Countdown to Christmas Day 8, Giveaway!

Welcome back! Quiltmaker’s Countdown to Christmas continues with a giveaway of great Kansas City Star books. There will be five lucky winners.

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Do you know that feeling when you see something and it just grips you—you absolutely love it? This happens to me with fabric, with entire quilts, with color schemes and with quilt blocks. It happened to me when I opened The Spirit of Sacajawea by Laurie Simpson and Polly Minick.

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I’m often drawn to repetition. I like its orderliness. See the block in the top left corner of the quilt below? The numerous hills or bumps that suggest leaves really appealed to me, and I loved the bird and berries, too.

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Last weekend I decided to whip up one of these blocks. I thought it would make a great Christmas wall hanging.

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I wanted non-traditional colors, so I pulled a gray print and several bright fabrics to complement it. I prepared the applique pieces and fused them down (fusing is wonderful for a down-and-dirty get-it-done-fast project). But when I put the block up on my design wall, I was really disappointed. It just didn’t sing.

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I think the problem started with a background fabric that was too busy. It takes away from that gorgeous wreath. It seems to swallow up the bright colors. There isn’t enough contrast between the background and the design elements. The berry colors were off. I stopped right there…

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…and changed to a more traditional Christmas color scheme. You can hardly go wrong with a shirting for the background plus turkey red, poison green and a bit of cheddar thrown in for accent. This version is so much better!

twoblocks Countdown to Christmas Day 8, Giveaway!You can really see the difference when the blocks are viewed side by side. Quite a contrast, isn’t it?

You’ll find a bevy of gorgeous blocks in The Spirit of Sacajawea, which carries the subtitle “A Textile Tribute to an American Heroine” and was the Kansas City Star’s 2012 Block of the Month. I enjoyed reading about this young woman’s role in the early history of our country. The book is a lovely combination of history and beauty—what could be better?!


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Here’s another title from Kansas City Star Quilts I really enjoyed. Czecherboard Quilts by Rose Ann Cook is subtitled “Stories from my father’s family.” Cook set out to learn more of her family’s history and then designed quilts to honor the family members she discovered. The quilts are doable and beautiful, and the family stories that are interspersed throughout the book held my attention.


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The Garden Quilt: Interpreting a Masterpiece will interest lovers of applique and quilt history. Authors Barbara Brackman and Ilyse Moore have researched a masterpiece quilt called The Garden by Mrs. Edward B. Irish. One book in 1929 called the quilt “exquisite” and stated that “Words can scarcely describe this triumph of the needle.” Similar quilts have been found, some with links to Emporia, Kansas, but much remains a mystery, and The Garden Quilt will pique your interest in this topic. Instructions are given for a variation of the quilt called Paradise in Kansas.


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Returning to our Christmas theme, Memories of Christmas Past features a beautiful sampler quilt in traditional colors. Each of 12 sampler blocks includes a Nine Patch twist. These blocks surround a center of Poinsettia and Nine Patch blocks. Best of all, throughout the book Carolyn Nixon shares childhood memories of growing up in the Ozarks during the 1950s. Her co-author is Betsey Langford, and the two have included six companion projects ranging from a table runner to a memory journal.


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And if you enjoy decorating your home for Christmas and other holidays, you’ll love Deck the Halls by Lynda Hall. This title has quilts to inspire family traditions. The country look abounds and there is easy wool applique on pillows and wall hangings.

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Each of these books goes to one lucky Quilty Pleasures reader. Please leave a comment below before midnight Friday, Dec. 14 and tell us how you use quilts to decorate your home for Christmas. We’ll choose winners and announce them here next week. The lucky winners are: Celeste (#78), JuliaP (#13), Patricia (#47), Diantha (#136) and Barbara (#48). Congratulations!

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About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email:
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