Do you like Christmas quilting for decoration or gifts? Here is an idea to turn the blocks you have already made into a finished project!
You saw this quilt before it was quilted and bound (click here for the post), where I worked with 12″ blocks I had made to test quilt patterns. It has become part of my work process: test patterns using similar fabrics so that, one day, I can turn those blocks into a quilt.
It reminds me of the “leaders and enders” process, where you begin and end chain-piecing with scraps of fabrics that you then turn into blocks. I don’t work like that when I chain-piece, but I do have a stack of blocks ready to be turned into pillows, placemats, table runners, bags…
The quilt above measures 50-1/2″ x 50-1/2″ and will make a great wall hanging, table topper, or throw.
You may not be writing and testing patterns like me. However, let’s say you got a kit with awesome fabrics and want to start the project. Maybe you haven’t made the blocks featured on that pattern before. So, take some of the fabrics in your stash and make a sample block. Once you figure out how it works, cut into the fabrics that came with the kit.
This is very useful if you are a beginner quilter as it will give you confidence, remove the fear of messing up those cool fabrics, and will give you an opportunity to work through the instructions without guesswork at crucial points of the block construction.
If you do this often, and use fabrics that go well together, at some point you will have enough blocks for a quilt, even if they don’t all have the same measurements as you can always add simple borders to turn a 10″ block into a 12″ one, for instance.
In my case, I had a lot of Christmas fabrics (no more – I gave them all to my friend Connie) and often opened that drawer to pull out pieces for test blocks. I am so glad I stumbled upon this idea! Sometimes, I just want to put blocks together and have a quilt top finished, don’t you? Since the elves are not coming to my studio between midnight and six am to sew blocks for me, this is the best next thing!
Another reason to make a sample block: you can spot opportunities to chain-piece the patches if the pattern does not suggest it.
The block above appeared on my quilt, Sunnyside Lane. Before I worked with the batiks I selected for that project, I pulled out some fabrics and made this block. Then, I knew it would all work out well and proceeded to work on the quilt.
The majority of the fabrics I used on these blocks came from collections by Hoffman Fabrics. When it comes to Christmas decorations, I love the traditional red, green, and gold hues which abound on all the fabrics I chose.
The star block above is one of my favorites. I like that it has two different backgrounds and how they are placed around it. Notice how I work with contrasting fabrics. When in a hurry, I may not pay attention to the value of the fabrics, and contrasting becomes a moot point, as you can see on the block located on the bottom left corner of the quilt.
So, when you are working on Christmas quilting for decoration or gifts, remember those blocks you made as a rehearsal to the ‘real’ quilts, and use them in larger projects or as smaller ones. Any of the blocks above could have become a beautiful tote bag, too.
Speaking of Christmas gifts, how about finding out if you won the Giveaway? These are the fabrics I have left after making Holiday Cheer. You can make lots of fun projects with them, or purchase more to make the quilt I made. So, here it goes:
Man I’m behind! I haven’t finished my Christmas projects ? I have 2 quilts I need to finish for Christmas. One is pieced but the second is only cut. Love your paper piecing triangles!!
Kristine Clay, my random number generator choose your number, so you get this bundle of fabrics and the magazine. I will send you an email soon.
Thank you to all of you who left comments on that blog post. It is sooooo nice to be able to interact with my virtual quilting community!
I will spend the day sewing as I am working on another project for the American Quilter magazine. In the evening, to relax, I will continue to knit this baby blanket. The stitch is easy so I can listen to a book while knitting. I prefer this instead of watching TV.
Here’s hoping for a fun day for all of you!