Advent Calendar

Today is December 1st and this marks the official beginning of Christmas time in our house.

A tradition in Europe is the Advent calendar. When I was young it was a picture (usually of a winter or Christmas scene) where you could open little windows and in each window you got a picture of something Christmas-y (a candle, an ornament, Christmas cookies, and so on). 24 windows to open and then Christmas was here.

This simple calendar of my youth morphed into something a little bit more so nowadays many Advent calendars consist of 24 little parcels filled with small gifts and/or sweets.

Each year I make an Advent calendar for my daughter. This year 24 snowmen inhabit her desk carrying some pages of a Christmas novel and some sweets in their bellies.

I really loved doing these little fellows. I crocheted a hat and a matching scarf for each one (although it took me only 20 minutes to crochet one set that means 8 hours of crocheting all in all).

Here are some of the guys

and here is the whole gang.

And each year I get an Advent calendar from my daughter as well. This year there are 24 small houses filled with goodies.

What about these scrolls you want to know? Well, I love to read (and quite a lot I have to say) and my daughter is a bookworm as well. So for many years now my Advent calendar consists of scrolls with the first sentence of one of my (more than 800) books and I try to find, guess or know the book (I have to brag that I know quite a lot of first sentences). Oh, I just love this and am usually rather sad when this time of the year is over.

I wish you all a merry pre-Christmas time and hope you all have an Advent calendar as well.


Christmas in July: Christmas Scraps

Christmas in July – I really love that. It shows that we quilters begin to think about and work for Christmas at this time of the year (with that comforting feeling that there is still enough time for everything).

Today I have this great scrap quilt for you in white, red and green – radiating Christmas spirit in every direction. It’s a lot of cutting, sewing and quilting but that’s the reason why we start in July, isn’t it? So get out your red, green, white and creme-colored scraps and let’s start.

The quilt shown is 60 x 72 inches (150 x 180 cm) but can easily be done in any size you wish simply by adding or omitting blocks. Each block is 6 x 6 inches (15 x 15 cm).

For the quilt in the above mentioned size you need
240 green squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
240 red squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
360 white squares 2½ x 2½ inches (6,5 x 6,5 cm)
120 white squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
64 red squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally
56 green squares 2 x 2 inches (7,5 x 7,5 cm) cut diagonally.
All these measurements include a ¼ inch (7,5 mm) seam allowance.

Join each red and each green triangle with a white triangle along the long side (chain-piecing is perfect for this). Press and cut off the dog ears.

Now join a red and a green square (chain-piecing as well) – you get 240 pairs.

Now let’s sew the blocks together.

For block 1 sew these three rows

and join them to block 1.

You need 64 blocks.

For block 2 sew these three rows

and join them to block 2.

You need 56 blocks.

Now it’s time to puzzle the quilt together. Lay out the blocks (referring to the picture of the quilt) – 10 blocks per row, 12 rows.

Sew all the blocks together.

Sandwich the quilt, quilt it and bind it with a narrow red or green binding.

Give the quilt to someone you really love for Christmas or – even better – keep it for yourself and spend the coming holiday season under it.