September 21, 2011

Breaking Dawn Charity Quilt: Bella and Edward's Cottage

I stared into the violet dark. There, nestled into a small clearing in the forest, was a tiny stone cottage, lavender gray in the light of the stars.

It belonged here so absolutely that it seemed as it if must have grown from the rock, a natural formation. Honeysuckle climbed up one wall like a lattice, winding all the way up and over the thick wooden shingles. Late summer roses bloomed in a handkerchief-sized garden under the dark, deep-set windows. There was a little path of flat stones, amethyst in the night, that led up to the quaint arched wooden door.

“…Don’t you like it?” Alice’s face fell. “I mean, I’m sure we could fix it up differently, if you want. Emmett was all for adding a few thousand square feet, a second story, columns, and a tower, but Esme thought you would like it best the way it was meant to look.” Her voice started to climb, to go faster. “If she was wrong, we can get back to work. It won’t take long to—”

“Shh!” I managed.

She pressed her lips together and waited. It took me a few seconds to recover.

“You’re giving me a house for my birthday?” I whispered.

“Us,” Edward corrected. “And it’s no more than a cottage. I think the word house implies more legroom.”

“No knocking my house,” I whispered to him.

Alice beamed. “You like it.”

I shook my head.

“Love it?”

I nodded.

“…But of course I love it. How could I not?”

–Bella Cullen, Breaking Dawn, pages 475-477

Design and piecing by Beth

I have a thing for houses. How they’re made and how their pieces represent the people that call them home. So no wonder I loved bringing this image to the quilt! The description in the book is fairly succinct. It was just a matter of finding fabric with the correct patterns. I found a shop online and ordered several different patterns and colors of rock and stone, and they also offered different colors of roof shingles!

Once I looked at the pattern sizes and put together complementary shades, I drafted the cottage. I wanted an asymmetrical structure to add some quaintness with curving lines and dormer windows and, of course, a chimney. I planned on setting the house against waves of green fabric with my favorite lavender, scrolly material above as the “violet sky.” But when I found the forest-scape fabric, it was beyond perfect. It came in a deeper, darker green, but I chose this more vibrant green because of the yellows in the trees throughout, since it was early fall in the book. I moved the cut-out of the house stone around on the forest fabric until I found the backdrop look I wanted with the side trees and the pines peaking up above the chimney.

I appliquéd the stone of the cottage onto the backdrop, then the roof thatching (which was difficult around the dormer window cut out) and the chimney. I used the same wood bark fabric from my First Hunt block (details coming soon) for the front door, then hand-stitched outline details to give the chimney it’s 3D corners.

I cut out the backdrop fabric where I’d stitch in the violet sky, but after I put the lavender piece in, things didn’t look right. So I cut around the trees to add more sky showing on the sides and then top-stitched the trees for added reinforcement. I appliquéd on the three windows in a dark (almost black) gray, hand-stitched the door hinges, handle and dormer details, then satin stitched both sets of eaves.

I tried satin stitching the pathway stones in purple, but wasn’t satisfied with the result so I opted to appliqué each of those in an amethyst fabric. I had always planned on ribbon embroidery for the rose bushes and honeysuckle, utilizing simple brown floss backstitches for the rose bushes themselves, but with the lush green of the now-changed background, I was afraid they’d get lost. So I utilized one of the green patterns I had planned to originally use for the green waves of backdrop. I noticed the pattern had small bush-like groupings if I strategically cut them, so I free hand appliquéd those as well.

I used silk ribbon in red and cream to ribbon embroider the roses on the bushes. I’ve always loved this technique and really like how it gives some texture to the block. Lastly, I chose very vibrant DMC flosses to free hand embroider the honeysuckle. I used backstitches for vine, lazy daisies for leaves, 5-point backstitched stars for flowers and French knots for buds.

Although I’m newer to quilting, this block will always be one of my favorites. I really enjoyed making it and am very pleased with the results!

4 comments:

Elizabeth said...

Beth, you did an absolutely beautiful job! I love the cottage itself. The fabrics you picked are beautiful and all the details you added to the construction are amazing. Your honeysuckle vine is divine! So glad to have you in our group. Wonderfully done!

xo -E

Joyce said...

I love, love, love this block! I'd really like to move in right now. Great job!

Iris said...

I second Joyce. It's so cute and cozy. Love all the embroidery. This is far more elaborate and well done than the stuff I made when I was a quilting newborn! Well done!

Beth said...

Thank you ladies!