Thursday, November 25, 2010

SNOW! - and what I've been working on

It is NOT supposed to snow here on Canada's West Coast - at least not this early!  The weather forecasters say we will have a cold, snowy winter and I think they may be right.

All this white stuff has had me thinking of Christmas. No, I haven't pulled out the decorations yet but I did think about putting my Christmas quilt on my bed. I made Euro shams to match the Temari Puzzle quilt I designed for McCalls' Quick Quilts (February/March 2010 issue).

Those shams just would not 'go' with my Christmas Bowtie quilt. So I spent some time yesterday making new shams.

I delved into my box of Christmas prints and decided a very simple design would work best (and get DONE). After I made the pieced block I cut a piece of backing fabric the same size and the full width of the fabric. I cut the backing piece in half  (along the fold of the fabric), finished one short end on each piece (turn under 1/4" twice and stitch).

These pictures show how I layered the backing with the front, right sides together. I sewed around the square, turned it right side out and then stitched 3/4" from the outside edge to make a small 'flange' (and to make it fit the pillow better).

I love the look of lots of pillows on a bed - I decided to make a small roll pillow to match my new shams. I rolled up leftover batting to make the pillow inside. For the cover I sewed fabrics together (don't you LOVE the stripe!). I created a casing in each end, threaded some red ribbon through the casing, inserted the batting roll and tied a bow with the ribbon at each end.

Here's the new ensemble on my bed.

The story behind the bowtie quilt:

In about 1998 I sewed a few bowtie blocks using Christmas prints. I had made many small holiday projects but didn't have a Christmas quilt for my bed so decided these blocks would be fun and easy to make. That Christmas I put the blocks on my design wall (with the help of my mother). Not enough blocks yet.  So the next year and the next year and the next year, at Christmas time, I made more blocks, we got them all out AGAIN and put them on the design wall. I asked my friends for Christmas fabrics - two 4 1/2" squares and two 2 1/2" squares, matching. I had decided to make a Charm Bowtie quilt - all the blocks would be a different Christmas print.

Finally in 2003 I had enough blocks for the main part of the quilt (80). That Christmas my mother and I arranged them on my wall and she helped me sew the quilt. I realized that 80 blocks were not quite enough for my queen size bed so I added a plain border, a pieced border and a wide print border to make it larger. I quilted words in the plain border around the centre of the quilt. I wrote the words with a washout marker (yes, I tested it first!) and then stitched over my writing. It was easier than I thought - just following a line with stitching.  The quilt has all sorts of words that have meaning for our family during the holidays.

The quilt was published in the December 2004 issue of McCalls Quilting.

If you would like to make your own Bowtie Quilt, here is a PDF with instructions. Perhaps you would like to ask your friends for squares to make your own Charm Bowtie quilt.

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