200 Quilts · Oh Christmas Tree QAL · Quilt-A-Long

Oh! Christmas Tree Quilt

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Oh! Christmas Tree Quilt
Quilt #175
Began January 2016 • Finished December 2016

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It’s finally finished.  I started this once I saw the QuiltMania magazine it was featured in.  It is a pattern from Wendy Williams of Flying Fish Kits.  I had a companion in the making of this, in Wendy Welsh from New Zealand.  She was about a month ahead of me in construction and was such a great help, especially in untangling the borders dilemma.  All of the posts about the making of this quilt are referenced in the Quilt-A-Longs tab, up above.christmas-tree_2

I did finish it by my goal of December 1st, but had to find the right locale accessories, like the lumber-jack looking guy above.  (By the way, the most important man in this photo is unseen, holding up the Christmas Tree quilt.  Thanks, dear!)christmas-tree_3adetail

I had written about how I quilted the center: a meander with tiny stars here and there.

oct_fmq-for-starsAs usual, I printed out my quilt with partial transparency and doodled and doodled, coming into a dead end always.  But finally, inspired by an idea from  *here,* I chose to do swirls around my stars with a spiral in the center, linking them all together.christmas-tree_3detail

I quilted the cream background fabric around the wool felt appliqués, then in around those red triangle points, leaving them unquilted.  I did outline them in a straight stitch, helping them to stand out from the background.

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My husband Dave and I went out for a photo shoot as the sun was dimming, first hitting the tree lot at Teen Challenge (below), a charity near our house.
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And then we went looking for more evergreens for backdrops, a near herculean task in Southern California.  We finally found these pines in the university parking lot.  I told my husband that Marsha, in Vermont, could photograph hers out in the woods amid the snow, but that typical to our climate and locale, we have to pose in an asphalt parking lot.

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The back is a series of panels and fabrics from Cori Dantini from her Merry Stitches line, purchased at Quilt Market this past May and available now.  It’s fun to use them on the back.christmas-tree_front1

This quilt (or parts of it) have gone to Spain, all around my town, and then finally tucked in at home to be finished with the quilting. I took inspiration from all of those who followed along on the Quilt-A-Long and on Instagram, but am indebted to my husband for his love of my quilting and constant support.  Lastly, the design for Mary and Joseph and Baby Jesus are found here on the blog. Uusually we say that what’s important about Christmas isn’t found under the tree.

But in this case, it is.

I hope your Christmas season is merry and bright and filled with the love of our Savior.

Quilts

Christmas Tree Skirt

christmas-tree-skirt-2014

Christmas Tree Skirt 2014
Quilt #141 on the 200 Quilts List
(Post updated August 2019)

Comparing oldnew Christmas Tree Skirt

Here I laid out the old Christmas Tree Skirt on top of the new one;  it was made in the early 1970s out of pre-quilted fabric with a tricot backing, and homemade bias tape.

Christmas Tree Skirt wo Binding

I was inspired by Betty’s skirt that she made last year, as well as others.  The original inspiration was a tree skirt from Fat Quarterly 2013, but since I didn’t have a pattern and it was all proportional squares, triangles and rectangles, I just started cutting. Here I’ve laid an embroidery hoop so I could judge how the center circle would look.  It took me about two days to get all the houses and trees arranged, partly because I wanted to use my stash and it that necessitated some color and value balancing.  I have a piece of fabric from my first quilt in here, as well as some scraps from dirndls made from German fabric (which I love).  I even have scraps of fabric from cotton I’d purchased in Rome, Italy some 14 years ago, as well as some Japanese fabrics, also purchased on a trip.  Build your stash, everyone.  It’s a fun place to visit.

UPDATE 2019, BASIC DIMENSIONS:

Fuse a series of fun fabrics to Steam a Seam II.  I cut everything a bit larger, then trimmed to make sure the fusing covered the back completely.

  • Basic skirt circle: 52″ diameter (piece some white cotton fabric to allow for this dimension of circle)
  • Center hole is a traced 6″ circle embroidery hoop.
  • Tall Skinny House: 9″ tall by 3.5″ wide
  • Pointed triangle roof is 6.6″ wide and 4.5″ high.  Follow the basic directions for tall Christmas Trees to cut yourself a wonky triangle.
  • Two-story house, short: 7″ tall by 6″ wide
  • Two-story house, taller: 9″ tall by 7″ wide
  • Trapezoidal Roof measures 8″ across the bottom, 3″ across the top and is 3″ high.  So, cut a rectangle 8″ by 3″ and fold in half.  From the outside lower corner, draw a line so it ends 1.5″ from the fold.  Cut that section off and you’ll have the roof.
  • Pointed Roof for two-story house measures 7″ wide by 4″ tall.
  • Tall Christmas Trees: Cut a rectangle 7″ tall by 4″ wide.  Fold in half lengthwise, and cut from lower outside corner to the center fold at the top, making a Christmas Tree shape.
  • Medium Christmas Trees: 6″ tall by 4.5″ wide (cut as above)
  • Stacked Christmas Trees are formed the same, but the dimensions are 3.5″ tall and 3″ wide.
  • Christmas Tree Trunks are 3.5″ tall by 1″ wide…but some are shorter (like 1.5″ tall).  Cut them to your liking.
  • Wonky-cut stars (Do a search for a 2″ pattern online; trace the outlines onto fused fabric, then cut).  —-> Or use this one: 5-sided-stars    <——

Use my photograph at the top of this post to plan and map our your pieces, but cut some different dimensions if that’s what you like (like making a shorter, skinny house).

WARNING:  Prewash your reds!!!  I did them once with Dye Catcher Sheets.  I should have done it three times, so my tree skirt suffered.  We still use the tree skirt, as the discoloration is up near the binding in the center circle, but I wish I’d washed them more than once.  Now we call it Christmas Tree Skirt at Sunset.

Deciding on Binding

I thought I’d use a large red/white dot for the binding, but when I cut it on the bias, I got this effect.   So I went with a narrower stripe than the one shown, cutting it on the bias so it would go around the curves.  I pieced it, then folded it in half, then sewed it to the back and topstitched it to the front.  A trick I learned in Clothing and Textiles in college was to press a curve into the bias tape.  It went on like a charm.

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In working on this, I zipped through two books and am in the middle of one more.  The two I couldn’t wait to listen to were both Inspector Gamache mysteries, set in Canada. One was titled Still Life and the other was titled A Fatal Grace, both by Louise Penny.  And I’m halfway through The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.  Fitting, isn’t it?

Christmas Tree 2014 w new skirtWe finally finished decorating the tree, and I’m enjoying the new tree skirt!

 Bobbin Statistic: 5 (in other words, how many bobbins it took to get this thing quilted)
Quilting: First I stitched through the quilt sandwich on the raw-edges of all the house and tree shapes, letting it be slightly wonky as I went.  Then the top-stitching on the stars.  I switched to white thread and did a loose, large meandering quilting around all the shapes.

Quilts

Nice to See You, Christmas Quilts!

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We have a tradition that nothing Christmas happens until after the Thanksgiving meal.  In the Old Days, when I had children at home, we’d sing Christmas carols that afternoon, a cluster of us at the piano.  Now, we turn on iTunes and listen to the songs while we do the dishes.  This is Christmas Star, #80 on my 100 Quilts List, in case you want to read more about it.

Christmas Quilts on Bed2

This morning I got out all the Christmas quilts that have been in the cupboard for a year.  It’s nice to see them again.  This is Star Mother’s Youngest Child, #108.

Christmas Quilts2Christmas Treat, #111.

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This was about the first Christmas display quilt I made and I called it Christmas Wall Hanging.  It’s label-less, but is #15 on my 100-Quilts List, having been made twenty-two years ago.  I have made other Christmas quilts, but they’ve been passed on to others.

Wide Mouth Pouch1

I also found time to make a little pouch for a granddaughter, at her mother’s request.  It’s Noodle Head’s Wide Mouth Pouch, but I made it a little bit taller.

Wide Mouth Pouch2

Wide Mouth Pouch3I also added a tab at the zipper closure end so it’s easy to grab.  Her birthday is coming up this week, so I popped it in the mail the day before Thanksgiving.

Hope you enjoy getting reacquainted with your Christmas quilts, too!

 

EPP · Shine: The Circles Quilt

Circles Block #6–another view, EPP Sew-A-Long

Circles EPP Button

I told you in the last post that I’d made up another version of Circles #6, and today I’ll show you what I came up with.

Circles Block #6 duo

When I was sewing this up, I kept thinking what a great Christmas pillow it would make.

Christmas Star Pillow_front

So I made one!

EPP #6_auditioning fabrics

As usual, I audition fabrics to see what I like.  You can see which won.

EPP #6_1sewing together arcs

I lined up the Star Point with the lower inner arc and put a pin through the centers.

EPP #6_2sewing together arcs

It’s easier to stitch when you do it three-dimensionally.

EPP #6_3sewing together arcs

Cute little thing, isn’t it?

EPP #6_4sewing together arcs

EPP #6_ring to center

I made this  circle differently.  I think the method I showed you on the first post is much better, but here’s this one:  Stitch the inner ring pieces together, then stitch to the center circle.  There’s no need to ease; it should fit together neatly by taking a stitch or two at a time, then moving along.  Sew the final inner ring seam together.

EPP #6_stitching center to outer ring

Now stitch together the inner arc (red) and the small star point (blue) and add the left star points (more red, on either side of the blue).  After you’ve made six of those little units, start making the larger outer ring by attaching the large star points (white).  Like the first ring onto the center circle, it should “match” easily onto the sign.  You can see how I began here, by dropping the ring down and starting the stitching.  I did take time to figure out how I wanted the white star points to be aligned on the final block.

Circles Block #6 duo

See the two circles side-by-side, above, to see the different alignments.  The Christmas Star has a star point centered, pointing North, but the other circle has it differently.

Like I said, I think the other method is much easier.

EPP #6_center circle

Done!

EPP #6_back with papers

Ah, you know I love this view!

Circles Block Christmas Backgrounds

I had several backgrounds to choose from, but my granddaughter Emilee helped me choose the white one with the stars.

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Papers out, and here we go a-quilting!

Christmas Star Pillow Back_quilting

One thing I learned from Sandra Eichner’s blog is how to let the batting poof up under a design element by stitching towards it.  First I did the red pieces in between the star points in a meander, trying to quilt toward the star points large and small.  Then I went for the outer margins, having fun and letting the machine roll.  Black thread and a tiny stipple for the inner ring, dodging the berries, and then outline the angel in the center in order to control the fullness of the batting.  Lastly, I outlined everything, using my even-feed straight-stitch foot.

Christmas Star Pillow_detail front

Christmas Star Pillow_front

Yay!  A new piece of Christmas fun.  Hope you’ve enjoyed seeing both of these Circle Blocks.  I’m taking a break during December and will be back in January for the last six circles in this project.  Yes, I’ve decided I’m stopping after twelve EPP circles.  That ought to give you enough to play with!  If you are making these blocks, please shoot me a photo, and I’ll post it up on the blog.

200 Quilts · Quilts

Santa Claus Has Come To Town!

Santa Claus Quilt_1

Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Finished December 2013

Doesn’t Santa arrive on the 24th?  Well, we just made it in time, over here.

Santa Claus Quilt_2

I started this in late September of this year, and finished it early this morning.  It’s done enough for display, but I want to go in after the rush is over and add some detail quilting here and there.  Okay, and maybe re-do a square or two, but really, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out.

Santa Claus Quilt_Back

The back, with my beemates’ signature blocks along one side.  They made the green/white large patchwork blocks.

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This shot, in the shade, shows some of the quilting.  Each level is slightly different, and each block is different.

Santa Claus Quilting_2

Merry Christmas, everyone!

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This is Quilt #125 on my 200 Quilts List.

FinishALong Button

It’s also one of my Fourth Quarter FAL Finishes, hosted by Leanne, of She Can Quilt.