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Cardinal Christmas

Every year, I try my darndest to have a new Christmas Quilt for the holidays.  My journey this year began with an image that I stumbled across on Pinterest. This image was posted by: with the caption: Quilt Inspiration: Free pattern day: Woodsy Winter quilt


*NOTE- the image is not a quilt, but a drawing


The Pattern:

Because I shy away from patterns as a rule, I didn’t click on the link. Instead, I saved the image and thought about how I would go about making something similar.  I truly hate rules, so wanted to find the best way to make my own version in an organic sort of manner.

One of the things that drew me to this image was the way it allowed for larger prints to be showcased instead of cut up into tiny elements that were then lost.

The Fabrics:

My next job was to find suitable fabrics.  I did have a cute grey with trees and cardinals already waiting for a perfect project.  Next I needed something with a dark presence.  A poinsettia print fit the bill.

Another print I found in my stash was a small red cross pattern in gold.  Because the poinsettia print also had gold mixed in, this was a perfect choice. The last print was for background and sashing which was also in my stash, a gorgeous white with gold snowflakes.

Can you see a pattern emerging?

The last fabrics I needed were some solids to break up all these beautiful prints.  I chose a green and a red – of course!

*NOTE: when I went to put it all together, the green I chose just looked dirty, so luckily the Rock House Retreat had a gorgeous sage green from Moda on hand to save the day.  You can read more about Rock House and the wonderful time I had at Retreat HERE!

The Process:

In looking at the inspiration image, it may at first seem that this quilt was a Jelly Roll candidate.  This was not the case as a Jelly Roll is 2.5″ wide.  In order to showcase the large print fabrics, I chose to utilize 6″ strips instead.

I began by cutting all the fabrics into 6″ strips.  Of these, I cut the large print fabrics into random sections that were quite long.  The red and green I cut into 1.5″ and 2.5″ sections.

At this point, I used the design board to begin laying this all out.

Rock House Retreat TX

It is at this stage that it is very important to try to go for a random look.  At times, I thought this looked like a DNA Fingerprint Report!

The trick was to create a random look that was pleasing to the eye.  At first, when I placed the pieces on the design board, they ran up and down in uneven lengths.  That was OK because once I had the look I wanted, I simply cut the ends so that everything was even.

Sashing and Borders:

As I mentioned above, the sashing and first border was created using the gold snowflake background fabric. It is so lovely and brought all the stacks of internal fabric together.  For the outer border, I used the red/gold cross.  The size of all these elements were 2.5″ (2″ finished).  This choice lends a bit of continuity to the design and allows your eye to appreciate the larger print fabrics.

Long Arm Quilting:

I chose to quilt an edge to edge design that had lots of space so that the focus remained on the beautiful fabrics.

You can about image my excitement when I found this pattern, it is called… wait for it… Christmas Cardinal!!  How could I not use this edge to edge pattern?  The pantograph comes from Urban Elementz if you want to get it yourself.

As an additional unifying element, I used gold thread front and back for the quilting. As you can see, it was a perfect choice.


The final element was the binding, which I completed with the same sage fabric that was in the quilt.

I began this journey with an inspiration image and some beautiful stash fabric, and what I ended up with is a Christmas Quilt I am proud to display over the holidays.

Cardinal Christmas

What holiday projects do you hope to finish before Christmas?

So, what do you think?

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