Joy to the World,

which we really need this coming year. While it’s too late to get this quilt done for Christmas, it doesn’t matter! Just leave off the holly, and it’s a year-round throw. If red is too harsh for your room, try it in cranberry or pine green. Actually, it’s beautiful in royal blue, but it could be any color. You could also change the tune–it has “Joy to the World,” but you could make it purple and and do Prince’s “Purple Rain” or in gold for “Fur Elise” or even pastel with “Rock-a-Bye, Baby”-hey, it’s YOUR quilt and your choice. On sale for $3.50 until the end of the year. CLICK HERE

“Joy to the World” cc1015 by LJ Christensen

What makes it amazingly more simple than it looks is the use of faux-piecing for the keys and my friend, black BIAS TAPE, for the black keys and note stems. Also use a braid for the lines of the music. I always look for shortcuts, and this quilt is full of them, yet still very impressive. Yes, some time-consuming applique, but on the other hand, very little piecing.

If you are more interested in the holly, you can get the pattern for just $1 through the end of the year. It looks hard, but the trick is in using water-soluble stabilizer and old-fashioned yoyos. CLICK HERE

Basically, you use fusible web to glue two leaf fabrics together, back to back. Zigzag around them in a leaf pattern, cut it out, THEN sandwich it between two layers of the water-soluble stabilizer and do a wider satin stitch that covers the first. Pull off excess stabilizer and soak off the remainder. If you leave a little, though, it stiffens the leaf. The yoyos are just stuffed with a little polyfill and pulled tight. Hello, holly!

I’m wishing you a fairly Merry Christmas and hopefully, a grand NEW YEAR! I’m eager to stop making masks and start making new quilts. I have lots of designs in the works….so keep tuned!

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.