Winter Wonderland Quilt

It’s never too early to get excited for Christmas! And since this whimsical wintery quilt requires a fair amount of hand-stitching, you’ll want to give yourself plenty of time to complete it. I love the meditate quality of applique, and its handmade nature is well-suited to holiday decor. Feel free to play around with different color combinations– a black background would be very striking, or a white one would emphasize the snowy feel of this scene.

Two Bella Solids Charm Packs (SKU# 9900PP-20)
One Bella Solids Moda Candy/Mini Charm Pack (SKU# 9900MC-30A)
1 1/2 Yards Bella Solids Gray for background and binding
1/2 Yard Bella Solids Snow for tree
1 Yard Christmas Countdown for backing
Card stock or preferred template material
Fabric pen or pencil

1. First, create four circle templates: one large 4 1/2″-diameter, one medium 3 1/2″-diameter, one small 2 1/2″-diameter, and one tiny 1 1/2″-diameter.

2. From the 5″ charms, trace and cut a total of 7 large circles and 24 medium circles, cutting along the traced line.

3. Trace a small circle in the center of each large circle, then cut out inside the traced line, allowing a generous 1/4″ seam allowance. Repeat with tiny circles in the center of each medium circle. You should have donut-shaped fabric pieces.

4. Trace a tiny circle on 24 of the 2″ charms, and cut out allowing a generous 1/4″ seam around the traced line circle. Do the same with the small circles, tracing them onto the 5″ squares and cutting out with a generous 1/4″ seam around the drawn line.

5. From the Bella Solids Snow, cut one rectangle 8 1/2″ x 4″ and another 17″ x 21″. Take the larger rectangle and fold it in half along the 21″ length, then trace a diagonal as shown. Cut along the traced line through both layers so that when you unfold the fabric you have a triangle.
6. From the gray fabric, cut a rectangle 42″ x 38″. Lay the triangle and rectangle in the lower left corner of the background fabric, approximately 2″ from the side and bottom. Since you will be folding under 1/4″ around the edges of both shapes when you applique, they should be overlapping a 1/4″ so that when you sew, the folded edges will be touching. Pin in place.

7. Arrange the circles on the tree and the upper right portion of the quilt top as you like. Each two-toned circle consists of either a large circle with a small circle layered (and centered) beneath it, or a medium circle with a tiny circle layered beneath it. I placed 2 large circles and 5 medium circles in the tree itself, then arranged the rest in a billowing motion starting at the top of the tree. Pin all pieces in place (I find it easiest to use safety pins for all initial pinning, then replacing these with straight pins as I begin stitching each segment).

8. Time for some hand stitching! The outside of the tree body and the tree stump are stitched with regular applique, folding under about a 1/4″ along the edges as you sew. I folded the top tip of the tree so it was flat for about 1/2″.
The circles are stitched with a combination of regular and reverse applique. Work on one circle at a time; first, cut into the interior 1/4″ seam allowance every 1/4″ or so, then reverse applique the interior in place, stitching through the quilt back and the smaller circle that’s layered underneath while folding the seam allowance under as you go. Then, stitch the exterior of the circle using regular applique, folding under a scant 1/4″. 

9. When you’re done with the appliqué, baste and quilt as desired. I stitched curlicues in the center of each circle, then swirls in the exteriors. I chose a loose and wavy stitch for the background to accentuate the winter wonderland feel. Use the remaining gray fabric for the quilt’s binding.

One festive wall quilt (38″ x 48″) to hang up during the holidays. You could also use it as a table centerpiece for a yuletide fete.

Pippa Armbrester

Spring Rainbows Quilt

1 1930s Colors Bella Solids Jelly Roll
1/2 yard Bella Solids Snow
1/2 yard Avalon Daisy (for backing)

This quilt is made in a truly improvisational style, which means minimal measuring and lots of free-wheeling cutting and sewing. Depending on how comfortable you are with this, you can measure a bit more as you go, but I like the slightly wonky, off-kilter effect of improvisation.

1. To start, unroll your jelly roll. Pull out one strip of each color. Cut each strip into approximately 3″-long pieces, then cut these pieces roughly in half (lengthwise). You’ll have lots of little strips of slightly different widths.

2. Then, freehand cut eight squares from the Bella Solids Snow. Make the squares approximately 2 1/2″-3″ each side. Don’t worry if they’re not perfectly square!

3. Sew together three of your small colorful strips along their long edges. Press the seam allowances to one side. Sew these three strips to one side of a square (they might be slightly wider or narrower than the square- that’s fine). 
4. Repeat on the opposite side of the square, then use a rotary cutter and ruler to trim the unit so it is exactly 6 1/2″ long. The strips and square might not be flush along the long edges- that’s fine.
5. Sew together approximately eight of the colorful strips along their long edges and press the seams to one side. Check to see if the strips are at least 6 1/2″ long; if not, add another strip. Also, make sure the strips are relatively flush along one side. Make another one of these 8-strip units for a total of two. 
6. Sew an 8-strip unit to the long edge of the 6 1/2″-long unit. Your 8-strip unit might be longer may have some extra length, that’s fine. Sew the other 8-strip unit to the opposite side of the unit. Press the seams to one side. 
Note: If your 6 1/2″-long unit wasn’t perfectly flush, line up and sew the two units together using a larger seam allowance as necessary to catch both units, then trim the seam allowance to 1/4″. This will give you a wonky, non-perpendicular effect.
7. Now trim the entire block so it is exactly 6 1/2″ square. Repeat to form seven more of these blocks. 
8. Now you’re going to create eight of the second type of block. Take one of each color strip from the jelly roll, and cut each strip into approximately 4″ to 4 1/2″-long strips. Cut these in half, similar to the freehand cutting you did before but with slightly longer strips. Also, cut five 2 1/2″-wide strips from the Bella Solids Snow, cutting from selvedge to selvedge. 
9. Sew together four of the colorful strips, pressing the seams to one side. Use a pair of scissors to freehand cut the edges so they are flush (but don’t worry about creating right angles).
10. Sew a white strip along the top of this unit, and trim with a pair of scissors to it’s roughly flush.
11. Repeat on the opposite end of the unit.  Trim this unit to exactly 6 1/2″ long, as you did with the other block type. Then sew white strips along the long edges, trimming with scissors so they’re flush, then cutting the unit to a perfect  6 1/2″ square when you’re done. Since I like some irregularity, I tried to cut so that the width of white varied in each block (you can also trim your strips shorter in some of the blocks to allow for more white).
12. Create eight of these blocks. Make four of them exactly as above, but for the other four, sew the first white strips on the long edges of the strip, so they end up like so:
13. Once you’ve created all sixteen blocks, it’s time to sew them together. You’ll want four rows of four blocks each, switching up the orientation of each block as shown. Press the seam allowances to one side, alternating the direction in each row.
14. Once you’ve created four rows, sew these rows together, lining up the seams. And the quilt top is finished!
15. Baste your little quilt and quilt as desired. I stitched one continuous spiral, starting at the center of the quilt, using white thread.

One cheery quilt, 24″ square. Perfect for use as a table topper!

Pippa Armbrester