Landscape Quilts

Quilted Landscape QuiltHaving been intrigued by landscape quilts for years, I’m beginning my journey of learning the process.  I envision using many different types of fabrics and threads.  While some people paint their landscape quilts to achieve beautiful results, I’m focusing primarily on fabric and thread.

Batiks really offer a dramatic effect by adding texture and flow to the scene.  I love using them!  When I go into a store, my batik magnet draws me to them every time.  My hope is to grow in my use of fabrics by incorporating satins, silks, jerseys, etc.  Wouldn’t a satin moon look awesome floating over a dark jersey forest?  Maybe?Batik Landscape Quilt

Notice how batiks in the above photo make the sky, mountains, and water look dimensional without using several different fabrics to achieve the effect.

Quilted Landscape

Doesn’t quilting give the landscape even more life?!

I feel using Steam a Seam or some other iron-on adhesive is the easiest way to create landscape quilts.  It can be a bit messy if your iron touches the adhesive directly.  Having on hand some iron clean pads is a necessity.  And if you’re working in a group, it’s a great idea to have your own ironing station.  How dreadful if your gooped up iron made a sticky mess on someone’s Log Cabin or Hunter’s Star!

As of now, I have used commercial patterns.  McKenna Ryan is a favorite of mine.  Her patterns are easy to use, and you can even purchase a complete kit including fabric from her.  Having quite a stash and wanting to make it “mine”, I use fabric from my stash.  Kits can be pricey.

I am in process of creating my own landscape.  After the holidays I’ll get serious about it and begin.  The hardest part of quilting sometimes is taking that first cut.  My landscape idea came from a Christmas card I received three years ago.  A dear friend sent me a hand painted scene.  I’ve kept it intending to frame it.  It’s that amazing!  Recently I asked her if I could make a landscape quilt with her card as my jumping off point.  She said yes.  Thank you, Almira!Christmas Card Landscape

My first step was to take Almira’s card to a Staples and have it enlarged to approximately 11″x17″.  Next I traced the major lines with dark marker.  I’ll label each section with numbers beginning with items in the background first.  You start a landscape by placing things in the distance first and building your design to things in the foreground.

This photo shows the landscape before being quilted or thread painted.  Notice how wonky my building is!  This is because I didn’t reverse the building pieces.  I think I “fixed” it by doing some thread painting.  unquilted landscape


Quilted Landscape QuiltI really had fun with this project and am pleased with my end result.  However, my building being on the reverse side isn’t quite right, but I’m okay with it for my first solo attempt.  Oops!  Note to Self:  Making landscape quilts means thinking in reverse for designs – especially buildings.

I also tried some thread painting.  It was loads of fun for someone who hasn’t had instruction – yet.  In a couple of weeks, Sarah Ann Smith will be teaching at my quilt group.  We are all super excited to have a talented teacher instruct us!  I’ll post pictures of my class project.Thread Painted TreesThis photo shows the back of Almira’s Landscape.  I didn’t quilt as densely because of the heavy thread work on the front.  Notice I added corner tabs to the top of the wallhanging for ease of displaying this quilt.  You can read about my process of adding hanging tabs here.Free Motion Quilting

Here are some other photos of completed landscape designs.  Some are thread painted while others are not.

Moose Wallhanging

This moose is machine appliqued onto a freeform background.  I played with lots of scraps to make several similar yet different backgrounds.  My idea was to have the backgrounds look like landscapes – fields or flat land with mountains or hills and then skies.  I have some work to do with this idea, but I’m pleased with these.

Dragonflies are everywhere!  Here’s my process of landscaping one.

Dragonfly LandscapeFirst I built my background and used Steam a Seam II to attach a muslin dragonfly.

Thread Painted DragonflyThen I played with thread painting.

Quilted Dragonfly WallhangingFinally I quilted the wallhanging with flowers and leaves.

Free Motion QuiltingAnd there’s the back.

Dragonfly QuiltOne more dragonfly quilt which uses a raw edge background.  It was fun to play with styles of creating backgrounds, applique, threads, and fabrics.

Cabin LandscapeI like how this landscape finished.  I used a commercial pattern for this one as well as the above landscape featuring the lean-to and kayaks.

Please share your landscape journey with photos and tips!




  1. Wow! These are beautiful Emily! I love how no two are alike because of the different materials you use!
    My favorite is the wintery cabin scene. Great job!

  2. Diane Edmondson says:

    Hi Emily! I was trying to view the McKenna Ryan quilt–I believe that won at this year’s quilt show?!! It is beautiful! I am making one now with 3 snowmen, I’ve been used to quilting on the edge of applique piece with that applique stitch. McKenna’s directions say to use free motion quilting on raw edges, then I was thinking, seems like I will have to change the thread often. or did you use invisible thread? I was trying to look at how yours was done. I can’t seem see your quilting on the photo? any advise for me?

    • Hi, Diane. Thanks for your comments. Yes, my quilt did win at the show this year! Yay!!

      On my McKenna Ryan quilt, I used Steam A Seam II and then used invisible thread to stitch each piece. This was done on my longarm machine. I have seen others use invisible thread and stipple the entire quilt, but I prefer stitching each piece as it gives form to the fabrics and overall design.

      All that being said, you could decide to use different thread colors – which would mean tons of bobbins as well… Something to consider.

      Whichever way you decide, remember that with McKenna’s quilts they tend to be VERY dense in areas because as you build scenes you are laying several layers of fabric on top of each other. Also because of the type of medium used to adhere all the layers of fabrics, when you stitch you will puncture the fabric and will only get one chance at stitching. Your needle will leave quite a hole if you try to rip out stitching.

      Hope this helps, and I look forward to seeing your snowmen!!

      • Diane Edmondson says:

        Ok, yes, it is pretty thick at some places with the overlapping. I did use Steam A Seam II, it was hard to find for a while. I was thinking of using invisible thread also, however, I seem to have a problem with thread tightening up on top! then I stay away from invisible thread for a while. Also, wondering what size needle you would use? Microtex ? there are so many different needles out there now besides the needle size, it gets confusing!
        Thanks so much for the quick reply!

        • Your tension will need to be loosened if using invisible thread (probably). I use regular thread in my bobbin – usually to match the backing fabric. Is that what you’re planning to do? As for a needle recommendation, I have special needles for my longarm. For your machine, I’d recommend a sharp needle with a larger eye. Let me know how it works out!

  3. Great post with lots of impntraot stuff.

  4. I only began like brussel sprouts about 8 years ago when I figured out how to pan satue them or roast them to perfection (gone are theboiled brussels of my childhood…yeeech) adding Kerrygold to the mix will only make them better!! Love your pic!


  1. […] tried a bit of thread painting in a previous project and blogged about it here.  Having done this class, I’m encouraged to do more art quilts and continue my pursuit of […]

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