Guest Author - Connie Krochmal
It is possible to create your own seasonal decorations using ordinary craft techniques, such as sewing and quilting. Here are some books with some wonderful ideas.
“Seasons” by renowned artist Debbie Mumm was published by Leisure Arts. This presents 23 delightful projects featuring seasonal motifs. In addition to bed quilts, these include pillows, a decorated tray, table runners, and centerpieces. Among the motifs are daisies for summer, pines and stars for winter, and pumpkins and autumn foliage for fall.
All the projects are so inspiring it is hard for me to choose a favorite, but I especially like the set of four seasonal panels. For all the projects, there are charts listing the fabrics and supplies you need, complete, color-illustrated step-by-step instructions for all the different sizes of quilts, and full size pattern pieces. As with all of Debbie Mumm’s books, this is beautifully illustrated with her signature art for which she is so well known.
“Fabulous Flowers: Mini-Quilts in Dimensional Applique” by Sharon K. Baker from Martingale/That Patchwork Place features 20 appliqué projects made with 18 seasonal flowers. Using this simple technique, you can embellish the flowers to create realistic-looking window boxes and garden scenes. Many of these designs are suitable for novice crafters. There are many ways you can display these projects throughout the seasons.
For all the projects, there are illustrated, step-by-step instructions. In the introductory chapters, the author explains all the techniques and construction. The spring flowers include daffodils, snowdrops, and pansies. For summer, there are sunflowers and foxgloves. For Christmas, I especially recommend the poinsettia mini quilt embellished with gold thread. You can mix and match the flowers to create your own designs.
Thunder Bay Press has released “Quilting” as part of its Instant Expert Series. This hardcover by Jenni Dobson has a hidden spiral binding presents all the basics on appliqué and patchwork, including easy and fast cutting and piecing methods. Suitable for both novice and experienced quilters, this has easy to follow, color illustrated instructions and templates for over 30 projects and techniques. One of the projects is a vase of flowers, which would make a lovely seasonal display.
There are chapters devoted to patchwork, appliqué, and basic quilting techniques. There is also a wonderful history of quilting, and color photos of over 60 historical quilts. The libraries of quilt blocks are very helpful, and show which would be of seasonal interest, such as maple leaves and peonies. A number of blocks would be suitable for Christmas.
For holiday decorating ideas, the best source by far is Mt. Redoubt Designs. For 2006, they have released two delightful patterns by renowned artist Letitia Hutchings. Flower lovers will especially like “Poinsettia Elegance.,” an appliqué dimensional floral design. For best results, purchase the optional crystal kit to give the hanging a glittery holiday effect. This seasonal hanging features red and pink poinsettias on a beautiful flowered background. The pattern has a color chart giving the yardages you need along with a chart showing the crystal placement. There are complete, illustrated, step-by-step instructions with full-size pattern pieces.
The “Penguin Charm” appliqué wall hanging features penguins in a star-lit background with seasonal motifs, such as Christmas trees. This has a chart giving the yardages, and complete, step-by step instructions with full size pattern pieces and layouts showing the placement of each appliqué piece. A chart shows the placement of the crystals. The crystal kit contains enough of each color to complete the design.
Wall hangings are perfect for holiday decorating. Mt. Redoubt Designs has numerous other seasonal patterns that are especially suitable for the holidays with one of the newest ones being “The Nativity.” Measuring 32 inches by 32 inches, this impressionistic design by renowned artist Letitia Hutchings depicts appliquéd figures on a lovely pieced background showing a star-lit night. As with all of Mt. Redoubt’s patterns, this features templates and full-size appliqué pieces with fully illustrated, step-by-step instructions from start to finish. There is a full-color chart showing the amount needed of each fabric and the other supplies you’ll need to complete the project. To make this design sparkle, purchase the separate crystal kit designed especially for the pattern. It contains the exact number of genuine Swarovski crystals that you need along with a chart showing the crystal placement.