Friday, November 18, 2011

more tree skirt progress

My seven stars are pieced and ready to go, and I've cut my outside setting triangles (Moda Essential Dot in Lipstick). Today I'm placing all the half-hexagons on the design wall and sewing them into rows:

In the book (Living Large 2 by Heather Mulder Peterson), this "Starlit Evening" pattern is rated as Intermediate. If you define "Intermediate" as utilizing very careful cutting, piecing, and lots of Best Press, then I wholeheartedly agree. It wasn't an impossible task getting these sashing pieces to line up properly, but it did require lots of measuring twice, cutting once, and pins. But WOW, don't you just love it when it all works out according to plan!

Each vertical row is pieced first, then two rows pieced together...

...and finally the center is all put together and ready for borders!

Next time - one border or two?

Thursday, November 17, 2011

10 days till d-day

Christmas decorating-day, that is. Early in the year I made a goal for myself to complete a new Christmas door banner and tree skirt by the end of December. Well, I've got the door banner top finished and ready to quilt (see this post to view), and now I'm getting down to business making my tree skirt.

I'm using a pattern from Heather Mulder Peterson's book Living Large 2 called "Starlit Evening" (see all the quilt photos from the book here). You'll need:

7 coordinating fat quarters
3/4 yard sashing fabric that forms the stars
1/3 yard setting triangles for the outside edges
and some border fabric to go all the way around (more about that later)

Initially you create strip-pieced units using the fat quarters and sashing, which are then cut at a 60-degree angle to form parallelograms. Another piece of sashing is added in the center of two parallelograms to form a diamond (you'll make 3 of these from each fat quarter), seen here:

You then cut each diamond in half:

...forming 6 equilateral 60-degree triangles, which are then pieced as half-hexagons:

Each half-hexagon will eventually be sewn together forming a full hexagon with a star embedded in it. Pretty cool, huh?  But don't sew the hexagons together just yet!  Yes, I learned this the hard way, and feel compelled to warn you not to make my same mistake ;-)

More progress to report tomorrow!

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

going directly from Halloween to Christmas

Just like the retail world around us, I have shifted overnight from Halloween to Christmas mode. Right after I finished my Halloween Confetti table runner I started working on this Christmas door banner. It's a Nancy Halvorsen pattern that I've been wanting to make since I saw the sample in a trunk show of hers last year. So sorry for the poor photo quality - very dreary days do not make for great photos :(

The main pattern is from her book Tidings, and is actually featured on the cover. I wasn't crazy about the capital block letters on the original, so I used the letter patterns from another book by Terry Atkinson, Fat Quarter Fonts. I had to fidget with the scale of those charm-size letters, increasing them 130-140% until they fit just right. I fused them to the background using Heat N Bond Lite, and then used a machine blanket stitch around all the raw edges.

Now I just need to quilt, bind, and add some fun red buttons to it before November 27 - the day I'm scheduling for Christmas-ifying the house. I'm going to hang it from a door in my foyer hallway so we'll get to see it everyday!

Just curious - does the sudden retail switch to full Christmas mode bother you? I don't really mind it, as long as I'm not assaulted with all Christmas, all the time music in the stores until after Thanksgiving. What about you?


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