You might think it’s too early to be using the word ‘Christmas’ in February but bear with me to the end and ll will be revealed ….
It started with the UKQU.co.uk Bloggers Retreat, planned for December 2018, and an early request for blocks and ‘just an hour’ of our time to make up some quilt tops or full quilts when we met; but only if we wanted to! Wow, what a great response to the requests the group (and others) made. I wanted to do something to help so I’d made some blocks for the several different ‘requests’ before going to the Retreat and added them to the growing piles of blocks as seen below.
I had planned to start my own sampler quilt and did manage to cut out several blocks before venturing over to the look at the vast array of blocks on show. So many, what to choose?
As my eyes scanned the floor I quickly discounted the pink blocks [not my preferred colour – but before you all shout out … I prefer RED! And … I have made pink things by request!]
I spotted some odd blocks that didn’t seem to match anything in particular! Three brightly coloured blocks stood out – although one as slightly smaller than the rest. Yes, I had the beginnings of a quilt theme!
I hunted through the piles looking for others that might work into some sort of colour scheme and finally settled on this disparate lot of blocks. And what a disparate lot they were too, different sizes, colours, oddments that didn’t fit in with anything in particular.
Next to put them into some sort of layout … this looked like a possible combination, but only if I could fill in the gaps! I called Sylvia over for a second opinion, she gave me a funny look; you know, the disbelieving one where someone thinks your crazy for thinking that works! But she saw that look of determination in my eyes and agreed it could (possibly) work!
Now to ‘build’ the quilt top – this is what the ‘plan’ looked like at the start.
I just fell in love with the quirky colours, scratched my head and thought, yes, this is going to be one heck of a challenge, but hey, I like a challenge. I just felt that there would be one person who would want something different, a bright, in-your-face design that shouts out – you’re the one for me! Or ….. maybe I was deluding myself and just designing it for my own taste – well, time will tell!
I found a strip of bright yellow, red, orange and beige, obviously originally destined for some other purpose (Bargello perhaps?) and thought, yep, this would work as a border to make up the 3rd block to an 18” square. I added 1½ inch strips to either side and started sewing.
Top Section – this was easy – 3 smaller blocks of approx. 6 inch made up either side of the first larger block.
Middle Section – a little bit of tweaking with the two New York Beauties and we were good to go. Two Drunkards path on the other side evened it up nicely – cooking on gas as they say.
Bottom Section – again two blocks on either side of the main panel. I discarded the orange and yellow rail fence blocks in favour of the pink block. I split the large pink block and made two smaller blocks. I cut the red and orange block in half and sewed one half of each to make one block for each side to balance up the colours. Seems strange talking about balancing up the colours when there is such a mish-mash of colour and design but my brain needed some kind of order for it to work.
Piecing it Together
I sensed a few shakes of the head from some of my peers; wondering how this crazy quilt top would finally look. I must admit I was scratching my head a few times and wondering the same thing – but I persevered! I had my plan but the next obstacle was to work out how to sash it and add a border – well, more like finding what I thought was the right fabric/design to use. Another trawl of the fabric donated to the ‘project’ and I found some wonderful bright yellow fabric with green leaves. Not enough to do the sashing and the border but at least the sashing would get done. Then I found some plain sunshine yellow fabric and decided this would work well for the border. Just what you need at Christmas, some sunshine colours to brighten the day!
Hit a snag, some of the ‘blocks’ were smaller than others and I needed some strips to fill the gaps. These purples and blues did the trick and filled the gaps quite nicely.
Quick measure of the size to check how wide the sashing and border needed to be! I plumped for 4½ inch for the sashing and 3½ inch for the border to make the quilt top approx. 44 inch x 66 inch.
I added a backing of soft, snuggly fleece donated to us to make a cuddly quilt (no wadding needed this time). Final flourishes with some stitch in the ditch and, voila, finished and ready to rock the Christmas Dinner and become adopted by one deserving care leaver. Seriously pleased with myself too as it was the first big quilt I’ve done in hours rather than weeks. I wasn’t the only one though, our brilliant bloggers managed to complete 5 full quilts and 21 quilt tops on the Saturday/Sunday morning.
Which brings me back to my opening sentence, WHY ARE WE TALKING CHRISTMAS IN FEBRUARY?’ That’s easy, we are planning the next round of Christmas Dinner Quilts and need at least 1000+ quilts/quilt tops ready for a possible 20 Christmas Dinners for Care Leavers in December 2019.
So … What’s next? How Can You Help?
If you want to contribute by making a QUILT TOP – any colour combination/design/pattern is fine.
Size: minimum 44” x 66” to a maximum 54” x 72” please. If you can add wadding and backing fabric that would be great too but no problem if you can’t.
If you just want to make BLOCKS – rail fence or log cabin please, any colour, 12½ inch or 6½ inch (they will be 12” and 6” when sewn together).
If you have any ORPHAN BLOCKS that are not rail fence or log cabin, even Christmassy ones, it doesn’t matter if they are not perfect – dig them out – we still might be able to use them – I did!
Planning and ‘making’ starts NOW! The Christmas Dinner Quilts project I’m involved with is planning some ‘Sew Days’ where we will meet up with others to make quilt tops (or blocks). I’m in the lucky position of having my workplace pledge the use of a ‘sewing room’ as a contribution to this worthy cause … so I must just say a big thank you to North Lindsey College.
Others might be using their normal ‘group meet’ days for this or you could just make one at home! Whatever suits you best – they will be most welcome.
YOU DON’T HAVE TO BE AN EXPERT QUILTER – quilt tops can be fairly simple patterns – there are few examples below – Stack and Slash. Tiger Improv, Triangles, Tumbler Blocks, Strip and Flip …. Some are quick to make too and great for using up those scrappy pieces.
Have fun sewing and if you have anything you want to send/contribute ping me an email to firstname.lastname@example.org and I will send my address for you to post them to me.
Happy Sewing Everyone
PS You can find the Stack and Slash Quilt Top (Woodland Fabric) instructions can be found at: https://ukqu.co.uk/stack-slash-quilt-top-woodland-fabric-by-makower-uk/
And Tiger Improv instructions can be found at: