Santa Claus Has Come To Town!

Santa Claus Quilt_1

Jolly Old St. Nicholas
Finished December 2013

Doesn’t Santa arrive on the 24th?  Well, we just made it in time, over here.

Santa Claus Quilt_2

I started this in late September of this year, and finished it early this morning.  It’s done enough for display, but I want to go in after the rush is over and add some detail quilting here and there.  Okay, and maybe re-do a square or two, but really, I’m pretty happy with how things turned out.

Santa Claus Quilt_Back

The back, with my beemates’ signature blocks along one side.  They made the green/white large patchwork blocks.

Santa Claus Quilting_1

This shot, in the shade, shows some of the quilting.  Each level is slightly different, and each block is different.

Santa Claus Quilting_2

Merry Christmas, everyone!

˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙˙

This is Quilt #125 on my 200 Quilts List.

FinishALong Button

It’s also one of my Fourth Quarter FAL Finishes, hosted by Leanne, of She Can Quilt.

‘Twas the Week Before Christmas

Well.  Almost the last week before Christmas (ten days to go, says the Advent Calendar on our fridge).

Dec MCM Bee Blocks

Given that I’ve been >>sick<< with ick and asthma and blah for too long, and that I have TONS of stuff to do, I leapt into action and made my bee blocks for December for Mary at Molly Flanders.  I mean, that is the prudent thing to do, right?

Dec MCM Bee Blocks_2

It was actually quite restorative working with old-fashioned prints and calming neutrals.  A whole lot more fun than trying to get the last of the Christmas decorations up (but I did finish them today, thank you very much).  I enjoyed the process.  One thing that our bee does, which I like, is that we make each other a signature block with our name, our blog name and our location and send it along with the blocks.  I have a row of signature blocks on the back of my Santa quilt (which has been idling all these past couple of weeks on my sewing room floor while I have graded and rested) which makes me smile when I see them.

Blocks all done

And maybe it’s because I have signatures on my brain.  Here are all the blocks for my signature quilt put up on my pin wall. They lack the sashing and the borders, but what fun to see a flower garden of my friends!

Mistake on block

Whoops.  I had to fix one of them.  Mind you, that block has been like that for nearly eight years, and I’m just now noticing it. What’s fun about working with signature blocks is that you think about the person who’s name you are holding.  Kendy would have a fit if her block were wrong, as she was always perfectly put together and perfectly modulated in all comportment.  (Look it up–I kid you not.)

Tracing Toni's NameI had one more signature that I had to get, and I couldn’t just contact her and get it lickety-split (more on Toni in a later post).  So I found her Christmas card from a few years back, enlarged her signature and traced it onto a prepared fabric square (a square of fabric that had freezer paper ironed to the back of it).

Toni's Block

Toni’s square, all bordered in greens.  She would be pleased.

Often at Christmas, all the relatives gather, or we go to their houses.  If you want to start a signature quilt, have a stack of squares ready for them to sign.  Choose a block with a wide open space for writing, and a simple frame for that signature.  Then cut the center square about an inch larger than you’ll need it, back it with freezer paper.  I drew the 4″ center square directly onto the freezer paper, so that it would show through and give people an idea of their boundaries.

I used a Micron .05 pen for people to sign their names.  Those who I couldn’t get (who lived too far away), I sent the block to them and had them write their name lightly, but legibly with pencil, and then I traced it in the Micron pen when it came back to me (I included a SASE so the blocks would come back).  I only had one that never returned to me, but then that woman get could get her dander up quickly, and she carried a grudge longer than anyone I’ve ever seen.  She was still wonderful to me, though, and I loved her.  I’m sorry she didn’t return the square.

Yes, all this quilt is women.  Relatives, friends, mentors, and the latest batch of my granddaughters.  At some point, I realized I had to cut off the additions, otherwise it would never be done.  So, with the exception of my granddaughters, I stopped adding, even though there are still people who are important to me without their names on my quilt blocks.  I love looking at it.  I drop it at the quilter tomorrow, and since my granddaughters are coming for Christmas, she has promised to have it done by the 23rd.  (I’ve already made the binding!)

Why did I start this?  Because of Toni.  I’ll tell you more about Toni, and why she was the inspiration for this quilt in another post–probably after Christmas, after all the company’s gone home!

In Bed With a Bad Cold

cold and quilt

In Bed with a Bad Cold
by Pam Rupert

Posted without permission. (Pam, if you wish, I’ll remove it, but thanks for your great rendition!)

UrgentCareTree

And this was the Christmas Tree down at Urgent Care this morning (my second trip–I’m going to lick this yet!)

ToteBagClass

But I need to digress backwards and show off the three totes made in my Tote Bag class by three wonderful students.  They worked hard and all finished up.

Quilting Santa_1

I had taken some time this week to work on the quilting on my Santa quilt, and as always, How to Quilt This can really take over my mindset and stop me in my tracks.

So Fine Thread

I have had troubles free-motion quilting (FMQ) in the past, and have worked to figure it out.  I now have three different FMQ feet (the last one was the one that worked best), and am still experimenting with threads.  This one, So Fine by Superior Threads, is a dream, as is using their topstitch size 12 needles.  I purchased, and read, both of Diane Gaudynski’s books on quilting, which nudged a bit further along on this path. Both were helpful, but I don’t really see myself heading in her direction of teensy-weensy quilting decorated by gorgeous swooping feathers and lots of echo quilting.

Wide Open Spaces

This week, Judi Madsen’s book arrived, and this is more what I hope to quilt like.  I’m already behind because she has a huge quilting machine, so our techniques of moving the cloth and figuring out the quilting stitches will be different, of necessity.  But I found it really helpful in so many ways.  She also has a video up on YouTube which is also instructive.  So I quilted until the Bad Cold determined that I would not be quilting.

Quilting Santa_2

So the quilt is loosely folded up on my sewing room floor, waiting until I get better, get the Christmas tree decorated, the Christmas caramels made, the stack of research papers graded, the final given, the final graded. . .  But you know, Santa doesn’t come until the 24th of December, does he?  I doubt mine will arrive much before that either.  And somewhere in there we need to do a little bit of shopping.  Yessiree, it’s a bad time of year to be in bed with a bad cold.

Ay-Yi-Yi! It’s Christmas!

Nutcrackers

Well, that tune is playing right now on the iTunes list, and it’s true–no presents yet.  But we’ve started setting out my husband’s nutcracker collection, and pretending that Christmas isn’t 22 DAYS AWAY!!

Quilt Doodles

So in order to really tackle that list of Christmas jobs, I got right to work doodling some quilting ideas on my Santa Quilt mock-ups.  I set the intensity to 50% and print them out, then doodle away.  It’s my map, because I don’t feel uber-confident in the FMQ Skills Department.

SantasVillage Center Quilt

I should be joining the crazies at the Mall, but instead I’m listening to Christmas Carols, working on my Santa–my main work in progress.  Besides, the Christmas cards.  And getting the tree.  And cleaning up the house. . .

Like I said: Ay-Yi-Yi, It’s Christmas!!

WIP on

Linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced Fabrics.  Today it is hosted by Cindy Lammon from Hyacinth Quilt Designs.