Every year, I make a quilt to donate to my mom's church Christmas craft sale. Usually I sweat through the summer months buried under batting and quilting cottons. Or I enjoy my summer and wait until the darkest nights of November and gut out the sewing, sweat-shop style. Here's my 2007 offering:
And the one I made in 2008:
And my favourite, from 2009, which I like to call "The Back Breaker." It's the first full-size one I did to give away:
This year's quilt is a first for me: I'm working with a partner. My mom, to be exact. Her friend Jean, a fantastic quilter, passed away this year, so Mom and I decided to make a tribute based on a quilt that hung in Jean's front hall. Here's our inspiration.
I dug up a version of the pattern in one of my favourite classic quilt books, The New Sampler Quilt by Diana Leone. I have to redraft Leone's loopier stems and leaves – I like mine traditional and graphic like Jean's – but I'm looking forward to the appliqué. I'm thinking freezer paper technique. Needle-turn is just a little fussy for my tastes. Lately, I've been working on my set-in seam skills on the triangles that go between the diamonds. I actually do them backwards – I start at the outside corner, then head in to the centre, where I pivot with the needle still in the seam. But, hey, it works for me. Sadly, life and other nuttiness have intervened this year, and I couldn't manage to pull a rabbit out of my hat and get this ready in time for the craft fair. (It's this weekend, so unless I come home to find an army of quilting gnomes hard at work, it's going to be my 2011 Christmas quilt.) Mom hasn't quilted in a number of years, and I've never done this type of hand-piecing, so imagine how excited we were when our first blocks actually turned out looking right. We were so pleased with ourselves that we took a portrait of us with our handiwork. Ta-da!
I hope your holiday crafting is going well. Here's to plenty of finished projects under the tree!