Ever since I saw Amy Smart’s Christmas quilt called Patchwork Forest a couple of years ago, I have wanted to make one. (Seriously…look at her blog post and then search the hashtag on Instagram and tell me you don’t want to make one too?) But I’ve talked myself out of it because seriously, I don’t need another Christmas quilt. And because sometimes if I start a quilting project in December I let it consume me and I know my family hates it when that happens.
But I never stopped wanting it.
This November I was admiring some Christmas fabric at the fabric store, thinking about that pine forest quilt. And how, to make it scrappy enough, I would have to buy a lot more Christmas fabric. And how I didn’t need to spend a whole bunch of money on Christmas fabric.
But also how gorgeous that fabric was. It’s called Naughty or Nice and it’s designed by Basic Grey, a designer I’ve loved since they made scrapbooking product (wish they still did!):
(I mean…could YOU resist that? Especially that floral???)
I’ve also been thinking a lot lately about low volume fabrics. About making a quilt with low volume fabrics. (Because I totally need another quilt, yes!)
And somehow, right there in the fabric store, my thoughts, ambitions, desires, and fiscal responsibility combined into an idea.
What if I just made a few trees, with the scraps I have saved from previous Christmas projects?
And what if I just made a few more trees, with the fabric I love this year?
Then next year, when certainly there will be more Christmas fabric I love, I could make a few more squares.
And it could be my thing I do in December, just make a few squares, until I have enough for a whole quilt.
Perfect, right!?! I could just make a few, without spending all of this December making a quilt.
And this year I could make some low volume ones, because certainly by next Christmas my creative itch will be different.
It was a perfect, perfect plan.
When you make the pine tree squares, you make two reversed images (or four, depending on how many you cut at once). So one square has fabric A as the background and fabric B as the tree, and the second square is the opposite. And there was something in my scrappy-makes-me-happy nature that rebelled against that. I wanted all the trees to be different.
It spiraled out of control from there.
Because I had the reversed squares, I thought well, I’ll just make a few little gifts with the extras. And that turned in to five Christmas potholders
(the one on the left is mine; I made that one first, before everything spiraled out of control, and decided I didn't love how big it was, so I made the others all slightly different so they're not quite as large)
and more than 20 Christmas mug rugs:
(Not all of them are pictured because I left some in the dryer and didn't notice until I'd packaged the rest up.)
And then Becky sent me some of her scraps so I made a few more squares (what will I do with the reverse duplicates? Because I am 100% sure my current friends and family have enough potholders and/or mug rugs. Should I try to make more friends so I can have more people to make stuff for???)
I totally did NOT make my goal to not get consumed by a quilting project.
Most of December my crafty space was covered with bits & pieces of patchwork trees in various forms of "finished." But I learned how to make them pretty quickly, and also how to cut them so they all look a bit different, and even what to do if I didn't have a big enough scrap to make two squares. Also I discovered, right at the end, that making them drastically different heights is fun. I'll use all that knowledge next year!
Before my surgery, I made sure that all of my Christmas sewing projects were cleaned up—extra fabric boxed up and the squares packaged carefully. I have 22 squares that will eventually go into a quilt—and, ironically enough, none of them made with that original floral I love so much! (It's OK. I noticed that when I was putting them away, and I still have some left.) I'll square them all up when I'm ready to sew them all together.
And, I confess…I’m a little bit excited to see what fabric I can get next year to make more trees!