Now that you’ve set off your firecrackers and burned down the sparklers, its time to jingle your sleigh bells and get some holiday sewing started. I’m talking about Christmas in July, and the Island Batik Ambassadors are going to help jump start your creative muse with a Christmas in July blog hop.
Whether you are an organized sewer who plans ahead or one who tries to beat the holiday clock, you will find plenty of inspiration this month if you follow the #christmasinjulyib hashtag on Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest.
The rules for the July challenge were simple, the projects can be any size, must have a holiday theme, and can be our own design or another that we love. I dropped into my local quilt shop, Quilters Loft Company, for inspiration, and came home with a Delightful pattern by Pieces from my Heart.
For this project, I am using Island Batik Holiday Happenings fabrics and some of my favorite threads for piecing and embellishment. The threads I selected are Superior Fantastico, Superior Razzle, and Aurifil.
I love the whimsical look of the original design, which is made from a charm pack. However, I will be using fat quarters, so my finished table mat will have two borders of coordinating batik fabrics. The ornaments will be Red and Green (what else?) and I am going to add some decorative stitching to create a slightly more formal version of this delightful design.
I cut the pieces for the ornament blocks first, I began piecing the ornaments using Aurifil thread in the top and bobbin. The construction is basic and uses the folded corner method to create the angles on the corners of the charm squares.
I used an assembly line, chain piecing method to create the blocks fast.
I love the whimsical ornament hangers on this project. Although the pattern instructions called for using embroidery floss for the hangers, I decided to use a bobbin draw method to create them instead.
I wound Superior Threads RAZZLE DAZZLE (Color #273, Sunset Serenade) to create the ornament hooks. RAZZLE DAZZLE is an 8wt Poly-Metallic thread designed by Ricky Tims for a bold and decorative finish. This thread is heavy, it won’t go through your needle; Instead, it is designed for couching and bobbin work. I drew the swirly design onto Ricky Tims Stable Stuff, used 505 spray for a temporary bond, and worked from the reverse side of the charm square to create the swirls.
You can see, once the piece is flipped to the front side, the bobbin work is bold. This was just the look I was going for, without having to pull out floss and embroidery needle.
The next thing I did, before layering the quilt was to add decorative stitching to the ornaments. For this, I used Superior Variegated Gold Metallic (Color #025) thread in the top and So Fine! in the bobbin. Be sure to switch out your needle to a Metallic Needle #90/14, they have a longer eye designed to reduce friction with decorative threads. In my machine (Viking Sapphire 875) , I also lower the thread tension on my machine to 2.0.
Time to layer the quilt sandwich! Almost done. Machine quilting is one of my favorite parts of making quilts. This might be because I’m a thread-a-holic, I love collecting and using decorative threads. It also comes from my former longarm quilter years.
For the quilting on this project, I selected Superior Threads Fantastico (Color #5096, Golden Grandeur) for the top and for the bobbin. Fantastico is a 40wt Trilobal Poly with a high sheen, and a 1″ variegation blend. Don’t forget to switch back to the Topstitch #90/14 needle. This thread is designed for machine embroidery and decorative stitching. I love the backing design almost as much as the front of the quilt.
You can see the over all look of the stitching below. The decorative metallic threads give the ornaments a more formal look, while the RAZZLE DAZZLE thread stands out bold in the ornament hangers. The quilting design adds a texture to the background, without stealing the show from the overall design. In the yellow border, the snowflake stitch adds just the right amount of design, I may go back and add a few beads in the center of every other snowflake before the Christmas season. Maybe, no pressure. Right?
Here is the finished quilt. This pattern was fun and easy to make. I like the design, and as always, I like making it dazzle by adding some decorative threads.
Links to the products used in this blog post are below.
Be sure to ask for these quality products at your local quilt shop. My shops are listed below.
And please follow the Island Batik Christmas In July Blog Hop on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest! Hashtag #christmasinjulyib