Santa’s Garden: Rescuing an old project

Years ago, before I learned to sew, I enjoyed embroidery.  One year I spent many hours working on a large embroidery project called Santa’s Garden.  In spite of my lack of sewing skills I finished it and used it as a wall-hanging in our home.  When we moved, I no longer had a good place to hang it and by then I didn’t want to hang it because it was finished so poorly.  Soooo, it’s been sitting in a box for about 12 years.  Last year I unpacked it and removed the backing and ugly borders (I never even quilted it because I didn’t know how) and decided that I still like the large embroidery.

This year I’m slowly working to turn it into a functional quilt, large enough to be enjoyed by my family.  My inspiration is the State Flowerscape quilt I made earlier this year.  So far I’ve added two simple borders.  They are narrow on the sides of the panel and wider at top and bottom.  The first red border is the last of an older, more traditional Christmas floral that I bought when I first started quilting.  The second is the awesome, very modern stripe by Victoria Findlay Wolfe that I can’t get enough of.  I’m excited to use a variety of fabrics in this project.

Santa, his wagon and the trees are unfinished.  I used something like Heat & Bond to fuse them with an iron years ago, so when I quilt this there will need to be some special attention given to these pieces.  I’ve never done something like that before.  I do love the embroidery though, the silly reindeer and the “north bean pole.”

The mistletoe and poinsettia patches are probably my favorite part of the entire piece.  I hope that I can use lots of color to liven up this rather neutral piece as I add more borders, and make it feel fresh and new even though it’s an old project I couldn’t bring myself to discard.

Have you ever done something like this?  Styles and crafting come and go, and we get rid of a lot over the years.  But something I love about Christmas is that when I unpack the decorations, sweet memories come pouring out along with these pieces I’ve had for years.

The books
, the nativities, the ornaments, most of it has been in my home for years and I like the feeling of greeting old friends when we decorate for the holiday.  I like the fondness my children have for various pieces.  For me, it adds to the feeling of Christmas.  So I hope I’ll succeed in making this embroidery project a happy part of our traditional decor.

The question is, what to add next?  I’m thinking a couple of rows of trees might be fun.  I guess I’ll see where the creative process takes me!

I hope, in the craziness of this holiday season, you’re able to work on something that brings you joy, if only for a few minutes.



  • Janette

    I was wondering where you got the Santa’s Garden pattern?

  • jennifer

    I made the Santa’s Garden panel about 15 years ago. I just did a google search and came up with nothing, but I will look through my files and see if I can find the pattern and designer. If so, I’ll let you know!

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