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Christmas in July

How Did This All Get Started?

The phrase “Christmas in July” likely has its origins dating back to an 1872 French opera, “Werther”, where a group of children are overheard rehearsing a Christmas carol in July. The English translation of a character’s responds is as follows: “When you sing Christmas in July, you rush the season”.

My own personal response: July carries its own bitter-sweet perspective. To some, the word July produces a restless cry of impatience…” Christmas is still 6-long-months away!!!” However, for those of us who craft, sew and quilt, that 6 month mark can instill a frenzied sense of fear and panic. “What? Only 6 months to finish _____ and _____and_____and_____?!?”

X nay on the Arolcay

That’s right – we don’t need to sing Christmas carols to “rush the season”. We’re already doing our part by allowing the fear of not “getting it all done” before Christmas carry the same proportion of responsibility for hastening the season as those children rehearsing a carol in July.

Whether the calendar reads a short or long 6 month duration between now and Christmas, we can embrace this timeline with joy and enthusiasm. Save the fear and anguish for another day…a rainy day maybe?

So, how do we accomplish that?

By choosing a project that is: 1) quick and easy; 2) offers guaranteed success using no-fail techniques and, as a bonus, 3) looks complicated but is actually very easy to do. In this heat, the last thing you want is a project that causes even 1° of heat to slip under your collar!

Keeping Your Cool

Today it was 95° in the shade with a current heat index of 107° – it seems this is the new norm for a Mid-west day in July. So how does one begin to even think about Christmas…in July? This July? Below are a few ideas to help you get one foot moving in front of the other:

1) Pour a frosty glass of strawberry lemonade or if you really want to divert your attention from the weather try this!

2) Dig into your stash of cool Christmas projects, patterns and fabrics.

3) Adjust the thermostat so your sewing room is as cool as a meat locker and,

4) Get the air moving with a few Pinwheels!

There is no better way to cool things off than revisiting one of my favorite Christmas projects. These pinwheels are quick, easy and so much fun to make. If time isn’t on your side right now, check out this short video I created which allows you to quickly view, in less than 3 minutes, the entire process from beginning to end.

However, if you feel more inspired by the summer sunshine than Christmas cheer, raid your stash of bright, colorful charm squares and make something fun like these:

Pinwheels in Summer Fabric

Pairing a citrus solid with a petite print – these would look stunning appliqued on a solid quilted top and maybe used as a wall hanging to brighten up a neglected space on a wall. (Oops! I may have just added another item on my To-Do list!)

If pinwheels just aren’t your thing no worries! Below you will find another cool project perfect for a hot afternoon!

From Pinwheels to Paper Piecing

A new-to-me technique that has become my new favorite is paper piecing. I happened upon a paper piecing block pattern here . This star has a Nordic appearance that I felt would be a perfect match for the pretty Christmas themed fabric (Scandi 5 fabric collection by Andover) I had on hand.

The specifics of paper piecing are somewhat complicated so I will not attempt to go into great detail here but show you my condensed version. These first two images illustrate the basics of paper piecing: sew thee foundation paper onto the fabric then tear it away.

Paper Piecing a Star Block

These next images show what I really love about paper piecing – the ease in getting seams to match! This is the most frustrating part of sewing triangles.

Paper pieced star block unit

Another bonus – the neat appearance of each unit. Having a consistent seam and cut lines makes piecing each unit together a cinch!

Below are my first two finished blocks.

Paper pieced quilt block

Paper pieced star block

My next decision: make each into a hot pad or try to find more of the same fabric and complete 25 or 30 blocks and make into a throw or bed sized quilt.

Want more Christmas in July?

Quilter's Digest

The “hot” little gems pictured above are from Quilting Digest and just happen to be the perfect inspiration to start singing your own Christmas carol in July.

Stay tuned…more Christmas in July projects are in the works!

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