Thursday, July 31, 2014

Christmas in July finish! (photo heavy)

Well, I'm pretty happy with myself, I just completed a project that satisfied my yearning for Christmas fabric, that need to make a Christmas something, and allowed me to practice my quilting.  I found a blog that hosted a Christmas in July hop which focused on small projects that can easily be finished before Christmas.  And on top of that they're offering a giveaway for making one of the projects!  I was immediately drawn to the first project they showed, which is a wreath wall hanging and also their button for the hop:
After I read thru the instructions a couple times I convinced myself I needed to use the Solstice mini charm pack, so I went to Stash and bought one.  And what were the odds, they were having a sale!  If I was really wise, I'd have bought two... oh well!  The tutorial mentions using some extra fabric for the grey and red borders, and I thought oh I should be fine, I have red and grey in my stash.  As you will see, they were not the right colors, so I improvised!  Also, as I was assembling the top I came to the conclusion that since I already have a Christmas wall hanging, that this would make a fabulous pillow sham.  So that's what I did, and here's how mine was done differently than their tutorial:
Making my wreath have a rounded look, I chose to not take one of the greens to sacrifice for use on the inside corners, instead I figured I could use the little triangles from these outside corners

And I did!  Wasn't the easiest thing in the world, but I made it happen.

The center created!

Had to do the magic twist of course :)  By the way, if I ever make this again, I will press the seams all towards the green (or possibly open) for stitching-in-the-ditch purposes.
Here I was figuring out how I wanted to balance my reds and greys.  The off-white has a gold sparkle on it that is really subtle but ended up matching what I chose for the backing really well.
And here it is assembled.  At the time of adding the off-white border I decided to square it up, which unfortunately brought the dimensions down to 1 3/4" instead of 2", which normally wouldn't be a problem, except that the outside border is a bunch of mini charms... so I had to fudge a little here and there.  My husband pointed out that unless you're looking for it, people probably won't notice.

To make the bow I cut out the only fusible interfacing I had and auditioned the size and placement.

Then fused it to the back of the red.
And sewed it on.  And took it off.  4 times.  Turns out I didn't know what I was doing in this case, and after a lot of trial and error that included trying to hand embroider these pieces on I figured out I needed to add some of the interfacing to the back of the top.  What was happening was the fabric was bunching up like crazy as I tried to go around the bottom of the ribbon pieces and was causing really bad puckering.

But this helped a lot!  Again, if I do this project again, I will use my normal method of applique and do the whole turn inside-out after sewing the interfacing to the fabric then iron it to the top, and sew around the edge with a straight stitch.  Lesson learned!
Top complete and ready to baste and quilt.

I follow Lori Kennedy at The Inbox Jaunt for my free motion quilting practice, which is what is up on my computer in the background.  My Bernina and I are working on becoming friends again.  Mostly I find she likes Aurifil thread as long as it's in the bobbin as well as is the top thread, I never had any problems with breakage in this whole project.  Probably helps that I also had the tension under control.

A snowflake centerpiece.  I found while doing this that I really need the lines to follow or I end up all over the place, my hands have a greater tendency to lose control of the fabric and my stitches get all out of control.  It seems so weird, but then I remind myself, that's why they make stencils!
Here's how the quilting started out, I was so happy how well it made the wreath puff out!  It helped too that I used 1/2" batting.  I have heard people say that they think stippling is so overused, but I must tell you how super proud I am of myself for doing this stipple, as I said above I am not so good at not following lines, and this was all done without them!  And John was super impressed with me as well, which is always nice.

And from the front.

Quilting complete!

I made this as big as I could so you can see the quilting.  I used Lori's tutorial on for the holly leaves, and made up the corners which is snowflake inspired (John's idea).  I also went back and outlined the inside of the wreath as well as the outside of the off-white border.  It often amazes me how big a difference such a simple outline can make.
And complete!  All I did was add the backing pieces to make a pillow sham, although I did have to piece together my backing pieces to make it work.

The inside seam brought the sham down to about 14.5" x 14.5", so fit my 14" pillow form just right!
The only thing I'm contemplating is adding a couple snap buttons to the back to help hold the overlap in place, as I discovered that 2 inches of overlap is NOT enough, you definitely want at least 5 inches.  At least, if you ever plan on anyone seeing the back.  Or if you want the pillow to stay inside the sham.  :)
So I hope you're inspired to get ahead on your Christmas projects as well, I am off to work on that wedding quilt for the wedding that happened over a month ago now... no more procrastinating for the rest of the year!  AHAHAHAHAHA, right.
Have a great day!


Ruth said...

Very nice finish. I haven't started thinking about Christmas yet but this is really lovely! Thanks for the comment for Pets on Quilts!

Bonnie said...

That is a really cute pillow. I have started a couple of projects for Christmas, but neither of them is quilting. Must get started on that as well.

Cate said...

Oh my, that's just delightful, I love the way it's turned out! The puffy wreath looks so good and you have crazy quilting skills! I love Christmas, i can't wait to get started on some Christmas crafts this year! x