Tuesday, November 15, 2016

The Making of a Tree Skirt

A year ago Debi K. asked if we could make a tree skirt at the November retreat.  Well, given a year's notice it is pretty dang hard to turn a request down.

In February we were making Quilt As You Go table runner with winter fabrics and since the previous Christmas Mister and I decided to do a blue themed Christmas this year, I set aside enough fabric strips for this project.  And there they sat.  For SEVEN months.  Now I am in Oh My Gosh mode and I need to get this project finished if I am going to attempt to help others.

This is the Moda Bake Shop FREE pattern entitled Peppermint Swirl.  It is a bargello type tree skirt and I took it a step further (much to my chagrin, but more about that later).

10/31  It's Halloween and I have been invited to Valerie's for the day.  You can read all about our day by clicking on this LINK.  Since I cut all my strips back in February, I pull them out and start sewing them in panels, trying to keep the bargello effect going.  I'm doing well until the very last panel and I discover that I am out of several of the strips I have been using and will need to substitute others in.  That means I have to strategically put them in throughout all the panels so that it is not so obvious.  Wonderful.

It takes all day but I am with friends and what better place to be when you are spending quality time with a seam ripper.  I manage to get all the panels finished before I need to leave.  Yay.  Onto the next step which requires a ruler that I don't have.  Yes, this is the perfect time to discover that.

11/3 I am in Houston and glory be, I find the ruler I need.  Super stoked.  You can read all about the festival by clicking this POST.

11/7  Using my new ruler that I purchased in Houston, I start cutting the wedges.  The first three sets go great and then somehow I turn the ruler and set number 4 is cut the wrong direction.  I am sooooo frustrated with myself.  Moving on, sets 5, 6, 7, go great and then I turn set 8 again.  What the heck is wrong with me today.  I cut set 9 and put it all away before I make this whole mess much, much worse.

11/8 It is a day retreat at Sunset today (you can read all about it HERE) and I am determined to figure out how to fix these dang wedges.  I spend the entire time sewing them back together and attempting to make a piece of fabric that I can then cut into wedges once more.  Yes, call me crazy but that is where I am at on this.  I manage to have 9 sets of wedges by the time I leave but let me tell you, they are certainly something interesting.  I really need to use my brains better instead of always thinking, "I've got this."

Once I'm home, I lay it out and love the circle it makes.  This may work after all.

11/14  Today I am determined to sew these wedges together.  It has been almost a week since I looked at them and they have just laid on the living room floor.  Retreat is in 3 days and this has to be sewn, quilted, and bound by then.  Crazy person alert again.

I sew them in groups of nine and then start putting the groups together.  Soon I have a circle but when I lay it out, it won't lay flat.  Now what have I done?  Back to the instructions I go.  OOOHHH -- I wasn't supposed to use the last 5 wedges.  Why the heck did I cut them then?  Grrrr.

By overlapping the distance that has to be removed, it will now lay flat.  That's enough for today.  My frustration level on this project has his maximum altitude.

11/15  It's a new day and a new attitude.  First thing, I remove the section of 5 wedges that are not needed.  What the heck am I going to do with this?

Now, I need a back so I get the fabric I set aside for it (which is a winter New York scene), lay it out and decide I can just cut it in half and it will fit.  Again --- crazy person alert.  Once I do that, it doesn't fit.  I seriously sit down and start crying.  What the what?  Who am I?  Mister comes to calm me down and between the two of us we figure out how to sew the fabric back together so that it will be large enough for the tree skirt backing.  I have to say, this is the first time I have worked to line up a pattern on fabric and for some amazing moment of beauty, it works.  Can you see the seam lines?  There is one horizontal and one vertical.  Yeah -- when you screw up, make sure you do it both directions.

Finally, it is time to make the sandwich.  Yes, I have a quilting machine and frame but I want to use my walking foot and straight lines and this just seems easier today.  I am using basting spray and spray it on pretty thick.  Please, please, please let this step go easy.

It's now time to quilt this and off I go to the studio.  I takes me about an hour to quilt and I go right into making the binding the moment I finish.  It is bias binding, which I detest, and I use every last scrap of the fabric I set aside for it.  Goodness.

A quick trim around the skirt and on goes the binding.

I need to take a little break from this so I spend some time online and then during the evening, while sitting with Mister watching a show, I hand stitch the binding down.  It is finished.  Halleluiah.

The back

And the front.  Now, I gotta get packed for retreat tomorrow.  Whew --- what a bear this was for me.


  1. Absolutely beautiful. So sorry you had so many difficulties BUT being a quilter too, it's refreshing to know I'm not the only one that goofs. lol

  2. What a beautiful pattern. Frustration level hits maximum altitude - LOL because I can relate. Hopefully, the finished project puts all of that frustration behind you, now.

  3. Wow, I was there to witness most of it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for working out all the bugs for us. You made us super successful at retreat to be able to complete it. Loved earning my golden scissors award this way. Hugs of appreciation for all the WTW you went through. Hugs, Allison in Plano, Texas