So I took off on vacation in August with my sketch pad. All I knew was that I was trying to design a "scene" and I really wanted it to be Christmas-like. Kate told us to actually avoid something like this, but when I have an idea in my head, that's about the end of it! What I sketched up was a view from outside of a house window, looking in at a family's Christmas tree. Other details were yet to be determined.
The scene has a fireplace with stockings hanging. The "E" and "J" are the initials of her children. These were previously Photoshopped out of my cryptic sneak peek so as not to give the surprise away. Above the mantle is a wreath done from tiny beads. It just adds the right amount of shimmer. After all, it is about Christmas.
The tree is made from about 10 fairly small paper-pieced units that use lots of the scrap greens that I have in my stash bag. Why I chose to actually paper piece these is beside me now. They could have been free pieced just as easily! I quilted the garland in metallic thread over the tree, and added red Swarovski crystals as ornaments. There is a present done from a shiny red fabric. Again, a little more subtle shimmer. I hope Emma likes it. FYI - These were applied with a glue which is clear and hand washable.
And here is the overall piece. I apologize if the mullions which define the window panes appear to be a tad wonky at times...these are very hard to hand-sew perfectly straight! I wanted the candle in the window. In December, I love to see the window candles in houses. To me, they just symbolize hope. And that is what this quilt was intended to be about...that youthful, hopeful optimism that is most commonly seen in the eyes of a child at Christmas. Pure Joy.
I don't profess to be a great machine quilter, and quite honestly, I procrastinated on the quilting of this for weeks because I was timid of screwing it up, and giving Emma something well below her standards. Finally, I chose to do much of the quilting with stitch-in-the-ditch around the window panes and shutter slats. In each pane, I free-motion quilted with a white rayon to portray the illusion of a frosty pane, as though it has just snowed.
I entitled the quilt "Believe" because as much as I may sound like a Christmas curmudgeon, I was a long-time Santa Claus believer. I think everyone needs to believe in something hopeful at that time of the year, whatever your beliefs may be.