Wednesday, January 5, 2011


We had a great Christmas, and it helps to pass the winter. People can do things like this if they want to. No use to let everything go because of hard times. Ina, Christmas 1932

The "things like this" Ina mentions are simple gifts and the sharing of food with friends and family. I love Ina's concept that Christmas should be a celebration that helps us pass the dark winter months. As the days grow shorter we prepare for the holidays. After the event passes and we wait while short days become longer and warmer, we should have inspiration to carry us through to spring -- the memory of a happy celebration, kindnesses shared, gifts that keep on giving -- like books, games, projects, and planning for spring planting, travel, etc.

Move forward we must, and to help me do that, I always make resolutions for the new year. I suppose these aren't resolutions (goals) as much as a plan of action for my year. I enjoy the exercise of writing it out and the focus it provides, especially during the "dark" months. I believe that I'm better for this organizational effort. 

New Year's Day I rummaged around in the guest room where I keep my fabrics, yarns, and supplies. In the course of re-organizing my Christmas fabrics, I came up with a Christmas quilt panel, a 1930's style reproduction handkerchief print, that I had ordered on a whim a couple of years ago. It was on sale and I'm always curious about reproduction prints. That it was part of something larger didn't occur to me at the time.

"How do you use this thing," I wondered to myself. The panel was designed for Exclusively Quilters, and by searching their website I discovered it had been part of a line of ten or twelve coordinating fabrics called "Vintage Holiday." A pattern for a quilt using the panel and fabrics was offered free, so I downloaded it. I am such a novice when it comes to quilting, but I was getting the picture. This fabric line was produced in 2007 or so and was now likely discontinued and if I really wanted to make this quilt, I should begin at once to search for the fabrics as they will only become more scarce. In the end I might have to make substitutions. I gave myself permission to continue.

The first place I searched was my own stash. As luck would have it, I discovered I already had some of the coordinating fabrics received by chance with a fat quarter medley of 1930's reproduction fabrics. Of course, this discovery only served to feed my obsession. Finding remaining fabrics became an online quest.

And I was moderately successful. First I found a remnant, "Red Snowflake," and some yardage, "Green Candy Cane," which I ordered. But a rep from that shop called to say they couldn't find the Green Candy Cane even though it showed in inventory. She gave me the option to search the website and substitute another print, which I did. And through an eBay store I ordered four yards of "Cream Ornament" which will be sufficient for the backing. Searching even deeper online, I found and ordered half a yard of "Red Ornament." 

Meanwhile, I studied the instructions and made notes. I cleaned the kitchen counter for a cutting surface, located my rulers, and shopped locally for a fabric to substitute for the missing background. I washed and pressed all fabric on hand. I copied the templates onto card stock and carefully cut them out. I'm ready to begin. Will this be easy? Absolutely not. 

It's a little like the new year -- move forward, one step at a time -- but move. KW


drMolly, the BeanQueen said...

Now you go girl! What a lovely thing to have found. I absolutely love-love-love reproduction fabrics and make MANY of my quilts from them. I hope you enjoy your adventure into quilting.

Chris said...

Oh boy, this looks like fun! You have a whole eleven months to play with this, so you have plenty of time to putter and enjoy.

I've been doing some Christmas stitching up here, embroidery, and have a few things ready for next year, too. I've actually discovered that after Christmas is my favorite time to do Christmas sewing.

DrJulieAnn said...

How fun! I'm looking forward to reading about your progress on it.

Leah said...

I'll bet that Ina and her contemporaries spent the days in early January doing exactly what you are doing, Kathy, except for the Internet part. They must have retreived their quilting supplies to begin a new quilt and surely traded fabrics with other women nearby. They probably asked their friends for patterns if they admired a quilt. And then these folk art designs made from scraps became works of art as well as a warm cover for a tired body at night. Did Ina ever talk about making quilts in her letters?

Kathy said...

Wow! I didn't expect all the affirmation. In fact, I almost didn't post this essay. It's kinda scary to say "I'm going to do this thing." Sometimes things get shoved to the back burner.

The backing came today and is in the washing machine. And I cut the hankies from the panel. There's one I didn't center too well . . .

I agree, Chris -- sewing for Christmas in January has its benefits. Soon we'll have other things to do. But, I don't know if eleven months will be enough to finish this quilt. (LOL)

You could be right about Ina's sewing, Leah, but I know she probably wasn't able to work beyond 3:30 or so. She did make quilts and mentions them in a few places. I'll include those in a future post. I'm working on a post about the weather, too.

Hallie said...

Those are very cute fabrics! I always enjoy a craft project because you get to spend so much time admiring the colors, patterns, and imagining the final product put to use!

I just can't imagine living my day based upon available sunlight (WHAT available sunlight??). I CAN imagine reading a good book by candle light, though!