My inspiration for this swap was sadly lacking the first few weeks of the swap window, what with the gallstones attacks and the surgery. But eventually, all the Christmassy spirit around started to make an impact on me, and my mind started turning over ideas. I went for a primarily hand pieced project as I couldn't tolerate much time at the machine. I had the idea of a little hexie Christmas wreath floating around in my head, but it took a while for the idea of a little tree in the centre to tie it together.
I had a little hexie factory going on beside me on the sofa last week. Basting and piecing hexies is a strangely soothing process and I really enjoyed it, even if I did eventually have to admit to myself that it was time for an eye test. Despite working as quickly as I could, it was slow going though.
Swap posting opened on Monday, but on Monday evening I found myself at my machine, sewing desperately to piece the background blocks and secure the hexie wreaths.
Yesterday, I put the quilt top together. I had decided to use a penguin print for the central tree, as I knew my partner was partial to penguins.
I also had a small scrap of a Christmas tree fabric left which was perfect for another tree as it contained all the colours I used in the hexies.
With 2 lovely wintry aqua blue fabrics for the trees, I decided to stick with this theme and used another blue print for the 3rd tree.
As you can see, I machine pieced the hexies to the blocks. This was partly driven by time constraints, but also to give it a slightly raised effect, and to make sure that they were really secure as runners get so many turns in the washing machine, I didn't want to risk the piecing coming away anywhere.
I machine quilted 5 lines, 1/4" apart between the blocks and at either end. This dense little quilting block breaks up the runner blocks and I like how it contrasts against the hand quilting and the rest of the negative space which is unquilted. It was then time to embark on another West Wing marathon to get the hand quilting done. I outlined the trees in red perle cotton for contrast, and then outlined both sides of the hexies in a turquoise blue to tie in with the background fabrics for the trees. Honestly, the hand quilting took me most of yesterday afternoon and evening to finish. But it was totally worth it. The combination of the hexies, the hand quilting and the machine quilting gives it a nice, textural feel.
This morning, I bound it and all of a sudden, it was done! I used another aqua blue print for the binding and it gives the whole runner a really fresh, clean, wintry feel.
I've been posting lots of pictures on Instagram as I worked my way through this project, and getting loads of likes and comments, which was great, as I was worried originally that this simple little design might not work. I can't draw, and didn't have time to mock up a design on EQ7 so I was very much working on instinct here. But happily, the simplicity of the blocks and the pops of pretty Christmas fabric against the frosty Kona white just seem to work together, and the instantaneous feedback from my Instagram buddies really helped boost my confidence about the design.
All that remained was to make a little Christmas tree decoration to go with it - a pieced heart backed in felt.
And my package was ready to go!!
Today was the last posting day, and I got to the post office with literally 10 minutes to spare to catch the post - the closest I've ever come to missing a swap deadline! I haven't had a minute to catch up on who else has posted, and what is going on in the group so I must pop over there now and check everyone is doing ok!