Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Shine: Benartex Christmas in July Blog Hop & Pattern Release

Welcome to my stop on the Christmas in July blog hop with Benartex Fabrics. I had the pleasure of working with Nancy Halvorsen's newest line, Better Not Pout.

As with most of my quilts, this one has a little story to it. It is my own design, and yes, there is a pattern for it, and yes, it is available today!

I tried for a bit of a Christmas vibe against our neighbours' cedars and trumpet vine and other vines-covered fence. Christmas isn't snowy and cold in a lot of the world, right? Christmas is about gifts, and so there is a giveaway in this post...

Inspiration happens from places/events where you least expect it. To paraphrase Lisa Wingate's note in The Book of Lost Friends which I recently read, if she went looking for these random, innocent moments, she'd never find them. The inspiration for this quilt happened upon a walk with my dog at the end of May. I knew I was going to be in this hop, and I knew it as an opportunity to design a new quilt, a Christmas quilt. So it was floating around in the garden of my mind. Well on this particular walk I happened to spy a new painted rock in my neighbourhood:

I love the inspirational messages, puns and creative use of shape on these gems. One of my favourites is painted to look like an M&M with a bite taken out of it! Well, this Sparkle one immediately made me think of making a Christmas quilt with that word on it, sending a positive message, something that would make you smile each time you see it. My friend Rose had a great idea, that just using the strip for 'SHINE' would be a terrific banner to hang in a classroom! 

Sparkle is six letters, and would have made for a fairly large quilt. Shine is five and worked out for a healthy throw or a nice sized twin. And the best part? I had the brainwave of using one of my candle blocks for the I! It is one of the candles from Vigil.

I love the meaning in both words, but shine means more and seems less frivolous. Let your light shine, right? Of course, there's all the shine that goes with Christmas too...
Leamington Marina for the glamour shots
Close-up of the E. I quilted a 'burst' design to connect the letters.

As is the usual process for me, I drew the quilt on graph paper. From there I went to EQ8. I sent it off to Stephanie at Benartex as I was pretty pumped. She gave me a good suggestion, to add a few more stars, as there was a lot of negative space, and maybe subtle ones. So, back to graph paper I went, rearranging a bunch of the stars, and making the 6" cream stars those subtle ones.
Flimsy done

Once I got the fabric, I knew how I would quilt the negative space: with the same motifs in the white, curlicue scrolls and holly leaves. Of course I knew from the get-go that there would be a few ghost stars.

I did different FMQ and ruler work motifs in the stars. One of Natalia Bonner's is in the pink and red stars, and I just did some back and forth weaving in the cream stars, and dot-to-dot diamonds in the gold stars. I absolutely love Superior Threads So Fine. I went with 402 as it's a touch softer than 401, even though I was quilting on a white fabric. Teal Aurifil 28 wt and red Essential 50 wt were used in teal and red fabrics, but the So Fine was everywhere else.

My other two Christmas bed quilts are from several years ago, one has a black background with pink, mint and silver pinwheels on it, and the other is a Buggy Barn one in rich reds and greens, Starry Hearts. So this new bright one on lots of white is refreshing and modern!

I had to make a couple of pillow shams to coordinate with the quilt. I love doing that, either with a quilt, or for the season. It completes the look. I used that lovely stripe for the edges; it's got a woven look to it but it is a regular quilting cotton.

Here is the back of the quilt. I adore house blocks, and house prints, and knew immediately before choosing any other fabrics that I would use this print as the backing.

Here is the label. Yay me: I actually remembered the satin one as well as the cotton one. I've only ever forgotten the cotton one once, but that darned satin label is elusive.
Gotta love a striped binding! I think Nancy must too. The binding makes me think of candy cane ice cream we used to get around Christmas when I was a kid. It was only available at that time, made by Lucerne, I believe. Oh how we loved it! This photo shows the adorable little houses fabric I used for the backing, as well as for the pillow shams.

This is the shot I used for the pattern cover

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: Original design
Size: 56" x 70" (post-laundering)
Fabric: Better Not Pout by Nancy Halvorsen for Benartex
Backing: as above
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 100% natural cotton with scrim
Quilted: on Avril: 167 677 stitches
Threads: pieced on my Bernina with Coats cotton; quilted with Superior Threads So Fine, Aurifil 28 wt, Essential 50 wt, The Bottom Line in the bobbin

I decided to even outdo myself, lol, and make a cushion cover that coordinates with the quilt. I mean in for a penny, in for a pound, right?

It's just a small one, 14" square. I started with stitching in the ditch and then did the roughly 1/4" straight lines in the background. From there I did the stitching in the candle and then feathers, ah, my favourite, in the border. All this was done on my Bernina. It's good to keep up my FMQ skills on a domestic. I find quilting feathers on my longarm much easier, and more in my muscle memory now, despite the years and years of doing them on my Bernina!

Here is the back, matching the quilt and the pillow shams. I used the little bit left from the shams to bind the pillow. Gotta love those stripes for a binding!  I did this binding, my preferred way: machine-stitch to the front, turn it over and hand-stitch it using a ladder stitch, to the back. The only reason I don't do this on everything is time.
Envelope backing with a generous overlap.

I used a bunch of different threads to piece and quilt it.


As is customary when rolling out a new pattern, Shine will be on sale in my Etsy shop, Sandra Jane Quilts, through Sunday for just $8.50 no coupon required. Thanks to Yvonne for the tech editing on it once again. Thank you to Kathleen of Kathleen McMusing who showed me how to get the flame template out of EQ8 and into my pattern - yay for another Mac user. Oh, and I almost forgot, but I am giving away one copy of the pattern to a blog reader. If you have already bought it once I do the draw, I will refund your money. Just answer this question:

Have you ever made a Christmas quilt in the summer? 

*If your name is drawn, and you didn't answer that question, I will draw another (teacher head rises yet again), and if you are a No Reply blogger/commenter, be sure to include your email address with 'at' instead of @.

Thank you to Benartex for asking me to be a part of this hop, and for supplying these gorgeous fabrics.

Here once again is the hop lineup. Be sure to check out Benartex's Facebook page and be following them also on Instagram.

Monday July 20th – Nancy Scott, Winterberry Masterpiece Quilting

Tuesday July 21st – Heidi Pridemore, Rejoice The Whimsical Workshop

Wednesday July 22nd – Laura Piland, First Frost Slice of Pi Quilts

Thursday July 23rd – Lisa Ruble, Camp Joy https://lovetocolormyworld.blogspot.com/

Friday July 24th – Debby Kratovil, Festive Chickadees https://debbykratovilquilts.blogspot.com/

Saturday July 25th – Wendy Sheppard, Ode to Joy https://ivoryspring.wordpress.com/

Sunday July 26th – Debby Brown, River’s End http://debbybrownquilts.blogspot.com/

Monday July 27th – Charisma Horton, Deer Festival http://charismascorner.com/

Tuesday July 28th – Sandra Walker, Better Not Pout mmmquilts.com

Wednesday July 29th – Kate Colleran, Joy https://seamslikeadream.com/

Thursday July 30th – Tammy Silvers, Snow Village & Rustic Village Christmas Tamarinis

If you've read to the bottom, here's a funny outtake. I so badly wanted to frame the quilt with the palms and have the harbour as the backdrop. MacGyver who was a fairly willing photographer, noted that my silhouette showed through the quilt. I heard 'silhouette' and thought 'shadow' as in on the ground, so I said no worries, I can crop it out...
Or not. Bahaha.

This is one of the items, #10 to be exact, on my Q3FAL List which you can see here.


  1. Congratulations on the release and I love the coordinating pillow!

  2. As a beginning quilter, I've never made a Christmas quilt at all...yet. I know I will get to it once I've gotten better with my quilting skills. I have so much to learn!! ctopp@richhill.k12.mo.us or

    And yes I work at a school - in the office though, not as a teacher. This will be my 19th year.

  3. What a lovely quilt! Yes, indeed, I have made a Christmas quilt in the summer. That's the only way to get it done in time for Christmas, haha!

  4. Such a great pattern and a lovely pillow, too! That last shot is hilarious and should never be cropped! Congratulations and good luck with this great pattern.

  5. No I have never made a Christmas quilt in July - I like to leave it until December and feel the pressure :-) Well I must do because that's what I do. I love the quilt and the last photo made me smile. michellepeet(at)gmail(dot)com

  6. Oh, what a pretty quilt, Sandra! Using the word "Shine" is so appropriate, especially during a time when we need to look out for each other and show the world a bit of kindness every day. A little bit of "shine" each day adds up to a whole lot when compounded! Nope, I've never made a Christmas quilt in the summer, even though I've always thought I should. Love your silhouette! You are certainly shining behind this project!
    duchick at gmail dot com

  7. What a great quilt! I don’t think I ever actually made a Christmas quilt in July but I think about it dvery year.

  8. Love the quilt! Love the outtake photo! Nice use of the flaming candle as the i and in the cushion. I have made several Christmas quilts and quilted items in the summer. One of my favourites was the trip around the world with Sarah during her 12 days of Christmas a few years ago. I find summer time a good time to think Christmas so there is no pressure for the season. It also makes me excited for Christmas to come so I can give early gifts.

  9. yes i have made Christmas quilts in the summer time, in july

  10. Okay, that last photo is NOT an outtake. It’s you shining—like a performer at the end of a song. Congrats on a beautiful pattern and quilt! I love the modern vibe and the reminder to anyone who sees it. And, of course, your quilting again is so thoughtful and adds delightful texture. And then the little house fabric. Delightful!! And the striped binding. And I could go on and on—the shams and the cushion!! Your holidays are going to shine for sure! I’ve never made a Christmas quilt in the summer. I did make one after Christmas, and then boasted that it was either late, or very, very early for the following Christmas. That’s how I roll.

  11. I think like Janine, above, that the last photo is a keeper and not an outtake! It shows you shining, Sandra! This is a gorgeous quilt, for so many reasons - I really like the combination of letters and star blocks, and your beautiful quilting in all that negative space. I have actually just finished a Christmas quilt this month - a very old UFO - that I'm sharing tomorrow at the Christmas in July (then and now) blog hop put on by Just Let Me Quilt. Thanks for the giveaway!

  12. Such a beautiful quilt and pillow and shams! Congratulations on the pattern. Have I made a Christmas quilt in the summer? Well I did a year-long Christmas row quilt with friends that turned out lovely. It is big enough to use on my bed (though without the hangover I'd like) so I get to enjoy it for 6 to 8 weeks in the winter.

  13. I just love the quilt, and the quilting is amazing! You made a wonderful choice of backing fabric as well. The photo of you through the quilt and your description of the situation made me laugh out loud -- that's just the sort of thing I would do! As for your question, YES I have made Christmas quilts in the summer, and in most every season. I often give a collection of holiday and seasonal table runners as a bridal shower gift so I have made seasonal things "out of season" many times.

  14. I like the subtlety of the lighter stars adds interest but doesn't take away from the more pronounced stars. A beautiful quilt and quilting! I have never made a Christmas quilt in summer in fact I haven't ever made a Christmas quilt. Someting I need to do something about.

  15. My first Christmas quilt was a BOM, so it took all year and I guess that would technically be a yes, as it included summer. My next Christmas quilt was started last year and I'm still working on it, so that's another yes, when I finally finish it.

  16. I have not made a Christmas quilt in July. I have one pieced and ready to quilt and another that is in the blocks stages yet. I really enjoy reading your blog and your quilting work is great!!

  17. In love with this quilt and I’m trotting over to buy the pattern. I made my first Christmas quilt last summer, and I was so happy to pull it out in December. (It has a black background, so white will be good.) I think this is a timeless message.

  18. Congrats on the new pattern, Sandra. It's a good one! Love the candle pillow too! I think we all need an encouraging reminder like this right now. And yes, I just made a Christmas quilt this summer, for the other blog hop going on - my post is at the end of the week.

  19. Beautiful quilt and I love your creative process and explanations! Love your quilting and the use of images to enhance the quilt top. Yes, I have made a small Christmas quilt in the summer. Thanks for sharing! o diane 79 (at) yahoo (dot) com

  20. Beautiful quilt, pillow, and quilting. I have never made a Christmas quilt in the summer. Unfortunately, I am one of those "hurry up and do it right before Christmas kind of quilter"!

  21. Congrats on the release of another pattern! It's a very pretty quilt, love that you made coordinating pieces to go with it.

  22. Hi Sandra! What a nice message and a fabulous finish. Shine can apply to so many situations and people. It's a Christmas quilt that doesn't necessarily scream holidays. Of course, I adore your quilting especially the ghost stars. I haven't made a Christmas quilt in the summer. I've made two of them - one was a QAL and the other was from participating in a beehive group. The beehive quilt is still just a top - I've got to change that. Congrats on the pattern, too - it's starting to become a habit now and easier to get them finished in a timely manner isn't it?! {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  23. No I haven't made a Christmas quilt in the summer. I usually am running late on projects and would start one in November and as time is running out I have to tell myself it will be for the next Christmas. I like your pattern a lot.

  24. I am currently working on a Christmas quilt. First time I have ever made one in the summer. I love your quilt. Great idea to use SHINE on it.

  25. I love how this turned out. Great job finishing it up on time. The candle for the I is absolutely perfect. And I need to get me some of that house fabric. It is too cute!

  26. Never in summer. LOVE your non-traditional looking Christmas quilts! New and old.

  27. I can’t say that I’ve made a Christmas quilt in the summer! My quilts usually take me a while! In fact I only have one Christmas bed quilt (finished)and another wall quilt in the ufo stack!

  28. What a stunning quilt! Congrats on a new pattern release.

  29. Oh Be Still My Heart! I am in love with this quilt and am off to buy it as soon as I finish this comment if my internet will cooperate 😉. I just finished making my first Christmas Quilt in the summer: your Centred Quilt 😉