Monthly Archives: December 2012

Christmas Quilt, 2012

After I had so much fun making my Christmas quilt last year, I decided that I was going to make a Christmas quilt for each of my siblings. I drew one of my sisters for this year’s gift exchange so I decided to make her her own quilt. Originally I wanted the whole thing to be Christmas candy and cookies, but I had the hardest time finding appropriate fabrics throughout the year. I waited to start it until after Thanksgiving because I was hoping new lines of quilt fabric for the holidays would have more sweets in them, but I didn’t see what I was looking for so I ended up just using a hodge podge of fabrics.
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I asked my sister if she’d rather have squares or triangles highlighted in her quilt. She told me she didn’t care, she was just happy to be getting a quilt! So I decided to compromise with half-square-triangles. I cut out 81 6″ squares of color with each square making 2 hst blocks when combined with 81 6″ squares of white. I looked at a bunch of Christmas quilts on flickr for inspiration, but I didn’t really see anything that suited my fancy. Ultimately it was this mini-quilt, done by Leanne of Daisy and Jack that I got my inspiration from.
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As you can see, though, I didn’t continue the ripple of squares throughout the quilt…just alternated diamonds of white and scrappy color. I love how the quilt top came together. I tried to use wintergreen mint blocks in each square because I remember driving around with my sister when she was in high school, and she always had a package of green mints by the stick shift. ALWAYS. So when I saw that fabric I knew it had her name all over it as far as I was concerned. The rest of the fabrics are a mix of fabrics I ordered last summer from Pink Castle Fabrics and left-overs from my own Christmas quilt. At the last minute I decided to throw in 2 squares of yellow (making 4 hst blocks) because thats my favorite color and I thought it would brighten up the quilt from simply red, white, and green renditions.
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I love pinning quilt tops. I think its my favorite part of the quilting process, outside of making the individual blocks. Getting the backing and batting and binding ready always feels like grunt work to me, but once everything is sandwiched together I just love the process of pinning it together.
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I dread the actual quilting before it happens, but once I start it doesn’t bother me. Of course, once I start I don’t want to stop until its done because I know that if I walk away I’ll start to dread coming back to it. Silly, I know, but mental games can be my biggest personal challenge when it comes to solo projects. I always do better if I can just knock everything out in one big swoop. This time the dread was a little worse because I had picked out some great red flannel with white polka dots to use as backing, but when I prewashed it the color ran and the polka dots turned pink. I washed it again hoping it would lighten the polka dots but alas! The pink color just deepened. Rather than continue washing and washing I just decided to switch to a green backing that didn’t clash too badly with the front.
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I ended up quilting this very plainly, just 2 lines emphasizing the shape of the squares. No stitch in the ditch here–the lines are 1/4″ inside and outside the squares and diamonds. I like the way it worked out. For batting I used some warm and natural cotton that I found at the bottom of my batting barrel in the closet. I can’t remember what the original project was I bought it for, but it sure worked out nicely for this one.
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Originally I was making individual blocks for this quilt at my leisure (each one is about 20″ square) but then I woke up one day and realized it was December 18th and I better finish the top and get this thing put together so it could make it through the post in time for Christmas! At that point I just dropped everything else and finished the entire thing in 2 days. Those 2 days include potty training and running kid-related errands, so if you didn’t have time-sucking distractions I bet the whole thing could come together in 1 day if you only stopped to eat, sleep, and shower. Its a pretty simple, straight forward quilt top and I love how it came together!
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Eddie also loves how it came together! This little guy was trying to wrestle the quilt away from me non-stop! I could barely get it away from him to finish binding it. As far as he was concerned, it was his personal snuggle quilt. He kept saying “Nice” and stroking it with his hand or hiding under it, haha.
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Remember how I said I cut out 81 6″ squares? Well, after I had mailed this off to my sister I found a block hiding under the batting. I didn’t even realize I had it! I made the hst’s before I had picked a pattern; I have so many leftover hst’s that I think I’ll be able to make an¬†almost identical¬†sister quilt, and I think Eddie would be most appreciative. It won’t happen in time for this Christmas, but I like the idea of it because then I’ll have a red-based quilt for one sofa and a green-based quilt for the other at Christmas time. My goal for the new year is to actually compile all the quilt tops I’ve made over the past 2 years into usable quilts, so we’ll see how far I can get!

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