Friday, October 5, 2012

Stacked Christmas Trees

Here's a project I've been wanting to do for a very long time.  The pattern is "Tree's Up! Lights On!" from Pieces from my HeartI bought it in 2010 just after I finished my pumpkin quilt, which is done in the same stack and swap style.  

This is one of our favorite quilts for fall.  It's big and soft and warm!
I'm hoping the "Trees" will become our next favorite so I can give the pumpkins a rest!
 
This quilt takes 30 fat quarters so it's great for fat quarter bundles if you don't want to pick the individual fabrics.  I had lots of Christmas fat quarters that I had bought specifically for this quilt.  I also needed to pick though my stash for some additional pieces that I cut into fat quarters.  

I love that I'm working on a Christmas project and it's only October!

The last time I did this technique I was in a class with about 8 other ladies so it was hard to really understand what I was doing.  This time I made sure to read the directions a couple of times before I started.  I know most of you would just wing it but I LIKE reading the directions!  For those of you that don't like to read the directions here's how it goes.

Start by tracing the pattern onto the paper side of a piece of freezer paper.


Be sure to include all the letters and numbers - you're going to need them!  You have to cut in the exact order listed of the piece won't go together to make the trees.

Make 3 piles of 10 fat quarters each; greens, reds, and whites.  Press one of the freezer paper patterns onto each pile.  Now cut being certain to follow the numbers!


Keep the paper in place even after the pieces are cut.  Like most quilts keeping all the pieces organized is half the battle (or fun depending on how you look at it)!  Here are all the piles cut up.  The next few steps involves swapping out the colors.

Each stack starts as single color.
Swap the trees so that each background has a different color tree.
Now swap the trunks of the tress so that each tree has a different colored trunk.
That wasn't so bad now was it?  The next step is a bit more tricky but it's the one that gives you that scrappy look.  
Working with the background pieces only, start in one corner of the block
and take the top piece and move it to the bottom.
Move to the next piece on the same block and take the top
2 pieces and move them to the bottom.
Continue working your way around the tree and the trunk swapping out one additional top fabric and moving them to the bottom.  I have to say the directions were VERY clear, much better than what I'm writing here but I thought I'd give it a try so you can get a feel for the process.
 
Here's a close up of the red pile.  You can see that each of the background pieces is a different fabric.  The tree pieces are all the same but you could mix them up in the same way if you wanted.  I haven't decided if I want to do that or not.
 
This is the easiest technique I've found for doing "scrappy" blocks.
I think it has to do with the fact that once everything is cut up you can't move it to a different location only a different level.  And the limited number of pieces allows me to stay focused on the look of a single block with the object of having no two background pieces of the same fabric.
 
The weather's supposed to be getting chilly this weekend so I'm looking forward to spending time sewing. 
 
Hope you have a great weekend doing something fun!

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