Use both sides of Christmas scraps to add a Little Joy to your gifts!
I think every stitcher has a Christmas stash. You might have leftover fabric from a quilt, stockings, or napkins. Personally, I don’t keep a lot of Christmas stash, just two cubbies (!). However, you don’t need much to add a little joy to your gift decorating.
About a year ago today, I was part of my local quilt shop’s Christmas Open House. See the sample gift bag with Little Joy. Download the free pdf (further below) on gift bags using your Christmas scraps. Consider adding Little Joy to craft paper covered boxes as well.
This mini pattern mimics the JOY and Joyful quilt patterns which both use the large template of JOY.
You can see that the tree is made with the front side of a Christmas motif and the gifts under the tree are made from the reverse.
Like all my patterns, it requires auditioning BOTH sides of fabric to test their values. You’ll want to see the tree first, then notice the gifts under the branches. In the quilt patterns, you’ll also audition your background fabrics and try to pull a fun variety of fabric styles together to give the quilt an added interest.
Of course, for your gifts, just choose a surface with the contrast you desire. If you choose blue bags and have blue fabric, your design will be subtle. Use white bags for a high contrast.
It’s just a simple and fun way to use up some fabric scraps and get a little playtime in!
Christmas (Quilts) in July? Yes, it’s a thing! Ours is a craft that requires lead time!
Let’s think of happy days ahead, with family and friends and gifts of joy and comfort. I love the idea of combining two of my favorite things: Christmas and quilts. I hope you’ll enjoy this month to contrast our lovely, warm summer with a taste of the crisp winter to come.
Noelle is quilted wall hanging pattern of a cute little pair of ice skates (like you might hang on your front door at Christmas time) with beautiful bouquets of winter flowers spilling out their tops. Her background is snowy white (scrappy) with fun winter-y accent fabrics. Like most #usebothsides quilt patterns, this one is fast and easy!
Go check your stash! I bet you have a Christmas floral in there, just aging for the right quilt! You’ll use your focus fabric for the skates (reverse), bouquets, and the binding!
Years ago I made myself a Christmas jumper out of this beautiful poinsettia fabric. I couldn’t bear to part with that jumper because I loved the fabric. I cut it apart and will use it as my focus fabric in my ice skates quilt!
Next pull out your winter motif fabrics! Just five fabrics and two accent strips make up the background. Super fast!
With the Noelle quilt pattern, you’ll learn how to audition both sides of fabrics to pick just the right focus and background fabrics.
The technique for making your bouquets is what I like to call Modern Broderie Perse. (Click HERE for more information about Broderie Perse.) Basically, it’s fusible applique while using your fabric motif as your cutting guide! See, it is fast and easy! And if your fabric has bonus motifs, like pine cones or birds, you can add those to your masterpiece! Quilters at workshops and classes seem to have the best time arranging their bouquets!
The best part is, once you make Noelle, you’ll know the technique for making all the broderie perse #usebothsides patterns!
At our annual Kiefner Christmas gathering (the Sunday before Christmas), we load up in our trucks and head out to a field at the family farm. This year I spotted a Wild Goose Chase at Kiefner Christmas.
After bringing in our food and drink to share, the afternoon begins in the field. Two of my brother-in-laws cut down the chosen tree and we snap precious family photos.
Back at the house, the grandkids decorate the freshly cut tree and then we join around the dining table to sing carols. Afterward we enjoy a gift exchange, hot soup and goodies, and lots of visiting.
In a quiet moment, I noticed my mother-in-law had placed a vintage quilt around the base of the tree. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect setting for the lovely work, obviously done by hand, long ago.
Seeing the quilt made me wonder how many quilters around the world had made quilts as Christmas gifts, wrapped them and placed them under a tree for a loved ones to open.
This blue and white quilt was a Wild Goose Chase pattern, as best I could tell without disturbing it’s placement. It was gifted to my mother-in-law from her brother, having belonged to his wife.
The “Wild Goose Chase” quilt block is said to have been named after families heading west in search of fortune. It is also called “Flying Geese” and “Oddfellows Cross”.
Perhaps unintentional, my mother-in-law’s choice of quilt to wrap around the tree had an extra meaning for me. You see, each year any new-comers to the Kiefner Christmas are required to star in the roles of the “Geese a Layin'” in our “Twelve Days of Christmas” (with motions) carol. There is a year-long quest for new geese and perhaps a bit of exaggerated drama about the role they are to play, just to make them nervous and have a little fun.
When this post was originally published (2019), I didn’t know that this Kiefner “Christmas at the Farm” would be our last with Pop. He absolutely loved the annual gathering and having everyone around. Pop especially loved the caroling led on the piano by his loving wife.
Each year, prior to singing our last of about 10 carols, “The Twelve Days of Christmas”, Pop would read to us all the origin of the song and the true meaning of the words. In recent years, he’d choose a different grandchild each year to read the words for him. Read about how the song was used by Roman Catholics as a catechism when they weren’t allowed to freely practice their religion HERE.
Then came the fun. He’d gather the “geese” near him and explain their task to sufficiently perform the role of a “goose-a-layin'”. Even with limited movement, Pop would gleefully take proper goose-squatting position and demonstrate the role. The geese had to show they could perform their role before the singing began. (Pop had been known to stop the song and make the goose squat lower!)
So after we reviewed the rest of the motions, we’d join in singing and laughing through the long carol.
Do you make Christmas quilts for gifts or do you decorate with quilt? Are quilts a part of your Christmas traditions?
Wishing you a wonderful time with family and friends this Christmas season.
Choosing colors for quilts doesn’t have to be difficult but it might not be simple, either!
If you like to play it safe, are in a time crunch, or have run across a line of fabrics you adore, choosing fabric and colors for your next quilt can be a simple, quick process.
I find that every now and then, I want to do that – grab a kit and make it up, quick as possible.
Sometimes, though, I like to have a longer process for choosing my quilt colors and fabrics (including value, hues, tints, size of prints, types of fabrics, etc.) If you like to have more than one quilting iron in the fire like me, maybe you do this, too!
There are two concepts I always go back to when choosing fabric for a new quilt: Color in Nature and Value.
Color: Nature just doesn’t get it wrong. Start observing natural settings, plants, animals, bugs, everything around you. Take pictures are start collecting things for idea boards, whether it’s on your phone or computer folder or actual items pinned on a board.
Value: Nature also doesn’t get value wrong. Winter is the best time to collect ideas about how nature uses value. Some of the most peaceful quilt settings take on the natural values often found outside in winter.
I challenge you to look around you today and collect some fabulous fabric ideas from the nature around you!
SHOP for “Holly” and all “UseBOTHsides” Patterns HERE!
Christmas traditions abound. It is a season filled with activities we do over and over. Traditional Christmas colors are a big part of that tradition. It’s the things you do every year, without fail. Like rules, you don’t mess with tradition!
But families change. Kids grow up. Christmas traditions (including colors) do change.
What do traditional Christmas colors have to do with quilting?
I always took pride in our Christmas traditions from decorations to cookies. We listened to certain music and watched specific Christmas movies. We always baked the same cookie recipes. I actually used to think I had to use every decoration we owned each year.
Well, a few years back, aqua became the new Christmas color…wait, what? That’s not even one of the traditional Christmas colors!
It took me a moment…but only a moment, to embrace that idea. I threw that red and green tradition (rule) out the window!
(To be fair, aqua happens to be my favorite color.)
Therefore, I stopped using my quilts of traditional Christmas colors of red and green anymore. As quilters, you’ll understand, I had to make new ones with all the pretty blues!
I think a lot of people embraced the blue Christmas – for one or two seasons. However, for me it was a NEW tradition!
In other words, I found that my comforting traditions were holding me back. Similarly, the rules I’d embraced as a quilter were doing the same.
For example, last year I realized that the beloved tradition I’d started at our old house of making St. Lucia Bread, hadn’t risen properly one time at our new house – ten years in a row!(I’d tried all the yeast tricks, too.)
I made the original “JOY” quilt pattern using a vintage ornament fabric that was very classic Christmas colors. Therefore, in a need to show how a variety of fabrics could be used for this pattern, I stitched this new JOY – using both beautiful sides of a digital aqua Hoffman panel!
Fast forward to grown kids, job schedules, tight budgets, and limited time together. We changed Christmas traditions this year. We are brainstorming about how to make our time fun and meaningful. What’s interesting is that the more we talk about setting aside our old traditions (rules), the more creative we have become in our brainstorming. A weight was lifted.
Seriously, how is this post about quilting?
Now, when I first started quilting, I was all about the rules (traditions). I wanted to learn every single one of them. Some were paramount to good technique and skill-building and very important. Others were just plain silly. I heard a quilter say one day, “Rules are meant to be broken”.
It was then I realized I had ingested each one of those rules. I realized that some rules (traditions) were limiting my joy for quilting and my creativity for fear of breaking them.
Therefore, I’ve noticed now that I watch for the rule-breakers in quilting. Their work excites and inspires me, regardless if the technique is traditional or contemporary.
If you know me personally, you know I embrace tradition. If you are familiar with Lutherans, I am a “page 5 of the old, OLD hymnal” kind of gal!
So, don’t let your need for traditions RULE your world…whether it’s Christmas or quilting.
In conclusion: This 2020 Christmas Traditions update shows that I still love aqua – but now I include red! Here is the NEW pattern, JOYFUL! See how her borders sparkle? #usebothsides
I wanted to make a little Christmas gift out of our dad’s shirts for my sister. I couldn’t come up with ideas, so picking the brains of my Lady of the Lake (LOL) quilting buddies proved quite helpful!
Sitting around the table, we ran the gamut of ideas…a bear, a quilted Santa, an apron, a journal cover…whatever I could make from my dad’s old shirts – but it needed to be just right. One friend suggested framing a pieced/ quilted shirt quilt – she was on to something. It often takes a period of mulling…or percolating for me to round out an idea…instead of a frame, make it a shadow box… and add vinyl lettering to the inside of the glass…
I have to say, this little piece came out sweeter than I expected!
It’s not a big, fabulous quilt, but I really like how it turned out- and hope to one day make for myself one day–or maybe the gift to me was the cutting, stitching, and remembering that came with making this for my sister.
I used small amounts three different shirts. Once quilted and trimmed, I glued the quilt to the back of the box. Using Scan N Cut (click HERE for more info.), I added our dad’s name in vinyl to the inside of the glass (remember to reverse the lettering). I penned a short message on the back of the box with a Sharpie.
Do you gift your quilting for Christmas? How do you find ideas?
Please share in the comments below.
But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. Galations 4:4-5
Pepita is the name of a new #usebothsides quilt pattern AND the little girl in the legend of the poinsettia.
Pepita was a poor Mexican girl who had no gift to present to the Christ Child on Christmas Eve. The story goes that as she and her cousin Pedro walked to church, he tried to console her by saying, “Pepita, I am certain even the most humble gift, given in love, will be acceptable in His eyes.” Pepita gathered up a bouquet of weeds from the roadside to give as her gift. Her spirits lifted as she entered the chapel and approached the alter. She laid the weeds at the feet of the Christ Child. Suddenly, Pepita’s common weeds burst into brilliant red blooms! This was considered a miraculous event and was named the Flores de Noche Buena (Flowers of the Holy Night).
Today we call these flowers poinsettias, after Dr. Joel Poinsett, the first ambassador to Mexico, who first brought the bright red star-shaped flower to the United States.
Pepita is made using both sides of one poinsettia focus fabric on a scrappy, fun background.
You can use your neutrals and accents strips from your stash to make this easy quilt. It’s great for gifting because the fast technique and stunning look!
I used to avoid poinsettias plants because I thought they were poisonous for pets. In my research about them, I’ve learned they are only mildly toxic, causing a stomach upset if ingested. But if you are concerned, make up this beauty and you can have poinsettias in your Christmas décor every year!
Pepita Quilted Wall Hanging
Click HERE to see other Colorful Petals series quilts!