Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Welcome back to Quiltmaker’s Countdown to Christmas, where we share all kinds of holiday cheer.

QMs CountdowntoXmas2 Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

I thought it would be fun to show you some of the holiday quilts we’ve published in the past. I spent some time going through my back issues which start in 1982. That’s right—Quiltmaker turned 30 this year.

It was interesting to see how much quilt styles have evolved. The techniques have changed a lot, too.

rotaryCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Rotary cutters weren’t being used in quilting when QM was started, and paper foundation piecing as we know it hadn’t been conceived. We’ve come a very long way.


christmascoverCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Quiltmaker's cover, Spring/Summer '83

Here’s a cover from 1983. It wasn’t intended to say “Christmas,” but I couldn’t resist including it, because I think it’s very holiday-like. In spite of being 30 years old, it has a bit of a modern feeling because of the solids used. It’s vintage happy and that makes me smile.

holidaysparkleCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Holiday Sparkle was patterned in Quiltmaker in 1984.

In 1984 we published Holiday Sparkle. Look at those piecing diagrams. Not for the faint of heart. This was around the time I became a quilter!


celebrationsamplerCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Celebration Sampler, above, came out in the Early Winter issue of 1989. I still love it when designers do something interesting with cornerstones, just like they did here.


holidaywonderCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

In 1990, the Holiday Wonder pattern gave instructions to stencil on the quilt using freezer paper and fabric paint. All of the little holly leaves and other green motifs were to be painted on the quilt. I wonder how many of these quilts exist and how well the paint held up over 23 years. If you have one, please let me know.


poinsettiaCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Maybe applique won out over stencils because in 1991 we published Poinsettia. This applique looks just right for a confident beginner, don’t you think? And remember those border prints? If you mitered them, they’d travel right around a corner.


constellationCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

Constellation wasn’t labeled as a Christmas quilt in 1992 but I think it could have been. We’d foundation piece those tricky angles now, or at least use a special ruler to make them easy. See how the border echoes the block’s spiky-ness? Great design technique, then and now.

In the same Early Winter ’92 issue, Noel, Noel was patterned.

noelnoelCC Countdown to Christmas: Past Holiday Quilts

I think this design has stood the test of time. Its composition is balanced and beautiful. It seems to glow from within—artists call this luminosity. I imagine it in hand dyed Cherrywood suede-like fabrics. Noel indeed.

So that’s a taste of our first decade of Christmas holidays. If you have QMs from the ’80s and ’90s, you will find these patterns there. If not, there are plenty of newer patterns to keep you sewing for centuries. We’ll be sharing more as the Countdown to Christmas continues.

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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