Or, The Never-Ending Christmas Quilt
I 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.
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.
The 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.
Every block is machine quilted with a different pattern. Some are free motion, some used the walking foot.
The 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.
My 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.