Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Landscape quilts

I have long wanted to make a landscape quilt, but have always been a little scared to try. After all, they look so beautiful and complicated, right? Well, I discovered a wonderful book called Accidental Landscapes by Karen Eckmeier that has turned everything around. Using Eckmeier's surprisingly easy technique, it is possible to turn out a beautiful rolling landscape in maybe an hour, well, sans borders.

All you have to do is cut 3-4 inch strips however long your landscape is going to be. Break out the Olfa and cut a nice gentle curve, like a sleepy wave, turn it under and press the traditional 1/4 inch and layer them all until you have your sky/waves/sand (if you are creating a beach scene) and topstitch with a matching thread. Throw some borders on and, voila, landscape compete!

The trick to this technique is finding the right sky fabric to match the colors in the scene. You'd be surprised how many different varieties there are.

For the fence, I simply cut some small uneven strips of brown and topstitched them on, adding some lines for the wire. No turning under necessary since these quilts will hang on the wall like art and not be mauled in the washing machine. It is a lot easier to add the strips when you are quilting, rather than tacking them on before the layers are put together. That way, the quilting on the sand remains unbroken and you don't have to work around the fence posts. Just slap them on at the end and quilt straight over them. I didn't even use fusible web. They shouldn't be perfectly straight anyway, so if they move a little when you are topstitching them on, it adds to the effect. I also sewing some beads on to give it a more embellished look. I did put these on before quilting. Maybe a bit of stabilizer underneath would help.

I was inspired by a photo of Wales for this quilt. I lived there for 4 years and I miss seeing the sheep dotting the hillside. The scene wouldn't be complete without a Welsh farmhouse and a couple of sheep dogs keeping an eye on things.

This lake scene has the lake spilling out past the borders. Really, the possibilities are endless with this technique.
I attempted this Tuscan landscape using a similar quilt from the book as a model.

My stepdad is into desert scenes, so here was my first attempt. I think I might make the mountains a little more craggy on my next try. The cacti were a lot of fun.

Another go at a photograph from Wales. It didn't quite turn out like the photo, but I managed to get the path looking like it was receding into the distance.

This quilt was inspired by a photo I saw on Pinterest. I had picked up this mountain fabric ages ago, thinking I could do something with it. Since then, it has been resting quietly in my stash, waiting for rediscovery. When I saw the photograph, I knew the fabric was perfect for this project. It gives the mountain shading that would have been extremely difficult to reproduce without a lot of fancy applique or fabric paint.

Another quilt inspired by an image, this time one of those motivational posters. Something having to do with there being more to a situation than what meets the eye. You only see the tip of the iceberg, but there is much more depth underneath.

Take two: desert scene. I was trying to figure out what do with this quail fabric. I cut one out and it seems to belong here. Maybe he needs a friend though.

This time, I tried a lake scene. I had bought some rock fabric online, way too much of it and have been trying to sneak it into quilts ever since. What do you do with 3 yards of rocks? Seriously, what was I thinking? I wanted to try out a stormier sky and the dark fabrics help with that effect. The rocks fit perfectly into this scene, yay!


  1. If anyone is interested in learning how to make these quilts, Karen is demonstrating this technique on with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims on October 22,2012.

  2. wow, Laura, those are awesome. you are so talented. you should see about teaching at some of the local shops.

  3. I love your Landscapes. I made a couple from patterns by the same author. I think I need to get the book, for some refreshing ideas. You did a great job!!

  4. Loved seeing your landscapes , very nice work indeed !

  5. These are great. Your description makes the yechnique sound achievable... If only i had your ete for color & texture! B