Sunday, August 27, 2017

Four Months Until Christmas, People!

When it comes to Christmas decorating, I’m all about the tree. It’s the tree that sets the tone in our house, and I try to keep it lit as much as I can when I’m at home.

I thought that tree satisfied all my holiday-decorating needs, and then I saw Amy Smart’s (Diary of a Quilter) modern Christmas tree quilt block tutorial. It’s quick, easy, and super cute. Soon after its debut, in December 2015, I started setting aside red and green fabrics for my own rendition of Amy’s block, but it took an Instagram quilt-along in the past few months to get me cutting and sewing.

This block is all sorts of fabulous. It produces little waste and is a good way to work through red and green stash. You can get three 8½” squares and the background fabric for the trunk from one quarter yard of fabric (fat or skinny); you can get four 8½” squares and the background fabric for the trunk from a third of a yard. (Those figures presume your width-of-fabric measurement is 40” to 42”. If your fabric is even a little bit wider, you can likely squeeze out another 8½” square.)

Amy’s post offers some good insight on picking fabrics. I took her advice and used some smaller-scale prints as well as some larger-scale ones. I also strove for variety in volume. (I’ll post more detailed pics once I finish the quilt!) The only fabric-related mishap I experienced was forgetting that any color is relative—it can change based on the colors that surround it! I originally slated a more orangey red for this quilt, which looked just fine against the cherry reds I was using. Once that orangey red was sewn up with the greens, though, it looked 100% orange and 100% ick. Those blocks won’t even make it to the back of the quilt. : ( 

I’m so pleased with this quilt, which will be staying here at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters, that I’ve started a fabric pull for a second Christmas tree quilt to gift to a friend. Instead of the cherry reds and grassy greens from my first quilt, I’m using pinky reds and yellow greens in my second. I can’t wait to see how the quilt turns out!

Are you into holiday quilts? I have Amy Friend’s (During Quiet Time) Baker’s Dozen quilt at the ready, and I own Pretty in Patchwork: Holidays. And I have written a few holiday tutorials, like my Tree Is Trimmed mini quilt and my Gift Bag for Beer Lovers. If there is a holiday quilting project on your to-do list, I would love to hear about it!

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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hooray, I Made a Runner!

Have you encountered one of those quilt patterns that you can’t shake? It could be a matter of days or, in my case, years, but it’s something you have to make? That was my experience with this table runner, discovered on Flickr years ago. It’s fairly simple, not bucket-list-worthy, yet I knew I needed one of my own.

Well, I made it—hooray! And not a moment too soon. The sideboard in my dining room has been sporting a Christmas runner my mom made. (I’d like to say that I put it out early, for Christmas 2017, but we both know that’s not true.)

I am pleased to present the non-Christmas runner
I made for my dining room.

I had a layer cake of French General’s Petite Prints Deux on hand and toned down the fabric’s bright salmon and berry with some Essex Linen in flax and some burgundies from my scrap bin.

Everything was looking rather traditional for my taste, so I bound the project with Kona Pewter, to give it a little something. My internal monologue throughout the binding process told me to stop. I would hate the gray binding and have a lot of “unsewing” to do! Once I saw the runner on the sideboard, though, with a silver-framed mirror above it and silver knobs below it, I knew I made the right decision.

Kona Pewter did not disappoint!

Technically, this runner is finished. However, when I set it out on my sideboard, I was faced with some unsightly waviness. It won’t lie flat. I’m currently debating what to do to remedy the situation. I’ve blocked projects in the past, but I’ve always done so before they were bound. And since this runner is decorative—I had no intention of putting food on it or washing it—I let it slip that some of the fabrics were prewashed and others weren’t. Actually, one of the fabrics I prewashed for this quilt project and it bled so badly that I omitted it from that quilt but included it here.

Ack! I’ll let you know what I decide to do.

The waviness that plagues my otherwise lovely runner.

To make your own lovely table runner, see this block tutorial from Don’t Call Me Betsy. To share your words of wisdom regarding the waviness, comment below. : )

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