My husband and I sometimes have different tastes. Lots of times. Okay, most of the time. And Christmas tree decorations are no different. He likes his ornaments to be lots of different colors and styles and sizes. In quilting terms… scrappy. Me? I have more of a clean aesthetic, just one or two colors and places for the eye to rest. To make us both happy, we use his ornaments one year, and mine the next. So when it came time to make Christmas tree skirts, I knew I’d have to make two – his ‘n’ hers.
There was one tool I knew I would need for sure for both skirts. I myself bought a 10° ruler, and as usual threw away the free pattern that came with it. Then I started scouring the internet for skirts I liked, that I could use as models. I found these two and decided I would do the one on the left scrappy style for Rich, and the one on the right for me using my colors. I even decided to quilt them myself doing stitch in the ditch. I was excited by my relative success doing that on the One Block Wonder table runner.
Even though his skirt was going to be scrappy, I am still “me” and there’s only so much I can handle. So I limited my colors to red, green and white. There was lots of green in my stash, but not much red or white. I managed to find enough scraps to strip piece about three “arms” at a time (each 10° slice being an “arm”). I figured one or two duplicate arms wouldn’t be noticed in the overall busy pattern. And because the fat end of the arm is cut alternating from side to side, there’s more variation than you might think. With 36 arms I feel that it’s plenty scrappy.
Most of the cutting and piecing was pretty easy. As usual the difficulty was in spreading out the colors. And there was a little hiccup with the back. I knew I was shooting for a 48″ skirt. I found a backing that I really liked and bought what they had left, about a yard and a quarter. I thought I could figure out something for the extra 3″, completely forgetting that it would only be about 40″ wide. Oops. I ended up piecing the backing and filling in with one of my many green fabrics. After all, it’s just the back right?
But since my model was not a finished product I had no idea what to do next! So I went rummaging through the trash for that free pattern that I so nonchalantly threw away. How am I supposed to finish this thing anyway? Do I put binding all the way around it, including that tight little opening in the middle? Say what? Unfortunately, the pattern basically said “finish with your preferred method”. So much for dumpster diving being helpful. I decided I would try doing a bias binding. It worked okay, but was a huge pain. Have I mentioned that I hate doing binding? I knew then, that for the second skirt I would try the “turn it inside out method”.
- Sometimes it might actually help to have a pattern. It tells you fun stuff, like how much backing you will need. And how to finish. And silly details like that.
- It was much harder to hide my stitches in the ditches with a scrappy multi-colored quilt than it was with black thread on a basically black table runner. Go figure.
- It’s hard enough to do binding corners on a normal rectangular quilt. Those inside corners on the tree skirt were real buggers, and so was the inner circle part.
And of course, my husband always does what I least expect. He set up the tree that Christmas with his skirt backside up. He liked that side. Okay! It’s his skirt, right?