Thursday, November 15, 2012

Advent calendar

The other day DD asked me - can we make an advent calendar? Years ago (many, many, years) my mother made one out of felt and each day's pocket held a handmade sequined ornament to pin to the tree above. I asked about it when DD was little but apparently it came to some untimely destructive incident. I loved it as a kid and even though I had to take turns with my brother I made sure that the ornaments that I liked best were strategically placed in my days.

My mom apparently said that she would make another one, so I called her: "It's started," she replied. Hmmm... "Like, in the mail in 2 weeks started?" - no. I love my mom and she does great work, but here's the deal - an advent calendar has a limited life span and timing is everything. So, I am making one instead.

The recent Auckland Festival of Quilts provided some fabric inspiration. DD has been collecting owl prints and with the addition of a few more woodland critters I had enough to do something with. Still unsure of the exact design, I started with the centerpiece tree.

I have a wide variety of greens and greys and quite a few whites with silver designs. These scraps formed a foundation-pieced tree. Each row was started with a strip of lightweight muslin and a center green scrap. Then I added more green pieces ending the tree row with an angled piece of green. The grey/white/silver scraps finished each row for a snowy background. (No, it never snows in Auckland and Christmas is the start of our summer, but snow still seems right.)

I will add a trunk to the bottom once I figure out the final layout and how much trunk I need.

The pockets are all made of fussy-cut squares using the woodland prints (okay, one is a koala, but it's woodsy enough) and lined and backed with a coordinating blender fabric. I took a hint from Elizabeth at Oh, Fransson! for the construction. Her method for making the pockets allows the whole calendar to be constructed like a quilt - other approaches make the areas with the pockets a non-quilty add-on.

The pockets are in various stages of completeness. The zig-zag stitching around the numbers was a challenge - and swapping the thread for each one was a hassle. Each pocket is sashed in the same grey/white/silver prints as the background. The pockets will surround the tree.

Progress is good and I'm confident that it will be finished by December 1st. I decided early on, in the interest of time, that I would not make ornaments. If I can find some mini ones, I'll put some in the pockets and fill the rest with treats. Eventually, I should be able to collect enough ornaments with a woodland theme to fill each pocket. Better start shopping!

I have not yet started my other Christmas presents. Time is running out quickly - I like to have gifts in the post to the US by the first week in December. Could be a buy-stuff-on-Etsy-and-direct-ship year.

One other Christmas project is in the pipeline - a stocking challenge with the Monday Moderns. I have the design sketched on the back of an envelope and a pile of fabric picked out - maybe next week's post will show some progress on that one.

Linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.