Thursday, September 1, 2011

Gnomes and Shrooms

I am first generation in the US.  My folks came over at the end of WWII – my dad really was one of those German rocket scientists.  They stayed 25 years before returning to Europe, but instead of going to Germany they went to Switzerland.  Tough place to have to visit – NOT!
Anyway, I grew up with picture books that featured Zwerge, i.e. gnomes.  My daughter Tanya got those same books, so she has always really liked them. Red capped mushrooms are big in those books, too. The whole garden gnome thing is big over there – some people are serious about them and others (like me) think they are such marvelous kitsch (or as Tanya says, “Cheestastic!”)  I even have one, but don’t dare have him outside – he’d get stolen in a heartbeat. (Photo 1).  Couldn’t believe it, when I saw him and of course, I just had to buy him.  He has a special tag and the company Heissner that makes these have a whole series that are collected – like beanie babies or Steiff animals.  He wasn’t cheap.

Photo 1: "Frechdachs"  (scallywag)

Tanya received some really cool fabric that was themed on the work of Alphonse Mucha (a Czech artist who is synonymous with the Art Nouveau movement).  She got enough for a regular pillowcase, but the pillows she uses are the same as mine, which are typically used in northern Germany – they measure 30”square.  So I had to add borders, etc. to create a large enough pillowcase.  I didn’t want to mess up the fabric, which is out of print, so thought to make another case first.  That’s when I found the gnome and mushroom fabrics.  I made a pillowcase from those plus some red (Photo 2).
Photo 2: Gnomes and Shrooms 30"square pillowcase

It turned out well, so then I made a case from the Mucha fabric plus some other fabrics for the borders (Photo 3).  Tanya got the cases for her birthday and she was delighted.

Photo 3: Mucha 30"square pillowcase

I had a bunch of the gnome and mushroom fabric left over, so I made a 32”square baby quilt from it – it’s the one I used to illustrate my last blog entry about blocking.  The random bits of red are from the pillowcase border that I mitered – no sense wasting perfectly good HST’s!  It was fun and it gave me a chance to work on some quilting patterns. (Photo 4)

Photo 4: Gnomes and Shrooms quilt, 32"sqaure

I recently bought a book “Free Motion Quilting Made Easy” by Eva Larkin that takes a different approach to FMQ over the more freewheeling designs most think of.  She takes the basic square (up to 4”) and divides it vertically, horizontally and diagonally.  Often the seamlines from the piecing provide most of the necessary lines, or you can mark them or you can eye ball it.  Then using a combination of 8 basic shapes you create a variety of more formal patterns.  I really like the look – there are times when something like this is more appropriate.  In Gnomes and Shrooms I used this style in the corner blocks (Photo 5) – more for practice than anything else. 

Photo 5: The brown blocks quilted using Eva Larkin's style of FMQ

 The rest of the quilt uses a variety of more doodling type patterns.  The center is a sun, the brown around it uses Leah Day’s woven line, then nested arches in the next yellow band, in the next brown, a matrix design and then finally open swirls that are echoed in the outermost yellow area. (photo 6).

Photo 6: Quilting on Gnomes and Shrooms.

The final quilt should hopefully please some baby and his/her parents!


Erilyn said...

Great fabric and fantastic quilting! Well done, Monica.

Monica said...

Thanks! It was great fun to make.