Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Our Town, Part 5: Up on the Housetop

Cynthia England is an amazing designer, teacher, and author who has published over fifty patterns and two books. Her quilts have won many prestigious awards, in part due to her "picture piecing" technique, which creates vivid, true-to-life landscape scenes. In "Up on the Housetop" we see the arrival of Santa with his flying reindeer, sleigh, and his bag of toys.

Up on the Housetop, 49 x 33, by Cynthia England, at England Design

Here is a snow-covered neighborhood, steeped in the repose of an icy night, when Santa suddenly arrives and lights up the sky. The restful, monochromatic blue tones of the houses, trees, and sky complement the reds and beiges of Santa's sleigh and the bright white rooftops. This holiday quilt does not rely on a red and green theme, but instead incorporates the chilled, muted shades of winter for contrast.

A series of Quick Time videos on Cynthia's website show readers how to prepare a freezer paper pattern, iron pattern pieces to fabric, cut the fabric pieces, pin and pinch-fold the fabric pieces, then reposition and sew the pieces. This technique yields the precise, angular patterns that you see above in the houses, church, and trees.

Along with "Up on the Housetop", England Design offers patterns and fabric kits for other seasonal events and celebrations.  Cynthia's wonderful talent offers all of us the opportunity to learn or practice a vital quilting skill, as well as to create a quilt which can be a part of warm holiday memories for years to come.

Images credits: Images are shown with the generous permission of Cynthia England. We also featured Cynthia's "Cat Nap" quilt in our Best of Cat Quilts series.


  1. Cynthia England was the first speaker I heard when I joined our local quilt guild just after I started quilting. I love her work. She was also very funny - an unexpected bonus!

  2. Debbie, thanks so much for the comment about Cynthia England and her classes ! We we would love to take one of her classes... soon !


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