Yesterday I finished my Christmas quilt from hell. That has to be an oxymoron. Christmas…. hell…. well, they shouldn’t go together. But in this case they do.

I started this quilt about 7 years ago. I love the stack n whack method for piecing, and wanted to try it in a tumbling blocks pattern. For those that don’t quilt, stack n whack (aka SnW) is a method of stacking identical pieces of fabric EXACTLY on top of each other to cut smaller pieces. When they are put together, they usually have a kaleidoscope effect.

In this case, I only stacked 4 layers. That part was easy. Somewhere along the way, I ran out of fabric. Then I had to improvise. I filled in the top with more black, to give the illusion that the blocks were stair stepping down. Well, that was my plan anyway. It doesnt look like that as much as I had hoped. Because of the bias, and because of my inexperience with bias at the time of making this 7 years ago, the whole top is pretty funky. As in…. doesnt lay flat. Wavy borders. Seams dont match as they should. As in ….. piece of crap Christmas quilt. Oh, another oxymoron.

I have always known how I wanted to quilt this top. So I loaded it on to the machine Dec. 24, 2007. This quilt has been on the machine longer than any in history in our house. Let’s see… that’s a total of 13 days. Pathetic. Of course most of those days I never worked on it. Most of those days it just sat there and taunted me.

This is the quilt I chose to continue fine-tuning my new machine. So the bobbin winder is finally running well. And I have a different way of threading the machine that seems to work better. (I am just skipping the second to last thread guide, is all). The titanium needles we are used to work better than the ones that the machine came with. But she still skips a stitch every once in awhile. And Steve still needs to raise my hopping foot a hair I think. (it has been up and down about 10 times now and I am still not satisfied with the position).

All of this to say…. the quilting was at least as frustrating as the making of the top. I am a believer that done is good. Sometimes I feel like done is good enough. In this case, done is darn terrific!



The one below shows the train I quilted, to go along with the trains in the main focus fabric.  The train quilting design is  from one of Anne Bright’s books.

Next one is the back


Except this is a better sample of the true color.


4 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Vicki W
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 21:38:42

    I think it looks great! Just consider it a “learning quilt”!


  2. freda1951
    Jan 06, 2008 @ 22:21:38

    I think it’s great too Gayle. I love the train.


  3. myolivebranch
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 07:41:30

    i too love the train. for being a PITA, it turned out real nice.


  4. Deb Levy
    Jan 07, 2008 @ 20:58:41

    I think that you achieved your objective…definitely I can see tumbling blocks. The quilting is perfectly suited to the quilt. So what if it isn’t perfectly flat….we all have some of those. And just think of it as an example of how far you have come in this quilting journey.

    And I’m with you…done is good. Sometimes better than others.

    Feel good about what you accomplished.


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