Countdown To Christmas

Here’s the book by Susan Ache who is also a blog reader making her one of “us”.

Let’s start the discussion about this quilt again since I wasn’t finished talking about it yesterday!

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Jo reviewed this book, too, and we both thought the same thing – great quilts to use year round. I fell for the red and white one called Background Music.

I have explained our Country Threads “look” previously but this is such a good example, I’m going to write it again. Susan calls for 2-1/8 yds. of light red solid and 3-1/4 yds. of cream solid. I don’t have that much yardage of anything.

When our shop was open Connie and I each got 1/2 yard of any new fabric that came in. If I had used 3 yards of the 15 yards on the bolt leaving 12 yards for sale, we would have been able to cut only 4 kits. Maybe three kits because we always cut some fat quarters of everything new. Fabric cannot be reordered easily. Moda for example prints one run. Even if we could get it again, it would take time to get here. In the meantime our model would be up in the shop and customers would not be willing to accept a substitute. Everybody still with me?

So Connie and I had to learn to use multiple fabrics in a wide color palette combining all shades of red and into pinks and oranges. And so the Country Threads “look” evolved.

See this great red and white print in Susan’s quilt? I loved it but have no place close to shop.

What did I have lots of? Civil War prints, that’s right. So my Background Music quilt became this.

I also pieced the back because I wanted to use my leftover blocks.

I can use this red and white quilt on my loveseat at any time but I especially look forward to using it at Christmas. Here’s one thing I really liked about the pattern. When blocks are joined to one another, there are no seams to match! Wow! What a great beginner quilt this would be! But also fun for me who has made many quilts! Thank you, Susan, for such a great book, Countdown To Christmas!

Someone asked about these birdhouse gourds – yes, I grew them and just hung them up for fun. I was afraid to drill them – when dried, they’re quite brittle – so I just tied them with twine on to another piece of twine hooked on the playhouse.

There are other quilts I’d like to make in this book but, oh, yes, that’s right – Susan has ANOTHER new book coming out this summer. I can’t sew fast enough!

You probably noticed that I quilted it with straight lines again which I truly love – those lines allow the pattern and the fabric in the quilt be seen.

So now I think I’m finished talking about this quilt. But look at these new titles that are waiting for me to review! So many quilts, so little time!

Here’s a couple more entertaining pet photos. This is Ivy, Sam’s golden doodle, who had herself some fun! Mud? What mud? I don’t see any mud?

And look where I found Ernie yesterday? Haha! Keeper of the beer!

Someone asked in the comments about the strips with linked edges. I cut rug strips with a rotary cutter and a pinking blade. Saves so much raveling!

There is one goose still on a nest but everybody else has claimed the sole gosling that hatched. I’m doubting that the eggs in the last nest are even fertilized. We’ll see.

Another answer to a question in the comments section, I machine bind all quilts except maybe a small wall quilt. I hate binding!

Don’t forget Monday starts our RugAlong. I have a 9 am appointment on Monday so I’ll post after that. I’m still working on my current rug but I’m making progress.

I’m often asked if I’m bored in retirement and someone mentioned it in the comments. I’ve never been bored in my life except as a kid when I was always looking for something to do. Not work, mind you, but something creative and fun! I never have to look far and you don’t either if you’re a quilter, a gardener, an animal lover or a reader!

It’s going to be very hot here for the next few days – oh, I might have to stay in and quilt!

64 thoughts on “Countdown To Christmas

  1. Linda

    I have such a bad back and would love to try to put the binding on by machine.. It is hard for me to stitch a binding on a large quilt…do you have any special tricks as to what works best to machine stitch a binding….I have so many things to put bindings on and would love to just get it on so I could use the quilts….You have probably talked about this before and I don’t remember it….

    1. Suzanne Crane

      Check out “Suzy’s magic binding”. You put the binding on the back to start. You don’t even have to do the two pieces of fabric, just a 2-1/2″ binding strip. The one trick I use is to glue down my corners with Elmers School glue. Glue about 4″ on either side of each corner. Then machine sew the binding to the front.

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Suzanne Crane – that’s how I do binding – sew on back, topstitch on front. Don’t understand what you mean by “don’t even have to do the two pieces of fabric” however.

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Linda – yes, I posted machine binding step by step in photos. Binding is stitched to the back of the quilt and folded around to the front where it is topstitched by machine which definitely requires matching thread in my case. It’s not perfect but I’ll never look at it again! This is another quilt for my funeral! I loved making it!

      1. Linda

        Thank you…I did find your tutorial on Aug 28, 2018..It is great….I somehow missed it….It is a great tutorial on how to do machine binding.. why did I always think it would be so hard..It looks pretty easy….I will also watch Suzy’s Magic Binding….and try gluing the corners….Thanks for the help…

        1. CountryThreads Post author

          Linda – I watched Suzy’s Magic Binding and it’s done with a flange which is very attractive but I’m not sure I want that look. And it’s not nearly as easy as how I do it. Probably looks nicer tho’.

  2. Kathy Zuehl

    I never hand stitch binding anymore…with RA it makes it almost impossible and I HATE binding also! Mary I still need to stop by your house. Maybe one day next week.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kathy Zuehl – why do you need to stop here? Do I have something for you to pick up?

      1. Kathy Zuehl

        Yes, I will have to go back thru the blogs to see what it was again, but I know I have to stop for something. LOL! Good grief, I think I’m in a fog, my mind is blank right now. Woof!

  3. Kathy in western NY

    I love the pet photos!!!! So cute to see them.
    Susan Ache’s book Start with Strips has a quilt called Pumpkin Maze that is on my someday make to do list. Scrappy quilts are my favorite so I will use my oranges and lime green scraps to make that one with a cream background. So I am with you with liking the look of various shades of the red that make your quilt outstanding. I will have to pick up this book soon before her next one comes out.
    Stay cool with the Busch light beer this weekend. I tried the new Genesee strawberry lemon beer one the other day and liked it. When I first heard of it I thought it sounded gross but gosh it was refreshing.

  4. Jessica in Florida

    Your quilt is gorgeous! I love the look of the Civil War fabrics you chose. I’m so sorry to ask but I have severe chemo brain and can’t understand what you meant by, “When blocks are joined to one another, there are no seams to match”. I’m sure the answer is common sense, but my brain isn’t computing. I laughed like a loon seeing the pics of Ivy! The close up of her face really got me going! Thank you so much for posting. We are moving to a new home tomorrow — made the decision just after I finished setting up my sewing room in the old house. Haha. Have a great day, Mary.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jessica in FL – I meant that you’re making two different blocks that alternate and there’s nothing between the two blocks that need to match and no seams to press in different directions.

  5. Jacque

    Mary – While I like the crisp look of the quilt in the book, my favorite look is exactly what you created! Love those tans and creams and all kinds of scrappy reds mixed together. Spot on! I think it would make a great block exchange for a group I’m in…another one to add to our list. Thanks for providing so much inspiration (maybe too much?)!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jacque – and that’s what I think my job IS! Inspiring you to make the quilt, plant the plant, read the book – just do it! (Is that a Nike thing?)

  6. LaNan Eldridge

    Totally agree with you about being bored! If my kids ever mentioned that word there was a closet or something that waiting for them to clean!!!! It didn’t take too long for them to catch on and find something else to do.

  7. Ellie

    I love the scrappy look of the various backgrounds and I think it looks like a “Christmas” quilt and so it’s season of use is more undefined. Anyway it’s beautiful! The pictures of Ivy are priceless. I always enjoy your blog so much. I hate it when you skip a day even though I know how selfish that is!

  8. Peggy S

    Mary, I took a class, ages ago, from Mary Ellen Hopkins!! A very neat quilting lady!!! One of her “ many times” quotes was, “ ALL REDS GO TOGETHER!!” Such a sweety!!
    And as you can see, she was right!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Peggy S – I traveled to 4 of her retreats and she was a wise gal! I loved her! And yes, she did say that all reds went together. One time I was helping a customer pull reds because she liked our look. I gathered up red, orange, rust, rose, scarlet, burgundy and it looked beautiful. I told her to take out the ones she didn’t like and all she had left was the same shade of red. I walked away.

  9. Penny C Maryland

    Always love your blogs! Not sure if the pictures of the animals or the quilts are my favorites!

  10. Linda Baker

    What a fun post! I laughed out loud when I saw Ivy’s pictures, but it reminded me of how mad I’d get when one of our dogs rolled in something stinky, and I had to bathe them.
    Your quilt is beautiful, and the fabrics you used make it unique for you.
    That Ernie. I still want to just scoop him up.

  11. Judith Ann Jaques

    My favorite part of making a quilt is doing the binding. I love your straight line quilting. My favorite. I agree it shows the fabrics and design.
    My puppy (6 mo.) has discovered she likes to play in the big outdoors water dish. So funny to watch when the nose goes into the water the front feet seem to follow right along. Instead of digging dirt she digs out the water.

    1. Beth T.

      Oh, Judith, our pup does that, too! And he blows bubbles, can you believe it? I thought I was imagining it until my niece noticed the same thing. He is a funny little goofball and I half-hope he never grows out of it, despite all the mess he makes. Wherever he plays is the cleanest place in the house, with all the water he spills as he drags the water bowl all around to play in it.

      1. CountryThreads Post author

        Beth T – have you seen the YouTube video of the bulldog who wants to take his swimming pool in the house? You would laugh!

  12. Montana Kathy

    Love your quilt! And the photo of Ivy is priceless! Have to mention I just purchased the book ‘Sunday Best Quilts’ by Sherri McConnell and Corey Yoder, and it is so good. Can’t wait to hear your review. I want to make every quilt in there! I was thinking just the other day when there was no post from you, the day just didn’t seem complete. Like others, I realize how busy you are and what a job it is to post things, but it is such a joy to read your blog. Don’t stop! Take time off now and then (we’ll let you do that Ha Ha) but seriously, it is such a treat to share your adventures and keep up to date on the goings on with you and Connie. All the best!

  13. Rhoda

    I thought of a good phrase for your quilt making colors and creativity.
    Necessity is the mother of invention.

  14. Anna m

    Love the quilt, I’m going to have to try to find the book. We are expecting hot, humid weather this weekend,too. I’m planning to stay indoors and sew also!

  15. Janet Baer

    Mary, my book and DVD came today in the mail. I immediately sat down and watched the entire DVD.
    It was so nice to hear your voice. I loved the DVD and can’t wait to get started on my rug. I’ve got to get a pinking blade for my rotary cutter first. I am really looking forward to using up fabric!
    And I loved seeing the farm and the animals. Thank you so much for a great DVD.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Janet Baer – glad you liked it! I should watch it again – haven’t for years!

  16. Pam from Waterloo

    In regards to that stray kitty that you found at your house……….I know you mentioned that he has a new home, I was wondering if you have any pictures of him or her now. I am a cat lover and I know how quickly kittens change and suddenly they’re not a kitten anymore.

  17. Joyce from NY

    I love the way you made the quilt, perfect. My daughter has a golden doodle, Obi, he is mostly white & loves getting in the mud & his paws look just like Ivy’s when he is done. My daughter is a dog groomer, so Obi keeps her busy in between grooming other dogs. I closed 3 ads today. Thanks for your blog.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Joyce from NY – thanks for closing the ads, Joyce – wish everybody would do it for us!

  18. Jo in Wyoming

    I also love, love, love the binding. I wish I were closer and could teach everyone a super easy and fast way to cut bias binding. But, in the mean time try…a longer needle, I use size 7 embroidery needle, and some thread conditioner, Thread Heaven, Thread Magic. Even chap stick works or bar soap. If you need it, every 3-4 pulls. I have lots more, but start with this.

    Mary, that bush with the big white blooms…what is that? Other than gorgeous! Behind the fence where you have the quilt pictured.

    I have laughed at Ivy…oh what a picture.

    1. Linda Carpenter

      Jo, I found a new needle called a “binding needle” it’s a little longer and easy to thread. Thanks for the tips, I also use Thread Heaven.

  19. Sherry Whalen

    Buschhhhh…sounds and looks good! I’ve never been bored either – maybe because I am easily entertained..or because when I was a kid, my parents made sure I wasn’t bored, not with soccer practice or dance lessons – more like baling hay, feeding the cattle, pitching manure – I learned early to NEVER say I was bored because they would find something to do!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sherry Whalen – funny but I learned that very same thing! I wanted to detassel with my friends and my dad said “if you want to work, I’ll find plenty of work for you!” I painted fences all summer for $5.00!

  20. Cindy Nelson

    Hello, when you do the straight line quilting, do you start in the middle and work your way out to the ends? How close do you set your pins to sandwich the quilt?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cindy Nelson – I do the straight line quilting on the longarm. I have done it on my Bernina if it’s a small quilt. I use basting spray when quilting on my Bernina. It’s great stuff to work with when sandwiching three layers.

  21. Carol at Pin Oak Quilting

    Sometimes I’m so tired I don’t make a remark or comment, but I always close ads. One day I was going back and forth through your entries and closed more than 14 ads!
    I’m in Sisters Oregon this week for the big outdoor quilt show and took two classes. I’m pooped, but have a nice new quilt started…. when I get home I’d better finish # 8 pronto.., so I can finish this new quilt!

    1. Kathy in western NY

      Carol- Lucky YOU!!! I hope you will share some of the excitement with all of us about the show. It has to be amazing to see all those quilts outside. I go back and reread comments as I like closing the ads and seeing what everyone is up to.
      Like Kathy in Montana said….we miss you Mary when we don’t see a new post but we also know you have a life too……we just love you sharing yours with us!

    2. CountryThreads Post author

      Carol at Pin Oak Quilting – I wish I were your traveling companion, Carol! What classes did you take?

    3. Julianna

      Carol, enjoy the show , classes and that beautiful area!
      It’s on my bucket list Always surfing for photos and updates.

  22. Sandy

    I, too, am in Sisters, Oregon. I drove today for the quilt show tomorrow. It is going to be warm, but, oh so wonderful. Love all the reds in your quilt. They do all go together! I have a carpenter making a rug frame for me. I will be way behind your July 15 start, but I have the book and will refer to your posts. One more way to never be bored.

  23. Teresa from Port Coquitlam, British Columbia

    Hi Mary, I too close every ad there is to close. I really enjoy all yours posts and thank you for sharing your very busy life. We have a 14 yr old labradoodle and this year he has decided rolling in mud is his favourite thing to do. I was hoping to attach a picture but couldn’t.

  24. Sharon B

    Hi Mary-
    Love the straight line quilting….and also love the visibility of the stitches! Which thread (brand and weight) do you use?
    I’ve been trying to resist the Countdown to Christmas book….but, it is getting more and more difficult…lol! May have to add Sunday’s Best to the lineup as well…stay cool! 😉

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Sharon B – I use 50 wt. Superior Thread So Fine or MaxiLock

  25. Nikki M in Tx

    You are a troublemaker Mary…..I see another quilt in my future..and book…lol. Think would like to do in creams @ blue.
    Love the picture of Ivy!
    Ms. Maci is getting her piss & vinegar back. I slept in… or tried this morning. At 8am she decided I had had sufficient sleep & proceeded to wake me. As I was fixing coffee she kept talking to me & running in circles while nosing her good fish around so I would be sure to see that it was empty. While I was shredding her chicken she just talked up a storm . She won’t eat it cold from fridge so I have to heat it before I mix it in with her kibble…then she picks every last piece of kibble out and places on her placemat before eating her chicken.. then put kibble back in bowl before eating it one tiny piece at a time….you think she would train me to just put it in two separate bowls to start with.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Nikki M in TX – I think it’s hilarious that she can pick out all the chicken first and then actually puts the kibble back in the bowl before she eats it? Did you somehow train her to do that or did she come up with it on her own? Sounds like YOU’Re the one who should be trained – hahaha!!!!

  26. Janet Houge

    Mary, I don’t comment very often. But know I love what you post! The photos of the quilts are so awesome and the staging- no words! Thank you!

  27. Patti in W Barnstable

    Hi Mary, I love your Background Music. You are so good at staging your pictures. They are always very interesting! I was laughing out loud at the pictures of Ivy and Ernie. I hope you have a nice weekend and thank you for the blog.

  28. Kathy Roloff

    What a wonderful post! Thank you so much Mary. The Country Threads look changed quilting. Using multiple fabrics energized scrap quilts and added a richness. The same pattern and same fabrics that will turn out completely different by each quilter. Creating a unique quilt.

  29. Jeanine

    Every time I refresh the page to read the new comments, I click on the ads again. I just clicked on six, and have probably done that at least three times today. I did it yesterday, too. So refresh the page and click more ads for Mary!! Love your blog and pictures and stories.

  30. Sharon Cervenka

    I, too, learned never to utter the word “bored”. Mom always had extra chores-nothing boring in our house! Really like your version of the quilt. Will have to put this book on my list to check out.

  31. Diane, Squeak’s Mom

    Nikki M. In Texas. Is Miss Maci a dog or a cat? That is hilarious what she does with her food! Mary, we were never bored either. My dad’s hobby was growing Christmas trees. We learned hard work early by pruning the trees in late June after school was out in Western NY while everyone else was at the lake. Thanks for the great pictures. I love the many reds in your quilt, Ernie, and black pawed Ivy😃😃. This time I closed 4 ads the first time I read this post, then 7 the second time!! Hope it helps😸😸

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane, Squeaks mom – something is wrong because so many of you are telling me you’re closing ads but payment is not reflected. I have to have someone investigate because it’s not working! I appreciate knowing that you’re closing ads because I am not seeing results. Now what’s wrong with this system?????

  32. Darlynn Venne

    OMG Mary…..When I lived in GA, my friend said to me while driving past homes….”if someone in the home does not quilt, what do they do all day?” I laughed and then appreciated that thought.
    So, as I drive by homes in the Midwest, I think the same thing!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Darlynn Venne – you know when everybody thinks I get so much done, I really want to say “ well, what do YOU do all day and all evening?” Everybody in my community and maybe the Midwest lives like this! We”re busy by choice! I’d much rather work than play golf, cards, or attend meetings!

  33. Meri in SoVA

    Mary, I read your blog every day and always close multiple ads! Love the quilt and all the animal news 😊
    I’m hand binding a quilt for my granddaughter’s 1st birthday on Tuesday…nothing like cutting it close! I’m using the time as prayer time for her and sewing 🧵 in some blessings as I go.

  34. Wendy Margerm

    Your version of the red and white quilt is beautiful. I love mixing all shades of red in one quilt.

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