Countdown to Christmas – Fons & Porter

It’s time, it’s time! Christmas fabrics are starting to appear in your local shops—the countdown to Christmas begins!

This weekend, I treated myself to a mini-quilt road trip to Winterset, Iowa, birthplace of Fons & Porter. In addition to visiting the Iowa Quilt Museum (more on that next week!), I popped into Pieceworks Quilt Shop to visit with Tony Jacobson, and select fabrics for a baby quilt. What caught me by surprise was that Tony was organizing bolts of Christmas fabrics!

That 95-degree Iowa heat (with lots of humidity!) tricked me into forgetting that December is a mere four months away. In fact, only eighteen weekends stand between now and December 1st. How many of those will be taken up by soccer games, camping, barbecues, housecleaning…?

Oh, dear.

How much time do we quilters REALLY have for holiday projects? Well, it depends…

Will the project be used during the holidays, is it a gift, or do you like to have a holiday project to work on that keeps you in the holiday mood?

I enjoy working on something over the first cold nights of December—just a quick project to get me in the holiday mood. A stack of cute holiday fabrics, a mug of hot chocolate, some holiday tunes, and I’m a happy quilter! In years past, I’ve sewn a tree skirt, a Christmas-only cookie-baking apron, and mug rugs for the aforementioned hot chocolate to fill me with the Christmas spirit. One Christmas, my niece and I finished her Frozen quilt, which was appropriately wintery.

This year, I’m starting on a Christmas row quilt, a classic from the Fons & Porter archives called Christmas Joy. My plan is to work on a single row each Christmas, maybe with a little help from my nieces and nephews. While this means I don’t need to start cutting August 1st, I WILL want to start scouting the new Christmas fabrics, since I’ll commit to one collection for this project.

As far as gifts, I only make one hand-sewn present per year (and it’s a secret who gets it this year!). Any more than that is setting myself up for frantic late nights, and the holidays have enough stress. Everyone else gets jam thumbprint cookies or pie. I’ve received no complaints about that arrangement.

But now is the definitely the time to start planning what you will sew—think of this as your Quilter’s Service Announcement! Look at your calendar, pick your patterns, and then head out for a little Christmas fabric shopping!

A Few Things to Consider
• Will you be using/displaying this project during the Christmas holidays, or is it a gift? Either way, it’s best to assume you will have limited sewing time during the month of December.
• Is it a large project, or a small project? A quick one, or an intricate pattern?
• Who are you sewing for, and have they been naughty or nice?
• How busy is your schedule? Don’t overcommit to handmade projects—as much as your heart wants to!
• Does your guild have a Christmas sew-in scheduled? If not, see if one can be organized!
• Will it need to go to a longarmer? If so, what kind of lead times does your longarmer have? Is she booked a few weeks out, or three months? Can she be bribed?




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