My mother and I adore decorating for the holidays, and we send each other new Christmas decorations most years, specially timed so that they arrive in the mail right about the day after Thanksgiving. (Because it’s silly to give a Christmas decoration to someone to open ON Christmas–it just gets packed up the next day and you don’t get to use it for almost an entire year!) My decoration theme is gingerbread men and woodsy greenery, and her decorating theme FOR YEARS has been snowmen.
But a few years ago she decided she was done with snowmen, and that she wanted to instead decorate with nutcrackers.
Last spring (think 2016) the fabulous “Nutcracker Christmas” fabric collection by Riley Blake came out, and the first time I saw it I thought, “Oh my goodness, that would be perfect for my mom!” But money was tight, and it was softball season and I had no time to make anything anyway, so I told myself I’d revisit the idea at a later date. Softball season came and went, and I kept catching glances of the collection and thinking every time that it really would be just perfect, but everything was working against me to buy the fabric. But the pressure to make something with it kept hounding me.
Finally, one evening in July after having seen a whole bunch of mentions of the collection throughout the day, I had enough. I was saying my evening prayers and I was so weighed down by thoughts of this fabric collection and really frustrated, so I decided to just be straight with God about my dilemma. I told Him that I felt like He wanted me to make a nutcracker quilt for my mom for whatever reason, but that I just could not make the financial aspect of getting the fabric to work out, and if He really wanted me to make the quilt, then He needed to figure out how to get the fabric to me for free. I was instantly washed over with a feeling of relief, and, thinking that the matter was settled and I was freed from the obligation, I crawled into bed, sighing with gratitude that I wouldn’t have to worry about the nutcracker quilt anymore.
The next day was quilt guild, and I set out for my meeting with a peaceful heart, settled into my seat on the front row, and chatted with my friends while waiting for the meeting to begin. A member of my guild, Shannon, asked if she could make an announcement. She walked up to the front of the room carrying a large basket and said that she had lots of scraps leftover from some quilts she’d made and that we could have anything we wanted that was in the basket.
Guess what was sitting on the very top of the pile? Yep, a bundle of Nutcracker Christmas fabric. I looked up at the ceiling and shook my head in humbled amazement.
Upon getting home, I measured the fabric in the bundle and I had roughly a fat eighth of every print in the collection, plus about a yard of all three colors of the border print. That’s A LOT of fabric to get for free!
I decided to use the fabric with the “Mosaic” pattern found in Fat Quarter Style, and that I wanted to fussy cut the border fabric for the Christmas trees, gifts, and individual nutcrackers, using the rest of the fabric to fill in the mosaic blocks.
I chose to use Kona “Snow” for the borders and sashing, and ordered some more of my favorite print for the back.
Utah Valley Quilting did the quilting; it’s “Christmas Pano 2009 SD,” using a light mint/seafoam-colored thread. I went into the shop thinking white thread, but Kerri, the shop owner, talked me into a little bit of color and I’m so glad I listened to her! The quilting really pops on this quilt!
Last, but not least, the binding is made up of leftovers of the diamond section of the border print fabrics.
I apologize for the photos–in my haste to make sure that the quilt got to my mom on the day after Thanksgiving, I rushed it to the post office and forgot to do a photo shoot! “Draped over chair in living room so I could show the binding to my best friend in a Google Hangouts photo” is all I have of it in its completed state. At least there’s that, right?
I love how this quilt turned out, down to its cute little quilt label! My mom phoned me half an hour after opening the box, apologizing that it took so long to contact me because she’d “been staring at it for twenty minutes” before remembering to give me a call. She’s extremely pleased with her gift, and even more so after I told her the backstory of how this quilt came into existence. Perhaps she just needed a reminder that God loves her? It was fun to let Him work through me. This has been a Christmas gift for both my mother and myself.