Looks familiar, right? It’s February 2022 and this has been in the works for a couple of months. Other quilts have been started & finished, but I fell out of habit getting blog posts written during the holidays, so let’s catch up.
If you’ve been a reader for awhile, you know I sew or quilt almost daily. I test patterns for several designers and I write about those quilts & my experiences here. Often, when I test a pattern, it happens to align with a holiday, a seasonal shift, coincidentally with milestones or the birth of new babies. When that happens, I head into the test with a particular person in mind and I choose fabrics that will work well with the quilt, but suited to a gift I also want to make. It’s a win-win. There are also times I make a quilt, knowing it’s a gift, but I want to have one for myself too! This second version of the Holiday Hills Quilt is kind of like that. I made the first version for my family, knowing full well that my sentimental, holiday loving, decor enthusiast friend needed one too.
I’m blessed with a multitude of creative family & friends. I’m inspired by their work and frequently, we share work or “barter”, for lack of a better word. We encourage one another, while also learning from each other. It’s really cool. I was speaking with my friend, Tammy, in late 2021 and she said, “I’d love for you to make me something; maybe a quilt?” Not only is she a friend, she’s been a solid customer too. She has supported my business from the beginning and owns multiple Two Terriers Studio creations. This particular discussion came on the heels of taking inventory of all the quilts I’ve made & gifted and even stacked in closets in my studio. Quilts I’ve tested, ideas that were started & left unfinished. Quilts on my “to make someday” list. Her comment got my wheels churning. I was watching her decorate her new home for the holidays. She has such an attention to detail that I knew her quilt would be best suited with the holidays in mind, in the color scheme I saw in her home. I wanted it to be a surprise, but I have learned that with the amount of hours it takes to complete a project like this, keeping the fabric a secret was not a great idea. I needed her input or approval first.
Tammy’s favorite color is teal / aqua. Little pops of it show up all around her world! As I started looking into fabric, I found this collection by Maude Asbury for Free Spirit Fabrics called Fa La La. I felt that it was perfect for her & she gave the “thumbs up”. It was all she knew about what was in the works; the rest I kept to myself. I’ll tell you, not sharing the other fabric choices was a challenge. I wanted to include her, but also surprise her. The trust she placed in me to just do as I wished, was a treat. I ordered the fabric and the project began.
I realize now that I didn’t actually take that many progress photos! This was a pattern I’d already made once, so the piecing and technical issues have been documented before. It was so tempting, with every new tree, to share progress, but I stayed on task.
This quilt is 60×64″ and bigger than I felt comfortable quilting, edge to edge, on my domestic machine. Tammy agreed with having it professionally quilted & she covered that cost, as well as the feature fabrics. I sent this to Jenn, www.knottedthread.com, for the quilting. As always, amazing results. After hours and hours of cutting and piecing, it’s nice to have this kind of finish, texture, and creative art added. It’s a team effort, a collaboration, for sure.
I’m certainly NOT a perfect piecing, all the time, kind of sewist, but this pattern by Raye, www.thehomebodyco.com, is written in such a way that points are not lost in the piecing of these trees. So satisfying to see it up close. Well, at least for me!
I chose this aqua snowflake fabric for the binding. With it being her favorite color, and also featured among the tree motifs, it frames the design pretty well. I try to make my binding at the time the tops are finished, but to be honest, it’s the stage at which I usually lose momentum. The secret is to gift quilts; those get finished! I don’t care to admit how many quilts are stacked in my studio waiting for this 1% final piece of the puzzle.
The original feature fabric is the entire back of this quilt. I just love it. The whimsical trees, the old fashioned-ish ornaments, images reminiscent of “tinsel” trees from the 60’s (is that when those were popular?); it all makes me smile. If she wants a pop of color, this can be draped on a sofa or the foot of a bed with the backing facing out, rather than the front.
Binding finished, one swift “shaking it out” and setting it down for a look…I exhaled. It’s as I had hoped and it embodies work beyond my own hands. Some of the swirls remind me of the first letter of my name; some of the stars, the first letter of her name, the quilty details made possible by a woman in another state. It’s good. Collaboration is good.
Last, but not least, photos for documenting the finish. New England is traditionally known for snowy winters, yet, no snow on the ground when this was done & ready to be sent. If you know me well, you know that I don’t often pray for snow. Like ever; except maybe on Christmas Eve, then not again. However, I did pray for snow the night before this photo. The cool colors of these trees, the holiday vibe & the winter forest just begged for snow. Asked & received. God is good. Today, barely a week later, the snow is mostly melted. For now. Seriously, I don’t want to jinx myself!
When I woke to snow, it was a good day. There, I said it. I was happy with this weather. My husband always helps with photos and if you look closely, you can see that he walked AROUND the frame so that his big footprints wouldn’t be tracked into the photo. Bonus, I didn’t even think of it, but he knew. Well done, hubs!
Holiday Hills #2 is now at home with Tammy. She un-boxed her gift on her instagram stories @whitelilacfarmhouse and her reaction literally brought me to tears. Her crying, my crying…her jokes about how “Stacey really taped-up this box” (if you know, you know). It was funny even through our happy cry fest. That unboxing moment is why I do this. I want my family & friends to feel loved. Geography doesn’t allow me to be with all the people I care about on a regular basis, but sharing something handmade, one of a kind, and made with love, can transport us across the miles. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to be able to share this skill/hobby/interest of mine with those I care about. Tammy, remember it’s meant to be used. Use it, love it, wash, dry and repeat.
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