A quarterly newsletter from Karen Eckmeier
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Quilted Lizard Tales

FALL 2021



“I’ve gone to the dogs,”
but don’t worry…..I’m doing fine! The dogs I’m referring to are two fabric collaged dog wallhangings.
Thank you for joining me for this Fall newsletter, where we will explore the process of fabric collage, carving a stamp to create your own fabric and see some of my
local landscapes in library exhibits.

“Tree Town”  57” x 38”

Who lives in this village?
I’m not really sure, but I think I might enjoy hanging out in these tree houses and finding out.

In the Summer Newsletter I had all of the pieces collaged and was ready to audition the best color of tulle (the fine netting) to be placed over the entire surface before quilting. I chose a medium blue tulle, which made all of the colors sing.

Quilting close-ups show a bluebird weathervane, rope bridges, hammocks (made of 6 strands of DMC floss), swings, Tibetan prayer flags and a
lizard on a rope ladder (he’s my hidden lucky lizard for this quilt).

"Tree Town" uses my fabric collage technique for building fun-filled villages

Happy Villages book

29" X 48"

While visiting family this Summer in their new home in Virginia, my daughter-in-law asked me if I would be interested in creating a large drawing of their miniature schnauzer, Toby. I love to draw, but fabric collage was the better direction for this large scale project. Thankfully my daughter-in-law agreed.

Starting with a favorite photo of Toby in a red bow tie, I traced the basic lines of the photograph on to a 8.5” x 11” piece of white paper and then copied it to an overhead transparency sheet using my printer. I projected it onto the wall to the size I needed and traced the lines on paper*, which became my template for the collage.

*HINT: do NOT use paper as I did in this collage, because at one point I had to remove it, which was catastrophic. It never pays to skip a step, and I learned that the hard way. 

The best approach is to use a muslin or a plain cotton fabric, which remains under the collage as a base. See the “She’s a Dilly” collage, where I used this approach.

This is my selection of fabrics and their potential placement in the design.

Although I had a great grouping of grays, whites and black/white fabrics, I thought it would be fun to add a fabric of my own based on an actual Toby paw print Christmas ornament!

I traced the paw print from the ornament. Then transferred the tracing to the Speedball carving block.

Step 1: carve the outline of the paw print

Step 2: carve the space around the lines to create the raised surface of the paw pads. I purposely did not carve too deep, because I wanted the extra carving lines to show up on the finished stamp. If you don't like that look, carve deeper into the block.

Test “paw print” from the newly carved stamp.


Several paw prints stamped together in different directions.

Sponge painting softens the lines and makes the fabric a little darker….I was aiming for more of a light gray fabric for the background.

I created tracing paper templates for each of the major shapes in Toby’s body. Starting with the ears I cut out the black outline of the ear
then filled in with lighter fabrics.

From the ears, I worked my way down the forehead to the eyes and nose.

The little pieces around the eyes and nose were randomly cut and collaged to fill the space. Pieces are lightly glued to hold them in place.

Quilting Close-up: The gray tulle I used dulled the blacks too much, so I used a black fabric marker to darken Toby’s eyes and nose and other areas that needed to be black.

Simplified background of four fabric bands inspired by the striped rug in the original photograph.

PS I taught my two granddaughters how to carve stamps this Summer at our family reunion in NC.
They focused on 
Harry Potter themes for their stamps!

"She's a Dilly"  24" x 39"

Somehow I knew that another dog collage was in my horizon… No sooner had I shown the Toby collage to my friend Melissa, dog lover and owner of our hiking groups’ mascot golden retriever, Dilly, I was already collecting fabrics for my next furry friend.

Over the years of hiking together, I have many photos of Dilly, but this recent photo is my favorite.

I cropped the extra mountain laurel branches and boulders, so the focus would be a little more on Dilly. This time I used muslin (or plain cotton fabric) as my template base. The enlarged image of Dilly is traced directly on the muslin.

This collage began with the background, so that it would be easier to add the Dilly pieces on top. 


NOTE: I collaged the rocks in the same way I created the tree trunk and branches for “Tree Town.” In fact, I used many of the same black print fabrics. The background rock collage consists of irregular cuts of fabric, which overlap approximately 1/4” and then glued to hold them in place.

Ready to collage Dilly….eyes, nose, mouth and tongue...

....and ears, head and body
Collaged face BEFORE quilting
AFTER layer of tulle and quilting

Yes, “She’s a Dilly!” and here she is.


Blooming Hexagon

Kate Cannia took a 3 hour zoom “Color Twists and Leaves” workshop with me this past May. Instead of a quilt or a table runner, she decided to arrange her Color Twist blocks in a hexagon shape to better match her round coffee table. Perfect! Excellent idea and the first one of that arrangement that I have seen. I love the happy colors and the beautiful quilting.

Prudy’s Bag

Prudy Holoski from Maryland joined me virtually for a zoom 3 hour Large Logs workshop. She made a total of four blocks, which were the perfect size to make the exterior pockets around the entire bag. She was pleasantly surprised! 

Pattern: Everyday Tote from Crafty Gemini.


A few words from Prudy… “Thanks so much for teaching us about the large logs today. It was great fun. I wasn’t thrilled with my choice of lights until I started adding the triangles. What a difference. Now I love it!!


I agree with Prudy, adding the little triangles to the Large Layered Log Cabin blocks really gives it character!


Instructions for both the Color Twists blocks and Large Log Cabin blocks are in the

 Wiggles & Waves book


In September and October The Kent Memorial Library, Kent, CT featured an exhibit of quilts by the Kent Quilters.  Here are four Accidental Landscapes that I exhibited. The two mountain scenes...aka the "local landscapes" were made this year to celebrate the beautiful hills of Kent, CT. Three of my 4 quilts were sold, and all proceeds went to the library.

PS If you love to read and happen to be a fan of Louise Penny and her Chief Inspector Gamache book series, you’ll see that I added three pine trees to one of the scenes, to create my local version of the town of Three Pines in the book.

The topstitch piecing technique I used to create these little scenes is featured here:
Accidental Landscapes book

I have three pieces in the show for sale. Two Accidental Landscapes...."Lake with Heron" ($70... as seen in the image above on right - already SOLD)
and "City Lights" ($80),
and one Happy Village collage entitled "Black, White & READ, Village #2" ($130)

If you are in the area, I hope to see you at the "Meet the Quilters" reception on November 13!
Brookfield Public Library, 182 Whisconier Road, Brookfield, CT

This hand carved wooden rolling pin from Poland looks like mini quilt blocks. I thought you would enjoy seeing the familiar patterns. 

Sorry, no photos of the finished cookies, they are camera shy and somehow disappear before I can take a photo of them!

PS I use a ravioli cutter to cut the cookies into squares.

Teaching Calendar

2022 Calendar
Visits to quilt guilds will be virtual in 2022, with the exception of large quilt festivals and quilt guild retreats, which will be in-person, IF it is safe to so.

If you would like to attend a zoom workshop or lecture, please contact the guild to find out their guest policy. If you need help finding a contact person for the guild, let me know and I will give you my contact's name.

RAFA - Rochester Area Fiber Artists, NY January 6 (ZOOM AM Accidental Landscapes: Mountain Views workshop)

Icknield Quilters, North Herfordshire, UK January 10  2:30pm EST (ZOOM Happy Villages & Accidental Landscapes lecture)

Hudson River Piecemakers, Lake Luzerne, NY January 15 (ZOOM AM Lecture TBD…and half day workshop on a later date TBD)

CT Piecemakers’ Quilt Guild, Trumbull, CT February 14 & 15 (ZOOM lecture and workshop TBD)

Bay of Quinte Modern Quilt Guild, Ontario, Canada Feb. 28 2:00pm EST (ZOOM Happy Villages & Accidental Landscapes lecture)

Main Line Quilters, Wayne, PA March 18 (ZOOM Happy Villages & Accidental Landscapes lecture)

The Quilt Show, Dallas, TX March 28 morning taping in studio (not open to a live audience)

Demo “Wave Runners: Rose Twirls & Wiggle Borders” with Alex Anderson and Ricky Tims

(in 2012 I was a guest teacher on the Quilt Show, Episode #1109 “Fabulous Fabric Landscapes….by Accident)

?The Vermont Quilt Festival, Essex Junction, VT June 22-26….teaching proposals submitted for consideration for IN-PERSON workshops.

?Mid-Appalachian Quilters Seminar, Gettysburg, PA July 14-17….teaching proposals submitted for consideration for IN-PERSON workshops.

Westside Quilters of Los Angeles, CA Sept. 10 (ZOOM Accidental Landscapes:Beaches AM 3hour)

Sewing Friends Retreat, Lancaster, PA October 18-19 (IN-PERSON 10/18 eve Trunk Show and 10/19 workshop TBD)


Accidental Landscapes™: Surprisingly Simple Quilted Scenes

Wiggles & Waves: Free-Form Curves

Happy Villages™: Step into a Fabric Collage Adventure!

Wearable Waves: Delightful Designs for Quilted Jackets and Vests

Thanks for joining me!

Time to get ready for Winter. Lots of trees came down in recent storms, so my hubby and I are getting our exercise splitting and stacking wood (he does most of the work)
....I just look like I'm working!
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