In early November I finished a 54” x 54” throw-size Christmas North Stars quilt (pattern by Elizabeth Hartman) that is primarily for my sister-in-law, Sharon, but is also my brother, Bill’s Christmas present this year. Last year I made a North Stars Quilt to include in my Christmas decorating that has a white polar bear, two otters, a walrus, and a seal. When I showed Sharon the pattern and told her she could pick four of the blocks, she chose the muskox, the foxes, the reindeer, and the bear but requested it be a brown bear instead. We decided to use a muted Christmas palette of some dark and olive green, red with a tinge of brown, cream/brown, gold, and taupe/grey. The above photo is on their couch right after they opened my package that I sent from New Mexico to California.
I ordered some fabrics from Tim Holtz’ Christmastime collection that captured that palette perfectly (I especially love the Christmas Carols fabric that I used in all four blocks that looks like it was printed on old parchment), and used several fabrics from my stash including a cardinal fabric that I fussy cut for flying geese units in the bear and foxes blocks. Below are close-ups of the bear and foxes blocks before quilting where the cardinals are easier to see as well as the brown and red grunge fabrics used in these blocks:
I used several different Essex Linen fabrics in the Muskox and Reindeer blocks that provide such wonderful textural interest:
The background fabric for all four blocks is Essex Homespun Silver and the sashing fabric which is subtly different than the background fabric is Essex Homespun Charcoal. I love the texture of these fabrics, but they definitely fray easily. Sharon specifically requested that the quilt be backed in minky fabric which I found at the Etsy shop CaliQuiltCo. I sent the quilt top and the grey minky fabric off to Jessica who has quilted a couple other projects for me and who coincidentally lives about four miles from Sharon and Bill (too bad I can’t get air travel miles for all the miles my quilt flew on airplanes!). Jessica, who is on Instagram as @sugarmillquilts, did a fabulous job with the quilting using Glide Celery thread which is a gorgeous shiny light green thread and the edge-to-edge quilting pattern called Fire in the Jungle worked wonderfully for this quilt. The photo below shows the beautiful quilting on the minky back:
Since this was the first time I’d used a minky backing fabric, I was pretty nervous about binding this quilt and asked for advice from other quilters on binding with a minky quilt backing. I was encouraged to treat it like regular quilting cotton but to stay-stitch 1/8” from the edge to stabilize its fluffiness. And that worked like a charm! I did end up using a wider binding on the minky side of the quilt to further contain the fluff that tends to shed.
Below is a close-up of the foxes after quilting that shows off the Glide Celery thread:
We recently had our shed repainted, so I thought the quilt would look nice against the bright terracotta background. Since this photo was taken, I’ve had a black curtain rod that extends up to 120 inches mounted at the top of the shed to be able to more easily photograph quilts outside without using duct tape!
I’ll close this post with a photo of Sharon holding her quilt. Doesn’t it make quilters feel wonderful when their quilts are loved and appreciated?
Linking up to Meadow Mist Designs: Favorite Finish November 2021.