Birthdays Christmas Family Finished Quilting Work in Progress

The Christmas Knitting – or not


It will come as a surprise to no one but me that I didn’t finish the Christmas knitting this year.  We’re talking didn’t finish as in ‘not even close’, as in the only way it was ever going to get finished would be if Father Christmas’ reindeer brushed passed the yarn stash on the way to depositing the man in red underneath my tree and somehow accidentally tangled their antlers in it producing three pairs of socks and a hat.  And that was never going to happen because (a) the reindeer rutting season is in the autumn (b) reindeer don’t have opposable antlers so rutting is the only way for them to knit and (c) the yarn in question was wrapped in shiny gold Christmas paper thus significantly reducing the chances of it snagging on anything, even helpful knit-minded reindeer.

And so it was that on Christmas afternoon my lovely H unwrapped a single sock.  The fact that it was knit from Wollemeisse twin did not entirely abate the slight issue of its singleness.  Of course, now that the first sock has been revealed, I’ve been able to unearth the inch or so of second sock from its hiding place and a little knitting while Elma naps on my shoulder has got me to the heel turn so it won’t be too long before there’s a new pair for the sock drawer.

Whether the same can be said for his second pair of socks (skein of Socks that Rock lightweight in Space Dust wrapped up with the note “this is a pair of socks!”) or his hat (two skeins of alpaca wrapped up with a note “and see, this is a hat!”) remains to be seen.  And as for my mother in law; she’s been assured that she was a very good girl this year, it’s just that Father Christmas’ elves were a smidgen preoccupied before Christmas, and they’ve promised to make an extra visit before Easter!

The jackpot winner in Christmas knitting stakes was my Dad whose entire complete pair of socks was finished (a couple of hours before he arrived at our house to meet Elma), wrapped and underneath his tree come Christmas day.  Do I have a picture? Of course not, but I’m told they fit and are warm and comfy.

There was one present that I really really wanted to finish, but it wasn’t for Christmas.  My lovely sister Zee celebrated a special birthday a few days after Elma arrived and I’d known for a while that I wanted to make her a quilt.  The question was really whether I’d be presenting her with a stack of fabric and a note, or the real deal.

Well happily Elma’s decision to stay put a while, and a few marathon sewing sessions while Kitty was at nursery, gave me just enough time, and Dad couriered it to Devon where Zee finally got to open it after I made her wait all morning looking longingly at it because I wanted to be on the phone when she opened it and we’d had the temerity to go into town to collect the Christmas meat order.

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Judging by the oohs and squeals that came down the phone, I think she liked it.  Certainly the pale blue is one of her favourite colours (and almost identical to the colour of my bridesmaid dress from her wedding) and her lounge sofa is a similar orangey-red to the hearths of the little log cabins so I think it should go nicely in her house.

December 207

The log cabins are made from Moda’s American Primer Jelly Roll with Stof’s blue pen hearts for the setting triangles and the binding.  The thin border is a Makower pattern called 306 Essentials New Star, gold stars on a cream background, and the outer border is Toy Box II by Sara Morgan for Blue Hill Fabrics. 

I’d had the jelly roll earmarked for Zee for a while but try as I might I couldn’t find a pattern concept that seemed to sit well.  It’s the tricky thing with jelly rolls; you may get to have all of the fabrics from a design line to play with, but at the same time you have all the fabrics in the line to play with, and unless you’re going to follow a pattern book right down to the choice of jelly roll, you never have quite the same balance of lights and darks, or enough mid tones.  I’ve had my best results with the simplest patterns and this is no exception; it’s Cabins in the Hills from Moda’s Bake Shop.

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In these colours it’s got a very traditional feel compared to a lot of the quilts which I make which usually have a colourful sting in the tail, and although I contemplated a crazy vibrant backing, in the end, the winner was far more Zee-appropriate,

December 198

I’d love to tell you what that fabric is, I’d love to be able to remember myself because it’s beautifully soft for a quilt back and rather sweet to boot but alas, all of the edges with the name on it are sewn into the middle of the quilt and now living in London with my sister.  It came from Cotton Patch but I can’t find it on their website – if you know please shout out in the comments.

December 208

So here we have it; the last thing I sewed in my sewing room (now Elma’s bedroom) and the first thing I finished in my new sewing space in the studio.  I’m so glad it wasn’t just a pile of log cabin blocks and a promise.

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