine and you can't lay the vinyl back flat, just lay a piece of paper over the vinyl (the liner paper that comes with purchased vinyl is perfect) and roll it all back neatly on a mailing tube. When you unroll it over the quilt top again, the vinyl will be smooth and straight, and still perfectly aligned if your clips are good and tight.

Needed a light box to see the waves through my pattern piece

Next up was the river piece. Same procedure: trace the outline of the river section plus the overlap at side and bottom, then iron the freezer paper pattern to my fabric.

But hold it! There was a challenge here: the fabric has water-wave lines. They need to be horizontal, of course--not even the least bit cockeyed. If I don't get that right, the whole quilt is going to look really strange.

What I needed was a true horizontal line--or a true vertical line--from something in the original tracing of my landscape. Then I would be able to draw that line on my vinyl overlay, and use it to find the true horizontal or vertical of my river pattern piece.

However, there is not a single true horizontal line in this scene. So a vertical line, then.

The obvious one would be the birdhouse pole, right? Nope. Some quick ruler work shows that the pole is stuck in the ground crooked!

Which leaves only one true vertical line (if the builder did his job well): the left wall of the cabin. And, probably, the corner post of the deck railing next to it.

Trouble is, that line is all of 3/4 of an inch long in the enlarged drawing and is teeny-tiny in the photo. Warily, I lined the ruler up with it the best I could and drew a parallel center line down the entire vinyl overlay. It looked about right. From there I came up with a corresponding vertical line for the river pattern piece, positioned it perpendicular to the waves in the fabric, and cut it out.

water going slightly uphill, left to right

Time to test-fit the river piece on the quilt top.

After going back and forth repeatedly, this was the closest I got before time to stop for the day. To the naked eye, both these positions looked about right. But the camera saw it differently. And the piece cannot be glued down until it's just right--somewhere in between these two positions--and there's only about a quarter-inch difference between them.
water going slightly downhill, left to right

So, rather than continue this argument between my eyes and the camera, I've decided to go ahead and construct the cabin section, then test-fit it along with the river piece before gluing it down. It should be a lot easier to tell at that point whether the waves are truly horizontal, with the vertical cabin wall so nearby.

Didn't mean to be so lengthy here, but this is a good example of the challenges that can come up in the landscape quilting process. I rarely find them discouraging, though. There is always a solution, and it's fun trying to find it if you're not under a deadline.

Linking up here with Whoop Whoop Friday (hey, I started this post yesterday!), WIPs Be Gone, and Free Motion Mavericks (this will be a free-motion quilt). Please check out these wonderful blogs if you haven't already; their reader linkups, too. Tons of inspiration!

Have a great week!



  1. Oooh I can't wait to see this finished. Going to be another great one!

    1. Thanks, I hope it turns out well. It always seems a little 'iffy' to me at this stage. lol

  2. Oh my goodness Linda, you are such a meticulous planner! It is going to take me four or five more readings of this post before I can begin to gather what's going on - I'm halfway there though...

    I recognise so many of these details from doing landscapes in thread. Grey is such a useful colour, isn't it? As for keeping lines horizontal, I have in the past cut the edge to match the horizon, rather than vice versa.

    I am looking forward to seeing the picture emerge. Already I can see depth in the hills.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

    1. Muv, I have done that before, too. If only there were a true horizon line in this scene, or the river bank weren't on the curve. And the roof line is at a perspective angle, so that's no help. A mottled, as opposed to stripey, water fabric would have been much easier to position, but I had none that worked as well. Cross your fingers I'll get it right.

      Love, Linda

  3. A great process post, Linda. It's so fascinating watching your landscape emerge from you idea. Looking forward to reading how this develops. Thanks for linking to WIPs Be Gone.


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