Finished: Yuletide Botanica Orange Peel Quilt

Another Christmas quilt is complete! I’m really excited for this beautiful project to be out and usable!

The details:
Pattern: Orange Peel Quilt from Missouri Star Quilt Company
When I received this fabric from Blank Quilting last year, I didn’t want to cut it up too much because the prints were gorgeous, and, lucky me, I had picked up a MSQC Orange Peel template for 10″ squares from the freebie table at my last quilt guild meeting, so I decided to go forward with a super-sized orange peel quilt.
Fabric Collection: “Yuletide Botanica,” by Camelia’s Creation Studio for Blank Quilting, sent to me during my ambassador days in April/May 2020.
Background Fabric: A green with white polka dot print from American Jane’s “Bread ‘n Butter” collection, #21697-19. (Some of you may remember that I made a baby quilt from that collection a few years ago, and a tiny scrap of it was on the floor of my craft room when I received the Yuletide Botanica collection. I picked up the polka dot scrap and set it on the cutting table, and noticed that it paired nicely with the Yuletide Botanica collection. So I did some online shopping and got more. What a complete freak accident of happy circumstances.)
Backing Fabric: A green and white gingham flannel whose selvage disappeared somewhere. This quilt lived on on the TV room couch for a few days and every kid made a beeline for it because they love, love, love the flannel on the back. I’ve been informed that all future quilts should absolutely be backed with flannel.
Quilting: Aurifil 28wt & 50wt in color #2000 “Sand.” I quilted all the straight block lines, and then straight diagonal lines through the centers of the orange peels/footballs. It bugs me that I’m not doing more quilting, but my husband was using the last quilt I finished and he commented that he liked it better than most of my quilts because it was “floppy and not as stiff as the other quilts.” Sooo…I guess it’s fine?
Dates: I pieced this during May of 2020, and quilted/finished it in November 2021.

A funny note about this quilt that is totally a symptom of its times: The pattern has you use interfacing for constructing the orange peels/footballs, and I used medium-ish weight interfacing in this quilt, and realized I’d need to use a heavier weight quilting thread to make sure the quilting could withstand the extra weight of the beefier interfacing. After a few days of mentally berating Past Cara for choosing to go with the heavier interfacing and all the potential problems it could now cause, I finally remembered why I went with the heavier interfacing: I couldn’t find sheer or lightweight interfacing because it was sold out everywhere because people were making masks with it.

I’m making sure to note on quilt labels if they were made during Quarantine, because my historian heart adores facts like that. (I basically make quilt labels for my great grandchildren to read someday.)

This quilt will live on Em’s bed during the holiday season, and seeing how they’re graduating high school this spring, it will welcome them home from college for Christmas Break over the next few years, and that just makes my mother’s heart ache a bit. Hopefully it will be soothing sight.

Finished: Fresh Cut Pines Quilt

You guys, I finished a thing! Like, completely finished it all on my own! I made a plan to finish a thing and it WORKED. No crazy injury to derail the plans, no pie-in-the-sky wishful scheduling that was impossible to maintain…just realistic, practical planning and showing up to do the work and it made me actually finish a thing. That is a big freakin’ deal to me because finishing things has not been something I’ve excelled at for the past year.

And it’s a Christmas quilt! For my kid! And he loves it! And it’s for Christmas! I love Christmas quilts! I finished a Christmas thing!

The details:
Pattern: “Fresh Cut Pines” from the book, Winter Wonderland, by Sherri Falls of This and That Patterns.
Fabric Collection: “December Magic,” by Emma Leach for Blank Quilting (from my brand ambassador days), paired with some random greens from my stash.
Background Fabric: “Fog” Bella Solids by Moda
Backing Fabric: A fantastic one-inch red buffalo plaid 108″ wide backing made by Windham Fabrics, Style #51462
Quilting: Aurifil 40 wt in Natural White in the needle, and Aurifil 40 wt Red in the bobbin. I quilted straight vertical lines, 2.5″ apart. I now wish I’d done a little more, but I was nervous about quilting my first twin-size quilt and wanted to keep it super simple.
Dates: I pieced this during May & June of 2020 and quilted it this November.

I’ve mentioned before that it is my dream to someday have a Christmas quilt on every bed in my house during the holiday season, and this is the first such quilt towards making that dream a reality. I am extremely, extremely pleased with its completion!

Sew little time…

Em & Renaissance with Nathaniel after his band concert! (Rachel was at her own rehearsal and had to miss it.)

Last week was a doozy! Nathaniel had his first band concert and Rachel was in four showings of our school district’s drama production, complete with rehearsals from 4:00-7:30 pm on the days leading up to the shows, and then she had to be at the theatre from 5:30-10:00 pm Thursday and Friday for their first two shows, and from 12:30-10:00 pm on Saturday because they did a matinee and evening show. I drove back and forth from the school 3-5 times each day! But she had a blast and it was a great show, and hey, that’s parenting.

Which meant not a lot of crafty times, but I did finish the Fresh Cut Pines quilt, label and all. I don’t have pictures of it yet because it’s been really rainy and a disc in my upper back went out Saturday morning, which incapacitated me for the entire weekend. Sigh. I have plans to take the quilt’s beauty shots over Thanksgiving Break while I have helpers available during the day.

I pulled out the Yuletide Botanica orange peel quilt this morning to start working on it, and after having a bit of a lazy crafter hesitation, decided to go forward with attaching a border because it will look better with a border, even though I didn’t want to take the time to do it. (And yes, I’m glad I did…it really does look better with the border…) I also basted this bad boy and now have the aching back to prove it. I’m hoping to get going on the quilting tomorrow, as long as everything goes as it should during the day.

I am so ready for the Thanksgiving holiday. Hopefully I don’t have to go anywhere Friday and Saturday so I can just plough through all my wonderful Christmas prep activities! I just want to be at home, sewing all the Christmas things!

Quilting the Fresh Cut Pines quilt

Alright, then, crafty friends, we’re at the end of the first week of reinstituting crafty goals and WOW did I get stuff done this week. All hail the power of setting goals!

I had to rip and re-sew on the top border of the Fresh Cut Pines quilt because I originally sewed it on upside down, and then it needed one more solid border all the way around. I basted the quilt sandwich on Tuesday, and would have started quilting it too, but the power went out at my kids’ school and I had to go pick them up and deal with the aftermath of all that.

So I started quilting it Thursday while my kids baked and giggled downstairs, and it was a great, warm and fuzzy kind of day. I’m shaking my head over how fast this quilting is going now that I finally just started doing it. You ever just psych yourself out about even starting a task? Quilting is one of those things for me. Sewing in sleeves is another. And then one day you just start doing the work and voila, you’re done in a fraction of the time that you thought it was going to take to do it all. Sigh. Oh, Anxiety, you relentless liar.

Nathaniel is really excited about his Christmas quilt! Despite telling him quite a few times that I’m making it for him, he keeps forgetting that it’s for him, so I’ve been able to witness him go through “initial” excitement over this quilt a number of times, which is very heartwarming. It’s going to look so great in his room during the Christmas season!

The secret knitting is coming along nicely as well. (I totally want to keep this project for myself.) I finished up the first half of the project and am starting work on the second half today. This project/gift should be done by the middle of next week, easy. Yay!

I’ve got more secret knitting to do after that, and I’m trying to decide if I use a stash yarn that…will suffice, or order new yarn that will elicit feelings of perfection. I’m leaning towards sufficing because I’m apparently super jazzed over finishing UFOs and using up stash right now, and it’s probably best to capitalize on that feeling. The new yarn I want to order will probably happen eventually anyway (like for next year’s version of this project), so it’s not like I’d miss out on that yarn in the long run. I’m strung out on the feeling of being responsible, y’all…it’s been a long time since I felt like I was on top of things and it’s nice to experience this again!

How are your holiday crafting goals coming along?

Crafty Goals: November 2021

I’m resurrecting the idea of monthly crafty goals because ever since I stopped making them, my crafting performance has plummeted. Let’s hope this little bit of effort gets me back on track. (Although, to be fair, the last couple of years have been kind of crazy and full of obstacles that massively hampered consistent ANYTHING.)

Alright friends, it’s November, and the Christmas bug is biting hard. For years I’ve outlawed Christmas sewing this late in the year because of how stressful it can be, but I’m throwing that out the window this year because…I’m a grown woman and I can do what I want.

With all the slowdowns in shipping happening, I made the decision to not wait for Black Friday sales to order my kids’ gifts, which meant I needed to access my gift list that I update throughout the year. Whenever a gift idea pops into my head, I just jot it down in my little gift app, and come holiday gifting season I have a ton of ideas. And, shocker, there’s a lot of handmade gift ideas on that list. Many of those handmade gifts are already in-progress but living in some “time-out” pile in a shadowy corner of the craft room.

Well…the more I read through my gift lists, the more I liked the idea of checking some of those projects off, which has stoked the fires of Mt. Mojo and has me pretty excited to start working on them again.

November’s list is big, but most of these things are almost done, so I’m hoping they’ll go quickly?

Fresh Cut Pines quilt: One of my Blank Quilting projects from last year, it just needs to be quilted and bound. I keep hoping that I can send out my quilts to be long-arm quilted, but they’ve now been sitting for over a year. That means it’s time to just suck it up and quilt them myself, even if it’s just straight line or serpentine quilting. Done is better than perfect. This is Nathaniel’s Christmas quilt for his bed, and I still haven’t made him a regular day-to-day quilt, so his Christmas quilt is the first on the list so that he can have some sort of quilt to his name!

Yuletide Botanica Orange Peel quilt: Another Blank Quilting project, needs borders, quilting and binding. This is Emms’ Christmas quilt, and seeing how the kid is a senior in high school, it’d be nice for them to have their Christmas quilt done before they graduate.

Some secret Christmas knitting: A little gift for a special someone, and that’s all I can tell you at the moment.

If I’m going to limit myself to “practical goals,” I think I can feasibly get those three done this month. However, we all know I like to plan big, so there is hope that I’ll…somehow…magically…also be able to finish:

Patchwork Forest quilt: aka The “Hipster Christmas Tree Quilt.” I can’t believe I made this two years ago. Remember life before COVID-19? Those were the days. Anyway, I was going to hand quilt this one, but I really disliked the process and ripped out the hand quilting. It’s got a beautifully thick Mammoth flannel backing that makes it an incredibly heavy quilt that I cannot wait to snuggle under…the quilting is going to have to be extremely simple on this one because it’s a beefy blanket! I think I added borders to it to make it twin-sized, but none of my kids has claimed it for their own. It might live on Renaissance’s or Rachel’s bed until I finish up their requested Christmas quilts. And if not, it will make an excellent living room quilt.

Sew Many Stars Christmas quilt: Remember how I designed a whole quilt along last year? Geez, I kept myself busy! (Probably too busy, though…hence the almost zero amount of quiltiness that happened this year…oi.) It needs quilting and binding, too.

So yeah, it’s a big list, and I’ve still got to be careful to not overdo stuff with my healing foot. I’ve got the Fresh Cut Pines quilt up on my quilt wall as I type, and I’m already lamenting the supremely simple quilting I’m going to have to do to get it done. BUT…I wanna use this quilt, and if I wait for perfect conditions to finally get it sent out, I’ll be waiting a long time. There will be time for better-looking quilting in the future, but there’s not a lot of years left with my kids being at home and it’s important to me for them to have Christmas quilts on their beds. I don’t know why, but it is. Straight-line quilting will accomplish that, and someday, when I have my own long-arm quilting machine, I’ll do fancier quilting and we’ll wax poetic about the early quilts and their simple quilting designs.

Onwards!

What are your crafty goals for November? Are you doing any holiday crafting, too? Let me know and we can cheer each other on!

Sleighbell Sampler Quilt

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Four and a half years ago, I began working on it.  I was just getting started in quilt-making, and absolutely fell in love with both this quilt and Farm Girl Vintage, so I threw caution to the wind and decided to join both of their quilt alongs.  I did great on sewing up the blocks, but when it came time to put the sashing and borders on them, I FROZE.  It took me years to finally break through that block, but I eventually did it and now I get to bask in the delight of a freshly-completed Christmas quilt draped across my favorite couch.  I love this quilt so much.

Pattern: Sleighbell Sampler, by Sherri Falls, from her “Winter Wonderland” pattern book.

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Fabric: “Holly’s Tree Farm,” by Sweetwater, “Jingle,” by Kate Spain, and a few scraps from the stash. The backing is flannel from Bonnie & Camille’s “Vintage Holiday” collection, and I cannot remember exactly what collection the binding came from, but there’s plenty of bias candy cane-striped fabrics out there to choose from these days, so you’ll be ok to find some if you need some.
(Also, can we start a petition to #bringbackhollystreefarm in the future, please?  Love that collection.)

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Quilting: I tried out a new quilter this time ’round, Ashley of Hen House Quilting, because she’s more local than my usual go-to.  I’ll definitely be using her again; she’s really sweet and very professional, and I only have good things to say about the experience of working with her.  She helped me pick out a beautiful snowflake quilting pattern that just goes beautifully with the quilt, and I love it so much!  Thank you, Ashley!

Modifications: None.

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Yay!  I have a goal of a Christmas quilt or blanket for every bed, couch, and armchair in our house, and this guy puts us at a total of five…only six more to go!  Ha ha.  (Hey, we all need goals to work towards, don’t be afraid of how big they are!)

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