Welcome to Block #1 of Sugar Plum Stocking Treats!
Could you ever have dreamed Santa would leave you a kitty in your stocking? Well, your dream has come true, there’s a cute kitty just waiting for you! She’s decked out with antlers, pink ornament buttons, and a shiny red nose! Merry Christmas everyone!
I know you’re anxious to get started, but STOP before you cut into that fabric. Read through the directions even if you’re one of those who hates to read instructions! You’ll have plenty of fabric with a layer cake, but you need to cut the squares for the alternate blocks first! Go ahead, print out block number one, but before you do make sure you have that little box checked on your print page that says “do not scale.” You’ll want to print this actual size. Take a minute to read through this first block, so you’ll have an idea of where to start…
The square-in-a-square alternate blocks are one of my favorites, and they are perfect for every level of quilter. Just follow the directions, and you’ll have success. I’ve made them slightly oversize so you can trim to perfection!
Once you’ve cut the centers for the alternate block squares from your layer cake you can relax a bit. The fabric left over is for the applique! You’ll still need to be a little careful when you cut, but feel free to cut your applique on the bias. You can always place your fabric and pattern over a light box so you can check how it’s going to look before you cut.
When you’ve prepared your applique and are ready to place your stocking and kitty on the background, make sure you use the pattern as a guide. The square around the pattern is a guide for you to follow. It’s the finished size of the block. Remember that 1/4″ seam allowance outside the edge of the square. Don’t let the antlers go into the seam allowance when you’re tracing them. All of the stockings are placed at approximately the same angle on the backgrounds. Some may be more to the left or the right depending on the design, just let the square be your guide.
July 8 Update: If you have already printed out Block One, please reprint the instructions. There is a mistake on Page 2 in the first section of the square-in-a-square directions. They should measure 5″ finished, not 4″.
Bunny Hill Helpers
I want to mention all the helpers I’ve had with this block of the week. It’s taken nine of us to get this out the door to you! Sue helped me with the design layout and then tirelessly worked on the actual patterns for me. Nancy does my piecing so when you see those perfect points on the alternate blocks it’s because of her. Kim does a lot of my applique and embroidery, and there’s no one better (she actually lives across the street from me so I can “run” a block over after I’ve prepped it”). Becky does that beautiful quilting you see on many of my quilts. You’ll be seeing that as we get towards the end of the quilt. My photographer, Gregory Case does his magic with the photos. And I can’t forget my friend Chickie who along with my granddaughters Alyssa and Michaela and Nancy, cut endless pieces of fabrics for kits. I’m number Nine!
What started as a small project and grew into massive as we went along. I should have known this would happen! Things like this sometimes take on a life of their own. I drew a few extra blocks so we’d have some to choose from and before I knew it I had at least 15 blocks, more than enough for a quilt! Some of the blocks were rejected, and they are still sitting on my computer because along came Shannon Cogswell, Lori Weigel and Julie Zaloudek who were the three design winners in our contest! You’ll be seeing their blocks in number four, eight, and eleven!
If you’re looking at the embroidery and cringing, please don’t. You can do it! Years ago I started Kim stitching, and now she’s far surpassed me. I can help you too!
Here are a few tips:
The right work conditions are a must. If you can’t see what you’re doing your embroidery will show it. Put on those glasses, pull your chair next to a bright window, or use a magnifying light. I have a magnifying light that sits on my desk that I can pull over when needed. Kim has one she got at Joanne’s (with a coupon) that sits on the floor next to her comfortable chair.
As you pull the thread off the skein of floss, remember to thread the needle with the ends at the beginning of the thread and never cut your thread more than 18″ long. Here’s how I do mine; I pull the end of the floss that comes from the center of the skein, then I cut this strand at about 18″. I lay the strand down on my work table with the cut end facing me. That’s when I pick it up to separate the strands. I pull out one strand at a time, so my floss doesn’t tangle. Then I place them together and thread my needle.
Get yourself a good embroidery stitch guide, or find a YouTube video if you’re confused about the basic stitches. The best tip I can give you is to use tiny, even stitches. If you don’t like the way a stitch looks, take it out as you’re going along or it will determine how the rest of your embroidery looks.
Ok, let’s get started! Let me know if you have questions as we go along. You can leave a comment and I’ll try to answer. If I don’t get back to you right away, it’s because I have a huge stack of new fabric that arrived on Friday, just waiting to be made into new quilts.
I hope you love this quilt and have a great time with it! Next Friday will bring block number two!