300 Quilts · Christmas Quilts

Evergreen, EverLife • Quilt Finish 2022

Evergreen, EverLife • Quilt #263
87″ wide x 98″ high

Center Tree: Made from a kit from Edyta Sitar. I started this in December 2019, sewing with friends. I changed up the background to something lighter.

Three borders (ric-rac squares, Sawtooth Stars, red with vines); designed and pieced/appliquéd by Elizabeth Eastmond. Binding on and finished this past week.

Quilted by Kelley Bachli.

The game: Find pine trees at quilt level in Southern California without going into the mountains. I think we did okay.

Title: The reason why the evergreen (or pine, fir, what-have-you) tree is around at Christmas is because it is ever green. I’m sure there is the bit about adopting it from pagan festivals, etc. but whatever the original reason, it has become a lovely symbol of enduring life. So I connected those two: ever-green and ever-life in the title, reminding me that I have life forever because of Christ’s birth. The trick is, of course, to do something worthwhile with that life that’s been handed to me. (Working on that.)

Either I’m very early for Christmas this year, or very late for 2019, 2020, and 2021.

Other posts about this quilt:
Tannenbaum Top Finished (early name, taken from Sitar’s pattern)
Tannenbaum, in construction
Decorating Tannenbaum
When I purchased Tannenbaum (at PIQF)


MOVING ON…

We reached a sad milestone this past week: we have decided to stop receiving paper copies of one of our three newspapers. It’s the newspaper we get every day on our driveway, and I read it while having breakfast and eating my granola. We also get a national Sunday paper, and then subscribe to another national one online.

First stop, always: the comics. Then, the advice column, the horoscope. Headlines come next, and then I go through it skimming, catching the tidbits that fall into your lap when you have a paper-paper and there is no algorithm trying to force you into reading what THEY want you to. I read opinion editorials of all stripes, Letters to the Editor, and the regional news (this isn’t our local paper which went off the rails several years ago). This particular morning, I found three comic strips which seemed just for me:

And for that last one, I nominate the people who thought it was a good idea to jack up the prices our “introductory offer” to this newspaper of several years ago. We are diehard newspaper supporters, but when we recently did the math, the price over the years had crept up to nearly $800/year (!) for the subscription price. So good-bye to a life-long tradition, planted in us by our parents. I will miss you. (But don’t you love these comics?)

I MADE A DRESS. SHOCK.

It’s an EVA dress, and I’m wearing it today, accessorized with beads and lightweight jacket (you know — the air conditioning — even though the high today is supposed to be in the upper 80s). I put on 3/4-length sleeves, faced the neckline and put bias trim on the hem because it is a lantern-shaped dress. I first saw it on Lorena of Sydney at QuiltCon 2020 in Austin and fell in love with it. It’s a pattern from Tessuti Fabrics.

This was my first rodeo with online patterns. I was apprehensive about getting the pattern printed so I inadvertently ordered a hard-copy of the pattern in one size, and a downloadable copy of the pattern in another size (they have two sizes with lots of other sizes on it). I ended up using the paper instruction booklet with the downloadable pattern, getting it printed off at my local Staples/OfficeMax store.

Susan of Patchwork and Play is also my inspiration, and I’ve since ordered the Sawtell pattern from In the Folds. That’s waiting in the wings, but I don’t have much to say about this as I’m still figuring it out.

Two more crossed off

NEXT…

Back to Lorena–I also fell in love with her larger version of Ring Cycles on Steroids and that is now in the works. Maybe I want to be ahead of the game with another holiday quilt. After this one, I only have two more to sew that are in the closet (that I know about). I seem to collect Christmas quilt fabrics and ideas.

Pinned up Spectral Light, the bigger version of Triad Harmony. The pattern name is Triad Harmony, but you can see I have other versions: one is called Secret Garden (Kaffe fabrics) and one is called Stella di Natale (Christmas, again). I need to quilt them all.

LASTLY…

She describes this phase of my life pretty perfectly.

But don’t we pressure ourselves to do the first, and beat ourselves up a bit if it’s the second? These dots circle (haha) back around to the thoughts at the top, and about doing something worthwhile with this life I’ve been given.

I’ve always loved C. S. Lewis’ quote (below) about recognizing the potential in others, rather than snubbing or diminishing them. And the Arthur Brooks observation of David Brooks’s column reminds me to pursue that which is important, has value, and not only that which is popular or culturally driven. This is a constant struggle sometimes, and I seem to waste a lot of time, by my own assessment.

I’ve taken to asking myself: What do I want to have finished before I go to bed tonight? My bedtime is earlier now than it used to be, Mary Englebreit notwithstanding, so knowing I’m going to have flat-lining brainwaves at a certain time can help me choose wisely. Sometimes in my days I’m only a quarter-full dot, but other times I’m there all the way. But when it is time to stop, it is time to stop.

A juggling act, but I keep at it–

Happy Quilting!

It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest most uninteresting person you can talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would be strongly tempted to worship…All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or the other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all of our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal. Nations, cultures, arts, civilizations—these are mortal, and their life is to ours as the life of a gnat. But it is immortals whom we joke with, work with, marry, snub, and exploit…— C.S. Lewis, The Weight of Glory

When the New York Times columnist David Brooks talks about the difference between “résumé virtues” and “eulogy virtues,” he’s effectively putting the ashramas in a practical context. Résumé virtues are professional and oriented toward earthly success. They require comparison with others. Eulogy virtues are ethical and spiritual, and require no comparison. Your eulogy virtues are what you would want people to talk about at your funeral. As in He was kind and deeply spiritual, not He made senior vice president at an astonishingly young age and had a lot of frequent-flier miles.
You won’t be around to hear the eulogy, but the point Brooks makes is that we live the most fulfilling life—especially once we reach midlife—by pursuing the virtues that are most meaningful to us. (Arthur Brooks, from here)

Christmas Quilts · Patterns by Elizabeth of OPQuilt

Tannenbaum Top Finished!

Quilt Bio:

Not Yet Named or Quilted or given a number in the Quilt Index
Current size is roughly 84″ x 95″
Top only is completed; taking it to my quilter this week
Fabrics are Laundry Basket Quilt fabrics
Center of quilt is Tannenbaum, a kit from Laundry Basket Quilts. I don’t know if she has any more kits, but you can check her website.

Anguish Level–Center:

The center was pretty straight forward as all the pieces were pre-cut. A bit of heart-failure when cutting directions were off for one section of the tree. Pieced it. Did the bulk of it in two days with my friends. We started December 9, 2019 and made it to Block Four. Picked it up again on December 10, but the center wasn’t finished until a couple of weeks later. Lots of piecing, but having friends there made it fun. It was pre-covid, so we didn’t worry about anything.

Anguish Level — Borders:

Hard to gauge because now we’re two years into covid and everything feels harder (really) especially design (really really). It’s also been out of my hands for two years, so I have to re-acquaint myself with this. Anguish Level is also a bit higher because I’m trying to blend in Edyta’s style with my style. My first draft is above, but I realized everything was pretty tan/beige/cream. I’m replacing a red/blue/green Christmas quilt (below) and wanted something traditional and something with RED.

Construction Report:

Flying blind, so that’s always interesting. Hardest thing is to figure out fabric amounts, so I ordered a jelly roll of greens, half yards of reds/creams, and then 3 yards of red for the borders. I ended up ordering 2 more yards of red; I just hope the approximated yardage in the pattern will be okay for most people. Fun to make Border One, really fun to make Border Two (sawtooth stars, she says!), and once I got the hang of the scale of leaves and vines and figured out how I could explain what I did, the appliqué went quickly. I am really happy it’s done, and it’s ten months early for Christmas!

Pattern Update:

In my PayHip shop. Twelve pages. Details! Details! Illustrations! Verbiage! The photos below assist, and this blog post and the pattern go together like a horse and carriage. Or Beyoncé and Jay-Z.

More Photos/Illustrations/Yammering:

Border One is Double HSTs. I learned a nifty trick from Yvonne of Quilting JetGirl about how to cut these, which made things go more smoothly.

One of those lovely late-at-night photos, but the borders are on and the quilt is growing. I am not worried about all the piecing that Edyta Sitar had us do in the background of the tree part, but my very smart friend Laurel appliquéd down her tree onto a solid piece of fabric, instead of all those cuts. And yes, I did swap out the tan fabric in the kit for something a bit lighter.

I’m in my favorite sandbox now, with sawtooth blocks. In the pattern I include the directions for making them with the no-waste method.

I like all the variety of the many fabrics in the same hue.

Moment of Truth:

It fits on the bed!

Final Border Photos/Illustrations/Yammering:

Heading deep into Vines and Leaves. I cut two template shapes for the leaves: one with seam allowances (see red line) that I use to place on the bias and rotary cut around. I also cut a massive amount of leaf shapes with NO seam allowance out of freezer paper.

Photo #1: I place the dull side of the freezer paper to the wrong side of the fabric leaf. I use the iron to press the seam allowance onto the shiny side of the freezer paper, where it mostly sticks. Photo #2: Repeat with the other side. Photo #3: Prepped Leaf. Yes, I do have to pin the shapes down and mess with them sometimes, but that doesn’t bother me.

Cutting circles. I used the plastic circles by Karen Kay Buckley; follow her directions. Amounts are listed on the pattern.

I shape the bias-tape vines on an old piece of fabric atop my ironing board, so I could draw the guidelines, and pin into it while pressing the curvy shape into the strip. Worked pretty well!

See the creases pressed into the borders? I tell you how to measure these guides properly. I’m working on my design wall now, as the quilt’s kind of big and I’m trying to see how to shape these vines/leaves to harmonize with everything. It’s not hard. Just fiddly, as the Brits and Australians say.

After I arranged one set of vines/leaves the way I liked it, I used Becky Goldsmith’s plastic overlay technique. I unpinned it from the design wall and laid it on the ironing board. I had purchased the plastic by the yard from JoAnn’s, then laid it out over the first set. I traced it, and then used it as a template for the other two, working with them one by one on the ironing board, and pinning down like crazy using small appliqué pins from Clover. I nudged the pieces into place here and there; that overlay is such a great help.

Nighttime photo of all three!

The first two borders are sewn on the sides. How to place them is discussed in the pattern. I knew I was going to miter the lower two corners because they are more prominent on our bed. But the top border would just be sewn straight.

We took it out for a beauty shot one early morning. Thanks, dear, for holding it up!

The “snowy” photo. The only way we can look like a winter wonderland is if the spring popcorn blossoms are out on the trees.

Overall Assessment:

I’m now going to do some easy piecing for a while. Maybe even sew a skirt or two (had the fabric for longer than I care to admit). Keep working on Heart’s Garden. Enjoy Spring. Plant tomatoes.

Happy Quilting!

Other posts about Tannenbaum:

Many photos are on Instagram, and some are linked above • #tannenbaumquilt has a mix of photos

Purchased the kit at PIQF, October 2019

Christmas Reveal 2019 for the Center

Diving Back In after nearly two years

Small Updates


Christmas Quilts · Free Quilt Pattern · Gridsters

Tannenbaum, in construction

Many years ago, my mother stayed up all night on the 24th of December, worried that the child she was carrying would actually come on the due date of Christmas Eve. Who would help the other three young girls? Who would get the ironing done? But I did not arrive on my due date. Nor on New Year’s Eve. But I came 12 days later on Twelfth Night, and dodged forever having my birthday on Christmas. (And she did get up early that morning to get the ironing done before she went to the hospital.) Now I share a birthday with Richard Nixon, the arrival of the Three Kings and the Storming of the Capital.

Why do I bring this up? Because Tannenbaum will most likely suffer the same fate, arriving somewhere around Twelfth Night. It’s because I wanted a longer drop on the sides, and didn’t have enough of the beige fabric (earlier version is seen here). So as long as I was playing around, what would the quilt look like with red? I quite liked it. Many iterations and consultations with my quilt gurus (I have a couple) and I ordered some red fabric from Laundry Basket Quilts. Like me, in my almost early days…this probably won’t be done by Christmas.

Trying it out for size; I like it!

This is where I am now, with the two borders attached (big smiles), the wrinkles that will need to be quilted out in the center, and sideways on my design wall, because it’s too big now to go vertically. (In other words, it looks like it needs its make-up put on, the lipstick applied, and good blow-out for the hair. You know, like all of us in the morning.)

I’m working on the pattern now, and that’s coming along too. But what has arrived?

This one’s mine…you’ve seen it before.

Several of my Piece Maker Quilt Ladies have arrived from the Gridster Bee, along with their cloth sewing treasures, like buttons and rotary cutters and topiary trees. You can read more about this project, written a few whiles ago, but basically I got the idea from Surfside Quilters, from their Blocks of the Month page. I’ve always wanted a Freddy Moran-style quilt, and now it looks like I’ll make one.

To help further this quilt along, I’ve been collecting black-and-white prints to go with other 400 black-and-white prints (dear, I’m kidding). I have discovered there’s a particular kind of black and white print that works with Freddy Moran style quilts, and I think I probably have enough now. Too much white? It bleaches it out. Too much black? A blot in the quilt. Black and white — that when you squint your eyes — turns into grey? Nyet. I think two of the prints above are perfect (on the outer edges) and we’ll see where the others may go.

In keeping with the red theme of today’s post, here’s a treat I want to try: Cranberry Lemon Bars, from New York Times Cooking.

And I’ll see this, next week. First airplane ride in over 20 months (better get it in before Omicron shows up).

But before that, we have to finish putting out my husband’s nutcrackers, arranging the lights on the mini-tree, switching out the quilts, and generally getting ready for the Christmas season. Another work in progress.

Merry Quilting!

In case you want something fun, here’s a free pattern to make this little tree on a frame, from my earlier days of pattern making; still good to go, but not quite as fancy.

And here’s the teeny tree:

More info is here.

And here’s a sneak peak of what I’m working on for 2022. I’m thinking a monthly quilt-a-long, sort of easy, no sign-ups, free patterns, work together, have fun, make a nice-sized wall hanging. And if you can’t deal with any more outside pressure to produce, it’s okay if you just want to grab the patterns and squirrel them away. That’s fine, I’m fine, you’re fine.

I also always make colorful quilts, and this one may go there yet, but I was gifted a little stack of Sherri and Chelsi’s newest line (thanks, Sherri!), and I’m starting there, because — oh my gosh — I do need a cool Valentine-y quilt. So that’s my starting line. I’ve got the first month’s pattern done, but I want to make samples, so you won’t see it until after the holidays. Maybe even by Twelfth Night!

Christmas Quilts

Decorating Tannenbaum

(The pattern view)

In December 2019, in the Before Times, my friend Laurel and I got together and in two days of mad sewing finished the Tannenbaum top from Laundry Basket Quilts. I hung it on a hanger, hoping to make it bigger, but out of ideas for that moment. Laurel appliquéd her tree to a larger backing, not wanting all the seams and finished hers. (I’m hoping and praying that my seams will “quilt out.”)

And then my brain pretty much took a vacation for about two years. But the storms of this last year have receded, so now I’m ready to go at it again. I scanned it into my Affinity Designer program, and started to work mess around.

I figured I should draw from Edita Sitar’s ideas, since I was using her fabric (ordered back in 2019, and hoarded since then) and Tannenbaum quilt pattern. That inner little sawtooth-effect border was the first one I drew. Then I realized I needed:

  • top of bed dimension (queen size)
  • total quilt size

You see them in the two blue boxes. I kept shifting it around as I worked, trying to figure out space for pillow shams, if I decide to make them.

I got this far. I need to extend/blow-up/rethink the mistletoe on the borders, and have another adjustment to make for the larger sawtooth star blocks (thinking they need nine-patches in the middle, just like the bottom tree row), but at least I’ve started.

I’ve finished the first 106 blocks (2″ finished) and the four corner blocks for the first round. That old phrase about a journey of a thousand miles and single step razz-ma-tazz could be rephrased as a quilt of a thousand seams begins with a single cut. Or whatever.

One border finished.

Take Two. Better keep sewing.

Christmas Quilts

Christmas * 2020

Christmas Treat, wallhanging

Merry Christmas, everyone!

Elizabeth will be closed for a few days while she tests out her new Christmas Present and thoroughly makes a mess of her sewing room. She will emerge, eventually. Thanks for being great readers and writers. Hope you have a merry merry!