Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas!
Another reason I’m calling this the Year of the Nostalgic Christmas is Abraham Lincoln. Not the president, really, but the children’s picture book from 1939.
When I was very young, the library at St. John’s Lutheran School had a copy of this book, and I checked it out often. I couldn’t get enough of the illustrations. I didn’t know that the book was by sophisticated artists who had won the Caldecott Medal in 1940.
I’m calling 2018 the Year of the Nostalgic Christmas. Everywhere I turn, I’m swept up in memories of my childhood Christmases. They’ve pressed down on me so frequently and with such ferocity that I’ve been finding the items in thrift stores, antique shops and online auctions. Most of the time, I wasn’t even looking for them.
When I around four or five, all I wanted in life was a Chatty Cathy. You may remember from the early 1960s that she was a talking doll with a sweet face, and you could get extra outfits for her. If I could have only one Christmas present that year, then fine, as long as it was a Chatty Cathy. Nothing else mattered.
Exciting news today! I’d like to invite you to the Stash Bandit Mountain Quilt Retreat in Buena Vista, Colorado from March 14 to 17, 2019. We’ll be at The Lodge at Buena Vista, where the views are amazing and the food is spectacular!
I’ve come up with what I think will be the best of both worlds:
Every year it seems like I have time to sew during November, December and January. Other people are busy shopping, cooking and decorating. But my life is the opposite, and that’s kind of a good thing.
Thanksgiving was quiet with just five guests (two bigs and three littles). The meal was easy and the company departed around 3:30. I sewed for four or five hours after that. We ate leftovers and quickie meals the rest of the weekend, so there were many more hours in the studio.
I posted an image of my recent modern Christmas wreath quilt on Instagram, and a follower named Karen saw “urban-industrial style Christmas.” What a great description!
Her thoughts moved me to play around with this design and purposely go for an industrial look. So I moved away from Christmas entirely, to these possibilities.
A little bit different, but it still feels like the same quilt. Sashing is wider and all of the background and the border is one color.
Here I moved to a darker background color. I kind of like this idea. In terms of fabric, I’d use a lot of variety in the Bow Ties. (Ha, they don’t even look like Bow Ties now!)
More playing around. I’m not sure how effective this really is. But you never know until you try, so I don’t rule anything out when I’m experimenting, especially if it’s just in EQ. Even in fabric, play is the name of the game.
Whoa. This happened by accident! The background is the same color as one of the Bow Ties, so that piecing disappears and they look like weird C’s. Now we’re getting somewhere. In reality you wouldn’t actually piece the C’s, you could just use a solid patch in the same fabric as the background. I love this one, and surprisingly, it looks Christmas-y to me once more.
I had one more thought. I changed the gray to another green.
Like I said, you never know until you mess around!
A note about Electric Quilt design software: I resisted upgrading to EQ8 from EQ7 because I thought I didn’t have time to learn a new program. But when I did upgrade, I was blown away by how easy and intuitive it is. I spent almost zero time learning EQ8 because everything felt natural and logical. I love it. If you’re interested in designing quilts, you should get it. Well worth the investment!
Today, I wish you the courage, the curiosity and the commitment to play.
Designing quilts for publication is a funny thing. Magazines work so far ahead that sometimes, if you’re not the one making the quilt, you forget all about a design until it appears on the printed page. And even then you might not recognize it as your own. That’s what happened with Briar Rose in the Jan/Feb issue of Quiltmaker.
I first imagined this design in monochrome, i.e. just one color. I thought it would be great in reds and pinks, and I named it Strawberry Sundae.
After a big holiday like Christmas I always find it hard to get started again in the studio. Maybe it’s the anticipation of it all and a bit of a letdown that it’s over, or maybe it’s just being tired, or because it’s the dead of winter (-3º here) or something else. I have a few tricks I’ve learned over the years—ways to prime the creative pump. Maybe they’ll work for you, too!
Merry Christmas! I hope your holiday is full of the love of family and friends. Let me tell you about my little Christmas tree quilt, Twinkling Bright.
It all started with this small block that I call a Baby Windmill. I’m on a mission to design as many interesting quilts as I can with this as the starting point. You can read more here.
I’m going to start sharing my quilts here in short posts. They’ll give you an idea of what my trunk shows are like, which is the thrust of my business, Stash Bandit: I’m a speaker and a teacher on the topic of quilt-making.