Saturday, August 4, 2012

Think Christmas Blog Hop - A Simple "Merry Christmas" Quilt & Tutorial - Part II

Simple Merry Christmas Quilt
And Tutorial - Part II
This post is Part II of the tutorial for the Simple Merry Christmas quilt from yesterday's post.  And, if you are looking for the DS Quilts giveaway, please leave a comment on yesterday's post as well.  Comments left on this post will not be included in the giveaway.  The giveaway is open until Wednesday, August 8th. 

As promised, today we're going to finish our Simple Merry Christmas quilt.  I apologize for it coming so late in the day.  I meant to post it first thing this morning.  But did you ever have one of those days where you woke up with the best of intentions to get a lot done and were thwarted at every turn?  Well, that was my day today.  I was going to get ***SEW*** much done... and just - well - didn't.

On the other hand, perhaps it is a miracle I'm getting to it today at all, since I had to take the pictures not less than 3 times.  But enough whining, let's finish our quilt, shall we?

Our Simple Merry Christmas quilt is part of  Day 5 of the Think Christmas Blog HopMadame Samm and Lesley of the Cuddle Quilter put together a truly inspiring Christmas blog hop, didn't they???  I hope you're ready to finish up your quilt today.

Beverage? Check.

Comfy chair?  Check.

Computer?  Obviously.

Christmas music?  Oh.  What a great idea!

OK, we're ready.

When yesterday's post concluded, we had the quilt top completed, right?  Well, today we're going to finish it up.

If you chose the square quilt top, your finished quilt top should measure 59-1/2 inches square.  If you chose the rectangular quilt top, your quilt should measure about 59-1/2 x 76-1/2 inches.  Obviously, you need backing about the same size.

Here's what my backing looks like.  I chose to do a very simple pieced backing because this is, after all, a Simple Merry Christmas Quilt!  One width of fabric wasn't enough, but I didn't want to be too fussy with it, so I stitched two different prints on opposite sides of the back.  I like that the seam isn't exactly down the middle, but if you're precise like that, you could surely make that work.

For the back, you will need about 3 yards of  your main fabric and 1/2 yard of 2 complementary fabrics.  You will also need about 1/2 yard for the binding.

First, I cut off my selvages because I'm saving them for something (I'm not sure what yet, but they sure are pretty!).  Then I laid my 3 yard piece of red swirl fabric folded right side out down on my cutting table.  I use my (clean every time) kitchen counter because it minimizes stooping.  (The older I get, the more I appreciate that.)

Then I laid my 1/2 yard of fabric on top of the red swirl wrong side up and sliced it all the way across with my rotary cutter.   Pick it up carefully and set it aside.

Now repeat the above with your other 1/2 yard of fabric. 

 Holding the two fabrics where they meet at the raw edge, carefully unfold only the red swirl and sew the red swirl and the 1/2 yard piece together.  Because they were already RST, you shouldn't have to do too much manipulating.

Repeat for the other 1/2 yard piece.  

Press the seam flat.  I like to turn my seam to the inside (toward the red).

Turn your pieces so the 1/2 yard sections face opposite directions and stitch the two pieces together.  Press the seam flat.  Here's what it will look like when it's done, if that helps. 

Now, you need to find a flat surface large enough to sandwich your quilt.  Once again, I use the (freshly cleaned) floor, but this time in the other room because it's a little larger.  Start by getting your backing as flat as possible, then spread your batting on top and finally the quilt top.

I had a really tough time getting a photo of the quilt sandwich.  With the quilt on the floor, there's not much extra room in my room.  And sadly, the only time I had was after work, so the lighting was terrible. Anyway, once you have everything as flat as you can with all the wrinkles smoothed out, pin or baste according to your preferred method.

 Back at the sewing machine, quilt according to your preferred method.  I quilted in a double grid pattern, 1/4 inch on both sides of each seam.

 Here's a picture of the grid-style quilting on the finished quilt.

I did a blanket stitch in red thread (with a white bobbin) around each of the letters.  I freely admit that this was a pain in the neck. If I do it again, I might opt to do this on the individual squares, before they are sewn together, and then straight stitch-in-the-ditch around the letters to quilt.  But I do like the effect of the blanket stitch as quilting.

Here's what it looks like on the back.

If you want a more quilted look, you can do some free-motion or outline quilting in the negative space.  Here, I used a holly leaf design.  I took the design from a coloring page I found on the internet, but there are dozens of other designs you could try.  I used Google images and selected "line drawing".  There were lots of choices.  I cut out the design, drew it on with my water soluble pen, and stitched around the line, then washed out the pen marks.  

I used a red stripe by Michael Miller that I had in my stash for the binding.  It reminded me of candy canes.

All done.  Ready to cuddle up in on Christmas morning.

I hope you like my Simple Merry Christmas quilt.  In the comments from yesterday's post, someone suggested that this idea would make a cute baby quilt using smaller blocks, perhaps, and maybe the baby's name for the letters.  Someone else suggested doing it in more traditional Christmas colors.  I think both ideas are fantastic.

If you decide to make this quilt, I hope you will send me a picture.  I'd love to see it!

And even though it's {still} August, Merry Christmas!


  1. This will be so snuggly on Christmas morning. Thank you for sharing...Judith, Texas


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