I'm not normally one for projects in grocery stacks, projects on hiatus, projects in "deep stash" or, as one of my sewist friends likes to call them, "projects in time out." Typically I like to work my projects systematically, three at a time with one in each of the following stages: quilting, piecing, and binding, because I am like that. But for three years now, Christmas Traditions has been the exception.
When I first fell in love with this quilt in Best Quilts for Christmas 2011, I had never paper pieced, and I'd never tried any applique - but, that didn't stop me from buying the fabric. It just gave me a to-do list of things to learn. I completed the paper piecing for this project in 2011 - my first paper piecing project ever - and the applique blocks followed in 2013 as one of the first quilty projects I picked up after my daughter was born.
It wasn't until this year that I got brave enough to tackle the assembly, but this summer I made it a goal; I'd spent too long on this project not to enjoy the end results. I was FINISHING this thing. So, it gives me great joy (and relief!) to announce that Christmas Traditions is pieced!
My favorite aspect is, of course the feature fabric itself: J. Wecker Frish put together a lovely panel that showcases different Christmas trees throughout the centuries, from 1500 until now. That art serves as the heart of the quilt, and was what drew me to this design in the first place.
I'm also pretty proud of the borders, which are pieced but look continuous due to some clever seam placement. I had seen this technique before on the internet, but never actually tried it until now. It's actually pretty straightforward - find the same feature on two consecutive repeats of fabric, draw a line through both, and then add a seam allowance to each half and combine - but having to combine from 2 different bolts where the pattern had been printed at different levels of skew added a bit of a challenge.
And of course, for the curious, here's a close-up of both my paper piecing and my applique, click to enlarge either photo.
This quilt top measures in at around 62 x 78, and next up is piecing the back. Then it's on to quilting (which I expect to be a *long* stage with this one - no sense in pouring so much effort into the top only to ruin it with lousy quilting, right?), and binding. But I can't say I'm not pleased to have the top done. It's a beautiful top, and so many years in the making, I cannot help but be proud.
As for displaying it this Christmas, well.. probably not likely, but a quilter can dream. Right?