Last year I ditched (gave away, mostly) a lot of winter/Christmas/holiday stuff that we didn't use or that I wasn't really feeling. It seemed strange and ruthless to get rid of things like these, but I really felt like I wanted to replace them with things we would all really look forward to see every year. I had it in my head that I wanted to make a holiday quilt, something that came out in November and could stick around through January. I had a small pile of dala horse/My Folklore Japanese fabric that I had been saving in a stack for a project like this, and then the clever bunch over at Purl Bee published instructions for a Striped Star Mini Quilt. Done.
I followed the instructions for the first star to the letter and was dismayed to realize how much pieced waste it created. For every arm of the star I was cutting away large triangles of strip piecing, and in the end I was left with a colourful pile of work going unused. And since last year this time I was in the beginnings of a wicked third trimester, and was running low on time/patience/ability to fit myself under my sewing machine, I put my piles away until I could figure out an easier way of putting them together.
A month ago I pulled them out, determined to get that Christmas Quilt done BEFORE Christmas, and decided that paper piecing was going to be much quicker and leave me with much less waste. I am a mess when it comes to math, but this one was pretty straight forward. I only used the paper for the striped arms of the stars, and then cut triangles out to piece the block together, following the original directions. I ran out of steam after four stars, and being determined to use only fabric I had on my shelves, I decided to put together some over-sized pinwheels to get it to throw-sized. In a perfect world, those blocks would have been some complicated variation on flying geese or something equally as folky, but time is not on my side this year either.
Again, in a perfect world full of money trees, I would have liked to find the some sort of neutral linen or soft wool to back it with. Instead, I pulled out yardage of yarn-dyed stripe left over from pj pants, and a warm grey, Japanese Snowmen print Mariko had de-stashed to me. The kids will like it better and I'm sure that in a few years I will look at its quirkiness with fondness. The quilting is mostly echo/straight-line, but I did use the free-motion foot to quilt all of our names into one of the stars. There are a few small open blocks that I think I might go back and embroider in: exponentially upping the quirk factor (if I'm going with it, I'm going to really go with it).
For now, though, it's done and ready for the couch (or who am I kidding? The floor.) and the next few months. It's also off the list and that is really the best gift. For the first time ever I'm only sharing my sewing space with my deep freeze and washer and dryer and it is AMAZING AND WONDERFUL, not to put too fine a point on it. I also have a space heater down there, so there is really no stopping that list from getting super long.