Welcome to the North Pole!

Or, The Never-Ending Christmas Quilt

IMG_0002I saw this quilt when it aired on an Episode of Simply Quilts, which used to be on HGTV, way back when they had crafty content, not just home renovations.  I was enthralled, but intimidated.  This was right after I started quilting, so maybe 2000 or so.  I was a serious machine work only girl, and the Piece O’ Cake girls demonstrated needle turn appliqué.  I don’t remember if Alex Anderson suggested machine appliqué in that episode, or if it was on a totally different project, but that is how I tackled this one.

Screen Shot 2015-12-18 at 4.49.00 PM.png

You can still find the book on Amazon.   Isn’t their version great?  I went in a slightly different direction.  I was living in Florida and obsessed with batiks.  So I wanted a more colorful Santa scene.

I didn’t realize when I started what a huge undertaking the project would be.  Even when doing this one by machine, it is still a lot of work.  I love the results, but I am still working on bits and pieces, and it is older than my teenage son.

To start the process I made overlays using heavy tablecloth plastic.  Then I made mirror image copies, and traced all of the pieces onto sticky fusible webbing.  It was awful – one side stuck to the paper better than the other, and it would fall apart sometimes, without my input.  It drove me crazy.  I think I used it because I was worried about the quilt being stiff.  I will not be using it again.

IMG_0014The best part of this quilt is shopping for the little extras – button, ribbons, whatever else I can find to stick on the quilt.  I’m still looking for things, too.  It’s so sad.  If I see tiny Christmasy buttons that are absolutely useless, there is a very good chance I will drag them home to my pizza box of holiday horror.

Last year I made a very large effort to get the quilt together and quilted for Christmas.  All of the blocks were together and the appliqué was stitched down.  I did it, but it wasn’t as fast as I had thought it would be.  Every step of this quilt has challenged me.  I was ready to put on the border when I decided a piped inner border would be just perfect.  I found a book and a special tool to order, and dithered over the piping color – red or green?  I went with both, of course.  At every step, I have chosen the most difficult path.

IMG_0005Every block is machine quilted with a different pattern.  Some are free motion, some used the walking foot.

IMG_0004The border quilting drove me crazy for a bit, until my inspiration hit.  I had learned how to make 6 pointed paper snowflakes, and was practicing making quite fancy ones.  I made a series of small ones, pinned them to the border, and quilted around them.  I have sewn some crystal beads on some – I plan on beading all of the snowflakes, eventually.

IMG_4327My proudest detail is Rudolph’s nose.  It is an LED light that blinks.  It was originally part of a U2 album my husband purchased.  I have no idea which one, but I ripped that baby apart and kept the light.  I was delighted to find the light in my closet this month, and it finally has its place in Rudolph’s nose.  After fooling around with various grommets and tools, I just poked a little hole in the quilt, and jammed the light through.  I’ll take some buttonhole style stitches to secure it at some point.  I also need to add a pocket to the back to hold the 2 AA batteries that power the light.

I still have plenty to do.  I need to make the little shop names, add garlands to trees, many doors don’t have door knobs, and Santa’s reigns need to be added.  I also have a blinky light necklace to add to one of the rooflines, but I need to learn how to cut the wires and reattach them, so that I can run it through the fabric.  The problem is, before Christmas I am busy, and after Christmas, I’m no longer interested in Christmas projects.  Oh, well.  It is a fun project, and spreading it out over so many years gives me plenty of time to have crazy inspirations.


3 thoughts on “Welcome to the North Pole!

  1. wow ! this is amazing !
    Im still am going to make the death star, I was wondering if you have any beginner tips for quilting or if you taken any online classes that might help me learn the basics or books? thanks Merry Christmas


    1. Hi. I have not taken any machine quilting classes. If you want an online class, I suggest Craftsy.com. They have a class I signed up for, I just haven’t taken it yet. Christine at http://www.afewscraps.com/p/free-motion-quilting.html has great instructions and videos. I used to watch Simply Quilts on TV for basics. There are billions of videos on youtube, too. My biggest suggestion is to find one thing you want to do, and don’t fall down the rabbit hole into 48 other projects. We all do it, but it really feels good to finish a project.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s