Saturday, December 24, 2022

Merry Christmas! My Christmas Gumdrops Quilt is Finished!

Happy Almost Christmas, everyone!  I put the last stitch in the binding of my Christmas Gumdrops tumbler quilt last night so that's one less WIP (Work In Progress) that I will be carrying forward into 2023.  Woo-hoo!  Not quite as impressive as the last Christmas quilt finish I shared, but not every quilt needs to take ten years (and ten gallons of blood, sweat and tears) to finish!

Christmas Gumdrops Tumbler Quilt, 51 x 67 After Laundering

This one patch quilt was super easy to put together.  I used the 6" finished Tumbler die from AccuQuilt to cut my fabrics quickly and accurately (this post contains affiliate links).  Accuquilt makes tumbler dies in 3" and 4" sizes as well, but I chose the 6" size to better showcase my novelty Christmas fabrics and because larger fabric patches means fewer seams and a quilt that comes together a lot faster.  If you're interested in adding a tumbler die to your collection, now is a great time to do it because the 6" size I used and the smaller 4" tumbler die are both included in AccuQuilt's current buy-one, get-one-free promotion.  

Peppermint Palace E2E with Masterpiece Cotton Thread in Sage

I experimented with new-to-me thread and batting with this quilt.  The quilting thread is Superior's Masterpiece 50 weight 3-ply cotton thread in Sage, and the batting is Quilters Dream Cotton in the Supreme loft (double the thickness of Quilters Dream Select that is a typical midloft cotton batting).  

I chose the quilting design Peppermint Palace to play up my sweet treats theme with quilted candy canes and peppermint swirls.  I named this one Christmas Gumdrops because I have so many candy and cookie print fabrics in the mix and because the tumbler shape reminds me of gumdrop candies.  

This is the second of two Christmas throw quilts that I've made for snuggling up on the couch with a plate full of cookies, watching Christmas movies!  Bernie says I need to make two more of them so there's one for each of us.

The verdict on the thread and batting experiments: The 50/3 Masterpiece cotton thread quilted beautifully, with the same thread in both needle and bobbin, similar to the thinner 50/2 Aurifil cotton thread that I've also used successfully in my Bernina long arm machine.  However, I definitely noticed that less thread was fitting on my bobbins and I was having to tie off and restart more frequently.  Cotton thread is more expensive than polyester and I could have gotten a similar look with So Fine 50 wt matte polyester thread.  But I do like the effect of the sage green cotton thread in this quilt and it's nice to have a 100% cotton thread option that is a little more subtle than the 40 weight cotton threads I carry.

Substantial, Soft and Snuggly After Laundering

What about the Supreme Loft double thickness cotton batting?  Per Quilters Dream customer service, the Supreme Loft cotton is twice the weight per square yard as their popular Select midloft cotton, so it's like using a double layer of Select loft batting without the fuss of two separate batting layers.  The Supreme loft cotton feels almost like table felt, and immediately after quilting the resulting quilt did feel a little stiff.  However, as soon as I gave it a cold water wash and tumble dry on low, the thick cotton batting softened right up and this quilt has a really nice winter snuggle factor.  I don't stock this beefy Supreme loft batting in my inventory (yet) but now that I know how it quilts and washes I can recommend it when appropriate and special order it by the package.

Trying to Scrunch So You Can See How Soft and Thick This Is

I like to measure my quilts again after washing them for the first time to see how much they've shrunk.  Interestingly, I only lost about 3/4" in the width of this one after quilting and washing it, but it came up 5" shorter in length.  That translates into about 2% shrinkage in width and 7% shrinkage in length, but we can't blame all of that on the batting because I'm pretty sure I made this top from unwashed cotton fabrics.  Due to the way the fibers of the cloth are under tension during the manufacturing process, quilting cotton fabric tends to shrink more along the crosswise grain (the width of the fabric from selvage to selvage) than they shrink along the crosswise grain (Becky Goldsmith of Piece O' Cake wrote an interesting piece about testing this with precut layer cake squares on her blog here).  

AccuQuilt 6" Tumbler Die Places Lengthwise Grain Horizontally

AccuQuilt recommends positioning your fabric on the die so that it rolls through the cutting machine along the more stable lengthwise grain, and the photo above shows the recommended cutting orientation for my 6" Tumbler Die.  As you can see, following these instructions ensured that every patch in my quilt had the lengthwise grain across its width and the more apt to shrink crosswise grain positioned vertically, in the direction that shrank the most when the finished quilt was washed.  Just a reminder that, if the goal is to minimize shrinkage with a quilt that needs to finish at a particular size (so it fits a bed, for instance), it's best to prewash and preshrink fabrics before cutting into them.  I know this, but with something like this throw quilt it didn't matter to me how it shrank and the time savings of cutting right into fresh, new fabric off the bolt was totally worth it.

Here's what my tumbler quilt top looked like before quilting:

52 x 72 Christmas Gumdrops Quilt Top Prior to Quilting

So now I have two of these Christmas-Movie-Snuggle-Quilts!  Here's my oldest son, Lars, snuggled up with the Disappearing 9-Patch Christmas throw quilt I finished last year using many of the same fabrics as my new tumbler quilt:

Lars-of-Ours Snuggled in Last Year's Christmas Throw Quilt

(I do have another son, but he is not fond of having his picture taken and posted on the Internet). 

When I quilted that Disappearing 9-Patch, I was experimenting with Quilters Dream Bamboo blend batting.  That's my absolute favorite batting for baby quilts because it's got a super soft hand and drapes beautifully, and it's a little thinner with less body than the other battings I carry.  In hindsight, the bamboo blend batting is a better choice for warm climate or summer quilts than for wintry snuggling.  I definitely like the weight and warmth of the double-thick Supreme cotton better in the tumbler quilt for this time of year.

Other Christmasy Happenings...

Meanwhile, my husband has been baking cookies almost as fast as we can eat them!  We have a favorite family cookie recipe that we only make for Christmas, and officially they are called Crackled Molasses Sugar Cookies.

Bernie Whips Up Another Batch of Molasses Crack Cookies

We have renamed them Molasses CRACK Cookies, because of how addictive they are!  You cannot just eat one cookie, or even two or three, and no I am afraid they are NOT good for you, either!  I had to hide some to make sure they aren't all gone by Christmas morning!

Bedhead and the Beast

Apologies for the messy morning hair, but my dog Samwise looks so sweet in this picture that I had to share it anyway.  He's saying "Let's go outside and play ball, Mom, please?  It's 23 degrees outside and I need to get my sillies out!"

My December OMG (One Monthly Goal) was to finish my two Christmas quilts, Jingle and Christmas Gumdrops, so I'll be linking up this post with the OMG Finish linky party at Elm Street Quilts as well as with my other favorite linky parties, listed on the left sidebar of my blog.  I got my binding sewn to the front of Jingle by machine last night and although it doesn't look like that quilt will actually be hung on the wall this Christmas season, I'll be hand stitching its binding between Christmas and New Years.  Maybe I'll enter it in the Charlotte Quilters Guild show in early March?

Today is a lazy family day at home.  Bernie is cooking rouladen for our Christmas Eve dinner and then we're headed to church for the 10 PM candlelight Christmas Eve service.  Wherever you are and whatever you're up to today, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, Happy Kwanzaa, and a Happy New Year 2023 for you and your family.  


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

congratulations on getting one of the quilts done! it looks wonderful. so nice to have a husband that bakes! I wish mine did. We are not having anything specially cooked tonight - but we always have shrimp and cold finger foods and sometimes barbecue meatballs or something like that - today it will be some barbecue chicken bites to add to the finger foods of crackers and cheese and spinach dip etc. Tomorrow with other daughter will be Cornish hens and fixins. Have a wonderful time with your family

Pamela Arbour said...

Very nice post. Your Christmas gumdrop quilt is perfect for the occasion. The food all sounds delicious and Samwise is so handsome. He looks like he is a big baby. I think that is what we want in our furry friends.
Merry Christmas to you all.

Sandy said...

Your Christmas Gumdrops quilt looks perfect for cold-weather snuggling! As for entering the Jingle quilt into the show, I'd say to go for it so as to let others enjoy your gorgeous work. :) We're having to revamp some of our Christmas plans, as part of the family got "stuck" in North Carolina when their flight was cancelled, so they won't be home again for another couple of days, at least. We're not the only family in that situation, so all we can do is be thankful when they finally get back! Merry Christmas to you and your family!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Perfect finish for Christmas!!! And a couple more Christmas quilts--goals! I've never used Supreme, but there are some local quilters who like to use it. I'll have to give it a try with my next order. I love bamboo, but it's just not warm enough for our climate, unless it's a summer quilt. Merry Christmas to you and yours, Rebecca! Happy quilting!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

PS--Do you have a link to that molasses cookie recipe?

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Gum Drops is so cute. Curious - is your label hand embroidery? I think my 2023 year is going to be full of binding on quilts and finishing up the UFO quilting - maybe it will keep me from making more tops for a few months! (Doubt that). LOL. Hugs and now a Happy New Year coming up! Out for a walk It is a heat wave at 33 degrees! Hugs

The Joyful Quilter said...

Congrats on another cozy Christmas quilt finish (just in the nick of time!!)

Sara said...

That is a FUN Christmas quilt. Congrats on the finish! I baked a lot of cookies this year, which is not something I usually do. But we've been snowed in, so I've sewed and baked. Our "go to" Christmas cookie is a cream cheese spritz wreath cookie.

Marly said...

Congratulations on your lovely finish. Thank you for all the information on the materials you have been using in your quilts, especially the wadding and the thread; it's very useful.

Susan said...

Christmas Gumdrops is so festive and what a perfect name!

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year! Your Gumdrop quilt turned out so lovely. Great quilting choice as always. Thanks for sharing on my weekly show and tell, Wednesday Wait Loss.

dq said...

Congratulations on your Gumdrop finish - again - love love love your quilting.
I am surprised at the shrinkage. I am bad and don't wash my quilts or fabric. I don't like all the pressing. I love the crisp unwashed look.

I like your photo with your dog, and the cookies sound like a wonderful addiction. I would love the recipe.