Author Archives: jennifer

Christmas Color Stack Quilt Top

Every year I promise myself more Christmas themed sewing, and every year I somehow fall short.  This year I promised myself at least one finished Christmas quilt top, and given the frenzied pace of life right now, I needed a fast and simple project.  I decided to make a Christmas Color Stack quilt.

Like my original Color Stack quilt top, I cut strips from my stash to use in this quilt, but it would also look great with a couple of Christmas themed jelly rolls.  I chose a variety of reds and greens and added some blue, pink, aqua, and even a bit of orange.  I’m excited to have a colorful, festive quilt to use for the holidays, and I really like the modern vibe.  Rather than Christmas themed quilt blocks, it’s a mash-up of holiday colors and it really makes me smile.

I followed my original design, except in this version of the quilt, instead of piecing the 1.5″ strips in the pattern (available here for only $2), I fussy cut strips of an Alexander Henry nutcracker print that makes me smile.  This print will also be the backing for the quilt.  *Note:  if you’re making a Color Stack quilt and want to do something like this, cut three strips 2.5″ wide by 32.5″ long and insert them in the narrow columns as shown in the pattern.

The quilt top measures 66 x 80 inches and because of the simple design, was completed in a couple of afternoons.  The backing is pieced (a habit I have – I always piece the backing immediately after finishing a quilt top) and awaiting quilting.  I would love to get this finished before Christmas.

Yesterday we got our first dusting of snow for the season, and I couldn’t resist going out in the cold to snap a photo against the white backdrop.  We’ve had unseasonably warm weather in Utah, so this change in temperature really makes it feel like Christmas is around the corner!

Quick links:
Fully illustrated pattern available for download here
Free tutorial for color stack block is available here

If you’re looking for a fast finish, or need to make a quick quilt to gift for the holiday, this pattern is a great place to start.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I have!

Jennifer

Thanksgiving: Hungry, Full + FREE Gratitude Quotes to Download

Today as I left the grocery store I saw a man standing at the stop sign with a very simple cardboard sign in his hands.  It read, “hungry.”

The sign, the man, his situation – it always tugs at my heart, but “hungry” really got to me today, leaving me with tears running down my cheeks when I drove away.  “Hungry.”  Aren’t we all?  And for so much more than food?

My pie-making tools are on the counter awaiting the first pie of the season, my refrigerator stocked with everything for the big meal.  Yet in the hustle of it all, I’m both “full” and “hungry.”  Full, because I see the hand of God in my life and know that even in scarcity and adversity He is trustworthy, and that the darkest of days only make His light brighter when it appears.  Thanksgiving has become for me a time to take a step back emotionally and mentally and look hard to “see what God hath done.”  He does it masterfully, so my heart is full.  And I’m hungry.  Not just for the mouthwatering food that will grace the table, but more so for my family.  I’m hungry for them to feel it.  I want nothing more than for my children to have eyes to see, and for them to hunger for the feeling of “full” that can only come from recognizing our blessings AND their source.

Don’t you love having a holiday that reminds us to count our blessings?!  We should obviously live in thanks all year, but it’s wonderful to have a time of year that helps us focus on gratitude.  I have great confidence in what gratitude does for us when we practice it.  Early in the month our family started a gratitude jar with the invitation to write down what you’re thankful for and add it to the jar.  But the month always flies by with school and athletics — suddenly the holiday is tomorrow and I look around at my children and want so much for them to get it.  Are we truly grateful?

This year I went looking for some gratitude quotes that capture my feelings on this subject.  Tonight each of my children will find a different quote waiting for them at their place setting and we will discuss them together over a simple meal.  I’m really interested to hear what they think.

I’m hoping everyone enjoys it.  I printed them on parchment paper and decided it might be fun to start a little collection of gratitude quotes and do this more often!

I compiled eight of them in a PDF to share with you.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD GRATITUDE QUOTES

I will also be sharing my all-time favorite Thanksgiving quote with my extended family at our Thanksgiving dinner.  It’s by William Bradford, taken from his history of Plymouth Plantation, and I re-read it every year.  I love the way he testifies that God can work in our lives without all the luxuries we sometimes think are necessary.

I’ve shared this quote before, but decided it was time to type it up.  It is also available to download.  CLICK HERE TO DOWNLOAD BRADFORD QUOTE

I had a local copy shop print mine in color on their nicest, smooth cardstock for a few cents and I love how it looks.

I really hope these things help prepare my children’s hearts to want to live gratefully.  Quotes such as these are a blessing to my soul – they center me, offer perspective, and give me confidence in Christ and hope for the future.  The best kind of “full.”

Wishing you happy – and grateful – Thanksgiving.
With all my heart,
Jennifer

Color Stack Quilt Tutorial – A Jelly Roll Quilt Pattern

Autumn is full of color, and I had to make a quilt to celebrate it before the season ends.  I decided to work with simple blocks made from 2.5″ strips.  While I knew I could look around and find a pattern to follow, I really wanted to just sew and see what happened.  This Color Stack Quilt is the result.

Because it is fast and fun to make, I’m sharing a free tutorial for you to make your own.  If you would like the convenience of downloading the Color Stack Quilt pattern, it is available here.  This 67″ x 80″ quilt requires two jelly rolls or 70 strips of fabric measuring 2.5″ x width of fabric (at least 40 inches long).  For the skinny black and white strips, you will also need 3 strips of 1.5″ x 40″ in both black and white.  For my quilt, I chose to cut strips of fabric from stash.

Select your 70 strips and pair them in sets of two.  Set aside three sets, or six strips of fabric, along with your 3 skinny (1.5″ wide) black and 3 skinny white strips.

With the remaining strips, sew each set together to create long strips.  You should have 32 long strips.

Cut each strip into five pieces that are 8″ long.  Set six sets aside to use for partial blocks.

Sew the five pieces together, alternating colors, to make a block that is 8″ by 20.5.”

Make 26 of these color stack quilt blocks.  With two of the remaining sets, sew four pieces together and leave the fifth separate as shown below.

And with the last four, make partial blocks of two and three pieces:

The quilt is made with 8 columns of 4 blocks in each column, and three skinny strips mixed in:

Two of the columns (columns 2 and 7) are made from four full blocks.  The other six have three full blocks and partial blocks at the top and bottom so that the stacks can be staggered between columns.

To make the skinny strips, first pair the black and white fabrics together and sew them into long strips just like the blocks you’ve completed to make three sets of strips.  Cut each strip into two pieces that are each 20 inches long.

 

Sew these two strips together, colors alternating.

Now cut this strip in half to make two pieces that are 10 inches long.

Stack them on top of each other and sew together again.

Repeat this process twice more, cutting the block in half and stacking until you have a long strip that is 2.5″ wide.  Make three.

With the colored 2.5″ strips that you set aside at the beginning, make three pairs of two fabrics and sew together into a long strip.  Cut these strips into 2.5″ wide units measuring 4.5″ x 2.5″.  These units will be sewn together to make 2.5″ wide strips of varying lengths.  Sew the units together to make ONE of each of the following lengths:  9 units, 8 units, 7 units, 5 units, 4 units, 3 units.

Take the strips that have 9 units and 3 units, and sew to each end of one black and white strip.  Take the strips with 8 units and 4 units, and sew to each end of a second black and white strip.  Finally, take the strips with 7 units and 5 units and sew them to each end of the last black and white strip.

Arrange blocks and columns to your satisfaction.  Sew the 8 inch wide blocks into columns.  Iron each column with seams going opposite directions for easy nesting of seams as you sew.  Sew the columns together to complete your quilt top!

If you’re looking for a quick but rewarding project, I hope you’ll give this a try!  If you would like to download the pattern which includes a diagram for placing the partial blocks, you can find it here for just $2.  Please share your projects with the tag #colorstackquilt

Happy quilting!
Jennifer

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