Quilting the Christmas Tree

Yesterday was quilt club and I had no idea what I wanted to work on, so I grabbed a miscellaneous selection of projects to take with me, including the Christmas tree advent calendar I’ve been working on.

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I couldn’t find the fabric I’d originally decided to use for the back, so I grabbed the next best thing, a dark snowflake-y print with a bit of a shimmer about it, bought yonks ago from Abakhan:

Golden snowflakes

I’m sure I meant to do something else with this, but it hasn’t happened yet, so at least it’s being used for something!

I also grabbed the last chunk of the hugely fluffy and frankly not very nice polyester wadding that I bought literally years ago from Galeria-Kaufhof in Germany before I knew what I was doing – it was just about big enough for this project, and I will be very glad to see the last of it!

The pockets will be added once I’m happy (ha!) with the quilting:

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I trimmed down the background around the tree so that it would fit on the wadding, which also meant that it fitted very nicely lengthwise across the width of the gold snowflake backing, then pinned the layers together.  It was a bit of a challenge, I’m not used to pinning anything so fluffy!

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For the quilting, I’d already decided that I would start by doing FMQ around each shape, following the lines of zig-zag stitch and using the same colour of thread, but because of the bouncy wadding it took me some fiddling to figure out what settings to use to quilt it without skipped stitches and/or broken thread and/or broken needles (yes, plural).  There may have been some swearing!  Eventually I caught the trick of it and quilted around all of the tree shapes.

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Because of the maddeningly fluffy wadding, the tree clearly needed more quilting to tame it a bit.  Smelling a challenge, I dug out a reel of green metallic Wonderfil (I bought it with this project in mind, after all), switched out my needle and started quilting random curvy zig-zags similar to the shapes of the tree bits.  It took a bit more fiddling with settings to get it to work, but the process was not nearly as painful as I expected.  (And the thread behaved itself and refrained from embracing inappropriate bits of sewing machine!)  About half of the tree has now been quilted like this and it’s helped a lot:

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(Yep, there are a lot of thread-ends to bury!  Oh, the joys of frequently breaking thread!)  I may well quilt some garlands with red or gold metallic thread as well, to make it really sparkly.  And try to ignore the fact that quite a bit of this will be invisible once I attach the pockets!  (In certain areas, this will in fact be a bonus…)

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The quilting on the back looks pretty cool, actually.  It’s not entirely without wrinkles, alas, but I’ve decided that I am not worrying about that in this instance.  :p

Once I’m done on the tree, I plan to quilt the background quite heavily (probably with a cream thread, I don’t know that my sanity could cope with more metallic) to squish it down and allow the tree to stand out a bit.

Linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!  🙂

5 thoughts on “Quilting the Christmas Tree”

    1. Thank you, Soma! I loved Advent calendars when I was young and used to make my own out of paper and card, so this is getting back to my childhood! I’ll probably give this one to my niece when it’s done. 🙂

  1. Hello Heulwen,

    Yes, I’ve got some rubbish wadding stuffed in a dark corner somewhere. You get a zillion points for persisting with it, despite the swearing and breakages. The pockets are brilliant. If your niece stuffs chocolate money in them you must tell her not to hang her Advent calendar above a radiator.

    Thank you for linking up with Free Motion Mavericks!

    Love, Muv

    1. Hello Muv! Lol, it seemed like the right thing to buy back when I had no idea what I was doing! I bought about 2m of the silly stuff, but I shredded and fed the majority of it to a large stuffed bear for my niece last year – she’s doing quite well out of my error. 🙂 Too true about radiators and chocolate money – I don’t think this thing is going to stand much washing! Looking forward to moving it along, though I’ve paused it currently so I can work on some blocks for a block swap. Thanks as always for hosting a fun link party! 🙂

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