Thursday, October 8, 2009

Christmas is Coming -- Hurry and Make That Special Christmas Quilt!

Christmas is heading our way.  I can hear its footsteps on the path. So, while the holidays approach, here are a few ideas I gathered together for inspiration, patterns or information – or, just for fun.

Ann Fahl has a fun line of patterns. I particularly like her Color Mews cat pattern. But for the holidays, nothing says Christmas like Ginko! This is a super quick pattern using fused applique and some stylized cloth or a little fabric paint.

Ever since seeing my first arpillera quilt, I've been fascinated by the expertise and patience and imagination they incorporate.

Anytime of year is the right time for  arpillera art, but especially appropriate during these magical holidays. It has such a fantastic history as well as appeal. Here’s one design specifically to celebrate the holiness of Christmas.

Penny Halpern offers some suggestions for making a Christmas or holiday art quilt. She suggests photo transfer, appliqué, or geometric representational shapes (triangle for evergreen tree and small square or rectangle for the trunk) on either one large square or smaller squares incorporated into one larger quilt.

Her suggestions brought to mind a wallhanging I made wayyyyy back in the day when wall stenciling was the rave in home decorating. I found some of those stencils people used when decorating windows with decorative snow and used them to apply stencil paints, probably acrylics or maybe leftover paint-by-number paints to muslin squares. I then divided the squares with a border and it looked like a window. I should have added a bit of snow and maybe a scene behind it with a cardinal in the background. I’ll have to work with an update on that project. It was fun and fast and – hey, come to think of it – that was my first ‘playing with paint’ experience! It's been in my blood all this time and I didn’t realize it.

The idea of a Christmas Hawaiian quilt surprised me – in a good way – but I think that says more about my lack of imagination than anything. This collection of smaller blocks – poho poho – which means ‘patched’ offers some holiday images, but truthfully any of the Hawaiian motifs done in Christmas fabrics or colors would work fine for me. I particularly like the red star motif pictured here. And using fused applique makes this a quick project.

Another thought! I have this marvelous book “Grandma’s Magic Scissors” that has some of the most delightful patterns and ideas for paper cutting. Those would also make excellent stencils or Hawaiian style motifs for a poho poho wall hanging. Or perhaps do some freehand snowflakes in varying sizes and applique them to background, not necessarily in blocks, but randomly -- like a snow storm.

Leaping from the islands into child's play -- remember those viewers we could peek inside and turn it and we'd get the most amazing colorful designs? Why not make it into a quilt with a Christmas or holiday theme?  Kaleidoscope squares. They are fascinating to view and even more fun to make! This one I found on the site Hand Dyed by Lori.

Of course Christmas colors can vary. Red and green may be traditional but blues and grays shout ‘Winter!’ Nothing cooler and more inviting than this lovely Bloom Creek design, Indigo Star, from Connecting Threads.

And check out the logo for the Inchie Swap in the column to the right of this blog entry. Deadline has been moved to November, so there's still time to join the swap. Nadine Ruggles has provided an easy to follow tutorial for making inchie ornament. Click on the logo to go to the guidelines and tutorial. It looks like a quick, creative project that you can make in plenty of time for Christmas!

Yep, even in October, Christmas is in the air. In my hot little house in Florida where we see palm tree Christmas trees decorated with lighted flamingos, and Santa wears a Hawaiian shirt and drinks fro-fro drinks with umbrellas stuck in them. Whatever your impression of the holidays -- make it in fabric! Happy stitching. -- Dawn


lucy said...

They look so good! i'm just wondering if i will have the time? I have actually just bought them some new bamboo fabrics, made from bamboo plant, so soft and lovely. I've been looking for some inspiration of what to do with the fabric. I have never made something on the scale of a quilt. How long would the tree one take?

Dawn said...

Hi Lucy,

Glad you're enjoying the Christmas projects. I'm sooo in the holiday spirit, gotta find my Christmas music CDs. :)

As for how long to make the Ginko tree.... I suppose that depends. If you back the ginko leaves (clam shell pattern) with mistyfuse or something like that adhered to the back of your fabric so you can just press them on rather than applique or stitch, it should go quickly. I can see this being a weekend project. And again, it depends on how big you make it, whether you add decorative stitches or machine or hand quilt it, etc. I thought it looked quite doable for even me to get it made before the holidays. :)


Anonymous said...

The Penny Halpern Nativity scene is almost identical to one that was purchased for me by my sister in Peru in 2006. It is so pretty that I leave it up all year long.

Dawn said...

Sorry if the photo placement is misleading. The photo beside her name is not associated with her work. The photo refers to the previous entry for arpillera.


Anonymous said...

In the name of our Peruvian arpillera art quilt artists, thank you for including their work (Nativity arpillera) in your blog! Alessandra

Dawn said...

It is my pleasure. The arpillera has fascinated me from the first glance! Perhaps you or one of your artists would like to write a blog about arpilleras?