The year end nears;…

it’s time to switch gears! Yes, indeed, with frostbite nipping at our toes this past weekend, even those of us in Alabama got the message that winter has arrived, and it’s almost Christmas. While it may be too late to get a full Christmas quilt done, you CAN easily finish this quick runner. Made like the “Maple Sugar” I published a couple weeks ago, it’s just 1/2 yard of fabric with pieced ends added, which lengthens it quite a bit. I used simple squares and half-square triangles to form simple holly and old-fashioned yoyos for 3D berries. Not difficult! Add an autumn print backing to make it reversible!

“Holly Berries Table Runner” by LJ Christensen This sample was shortened–this easily can be 65″-75″.

I’m beginning to feel the pressure to get my Christmas gifts finished–time is flying, and I’m STILL making masks. For goodness sakes, I never dreamed we’d still be wearing masks this season! I definitely need Plan A, B, and C in case I run out of time, and I need every shortcut I can find.

One shortcut I use when making masks is THE “Shortcut” by June Tailor. It’s a plastic template about 14-15″ square with 12″ cuts in it every half inch. You can line it up and cut both sides of a block, then rotate it and cut the other two sides.

For strips, I prefer a 24″ ruler, but when I have to cut them into squares, I stack up several strips, line up the Shortcut and slice, slice slice. That truly saves time. I usually cut 4-6 layers and then stack them in dozens, a convenient multiple of four (or six). If I’m using the squares right away, I just leave them in stacks, but if I have to leave, I use a long, sharp flower pin to hold each dozen.

When making half-square triangles, I mark all of the diagonals at one time, either with a heat-erasable Frixion pen, or if that won’t show against a dark fabric, I fold them diagonally and press for a seam line. I chain-stitch them, trim and press to get them all ready. Then it’s anchors away! and time to simply piece.