Santa’s Crossing: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Hello Quilting Friends, my name is Wendy Sheppard. I believe this is my first time guest-blogging on Quiltmaker’s blog.

I thought I would start by sharing just a little about myself. I live with my little family in northern Virginia. Despite the frantically paced lifestyle, we love all the historical connections associated with this area. I design and make quilts for magazines as well as fabric companies, at home and abroad. I have a great passion for domestic machine quilting, and document some of my tried and true tips on my website I have also authored a couple of quilting books for Landauer Publishing, with a new one due out in October 2017. I call myself a happenstance quilter in that I never thought I would be involved with sewing or quilting in any form or fashion, but here I am. For the rest of my “quilty” beginnings, be sure to check out page 70 of my Santa’s Crossing pattern in the July/August issue of Quiltmaker.

QM1708 COVER 500 221x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy Sheppard

Quiltmaker July/August 2017

I am very excited to have Santa’s Crossing featured in the latest issue of Quiltmaker. This was a fun quilt for me to design using Moda Fabric’s Snowfall fabrics designed by Minick and Simpson. For the quilt design, I decided to come up with something snow-related to match the name of the fabric line, thus the snowflakes. Each snowflake is made of four quarter blocks separated by sashing pieces and cornerstones. I thought “layering” the different snowflakes might give a fun visual effect by bringing a complete “snowflake” forward, and only letting part of another showing in the background.

And of course, no two snowflakes are alike. I colored my snowflakes in three different colorways, but I think it would be really neat to have all the snowflakes colored differently from each other for a totally scrappy look! How about a completely scrappy red/white or blue/white look?

And I really like that Quiltmaker has added coloring pages to the projects featured in the magazine so that you can personalize the project by deciding your own colors before attempting the project. I look forward to seeing the different versions of this quilt.

santas crossing a visit with wendy sheppard flat 248x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy SheppardThere are some 1½” pieces, which I know can be tricky to handle. When dealing with narrow or small pieces, I always make sure I press-starch my fabrics with a dry iron before cutting. The starch gives the fabric a little stability, as well as accuracy during the cutting process. That in turn translates to accurate piecing if one is careful to sew ¼” seam allowance for the pieces sewn together. I also use a fine thread (50wt by Aurifil) for piecing. The fine thread doesn’t “eat” into my narrow pieces, which can cause the size of my blocks to shrink. By doing these small workarounds, my blocks end up measuring 13½” x 13½” raw edge to raw edge, or as close as possible. In making the blocks, I only finger press when adding the different 1½” strips to the “X” units. I wait till after all the 1½” strips are added before I press with a dry iron to make sure my blocks are flat. That seems to cut down on wonkiness when making a log cabin typed block with narrow pieces.

The blocks for Santa’s Crossing are really quick to make if you first lay out all the pieces required on a design wall or floor. This preparation helps simplify the process, which makes the quilt top a fun one to construct.

santas crossing a visit with wendy sheppard thread 300x300 Santas Crossing: A Visit with Wendy SheppardIt’s a pleasure for me to visit with you and share a little about making my quilt, Santa’s Crossing, on Quiltmaker’s blog! I hope you enjoy making this quilt for Christmas this year. If you want to have this quilt around for the entire winter season, Moda’s Snowfall fabrics give the perfect balance for the Christmas and winter palettes. In case you are wondering, I will have my Santa Crossing quilt out for Christmas, AND winter later this year.

I hope to visit with you again — till next time!

Quiltingly yours,


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