When I first saw this Christmas Tree on Instagram, I fell in love. So I proposed a Quilt-A-Long that would
force enable me to to get it completed in time for Christmas 2016, for there is power in having to put your innermost feelings about quilts/goal setting out there in the world and shaming yourself into finishing it. I’m really good at this, I know. I wrote to Wendy Williams, who designed this pattern, and she gave us her blessing, and said “she can hardly wait to see the quilts that will come of this.” So onward, everyone!
The magazine where this pattern is found is Simply Modern Issue #3, and that’s the giveaway part. I have an extra copy which you can win, but wait a minute. First let’s do the business of this. If you aren’t lucky enough to win this, you can buy it from Fat Quarter Shop, or the QuiltMania people, or if you live in Australia, it’s on Wendy’s website Flying Fish Kits (link below).
I’ve broken it down into several steps, some easy and for some months you will be carting around your embroidery around with you everywhere you go, but these are definitely do-able steps. Here they are:
January, Step “prepare”: buy the magazine, gather your fabrics, buy the felt/wool, buy/find the pearl cotton. More about that in a minute.
February, Step 1: Make the tree on the background and stitch it down. If you use wool felt, she has an easy appliqué method.
March, Step 2: Make 21 flowers.
April, Step 3: Make 10 birds.
May, Step 4: Make the scene at the bottom. Wendy’s pattern (IG: flyingfishkits) has two cavorting reindeer. I plan to switch mine out to a simple nativity. Your choice. (If I were you, I’d also start haunting her IG site as she has lots of great embroidery ideas for the flowers. I’d also consider buying her book, Wild Blooms and Colorful Creatures, for more tips and helps.)
June, Step 5: Appliqué down the flowers.
July, Step 6: Appliqué down the birds and the scene.
August, Step 7: Sawtooth border (reds).
September, Step 8 (finish up Quilt-A-Long): Make wonky star blocks, sew them together and attach border #2. Ta-Done! I just have to deliver you here. You are on your own for getting it quilted and bound.
So here’s the drill for Step: prepare. Wendy calls for wool felt. Some of my IG followers have left a lengthy series of comments on an earlier IG post about threads and wools (scroll back in the feed to find it–it says Step 1 on it, which is an oops, but it’s those Flying Monkeys again). You can buy 100% wool and felt it yourself (more tips in her book or on the internet), or buy 100% wool felt. According to @yondergirlie, the preferred is the felt, as you don’t have to stitch it down as much as it doesn’t fray (sometimes the felted wools can fray). The general consensus was to use pearl cotton #8 for the embroidery. According to the pattern, you’ll also need a medallion-style piece of fabric to appliqué in the center of some of the flowers. I love Wendy’s combination of wool and felt together.
(all of my felts, threads and wools; some of the fabrics, and Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitches book for embroidery ideas)
I visited with the people at a local shop today that specializes in felted wool. When using the wool they use Steam-A-Seam 2 to back their pieces, fuse them to the top, and then they handstitch around them, using pearl cotton size 12 thread. All these are options for you to try and to experiment with. I’ll be using wool felt, plus some felted wool sweaters for accent pieces, that I recently re-discovered in my garage (let’s hear it for UFOs that deliver to your newest project). I also found a stash of wool felt that I purchased in Munich, Germany some years ago. If you want to take a trip there, I can provide the address (it’s another one of those things that I buy, hoard away, and then later find a use for, much to my delight).
Many others mentioned an ETSY shop: https://www.etsy.com/shop/quiltingacres [copy and paste addresses into your browser address bar]. I’ve also seen Primitive Gatherings mentioned for felted wool, as well as @benziedesign on Instagram. I have found lots of Christmas fabric on sale this past month to use for the wonky stars, borders and background. So, gather away and get ready for the Oh, Christmas Tree quilt-a-long!
UPDATE (2/11/16): I’ve found two more sources for high-quality felt from companies here in the United States. I’ve ordered from both of them and can attest to the quality of these felts (and no, they aren’t giving me anything for free).
The first one is A Child’s Dream. Above snapshot is from their website; they have several different thicknesses and many more colors, but I went for the “Holland wool felt” type of wool.
The second is The Felt Pod. Again, a snapshot from their website shows many of their different products in their wool felt. This is the “Reds” page.
Now for the giveaway (domestic only). HOWEVER! if you live in Australia, Wendy has patterns of this tree for sale on her blog (just thought you’d like to know).
Since it’s my birthday tomorrow, I’d like you to leave a one-or two-line memory about your best birthday ever. I’ll randomly draw a name this weekend and get it sent off on Monday. Make sure you fill in an accurate email address as I’ll use that to contact you. And if you throw your name in the ring for this magazine, I’ll expect to see a finished quilt this coming December, as you wouldn’t want to just hoard it away from someone who really really really wants it, would you?
Leave your comments below.
NOTE: Comments are now closed. Giveaway winner will be announced this afternoon (Friday, Jan. 8th).
38 thoughts on “Oh Christmas Tree Quilt-A-Long & a Giveaway!”
This is beautiful and would great hanging in my house. Unfortunately I’ve already started 3 projects for 2016 and don’t think I can squeeze in another one, at least for now. I’ll cheer you guys on!
One of my favorite birthdays was my thirteenth, when I flew from one side of my family to the other…I spent the morning in Northern Californian, and we stopped at the zoo on the way to the airport, barely making the plane. By evening I was home in Southern California, looking at the Huntington Beach pier. I felt so loved and so lucky. Great way to feel at that age.
My 35th birthday was my favorite because I was seeing my best friend after a 10 year absence. So much fun getting together and discussing old times.
My best birthday was my 18th. It was a surprise party and my mother had gone to a friend’s house in the evenings to call and invite all my friends. I had a very eclectic group of friends, some who didn’t even know each other, so it made for a very fun evening. Even at 18 I understood how much trouble my mother went to and I enjoyed it so much!!
I have to say my 5th birthday because It’s my earliest memory of being surrounded by girlfriends! Even though we all ended up with the chicken pox the next week!!
A very “Happy Birthday” to you. Hope it’s your very best one.
I too would love to participate but with4 challenges presented and 5 gift quilts to make plus quilting and knitting charities, 2016 feels overwhelming. Can’t wait to see results of the Christmas trees.
A very “Happy Birthday” to you. Hope it’s your very best one.
I too would love to participate but with 4 challenges presented and 5 gift quilts to make plus quilting and knitting charities, 2016 feels overwhelming. Can’t wait to see results of the Christmas trees.
Happy Birthday! My birthday is in December and I always loved to watch It’s A Wonderful LIfe, it is not my husband’s favorite. One evening my son Dylan came over with a bottle of wine and a VHS tape (it was a long time ago!) of the movie to watch it with me. I thought it was so wonderful of him wanting to spend time with me! Now every year he and his family take me to an old time movie theater to watch it.
Please let someone else win the magazine I already have a copy and I love it!
That is a great pattern. It reminds me a bit of your Lollipop Tree that you did. I love your idea of the nativity instead of the deer.
My best birthday was the 16th. I was not allowed to date until I was 16 and my husband called me on my 16th birthday to ask me out. The rest is history. 😉
Have w wonderful (albeit wet) birthday. I hope you have some fun plans.
That’s a gorgeous quilt! Should I be lucky enough to win, I can’t promise to have a finished quilt by December (I’ll definitely try my best) as I’m allergic to wool and suspect that I’ll spend days/weeks dithering over choosing plains or prints for my ‘wool’ fabrics!
I remember the fairy castle birthday cake my mam made for my sixth or seventh birthday…and the disappointment I felt when I couldn’t see any fairies in it! Not necessarily my best birthday ever but it’s definitely my clearest memory of childhood birthdays!
My birthday was in November and some friends gave me a surprise birthday party! I never had a surprise party before and it was such fun. I was even blindfolded by one friend who said was taking me out to lunch at a secret location, so I knew something was up then for sure. But I had no idea where we were going and it was such a fun day with my friends.
Gorgeous, gorgeous quilt, but falling in love with it (for me) is like falling in love with Mel Gibson–just a little unattainable. Happy quilting, and may you have a fruitful relationship!
One of my best birthdays was celebrating with girlfriends for the weekend at the NQA quilt show in Riverside, CA. We stayed at the historic Mission Inn, signed up for classes and shopped til we dropped. I can’t believe that was more than 20 years ago! Happy Birthday to you ! Be happy and healthy all through the year!
I would love to win the magazine. I hav Wendy’s book.
What a wonderful idea to involve others in your tree making adventure. I think the tree is beautiful. I would like to join (yes, another project on my list) and if I am not lucky enough to win the magazine, I will order one.
My best birthday ever just happened in October. My younger daughter actually made it home for my birthday, rare these days, and we were all together to celebrate in a very low key – but happy – way. Thanks for the opportunity to win…and HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you!
Had lots of wonderful birthdays, but my best birthday was my 16th – a long time ago. I’m in, Elizabeth, however don’t count me in the giveaway as I’ve already bought my copy. I, too, want a nativity scene at the bottom of the tree. Happy Birthday!
Happy Birthday Elizabeth. My best birthday was the first one after the birth of my daughter.
So darling! What a fun whimsical quilt to start here in the new year!
What a great quilt! I’ve done traditional/primitive wool quilts but this modern interpretation is fascinating! Color is compelling. I would love to make this quilt.
My best birthday memory is of the one that was 3 weeks after the birth of my daughter. She was and remains my favorite birthday present. I’m sure it was a crazy stressful sleepless time but I don’t remember it that way.
Next year will be my 60th. I’m hoping to run a half marathon in Charlevoix MI. That would be grand!!!!
My favorite birthday was my 21st. I was in Oslo and had gone out for a pre-birthday beer with a fellow UND student I met by chance in the youth hostel. As I returned to the hostel shortly before midnight, I was accosted by a group of four or five German boys who told me that I couldn’t go to bed yet because in 18 minutes it would be “that boy’s” 21st birthday. I said that in 18 minutes it would be my 21st birthday, also. So we all stayed up until midnight and had hot chocolate out of the vending machines to celebrate! I don’t need the magazine.
Oh, now you really are tempting me! I said I wasn’t going to do any quilt-alongs but I love wool applique and will need lots of hand-stitching projects in the coming months. I’d love to win your drawing for the pattern but I’m sure so would all your readers so I just hope I have a little extra luck than they do!! My favorite birthday….well, we never really made a big deal of birthdays either in my childhood home or just hubby and I. Our children always had great birthdays but one birthday, not too long ago, our daughter contacted all my friends that she could find contact info on (she told my daytimer apparently or hubby helped her) and they all sent me an avalance of birthday cards. Sometimes it’s nice to have BIG birthdays and it’s especially nice to receive all that fun birthday mail! Happy Birthday to you; hope it’s a blessed one! Marsha
Hope you had a great Christmas and wishing you all the best for the New Year.
Love the Christmas Tree quilt – can’t wait to see your version.
Happy, happy birthday Elizabeth! How did I not remember this….?
You are making this QAL sound very tempting (and do-able too!) I’m thinking if I just happen to see this magazine, I may (may…) still do this!
My 50th birthday was pretty special! I had a small party with a fun group of friends, all organised by my husband!
A couple of additional sources for felted wool. First, Bear Creek Quilting — https://www.bearcreekquiltingcompany.com — has tons (well dozens) of felted woolen squares 9 1/2 x 9 1/2, which would equal roughly the same size as the 5 x 10 specified in the pattern. It happens to be on sale now. And Prairie Woolens — prairiewoolens.com — carries both the 100% wool felt, as well as felted and hand dyed woolens in lots of colors. When I contacted them, Donna indicated that they have put together custom kits for people who specify what they need. She has looked at the picture/pattern for Oh Christmas Tree and thinks it would call for the hand dyed solids, but also indicates that she has mixed the wool felt and felted wool together in projects as they are quite similar in weight. She can be contacted at Donna@prairiewoolens.com.
Hope this is useful to folks. I will be shopping in my basement for this one — the couple of cartons of woolens/dyed woolens/felt/salvaged wools seems to have bred over the past decade or so because I found eight cartons where I expected only two or three. I may have some to share.
My birthday is six days before Christmas and as a youngster, it was always bad because it was so close that it got combined with that holiday but now that I’m “old” every birthday is my favorite because I get together with my sisters to celebrate Christmas–AND my birthday. My birthday is the only one of the four of us sisters that gets celebrated together. That’s what makes it so special!
I’m so happy you are doing this. Thanks for organizing! I found out the benzi’s felt is only about 30% wool, so maybe it’s not a great choice. I think I’m going to go with felted wool. Got my magazine. Got my background. Think i found a source for my wool. I’m on my way! Hmm…favorite birthday memory? I don’t know. My fiftieth was this year, and my mom surprised me with a book she made for me with photos from when I was a baby until now. That was so neat. Don’t enter me in the drawing. I already have the magazine. Have a great birthday!
Happy early birthday! My favorite birthday would have to be when I gave birth to my son, so we have our “twins” birthday as he calls it 🙂
Elizabeth. You are amazing! I have the magazine, but can’t possibly……or could I?
My best birthday was my last. We have a lovely country house and no mortgage.
What a great find you are!’
My Birthday is at Christmas time..I’m too old to whine that it gets forgotten
Happy birthday to you and all the best! My best birthday was my 50th where my husband planned a special getaway complete with a spa day, dinner that evening and overnight stay at a great hotel. Thank you for hosting a sew along. Can’t wait to begin gathering my supplies!
Happy Birthday! We threw a party to celebrate several friends who turned 25th that year. It started to snow and ended up with more than a foot. It was beautiful and worrying. Luckily everyone lived close and was safe going home. I love the Christmas tree. A great way to start 2016 holiday sewing.
The best birthday ever was the year when we were camping and friends came up with cake and ice cream. It was a surprise!
My best birthday was when I was 13 and my Grandmother took me shopping in Pittsburgh and let me pick out my first day of school dress. My mother never let me have the final say with clothes do this was such a treat plus I got to spend a great day with my Grandmother all by myself – such a great memory. Happy Birthday!!!
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