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).