Friday, December 20, 2019

Holiday Squirrel Finish

I did it! With time to spare. Last time I wrote about this squirrel, I had taken a break because I didn't have the basting pins available to get it ready for quilting. I got the other quilt done (wrote about it in my last post) and then hopped right into this one. You can read about the process here. But here it is--my daughter's new Christmas tree skirt. It was a dark, wet day, so we moved our table out of our dining area to get as much light from the deck doors as possible for the photos.

I did all of the quilting with my walking foot. To kind of emphasize the snowflake shape of the skirt, I started with rows of lines through the longest sashings using the width of the walking foot to space them. 

At that point I wasn't sure what I'd do with the main sections of the quilt, so I started with lines along the sashings. I was tempted to quilt them as densely as the first sashings, but there was a bit of a problem. I was playing thread chicken with my quilting thread. I had an order in for more but wasn't sure how long it would take to get it. I was using white thread for both the top and bobbin, but decided to stretch it by switching to off-white in the bobbin. I also decided that I'd better not quilt the whole quilt so close together. 
To figure out what to do with the diamonds, I laid out thread across them. Option 1:

Option 2:

Option 3:

I ran them past my daughter, and we decided on Option 1, which was good as it would use the least amount of thread, but I liked the argyle look of it, too. I waited until the end to quilt the stars. I knew I wanted to outline them, but also knew that they would require lots of quilt wrangling if I did them with the walking foot. They actually were pretty easy, as the quilt is not that big and the stars were mainly near the edges.

The next step was cutting the skirt. I was a little worried about that, but it went fine. 

The binding was a different story. I knew I wanted to use straight grain binding for the edges of most of the quilt but that bias would be better (or should be better) for the circle. You have to know, though, that from the time I learned to sew as a teenager, I have had trouble with bias binding on inside curves. Any clothing I made that had bound armholes or necklines had that "homemade" look. This little project was no exception.
See how wavy that circle is? I'm thinking there are three things I might have done to make it smoother. I could have used narrower binding, but I really wanted to use my current favorite width of 2 1/2 inches (before folding) because that extra width helps me make better corners especially when they are other than 90 degrees. Maybe I should have clipped the curve before binding. I know I've done that before, but I wasn't sure how it would affect the size of the circle. Or maybe I should have sewed the binding to the back and flipped it over to the front to stitch down. Whatever, it did get done. And, hey, it is homemade, so the homemade look is fine. Best of all, no one will see that part under the tree, except the person responsible for tree watering. I'm really pleased with how the binding turned out on the rest of the quilt. Here are some too many close-ups.

The back is a tiny white print on turquoise. I know, it looks like a solid.

Here is the skirt under our tree because I couldn't resist trying it out. 
And some stats:
Pattern: Atomic Christmas Tree Skirt--a tutorial by Violet Craft, based on her pattern Atomic Starburst.
Fabrics:  A variety supplied by my daughter. The background is Kona PFD (Prepared for Dying). 
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 
Thread: Superior-- Masterpiece in Granite for piecing; King Tut in Temple for top thread of quilting, and mostly White Linen in the bobbin. Treasure in Old Lace for handstitching on binding. 
Binding: 2 1/2 inches cut, double layer, machine sewn to front and hand stitched on back; cut width of fabric, except for area around circle cut on bias.
Finished Size: 56 inches from straight edge to straight edge and about 64 1/2 inches from point to point. I did not wash it because I liked the flat look of it when it was finished. 
Machines: Singer Featherweight for piecing; Singer Treadle 115 for walking foot quilting.

Here it is, sent, received, and under its own tree--

And I just had to include this one--
And how about those socks?!! Hello, Sunshine, indeed!
My daughter thinks the skirt pattern could be marketed as a poncho, too!

Well, I think this might be it for the year. I have a few projects in the works. I have RSC quilts to finish and some other things, but I think I might take a break until after the holidays. Maybe there will be one more wrap-up post of the year's projects. We'll see. Oh, and remember I was playing thread chicken? Even though I won--sort of, by using the two colors--my thread did arrive in the mail the day after I finished the quilt. So I'm all set for sewing in the new year.

I'm linking up this week with Sarah of Confessions of a Fabric Addict for Whoop Whoop Friday and Wendy's Quilts and More for the Peacock Party, and next Saturday with Sandra at mmm! quilts for DrEAMi (Drop Everything And Make it) because I can't just let this squirrel finish hang out there from last month. There needed to be the rest of the story.

I hope you have happy holidays wherever you are and whatever you're doing.

(I'm not affiliated with any company, so when I mention products, services, or stores I'm just documenting what I used or liked.) 


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I love it!! if I hadn't already made a new skirt for my tree last year I would want one like this!

chrisknits said...

What a lovely tree skirt! And it is nice to win at thread chicken, I often lose those games!

Linda said...

I've been waiting for this one, and the wait was so worth it. It looks glorious under the tree, and I'm sure your daughter is thrilled. I love the stars and the fabrics, and the quilting is magnificent. It turned out bigger than I had imagined, but that size is perfect for the tree. Love the poncho model!
I thought about you when I was quilting this week and kept telling myself to slow down, it isn't a race - your quilting is inspiring!
Enjoy your holiday season.

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, what a beauty, I love it!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

That is just beautiful, Janine! I love how the stars seem to sparkle! I've never done binding like you had to do for the center circle, but yours looks good to me. Since that is right up under the tree, I bet no one will ever know that you weren't happy with it. This a wonderful finish, and looks great under the tree!

Vicki in MN said...

Gorgeous colors, love those spikey stars. Perfect quilting, it's stunning.

Bernie Kringel said...

Just stunning! Whether as tree skirt or poncho, this is a work of art. I love the look of it on the wood floors at your daughter's home. Really really pretty Janine! I think using a 'narrow-er' binding would help with the bulk going around the circle but as you said, this is not a noticeable place being at the trunk of the tree.

Fantastic finish!! Merry Christmas Janine!

Mari said...

This is so pretty Janine. I hope you make one for yourself to keep out on a table all year, because it's too pretty to pack away! I love the stars, and I love how you "auditioned" the quilting pattern with thread. What a great project to end the year on!

KaHolly said...

It is absolutely gorgeous! When it’s under the tree, you can’t even see the binding around the circle. Well done!

Sandra Walker said...

This is such a wonder to behold, ha! Seriously, it is. I've loved watching it come to life, from those first skinny icicle-point stars you showed us on IG to its final resting place under its own tree, or on the shoulders of a humorous girl! I love how you quilted it, so modern and perfect. Sometimes less is more, and sometimes those straight lines are just so elegant. Thank you in advance for linking this up next Saturday! Merry Christmas my friend.

Louise said...

Wonderful finish! The star of that famous movie, "It's a Wonderful Tree Skirt"! Merry Christmas to you and your family, Janine. See you next year :) said...

I read this post yesterday while driving home from the Grandparent House and had to wait until today to comment on the good old MAC to make sure this appears. I had made so many comments on my iPhone or iPad that seem to disappear and they were good ones. I think you are the Squirrel Queen for 2019, so many wonderful and intricate projects you have done, you DrEAMi well. You have to imagine what my face looked like when I read the Kona color for the background was Kona PFD (Prepared for Dying) and thinking what a horrible and morbid name for a color and realizing you meant Dyeing. I've seen too many movies where the villain says "Prepare to Die", I think. Your daughter selected beautiful fabric for this heirloom tree skirt; I can see this being handed down to the granddaughter. The quilting is beautiful and just right. Have a Merry and Bright holiday!

Preeti said...

Janine, this is the most striking Christmas skirt I have ever seen. Love the fact that it is not red/green :-D but still celebrates the spirit of the season with its starry pattern. Wishing you and yours a very happy new year.

Kate said...

That is a lovely tree skirt. The pinch look is nice, too. Soon versatile!