My first blog post for 2021 covered all the December 2020 fun, yet here I am still working on Christmas. The “Vintage Christmas Quilt” book by Lori Holt is one that will keep me busy for a while longer. Just over a year ago, my blogging friend Carole posted a suggestion to have a “quilt along” (https://frommycarolinahome.com/2019/12/19/christmas-past-and-presents/ ), and I ordered the book by Lori Holt. I got out the fabrics I wanted to use, made the decision to do some pre-washing and got started. Over the course of 2020 I shared my project updates. I am working on the 12″ blocks, and last month finished the 12 that Carole had suggested in the quilt along. She turned hers into placemats, but I decided I wanted a quilt and needed more blocks. I have gone back through the book and picked out a few more blocks to work on.
On Tuesday this week, Carole hosted a “zoom retreat” for fellow bloggers and having “virtually attended” two others in December, I knew I would log in and enjoy some much needed conversation with others while I sewed.
In order to be productive for a zoom retreat, I got prepared, just like I would going to an “in person” retreat. I precut all the pieces for four of the Vintage Christmas block, got them labeled by using pins and paper with the piece “letter” and with the sizes. I know that Lori Holt and the Fat Quarter shop sell piece ‘markers’ but I like my method, as I write the quantity of pieces and the size along with the letter.
I have made piece markers with pins and beads 5 years ago and shared a blog post about it – https://stitchinggrandma.wordpress.com/2015/03/20/one-block-wonder-row-marking-pins-finished/
When I made the marking pins, I intended them specifically for one block wonders. I have found myself using them when ever I have a big quilt on the design wall and am ready to “start the assembly”, as it can be tricky keeping your blocks in order. If you flip back to that blog post, you will see that I store them in a small pencil box, grouped in chunks of foam by alphabet, to make it easier to use them. I decided that I wanted “another set” with just letters for the Christmas quilt. I gathered up my materials (pins, beads and E6000 glue) and quickly made two sets, A-Z. I had an extra pair of hands working with me, and I think my hubby enjoyed helping. I wanted 2 sets because I can see myself cutting again for 2 blocks at a time. I may “make more” in the future. One reason I wanted the A-Z pins was while working on the blocks for the Vintage Christmas Quilt, I found myself taking my paper note off the pieces and losing track with so many small parts. This way, the pin will help me remember (I hope).
Because the E6000 glue takes 24 hours to harden off, I didn’t get to use these on Tuesday, but I am “ready to go” for my next group of blocks.
I bagged up the pieces for each block and put them aside for stitching in my block caddy. I have kept all my fabrics in a bin that I am using for this quilt which makes it easy to pull for additional blocks. On this occasion, I needed the addition of more blue background fabric and another white; so I got into my stash of fat quarters and yardage.
During the zoom retreat, I got 3 blocks done, though I did spend an extra hour working to finish the 3rd block. The first block I worked on with the Gingerbread man block. The pattern called for you to add the rick rack trim during the assembly, so the ends would be caught up in the seam allowance. I added a bit of cut away stabilizer behind the area of the block where I was top stitching the trim.
I chose to use the green snowflake fabric for my gingerbread man, because I couldn’t decide on a brown fabric that “felt right”. So, my gingerbread man is “frosted”.
My next block was the Snowman block, which turned out to be one of the easiest blocks in the entire book. Lots fewer pieces, much larger pieces, and super simple construction.
The final block for the day was the Manger block. For this block I knew I wanted a brown fabric that looked like wood, and I had several yards. I only needed to cut a strip off of the yardage for this block. I also wanted a blue background, but didn’t have enough left from the snowman block, so I pulled another blue from my fat quarter boxes. The block was very time consuming, and I engaged my seam ripper a couple of times. My fabric choice for the face of Jesus is a tan that had a print on it, and I used the “back side” of the fabric to get a bit darker tan.
I like being able to use my own fabric choices for this project, and quite a bit of them are “vintage” pieces from my “inherited” stash. My buddy that lives in assisted living likes the idea that I am “using up” her fabrics.
My fourth block is “bagged and tagged” for the next time I have a couple of hours to sew. Picture below is the first 12 blocks, and I will be “rearranging” as I finish more, to spread out the various blues and different fabrics. Many of these blocks require some “embellishment” and I am going to have to break down and teach myself how to “hand embroider” and decide at what point I want to add the button trims too.
A friend of mine asked “how big” is this quilt going to be, and I haven’t decided quite yet. I have a couple of ideas for setting once I get “all” the blocks made that interest me.
What are you working on this week? Are you doing any Zoom get-togethers with other quilters or friends? I had a great time and was happy to be invited by Carole – From My Carolina home, and to meet “virtually” other bloggers who are “regulars” on her comment page. If you are looking for interesting bloggers to follow let me suggest from this list –
Carole – https://frommycarolinahome.com/
Mary Ellen – https://mefutch.wordpress.com/
Brenda – https://songbirddesigns.biz/blog
Emily – thedarlingdogwood.blogspot.com
I’m sure you will find some very interesting posts! Happy stitching!