Joy to the World

and a Happy New Year! I’m celebrating with song. This quilted throw is primarily a music quilt, but the pattern includes the 3D Jolly Holly I showed in the Christmas blog. It’s a lovely touch, but optional. (Try the 45″x60″ quilt in royal blue, for instance, without the holly!!) While the music in the applique is the actual opening of “Joy to the World,” it wouldn’t be difficult to insert any favorite tune–what a wonderful gift for someone.

Don’t hesitate, though, at the level of difficulty. While there is some work on the appliques, the piano keys are a cinch! Really, the ivory ones are faux-pieced from the back with tiny rows of stitching, not piecing, and the black ones are BIAS TAPE. (My friend, Mr. Bias Tape, comes through again!) Also, the lines of the music are made of tubular bias or narrow braid–very easy. Lots of step-by-step instructions with diagrams show you how. I dare you to try–it’s on sale for just $3.50 until Jan. 15. Click here!

“Joy to the World” cc1015 by LJ Christensen

So what is awaiting YOU in the new year? Don’t we always have projects—and more projects? Well, once my new Sewing Studio is somewhat organized, one of my latest plans is to make a Kaffe Fassett quilt. His designs are simple, and his fabric prints are really big, bold and bright. I’m drawn to them, but I confess I waited until a bunch went on sale (hello, Hancock’s of Paducah–thank you!!) I have my own design, but I’m planning to use all Kaffe prints, which’ll be a first for me. This will look very different in big prints:

Sneak Peek at “Which Way to a Kaffe Medallion” in progress by LJ Christensen

I usually start my designs on Inkscape, which is a free vectoring program with a grid. That’s what this is. I export it as a .png, then save it as a .jpg. In the program, I can change colors and sizes, using basic square/rectangle forms. It’s NOT a quilt program, but it works for me. Sometimes I start on graph paper, but I quickly move to the computer because it copies and pastes!

I have lots more designs to do and hope to keep with a new pattern every week…or at least make it to 100 before the end of the year. OK, I said it–you’ll have to hold me to it.

I also want to enter the Alabama National Fair again this year in October–I skipped last year because there was just too much turmoil with the Studio. Entering the fair gives me the competitive motivation to really push for excellence and for breadth as you only can enter one item per category. I made 65 ribbons 2 years ago. Can I do more? That means knitting and crocheting and embroidery and more. I can’t pledge to win, but I can pledge to try! (and while doing so, I get my Christmas presents all made early!)

One thing I love to do this time of year is get out old quilting magazines and books and just flip through, seeing what speaks to me. It’s funny how you see something new every time you flip through. Another thing I like to do is sort my scraps. Sometimes, just seeing and touching them give me ideas (or make me feel guilty and want to use them up in a scrappy quilt). Here’s a good scrappy quilt: Click here for more info.

Kite Charmer: Sleeping on a Cloud

The “Kite Charmer” is a paper-pieced wall hanging that I made of all different fabrics. It’s a little challenging to get all the points right. However, I have a regular pieced scrap quilt started out of this “pocket lozenge” block, an elongated “snowball,” which is easy and very different from the patriotic look. It can be made ANY size. Click here!

“Salute the Colors” close-up by LJ Christensen

What else is coming in 2020…? Well, for me, it means knee replacement surgery, which I’m not looking forward to. It’ll very likely slow me down. However, it won’t stop me. I’m thinking some cross-stitch or maybe even some hand quilting may be looming in my future. My son tells me, “When you can’t quilt, get out your laptop and design...” Good advice.

Have a Jolly Holly Christmas!

Decorate your house, yourself and your quilts. We certainly don’t have time to start new quilts this time of year. However, sometimes you can cheat just a little and simply whip on or pin on an embellishment to change the look, such as wreath and bows I added to “Log Cabin in the Pines“:

“Log Cabin in the Pines”cc 2305 decorated for Christmas!

To help you decorate, I have a simple way of making holly. “3D Jolly Holly Applique“cc2205 explains just how to make fun double-sided holly leaves and stuffed berries, using paper-backed fusible web and water-soluble stabilizer. Once you know the technique, you can use it for all types of flowers, leaves, and other appliques. I’ve put the pattern on sale for just a $1.00 until the New Year, so don’t miss it! click here for more info

“3D Jolly Holly Applique”cc2205 by LJ Christensen

I have to apologize for letting down my blog this month. Like all the other elves out there, I’ve been so busy wrapping, packing, trimming and participating in two art shows….that I finally ran out of time (not to say energy). But I have to say I’m really blessed this year. My son is home, and he and my sweet husband have been extremely supportive in helping me move into my new Christensen Creations Sewgocreate Studio. No, it’s still not finished (I say, gritting my teeth), but outside of a custom desk, cabinet and a couple of tweaks, it’s nearly there. Now….what to put on which shelf? (What a wonderful problem to have!)

Sneak peak of Christensen Creations Sewgocreate Studio by LJ Christensen

As I look at the photo above, I’m realizing the lavender quilt on the quilting machine does NOT look good with the log cabin quilt. However, what it means is that soon in the new year, there will be a lavender castle pattern. Also note the blue/white one on the top right, called “Wedgewood Plates.” It’s close, too! Many more to come. I counted about 25 new patterns in various stages of development. New this week is “Check Out my Purple Heart,” which I hope to have ready before Valentine’s Day. Then there’s “Sssnakes” appropriate only for intrepid youngsters and “Snowflake,” a simple wall hanging. I had planned to finish it before Christmas, but as we’re experiencing the 70’s here in mid-Alabama, somehow it just didn’t seem seasonal. Maybe Jan and Feb will bring some snow. We’ll see. I like to design when and where the spirit moves me. Right now it’s hard to settle and sew, though, when there’s a new studio that needs to be outfitted and loaded. I confess to discombobulation!

But I’m definitely having a GREAT Merry Christmas! I hope you all are, too!