Sunday, December 07, 2014

Holiday Trees

While there is still no holiday tree inside my house, there are some holiday trees that I can show. You know that I write articles for Machine Quilted Unlimited magazine.   I have done several of them - and am contracted through next year's editions too.   November's edition has one on sashing designs that I had to resurrect some old work.  I had participated (may well have even hosted this swap, but the memories are very fuzzy) in this block swap.  There were probably a dozen or more people, and each of us chose the theme of our block.  We even sent a small swatch of fabric used so that the next people could have similar fabrics to incorporate.  I chose these "wonky trees".  I didn't exactly want them all wonky, as much as non-traditional and fun.  I made 4 or 5 of the ones in this quilt, and the rest were by other swappers.  Back in the early summer, I dug out all the aging blocks and put this quilt together (bottom right on article...the one on the left is aonther oldie made from swap blocks which was shown in my HandiQuilter ads a few years ago).  If any readers have been around since these days, please shout out!  I'd love to know who made these.
The main point of the article was about creating stitching designs for sashings that can help to unify quilts, when all blocks seem ununified -- maybe they are all different designs, non-similar fabrics, etc.  This quilt does repeat some of the fabrics, but there is considerable difference in the way some blocks have a frame, while others do not.

Getting the sashings to show was of immense challenge.  I stitched them in a gold Glide thread, but because this was a quilt intended for use, I didn't want double batting.  THAT would have given considerably more relief to the designs.

The tree blocks were fun to quilt, and I let the quilting be as whimsical as the piecing, keeping a scallopy framing and ribbon-like fill consistent from block to block.
 I added large, densely filled baubles onto several of the trees.  Quilting doesn't always have to be dense.  This is a use quilt afterall.
 Another tree with a tan snowflake background.  I remember getting this and wondering what I would do with the busy tan background, but reality is that it blends very nicely in the finished quilt.  There is another tan block too.
 And even a red background...

 This little and very weird tree I made.  I don't know what I was thinking, but I like the apple-green fairy frost fabric, so I kept it.
 There actually were three more blocks.  They didn't play as well together with the group, so they were pieced into the backing, along with nearly every other red and green XMAS fabric I had in my stash!!  No point purchasing more fabric when this entire quilt is a scrap creation.  It has quickly become a favorite couch quilt by my kids because it is larger than the one that they usually use.

The sashings show a little better below.  The dense ribbon-candy filler took a while to stitch, but gives the quilt a fun and festive sheen.  I added 25 red buttons to the squares for a lively look, and to hide any start-stops that were at those points.  Clever cover-ups are always needed.

I want to put a link to the other quilt of mine that I showed in the article - go look here.  It was made at about the same time, same colors, etc.  It stays on my bed.  This quilt is double batted, but more importantly, it has what has probably been one of my most commented quilting designs.  I quilted one for Corey Yoder using this design, and it was published in her book earlier this year.  The quilting of the sashings seemed simple at the time, but the secondary patterns created were wonderful.  This is something I constantly think about.  Just for's one look.  Go to the link for more pics.


Quiltdivajulie said...

Really enjoyed this post (and both of the quilts and their stories)!

Rebecca Grace said...

Ooh, Margaret -- I'm not usually a fan of holiday themed quilts, but I just love all those Christmas tree blocks, especially the way the quilting enhances the patchwork. It's beautiful; thanks for sharing and happy holidays!