One of my favourite things about free-motion machine quilting is how the designs seem to take on a life of their own. The line designs for this quilt began simply as chimney smoke. But as the smoke cleared the houses the design morphed into a much looser windblown version. And as it fell to the ground the design melted into a misty ribbon-like vapour.
I didn't start out with this in mind, but as I played with the designs on paper and later with my sewing machine on the frame, the tightly curled chimney smoke opened out into a variety of much looser designs. The relatedness of the designs gave the quilt continuity, while the variations gave interest. It was fun and quick once I got to the actual quilting. Best of all it was finished for Christmas.
The red schoolhouse blocks for this project were gently resting in a basket for about ten years. My friend Rosemary Titley-Bayes kindly offered to put the blocks together and add the borders so it would be ready to feature in our new DVD. Little Houses in the Big Woods was machine quilted using a JUKI TL98P on the New English Quilting frame using King Tut#920 Sands of Time on top and Bottom Line pre-wounds in the bobbin. It was featured in the UK Popular Patchwork 2007 Christmas issue.