I made it. I must say by November I was getting a little tired of Christmas fabrics. I’ve accomplished several goals with this year’s challenge. First, I can now close my Christmas bin (see pic). Second, I will think twice about buying any more Christmas fabric. Frankly, these quilts, simple as they are, were still a lot of work for a quilt that will be displayed several weeks a year. And finally, doing this many quilts allowed me to experiment with free motion quilting and has really improved my confidence and skills.
A Year of Christmas
I actually manage to make my goal of 12 Christmas quilts this year...phew! I can now close the Christmas bin. But believe it or not I still have enough left to make more quilts.
When I first saw Jenny Doan's The Falling Triangles Quilt: Easy Quilting with Layer Cakes! on YouTube, I fell in love with the pattern. I love the effect of floating squares.
I can’t believe it’s October already! WOW. I’m happy to report I can actually close my Christmas fabric bin. For October, I chose to do another CUAQ therapy challenge from Cut Up And Quilt, my favorite local quilt shop. Striped Squares from Moda is designed for Bella solids but I’m happy with the Christmas fabric version. The pattern involves a bit of cutting but goes together quickly.
Labyrinth, made from a combination of squares and half square triangles, goes together quickly, making it an excellent choice for a Christmas project. I added an additional border to the lap size pattern to increase the size to 64 x 64.
At the July CUAQ Therapy session at Cut Up and Quilt, my favorite local quilt shop, Kim challenged us to make a quilt top from Moda’s So Simple pattern. The pattern was designed for Moda’s Bella solids and really shines with those solids! We were allowed to use fabrics of our own choosing and I decided to double-duty this pattern by making it my August selection for A Year of Christmas.
With each of these Christmas quilts, I have challenged myself to do something different with the quilting. Since I really dislike using templates to mark quilts, I decided to try free motioning poinsettias onto the quilt. The first few were a tad mutant in nature, but after the 56th try I had it down…ha!
For my July Christmas quilt I chose Retreat from Simply Fat Quarters: Quilts with Comfort and Style by It’s Sew Emma. This is the first pattern I’ve used from this book and I plan to do several others. I really like the format of the book. Patterns are easy to follow and each pattern is offered in several different sizes.
I varied the outer border from the original pattern. The original called for a 1-inch solid border followed by a 4-inch print border. Because my Christmas fabrics are rather busy, I decided to stick with a 5-inch border using the background fabric. I like the effect of the squares floating.
For my June quilt, I used the pattern, Row of Bricks, in Skip the Borders: Easy Patterns for Modern Quilts by Julie Herman of Jaybird Quilts. I found this gem at my favorite local quilt shop, Cut Up and Quilt, and knew immediately I would be making several of the patterns.
Row of Bricks is the first pattern I used where I actuallypressed the seams open as instructed. I’m very much a stitch-in-the-ditch kinda gal so this was a leap of faith for me. I must say, I do love how flat the seam areas are and this was a great pattern for experimenting with the open-seam concept since there are no seams to match throughout the pattern. But honestly, I will continue to iron seams to the side to nest the joints and to allow me to stitch-in-the-ditch before I free motion my quilts. I’m all for stability and durability. I want my quilts to be used and washed without worrying they will start splitting at the seams.
As I continue to whittle away at my Christmas fabric stash, my May quilt is based on Thimble Blossoms Piece of Cake 2 by Camille Roskelley. This is a wonderfully easy piecing layer-cake pattern. Instead of a layer cake, I cut 10-inch squares from various red and green Christmas fabrics. As a result, I had extra squares so I made my quilt 6 x 6 blocks instead of the 5 x 6 indicated in the pattern.
I discovered this pattern while watching a Craftsy video, The Twisted Irish Chain, with Amy Gibson. She combined triangle blocks with nine-patch blocks to make a cute baby quilt. Since I had leftover 16-patch blocks from my February quilt, I adapted the pattern to accommodate those blocks and enlarge the quilt. My finished block size is 8 inches. Using Electric Quilt, I played with the layout until I came up with a size that ended up using all but one of my leftover 16-patch blocks.
I used the basic Arkansas Crossroads pattern to create this quilt from a Christmas jelly roll with 40 strips. The strips were used for the 16 patch centers. A Christmas holly scroll white fabric was used for the background, holly small print fabric for the backing, and a deep red fabric for the squares and binding. Since the jelly roll made way more 16 patch centers than I needed for this quilt, I’ll be using the remainder in my March project….stay tuned.
I have an unbelievable amount of Christmas fabric waiting to be turned into quilts. To inspire and challenge myself to use some of it up, I’ve decided to make a Christmas quilt each month this year. Yes, this is quite ambitious but so far I’m on track. Here’s January’s project, I Heart Christmas, which I actually started in December and finished up in January. Unfortunately, I didn’t document the quilting process because this idea did not occur to me until after I’d finished my February quilt…oops. I used several heart stencils for quilting, which you can see more clearly on the back of the quilt. The basic pattern is a disappearing nine patch.