Friday, January 10, 2020

Christmas Quilt Tops Are Now Completed

So I feel pretty good about these two Christmas quilt tops. Yeah, yeah, the holidays are over. I get that. But in my world, finishing these two tops now means I'm that much closer to having completed Christmas quilts by next season. Yay!
Christmas Stars a completed quilt top!
This background fabric was the only red fabric that I had any serious yardage of and truly, I had my doubts about how well it would work. Normally I would choose out a cheery red for a holiday look and this is more of a tomato red with, if you look closely, a gray smudgy texture to it. Nevertheless, I plowed ahead, being picky about the star fabrics, and ended up with something I really love. This particular fabric {a Basic Grey fabric I had bought on clearance for the backing of another quilt}, surprisingly ended up giving this quilt a wonderful velvety look. How cool that my 'make-do' choice successfully amped up the holiday vibe too. Could never have planned it so well!
Approx. 67" x 80 1/2"
As you know, I had also challenged myself to include some of those older, less promising greens in the quilts too.  These greens did not look very attractive directly next to the background red, but in a loosely stacked grouping of fabrics looked just fine. Ughh. What to do? Telling myself, 'This will work! Cross your fingers, this IS going to work', I went ahead and cut out the flying geese for the border regardless of any internal misgivings.
Flying Geese border
Piecing the flying geese only further deepened my suspicions that the borders were going to be a total waste of time, a disaster in the making. The colors were just too cringy together and what in the world was I thinking??  But you know me, never give up! And later I was so very happy with that optimism. This border really adds to the depth of this particular quilt. If I had given in to all the doubt and went with perfectly matched greens, the quilt would have looked sweet, perhaps?, but very, very dull. This way, it has a great spark.*whew!
Happy with the Christmas look to this one!
Looking at the inspiration picture below {an antique quilt shown in the June 2011 American Patchwork and Quilting magazine}, you can probably see why I first thought that the lighter greens could potentially work for the pieced border. While the original maker used more of a khaki color, all that is required really, would be a color that would sharply contrast with the red background without competing with the much more interesting star center of the quilt. A rich mustard color might work too, it's hard to say. What I do know NOW, is that overly matching colors in the border would have blended a little too well with the inside stars and thus reduced the impact of that wonderful 'framing'. Something to think about if you're wanting to make this quilt for yourself! Basic directions for fabric/ cutting are at the end of this post. *Not included in those directions are the outside red border lengths, of which I'm sure many of you can determine sizing according to personal taste.
Christmas Stars inspiration pic
The second Christmas quilt is a very simple design. The inspiration came after combing through my Pinterest boards in search of something super easy. The design maybe doesn't present quite as sharp looking, sewn in printed fabrics instead of the solids in the original, but it perfectly suited my needs.
The 2nd Christmas quilt
Between the flying geese border in the previous quilt, these 6" hourglass blocks, and a pieced backing, I am making very good progress with using up many of these old fabrics. With the flying geese, all the greens used ended up being light green to very light greens, with the exception of the darker star tips. The greens in these hourglass blocks are a slightly stronger value mix as I thought this quilt needed the interest more. The goal being to get rid of this particular range of colors in the stash totes, in each quilt made, the selection was purposefully limited. I cut till each individual fabric was exhausted, before moving on to the next. All scraps were then dumped into the scrap bin where they may or may not be used some day in the future. We'll cross that bridge when we get there!
Lots of older, tired green fabrics used
As you can see, several green fabrics feature pink flowers. Why toss them? I'm never afraid to blend pink and red in any quilt and in fact, love the surprise of an unexpected fabric choice in scrap quilts. I will say that I was a little dubious about the need for a completely different colored border, but went with it because the theme for this was supposed to be 'Christmas'. Adding red should make that a little more obvious. Okey dokey! Whatever the quilt needs!

As it turned out, adding the red makes all the difference in the world as to how interesting this quilt looks. Why, you ask? Well, before the border addition, the green and cream acted a bit bland. Now the contrasting red gives the lighter greens an excuse to perk up significantly against the creamy white background. It just looks more playful. It's really hard to describe, but trust me. That's exactly what happened. With the bold Christmas floral that will be used for the backing, I'm thrilled with the overall holiday vibe this quilt exudes, albeit in a very serene way! And so easy to make. Do not regret this squirrel at all!
A make-do pieced border
If you look at the border in the picture above, you can see that I had to piece the red border with different fabrics. I loved this leftover red/brown polka dot print, but did not have nearly enough. No worries. We'll make it work! And for a seasonal holiday throw quilt, who really cares?
Approx. 55" x 61"
Sewing together hourglass blocks is not my favorite thing to do in the world, so much bunching at the seam in the center. It's been years since I made anything similar, but this time I remembered to iron by picking the iron up and then setting it back down, not attempting to maul the quilt into submission. Mostly it went fine, but any and all rumples are absolutely maker 'error'!
Very sweet looking quilt....
So that wraps up the two main Christmas quilts I started during the first part of December. Because the design was already predetermined, the work went very quickly. So glad to put them behind me and move on to other projects, but even more, I'm absolutely delighted to have found a good use for these older, tired looking fabrics. It's looking like a positive challenge so far, but I'm expecting to get bogged down at some point. Probably when I have to address the orange fabrics! Ha! Don't even want to go there!

Two more quilts are cut out that could possibly be used during the holiday season, but I don't consider them exclusively 'Christmas' quilts. That should make them easy to work on moving forward. They too have a little bit of these 'So Tired' fabrics, but unfortunately not enough to make a huge difference to the stack. As I have said before though, there's no point in making ugly quilts just to feel good about being frugal and in fact, I have completely tossed two completely worthless fabrics. Not even good enough for backing! It's been a very good time for working to 'finish up' projects. This time of year definitely tends to bring that out in me. There's a couple other projects that have been languishing for entirely too long and maybe now is the time to get them out of the way as well? We'll see how long the energy lasts. Linking up to Wendy's Peacock Party.


  1. i'd say you totally nailed the colors in the top/first one....looks authentically vintage indeed....excellent muse at work...very wise to follow its lead

  2. Love both quilts, but I still think that second one is whimpering for a bit of Audrey Applique... 8)

  3. I like how these both came out..I am working on RSC acid greens right now and have decided that green is not my favorite color at all...but am pressing onward...only using scraps on hand...
    Your stars quilt is just lovely and soft looking...nice work on both hugs, Julierose

  4. I love the red grunge fabric in the Christmas Star quilt. I have been waiting for an idea for a Christmas quilt with a vintage vibe to it. I’m not especially fond of the true red and green quilts.... so haven’t made a Christmas quilt for ourselves. I can just imagine how the red grunge enhances the older green fabrics in the flying geese! I have a feeling that this is one quilt that I won’t be able to get out of my mind. Thanks for the cutting info. I am going to log it down and see where I can fit it into my quilt schedule. I only plan one month at a time but I do allow myself to write in three quilts at the bottom of the calendar. Usually, its one of those three that is the actual quilt I start next. With a quilt like this one I probably could fit in another quilt within 30 days. II’m one of those who starts and finishes a quilt before going on to the next one. I didn’t used to be this way but I finally came to the conclusion that it caused less stress for me and I felt so much better. (Do fall down on always adding the label before starting the next quilt.). I have a ton of the old worn greens that need a home other than in my ‘green’ tub. I’m sure they would be happy to move out of the low rent housing and hang out on the couch instead.

    I am so thankful that you made this quilt and shared it with us out here. And while I’m cutting my old worn out greens, might as well tackle the hourglass quilt also for the holidays. I have been wanting to try the speed quilting method of piecing the hourglass block anyway.

    Thanks from Maine!

    1. Thank you! I hope you make a wonderful Christmas quilt!:)

  5. Two beautiful quilts, my fave being the stars, that background red almost looks like suede or velvet in the photos. Very luscious. Each quilt complements the other, and I'm always interested in seeing how you and others use up the older tired fabrics. We have plenty of those at quilt ministry and actually my own stash is mostly older stuff now. It's a perfect time to piece Christmas quilts, and then tuck them away until fall to quilt. Did that last year with our own first Christmas quilt. I may just have to make a second one.

  6. I think the Christmas top looks great in the red that you had - I a planning on doing two Christmas tops this year - I doubt any will get quilted this year but I usually don't think to start making one until November so that is ok with me!

  7. Nothing like keeping momentum and finishing up a Christmasy thing in January - a gift to your future Christmas self. It's so pretty, just perfect. Love the green hour glasses too and I think in a subtle quilt like that, it's so nice, even important, to have little unexpected pops of color. I'm with you on the red and pink - like a little lipstick. ;).

  8. I love how both the Christmas quilts turned out, and I know what you mean about using up (or disposing of) tired, old fabrics! I'm brimming with Christmas quilt ideas to make in 2020, but current projects are making me feel guilty about starting anything new. I hope I'll have the decks cleared soon so I can start some Christmas projects of my own.

  9. love love your star Christmas Quilt. The flying geese make a great border.
    pretty sage greens in your second quilt.

  10. Oh Audrey, your quilts are beautiful and don't even come close to looking like 'use it up' efforts. I'm particularly fond of the red one - it is just wonderful, especially with all of those flying geese. At first glance I thought that the greens were a putty colour and then when I realized that it was greens, even better. Love all the interest in the variety of fabrics. Thanks so much for the directions; yet another to add to that list of mine! :)

  11. I'm laughing, cause I wanted to say a week or two ago that those greens would be good, but I didn't want to disagree with you as soon as I got back. 🤣 Love the finish! It definitely has the feel of the original.

  12. Beautiful, you're amazing---and so fast!

  13. The first quilt doesn't shout Christmas and I think that's why I like it so much. It turned out really nice. I love the pieced border on the hour glass quilt. It adds a little whimsy - makes me smile. I've got to get busy on an old scrap under-the-bed box. I'm not sure where to start. You've given me some ideas. Nice post.

  14. I love both quilts and it is so cool to use up the fabrics you consider old and maybe not-so-lovely.

  15. I really love the sawtooth star quilt. I'm going to try to get one started this year. I've got oodles of mom's old Christmas fabrics, time to get them used and hey, if I don't get it done this year, I'll just work on it next year. Both of your quilts are lovely, thanks for the inspiration!

  16. Both quilts are beautiful - as every one else has written. Thanks for sharing details of the red one's velvety texture. I've been thinking about how to create foreground, background and mid-ground. Your flying geese is a great example. "Better/fresher" greens would have competed with the stars rather than becoming a pleasant secondary image. It’s an excellent example as well as a beautiful quilt.
    Hourglasses make a good all over design. Setting your older fabric with white/cream works well. I add pink and red bits with my greens, too. The top looks fine with no border but then... the red frames it so well. Funny that.
    I need to join you in Christmas quilt making.

  17. Love your gentle 'hourglass' quilt, the unexpected bits of fabric make it sing! Love how you've subtly added in a few 'tired' fabrics, nothing that stands out at all.

  18. i love the Red star quilt and the fabric choices this is what makes it a great growing experience in fabric selection and thinking outside your norm! love it!

  19. Oh, Audrey, now I want to stop what I'm doing and make a Christmas quilt! Both of these are just lovely but it was especially interesting to read your thoughts on the colour choices and how to get the quilts to work - looks like your resolution to use up those older fabrics might be productive for you and instructive for us.

  20. Simply gorgeous!! and should well ahead of Christmas completion!

  21. Very nice quilts using up those fabrics--love the Moda Grunge!

  22. Absolutely love your beautiful Christmas Star. Just catching up on your recent posts, and want to wish you a wonderful New Year!

  23. Oh I really like the star quilt! I am making sawtooth stars out of my brothers old shirts for my SIL (he died unexpectedly at age 66 3 years ago). Making pillows, but will possibly have enough left to make a throw and this is a great idea. Your hour glass points on the HST's are amazing!! Any tips on how to get them so good?

  24. Both quilt tops are so vey appealing and Christmassy! Perhaps if I think of beginning a quilt for our place by next Christmas I'd better get busy!!

  25. Love Christmas quilt with flexible use. Sometimes you just gotta put red on the bed!


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