Why Christmas Now??

We were talking in a meeting the other day and sewing for Christmas came up. Some of those in the meeting said it was too soon to think about Christmas, but I said it is definitely NOT. Here’s my reason…

In 2014, just a little while after I started my job here, we started a new family tradition. I’ve always loved to give handmade gifts but somehow never started soon enough. But with my new job, I suddenly had more quilts than ever before. Part of it was that I was sewing color options and testing blocks and part of it was that we’d moved, and I didn’t have a new group of friends, so my leisure time was mostly spent making quilts.

At the same time, we decided to downsize so I had a BIG stack of quilts that needed to find new homes. For Christmas that year, I piled all the quilts that I was willing to get rid of under the Christmas tree. I didn’t fold them; the pile looked more intriguing if the quilts were just heaped around the tree.

We let our children, their spouses, and the grandkids draw numbers and when their number came up, they got to choose one of the quilts. The quilts ranged in size from table runners and wall hangings to queen-size bed quilts.

The kids and grandkids loved it so that’s been our method of gift-giving every year since.

Here are photos of three years of The Pile of Quilts. It even has an official name in our family. (“Mom, are you doing The Pile of Quilts again this year?” Or “Mom, will that quilt be in The Pile of Quilts?”)

There are usually 15-20 people at our house for The Pile of Quilts party. It’s our family Christmas but we do it on New Year’s Day to make it easier for the kids and their in-laws. Several years there have been so many quilts that everyone got to take two or three turns, so they got two or three gifts from us and I didn’t have to wonder where to store all the quilts any longer.

I counted this week and I only have THREE quilts on the shelf that I’m willing to give away. I’ve been doing lots of longarm quilting for others and not so much making of quilts. It is definitely time for me to get sewing on some things for this year’s Pile of Quilts. January 1st is not that far away. If we have the usual 15-20 guests, that means I have to finish four projects a month or one project every week for the next four months to have just one item per person.

I’ve been looking at things that are doable in a short amount of time. Of course, the first thing I need to do is to see if there are PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) that I can finish quickly. Mary Kate and I did a video a while back about deciding which unfinished projects to finish and what to do with those that you don’t want to finish.

And here is a blog where I talk about the same thing, identifying and evaluating PIGS to see if they can be rescued and finished.

And here is one more I’m super proud of this PIG – I mended a quilt for Elizabeth, a friend of mine – a quilt her grandmother made for Elizabeth when she was just a kid.

Christmas quilting

Elizabeth with Her Repaired Quilt

So, my first task is to inventory my PIGS.

Here is one I can think of without even being home. This is a quilt that I started for a color option for the September/October 2019 issue of McCall’s Quilting.

christmas quilting

McCall’s Quilting September/October 2019

At this point it’s little (45” x 45”) but I have the embroidery almost done to make it bed-sized.

christmas quilting

Christmas Quilt PIG

But I also want to look at some of the quilts we’ve featured in recent magazines. Quick Quilts will have lots of ideas for projects that I can complete in a hurry. I know that Patchwork Pumpkins (on the cover of the October/November 2019 of Quick Quilts is one that I want to make.

christmas quilting

Quick Quilts October/November 2019

And the Winter 2019 issue of Easy Quilts has some great ideas for using panels. Panels are always a great way to make a quilt FAST!

christmas quilting

Easy Quilts Winter 2019

Wish me luck – I have some quiltmaking to do!
Happy quilting!
Lori Baker, Acquisitions Editor

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