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Monday, January 5, 2015

Christmas Advent Quilt

I love advent calendars!  I've made several in many different varieties.
This year, I stumbled upon a photo from THIS BLOG and I fell in love.   I had an uncontrollable desire to recreate the idea into a quilt!

The artist used a wood medium, and as luck would have it, one version of the Bible Verse Luke:2.11 (The Christmas Story) has exactly 25 words. - perfect for an advent calendar!

First I created little mini quilts.  One one side I appliqued the numbers 1 through 25.  On the opposite side I embroidered a word from the Bible verse.   These are made like THESE COASTERS- and are not bound. After flipping, I quilted the little mini quilts, and made a buttonhole with my machine.

Setting the 25 mini quilts aside, I created the background for the advent calendar.  And quilted it thoroughly with a tight stipple.   For the very top of the advent quilt, I cut out a  silhouette nativity scene out of a gold fabric fused with heat N bond.  I positioned the appliques and ironed them down.  I continued doing a tight stipple over the whole quilt, saving the nativity scene for the last.

After the whole piece was quilted, I wanted to add a sleeve to the back of the quilt.   FYI I detest making hanging sleeves and would rather do just about anything  lol -  But I really thought it was important for this particular quilt.  
I tried to pin down exactly what it was I hated about making hanging sleeves, and I came to the conclusion that it's the hand sewing.  Not just hand sewing, but sewing through the thick layers and all of that bulk.   What if there was a way to do it by machine?  Surely someone has discovered a way already. . right?  So I went to google to search.  And guess what? Sure enough, there was a tutorial on making and attaching a hanging sleeve almost entirely by machine!  I was skeptical at first, but I gave it a go.  The method uses a blind hem stitch, but you can use a tight zigzag if you are careful.  The stitches don't go through to the front of the quilt.  It is just ctching the backing and a bit of the batting.  It worked perfectly!  My mind was blown and it seriously is a life changing discovery!  
If anyone is interested in this method - here is the LINK
So after the hanging sleeve was attached, I started working on the position of the mini quilts.  Once I found a placement I liked,  I made a mark with chalk through the buttonhole onto the quilt background.  I removed the mini quilts and then started to sew my buttons.  

After the buttons were sewn, I laid the mini quilts directly under the buttonhole.  I chose a navy-colored thin ribbon, poked it through the buttonhole and tied a bow over the button.   That way the mini quilts can be easily turned from front to back, but still secure.  

 The one side with the just the numbers, and the other side with all of the Bible verse Luke 2:11


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