Christmas@knitsnquilts

Each year, at this time, we bring out our collection of Christmas decorations.  It is always enjoyable, taking off the wrapping and being re-acquainted with the items, some of which have been part of family traditions for many years, others of which have been recently made or purchased.  It’s a bit like an annual reunion!!

Allow me to take you on a tour of some of my Christmas decorations.

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The Advent wreath.

The first to go up is the Advent wreath, which marks the four weeks prior to Christmas.

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Our oldest nativity.

We have a number of nativity sets. This is the oldest (sorry about the flash reflection). The clothing is actually real fabric dipped in some kind of starching solution. Poor Joseph gets a bit “tipsy” each year and has to be supported with Blutak!

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A newer, more glitzy nativity.

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A simple Peruvian nativity.

Parts of our house have a blue carpet, so a number of years ago, we added blue decorations to our collection.

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Blue and silver Christmas tree decorations.

Although the blue tree lights were on when I took this photo, they don’t really show up here.  What does show up however(big sigh) is the lack of tree skirt.  One is in the making, and I am currently quilting it using Aurifil Cotton Mako 12, but I suspect is in danger of becoming a new year’s resolution(again)!!

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More blue decorating.

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My Heartwood Creek angel by Jim Shore….blue of course!

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Patchwork table centrepiece.

You may recognise this one, made for last Christmas using a Marg Low pattern.

Newly made in 2012.

And the latest piece, purchased just yesterday!

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My latest decoration purchased yesterday.

A number of years ago, pre-patchwork , I made Christmas wreaths.

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Wreath about 30cm diameter.

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Smaller wreath. This one is about 15cm diameter.

My daughter-in-law’s mother is a talented cook and makes many Gingerbread houses each year.

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A pleasure to look at and to eat!

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Hand appliqued and hand quilted runner.

And of course, no home is completely decorated without quilts!

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Friendship quilt.

The blocks in this quilt were made by members of Launceston Patchworkers and Quilters in 1998 when I was a member of that group.  Each year all members are asked to make a block.  The blocks are arranged into groups of 9 and anyone who has not already received blocks goes into a draw to receive a set.  The recipient then has to make her quilt.  The hardest part for me was to choose a sashing fabric which worked with all the blocks.

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Moda pattern and fabrics.

This large hand appliqued quilt hangs over the stair railing.  This is one of my favourite applique patterns.

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“Christmas Galaxy” quilt.

Thank you for visiting!

May your Christmas be a happy and safe one and just a bit “stitchy”!

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Sometimes you fall in love

with a special piece of fabric!

When I went to Brisbane to see the wonderful exhibition of quilts from the Victorian and Albert Museum in London held at the Queensland Art Gallery, I was lucky enough to visit a couple of patchwork shops in the city and suburbs.

It always amazes me how these shops can be so different, and yet they are all selling the same product. When you haven’t visited a shop before it is rather like opening a present – you have got no idea what is inside! Some shops immediately have the ‘wow’ factor – whether it is the type of fabric that appeals to me – or the way it has been displayed along with the books, quilt samples and notions. Another shop may have the same attractive fabric, but the ambience of the shop is lacking. Often it is the staff who welcome you to their venue that can make the difference to the visit (and the spending!).

While in Brisbane I fell in love with some Malka Dubrawsky fabric called “Simple Marks Summer” from the Moda range.lovely fabric

I also found some fabric I thought may go well with this called “Juggling Summer” by Brigitte Heitland – Zen Chic’s premier collection for Moda.  The colours are much richer than my photo shows – a beautiful charcoal and black.  Apologies for the basting safety pins!!

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As I didn’t want make a quilt and just wanted immediate fabric ‘gratification’, I decided to make a table runner for my table.

border and sashing
I suppose what appealed to me with the fabric was the way I could quilt it!

fabric

Always in the back of my mind, is how the top can be quilted,.  as making the top is only part of the journey as quilting completes the project. Of course, I had to use my favourite (well, all Aurifil threads are my favourite!) Cotton Mako Ne 12  (2312 and 2000) for easy peasy quilting – and it even looks interesting on the back despite the lack of ironing (and again, apologies for the colour as this is really a black backing).

backing stitching
Another work in progress, but I am getting there quickly and soon I hope to have a binding on  – and finally photo colours that are nearly accurate!!

border sashing and top

It’s far too early!

to be thinking about Christmas, but when I finally found some more felted wools to start a table runner and use a new pattern, I had to think about a special festive occasion coming up in December.

My friend went to the BIG quilt show in Houston last year, and on her return bought me a present of a Wooly Lady pattern and some felted wools.

Wooly Lady pattern and my collection of Aurifil Lana

I was thrilled with this gift, and was determined to make it by Christmas of this year.  As wool by the metre (or yard) is very expensive, and quite difficult to locate in Australia, I decided to put the wool onto a fabric (cotton) background.

In sewing the felted wool on, I used the lovely LANA thread , using a buttonhole stitch on my sewing machine and put a stabliser on the back of the cotton fabric.

Layering up the poinsettia flower

After a few initial ‘teething’ problems – not having the correct machine needle (a topstitch or an embroidery or a universal needle seems to work best in a 90 or 100 size) , and altering the tension too, I found I could carefully sew around the shapes.  It certainly is much quicker to sew using the machine, and I am hoping the project will be completed soon.  By the way, I used a matching Cotton Mako 40  or 50 thread on the bobbin of the machine  to suit the top thread colour.

Placing the new pieces on ready for sewing

I have to spend a few more hours layering each poinsettia then adding the additional flowers, and berries.  Hopefully before too long, I can blog a completed table runner!!

Some of the threads I used – perfectly blending in with the felted wool.