Vintage Christmas Quilt-Along Update on Easter Sunday

Happy Easter everyone. I know it is an odd situation we are all stuck “at home” with COVID-19 stay at home orders, and are not being able to attend our churches for Easter Services. Ordinarily, I would be rushing around to get out the door to the 11 am service where I was to be the Communion Assistant.  Instead, I will sit and have my coffee, and in a little while, go to Reformation Lutheran Church Easter Service, on You Tube, where my pastors have recorded Easter service.   I invite you to join me and hope that the message of Easter will help you find peace in your heart.  Our two Pastors, Paige & Eric Evers have been doing church services and other messages on You Tube for the last month.  I can honestly say, that sitting and listening to their prayers, and hearing them read scripture , and yes, listening to the wonderful music has calmed my soul.  So, I invite you to my church, if only for a virtual visit. If you want to know more about the church, visit the church website – Reformation Lutheran Church, Milford DE  

As I was writing this post, I had to “come back to the top” and do some editing, when I realized I was writing about Christmas on Easter Sunday. Two very different celebrations in the Christian faith, yet connected.  So, as we celebrate the risen Lord today on Easter, we will also be looking forward to advent and Christmas this year and have the faith and the hope that life will return to our new normal state.

I often mentioned in my blog posts that I follow Carole on her blog “From My Carolina Home“.  Last year, before Christmas she asked on her blog one day if anyone might be interested in a Christmas Quilt – Quilt Along.  Using the pattern’s in the Vintage Christmas Quilt book, by Lori Holt, many readers are “stitching along” with Carole.

If you pop over to Carole’s blog, you can use the buttons on the side of the page or your can go directly to the Quilt Along info here – Vintage Christmas Quilt Along

Carole has links on her blog where you can order the book.  It is necessary for this quilt along.  The book is beautiful, with great instructions, and lots of choices on layouts, and has many many  blocks.  Carole picked twelve for this quilt-along, but you could certainly do more.

I’m  using very vintage fabric that I acquired from my dear friend who moved to assisted living  over 2 years ago.  ( I have all of her fabric at my house and am still sorting through it and organizing).

Vintage fabric for my Vintage Christmas Quilt

She had SO much Christmas Fabric and it was fun to go through her box, pulling things out that might work for this project.

I did my first two blocks in January, and realized when I was spritzing them with water and ironing that the red had run into the white, so I had to stop and wash ALL my fabric.  Some reconstructing was in order for those first two blocks too.  I am so glad I ordered a bottle of Retayne to put in the washer with the reds.  I plan to take the block with the candles and soak it with Retayne before it goes into the actual quilt.

Candle Block and Fresh Cut Tree block

Because I washed all the fabric, it was important with so many small pieces to use a lot of starch! I buy this stuff in a 4 pack at the warehouse store.  I press the washed fabric with steam, and after I cut my strips, I starch it very heavily.  (I don’t want starch on the fabric that is going back into the stash, so just steam for it!)

Small pieces need heavy starch

Here is my tip —  RUBBER BANDS on the spray starch can…..Gives me something to grip, as these cans are slick and often slide out of my hand.  When I empty the can, I just roll the rubber bands off and move to a new can.  All the washing and ironing of the Christmas stash slowed me down, and I didn’t get my February blocks done in February, or my March blocks done in March!

April brought some sunshine, and better weather and I was inspired to get caught  up! I realized I was now behind 4 blocks! Time to set aside the mask making and have some fun catching up.

Carole gave some good advice in her posts about the making of the blocks and I took her advice to stay organized.  I read a comment about covering up the column in the book for the size you are NOT making, So I used post it notes.  I am making the 12″ blocks and didn’t want to “get distracted” by the numbers for the smaller 6″ blocks.

Avoiding distraction doing 12" block

I used more post it notes on my pieces as I cut them out. In fact, when I got ready to cut for each block, I took a stack of post it notes, wrote on each one the piece letter, quantity, and size.  I left them in the book on the page and when I went to the cutting table, I laid out all the notes, and arranged them in the order I wanted to cut. I grouped them in sizes from large to small.

Organizing my cutting

With this group, I first cut one two inch strip.  Then I did the sub-cuts for the 2 x 5 1/2, and the three 2″ squares.  I set the remainder of the two inch strip aside, and cut a 1 1/2 ” strip, and did the sub cuts, starting with the 6 1/2, then the two 5 1/2 then the remaining eight 1 1/2 ” squares.  As each “unit” was cut, the post it note got pinned to the piece.  I used a little “deli” tray to lay my marked cut pieces in. When I got back to the sewing machine, I put them out on the desk and grouped them by color / element for the block.

Mitten block ready to sew

February and March came and went like a flash and I realized I was behind!  I got busy and made all 4 blocks last week!

The  Mitten Block with all those parts and pieces came together fairly easily. Keeping things in order and following the very specific step by step directions in the Vintage Christmas book is critical.

Mitten Block - Vintage Christmas Quilt

I had so much fun picking fabric for the various elements.  I loved this wide stripe for the roof and awning of the Gingerbread house. (The stripe is not vintage fabric).

Gingerbread house block

I like using similar fabrics in more than one block.  I used the door fabric in the Gingerbread house for the body of the bell.  My husband suggested cutting the stripe on an angle to give the bell some added interest. It’s busy, but fun.

Jingle Bell Vintage Christmas

When it came time to do the train, I showed hubby the block in the book, and he suggested finding a Santa to be the “engineer”.

Santa Train

It was so much fun picking out all the fabric to use in the various parts of each block.  My hubby works at his “train desk” doing repairs of things while I am sewing so I often consult with him on fabric selections. I think he enjoys being “consulted”.

Since Carole had given a list of all the blocks for the sew along, and I was on a roll with my blocks, I decided that I would “choose” which fabrics I would use for remaining six blocks.  I worked one block at a time, and have everything cut out and kitted up in zip lock bags for the next six blocks/3 months.  I was able to put the “rest of the Christmas fabric” away in it’s container, and my kits are ready to sew, in a project box, with the book.  The cutting is the most time consuming part, but I was on a roll with it; and it helped me make design decisions for all the future blocks by doing it over the span of a day.  While cutting I did the patterned holly fabric in a slightly larger print for 3 of the next 6 blocks, and I am using a variety of white on white.  I think it will have nice balance when all the blocks are done.  I was having so much fun cutting them, I thought about adding more blocks, and there are a lot of choices in the Vintage Christmas Quilt book to select from.

I left my finished 6 blocks up on the design wall for now.

6 Vintage Christmas Quilt blocks

Looking forward to the 4th Monday in April to see which blocks Carole decides to “sew-along”.  Her tips are great, and because l learn from the advice she has offered, I will patiently wait until then to sew the next two blocks. I have to say my “stitch & flip” corners have gotten better with each block!

Happy Easter everyone.



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