Christmas Quilt Piecing, Part II

…And I’m back!  There’s quite a bit of catching up to do…

I finished Christmas Quilt 2017 during a retreat with my quilt guild last November.  If you’re just tuning in, every year I make a quilt to be raffled off at a Christmas Store that my parents help to run; it helps fund a community for adults with special needs.  This year’s (or by this point, last year’s) quilt is a Trip Around the World, done in Christmas colors.

This design is made up in quadrants, and each quadrant is made up of strips of squares, which are cut from strip sets that I sewed in color order.  (Sounds confusing, but actually very simple to do.)  The quadrants are made up of the same strips, just rotated to create the design, so the strips for the four quadrants can be made up in matching sets.  This is more efficient, and I could be sure I was doing them all the same.  The strips for the left side had one additional square for the center column.

I then laid out each quarter of the quilt top, sewed the strips for each one together in pairs, and assembled each quarter of the quilt one at a time.  By the time I got to the quilting retreat, I’d finished three quarters of the quilt top.

The strips are oriented one way on the left side of the quilt, the other way on the right.  As long as you get that right, you can assemble the top and bottom halves the same way.

I used cotton batting as usual (I got a truckload of Warm & Natural last year), and backed the quilt with the dark gold leafy fabric that appears in the quilt top.  It’s customary (as I learned after some considerable web research) to quilt a Trip Around the World in diagonal lines that intersect at the seams, but I wanted to do something a little different.  I decided to quilt it in concentric diamonds, to follow the pattern of the piecing, and chose coordinating threads to switch between: red, gold, and white.

(I love that picture.)  It was a bit of work to keep turning the whole quilt under the machine again and again, but eventually I finished the last big diamond and could do shorter lines to finish the pattern repeats in the corners.

I bound the quilt with the green plaid fabric.  All of this happened in a day and a half at the quilting retreat.  At this point, I was practically completely out of time before I needed to mail the quilt so it could be there before the Christmas Store opened, so as much as I wanted to make a label and sew it on, at this point I had to just sew down the hanging sleeve and sign the back with a Micron pen.

And here’s the quilt hanging up in the Christmas Store!

I’m always proud to get one of these finished, and I’m particularly proud of this one.  I feel it’s a step forward in design for me, one of the best things I’ve ever made.  As I said, I had to send it off almost immediately after I finished it, so we didn’t get to spend much time together, and I’ve kind of missed it after mailing it off to Texas.  Have you ever felt that way, missed a project after you’ve given it away?  I’m certainly not sorry that the Christmas Store got the benefit of the raffle tickets, but I wish I’d finished the quilt sooner so that I could have it around the house for a while. (shrug)

It’s good to be back on the blog, and I’m sorry I was gone so long.  Let this mark a new season of craft blogging for me!  And you can follow me on Instagram (velvetpincushion).

Next time, the continuing stories of Marigold and Verna!


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