No doubt about it, the countdown to Christmas is on! Before we know it, the stores will be full of Christmas decorations and those early bird neighbors of ours will be decking their halls with lights and wreaths.
If you’re one of those early birds who “needs a little Christmas, right this very minute,” read on! Today we’re releasing the last of four free block patterns from Tina Curran’s fabulous First Snow quilt so you can make your own miniature Candy Cane Lane. They’re small, quick, and fun to sew, making them the perfect Christmas quilts to display or give as gifts.
When Quilters Newsletter debuted First Snow as a series quilt in the August/September 2014 issue, the block patterns were released online on a weekly basis for free download, but only for a limited time. We’re bringing back four of the 15 house blocks and making them available as free pattern downloads—it’s our early holiday gift to you!
Each free pattern has been accompanied by a new version made by an editor at The Quilting Company to show you just how much you can personalize your own versions. This week we’re sharing House Block #2, which was remade by The Quilting Company group editorial director Tricia Patterson. Read all about her version below, and be sure to download House Block #1, House Block #10, and House Block #13 if you haven’t already.
My first glance at Tina Curran’s First Snow design was during a cabinet clean out at the office. I was sorting through the file folders containing designer files and pattern drafts for 2014 issues of Quilter’s Newsletter, and there it was, a quilt with 15 incredible holiday-embellished houses and trees. I responded “Count me in!” without any hesitation when Mary Kate Karr-Petras suggested some of The Quilting Company staff remake a few of the house blocks.
I chose House Block #2 for my remake, totally attracted to the Christmas lights hanging across the front of the house. They remind me of Christmas time during my childhood. My family would attend our church’s Christmas program the Sunday before the holiday. Afterwards, on the way home, we would travel through the streets and neighborhoods of our small town to see all the lighted houses and yards.
We made this special trip every year, filled with oh’s and ah’s, from my earliest memory to the year I left for college. Some homes were elaborately decorated and some with only simple elegance; all glistened with the excitement of the season. I wanted to recreate the essence of this magical memory in my version of House Block #2.
I have several holiday hangers that I place on the closet door knobs throughout our house for Christmas (on closets because they aren’t opened as often). I decided a First Snow block project would be perfect for a Christmas Eve scene to add to the collection. I rummaged through several bins of holiday fabrics to find the perfect ones for the project. Anissa Arnold, who created the block for Part 2 of this First Snow series, offered the perfect winter snow sky fabric—and she also donated the Christmas lights! (Thank you, Anissa!)
I was set to begin my Christmas quilt block
I was delighted to find the block is foundation pieced because it’s one of my favorite techniques. I can’t begin to tell you why, because as often happens, I finished the First Snow
block in reverse of the pattern directions. The “Foundation is the reverse of the final block” instruction shown on a foundation template inevitably trips me up. I probably overthink it. I would benefit better from a more literal message like, “Place wrong side of fabric facing the wrong side of the printed foundation pattern.”
When I discovered my error this time, I had just finished the 3rd foundation. I
thought about remaking the ones I’d finished but decided it didn’t really matter–in this case. My need to strive for perfection failed me this time. Guilt was fleeting.
Next step: interfacing, backing, and quilting. Because I plan to use the block as a hanging
ornament I knew I wanted a firmer finished product, compared to the suppleness of a bed quilt. I layered the block top, and a layer of batting as usual, and then added a layer of Pellon Peltex craft interfacing before the backing fabric. I quilted simple swirls and straight lines to highlight areas of the block. I added the binding before I embellished.
Let the FUN begin!
I had lots of Christmas bits that I could add to my Christmas Eve scene: frosty snowflakes, Santa’s sleigh and reindeer, and a gingerbread man at the door. I was stumped about what to do with the candy cane pole. After a fruitless search for a gold star button (that I’m sure I have somewhere), I remembered my supply of craft metal. No gold in the box, but I did find a nice shiny red. I cut out a wonky star. Originally, I thought I’d create a cardstock sign and then that red metal beamed at me. I embossed the ‘The Pole’ for a bright signpost to point toward the North Pole.
I added the finishing touch, a red satin ribbon hanger, and now my block is ready for the holidays.
Now, I’m wondering… should I make a few more of those First Snow blocks for door
Happy Holiday Making!