Tuesday, January 3, 2023

Santa's Power

Well, I did it: I finished another long-standing USO (Un-Started Object). What's the difference between a USO and a UFO? In my mind, a USO is a project that you bought the fabric for, maybe also the pattern, maybe not because the design is in your head, such as Santa's Power, and then you never did actually start making it. A UFO is one you have actually started, but stopped due to life, other projects being due, or squirrels, or loss of interest.

This is Santa's Power, and I am wrapped in it as I type this post. I just love it! That's an odd name for a quilt, yes, but read on and you'll find a cute story as to why it got this name.

I picked up this fabric in Edmonton, Alberta, probably at least 15 years ago. It's BB: ‘Before Brady’, so that's how I know the ballpark time! Right away I 'saw' a quilt using the Ohio Stars on the coat of Santa or King Wenceslas (I'm leaning towards the king) with borders of the border fabric somehow incorporated. I think my original plan was to have red squares as on his coat, which is why I bought extra red fabric. When I was designing the quilt on the design wall, and decided upon 9" finished Ohio Stars, I thought 9" of red patches would be overpowering, so I elected to 'figure something out' in the blank spaces between stars.

You've seen how it went from three strips of the border fabric which, at 14.25" in width is
to three stars per row and then four, and then simple rectangular 'rail' blocks as the fillers between stars. I tried both the red and the gold in the middle and decided upon the gold which created a bit of an arrow effect and helped emphasize the white star points. Was it ever hard to do the points in white and not gold!! However, I wanted to be true to the coat.

I already had bought backing fabric in this same line (see stats below), so I pieced it vertically since it is directional, and loaded it.

Quilting went quickly despite not doing a stars and loops meander as I'd originally thought. Quilts almost always talk to me and this one was no different. Organic lines (I could 'hear' wind) went through the border print. I switched to Aurifil 6724 for the snowy section, but used 2870, a bright Christmassy green for everything else. I used 6724 for piecing as well.

Straight lines in the ditch and on the diagonal went in the stars. Flowing lines went in the rectangle blocks with two different stars FMQ-ed in alternate top and bottom rails. Straight lines went in the gold 'arrows' and no ditch-stitching happened where the gold in the rail block met that in the star block. If you look closely you’ll notice that seam isn’t defined like all the others,  which is exactly what I wanted. This way the lines between the Ohio Star and rail block blur so the stars ‘lift’ out of the background colours. 

Look closely at the words that Santa in the moon is tossing into the air: peace, love, joy. I didn’t see this until I was quilting it. What a wonderful surprise.

I liked the peppermint effect of using the trees fabric for the binding which I applied by machine. The quilt was done on Dec. 31 except for finishing the binding, which I did on January 1 after the Lions game (a win!) which we watched at Dayna's.

The label, both cloth and satin:

Now for the quilt’s name.

When Dayna was little, she loved to sing. She actually was in choirs from age four and into Junior High. When she was around five, she had her own version of lyrics to several Christmas carols. Let me just say some were hilarious. In her version of ‘God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen’ one line in her lovely deep  voice was, “To save us all from Santa’s power”…

This quilt has had me waffling between the man being Good King Wenceslas or Santa, and it came to me part way through construction that the name had to be Santa’s Power. My family will totally get it and now you do too!
No evidence left of last weekend's crazy winter storm.
We've had well above 0 temperatures, warm enough that I did my photo shoot in a sweatshirt. The past few days have seen 10C and today was no exception. So unfortunately (or not if you’re me) I don’t have a nice snowy backdrop for the quilt!

Quilt Stats:
Pattern: original design
Size: 51" x 54"
Fabric: 'On A Winter's Night by Kathy Schmitz for Maywood Studio; gold is Debbie Mumm for SSI
Batting: Nature's Touch by Pellon 100% cotton
Backing: as above
Quilted: on Avril: 57 657 stitches
Threads: pieced with Aurifil; quilted with Aurifil

This quilt qualifies as another project on my PHD list. I did not achieve my PHD, but I'm hoping to for 2023! Third time's the charm right? You need to finish 12 UFO projects and finish every project you start. I succeeded in the latter but not the former, finishing just seven.

Linking up


  1. I am curious about the quilting. Did you use rulers?

  2. I’ll answer here in case others are curious. Nope, just FMQ. For the stitching in the ditch and diagonal lines I used Slim, one of Angela Walters’ rulers. I swooped up and down aiming to go under the bear’s toes and over the deer’s back or swooping over and under the moon, or along the drifts of snow.

  3. This quilt is simply delightful, Sandra! I love all the details... both in the fabric and ones that you added with quilting. Thank you for taking time to share all of these little tidbits and your thought process. I love your daughter's lyrics to God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen. Kids can come up with the best things without even trying.

  4. What a fun finish, Sandra! I enjoyed reading about your process for it. That's a beautiful border print, and you used it so creatively! Love the name you settled on, too. Family stories like that are the best!

  5. Well, how could this quilt NOT be named Santa's Power? I think I have officially updated the lyrics myself. That border print just gets better and better the more you tell me about it (peace, love, joy)! It looks like you had a lot of fun. What a great way to wrap up one year and begin another.

  6. The quilt is wonderful. My kids sang in choirs from the age of 4, so we have lots of fractured songs.

  7. Will never be able to listen to that Christmas carol the same way again because of Santa's power!

  8. Santa and the words, beautiful, I had to click and enlarge to read them, love the quilting, and the colours all go together beautifully. Santa's Power, so true.

  9. What fun! I love the quilt, love the words Santa is tossing and love the name - Santa's power. Kids do say the darnest things and having it memorialized is perfect. Congrats on a lovely finish.

  10. I love this. I love the whirly swirly wavy quilting in the snow. I love the overall look. And, of course, I'm a huge fan of the misheard/mis-sung lyric, big fan of all things mondegreen!

  11. so cute, clever! Love Santas....

  12. Love the new lyrics for 'God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen' (took me a while to then think what the real words were.) Love the quilt and the quilting. I have the snow; but it's raining now so I guess it will be gone by the morning. Unfortunately we never seemed to have any sun whilst the snow was on the ground.

  13. Hi Sandra! Finishing seven UFOs instead of twelve is still a fabulous accomplishment. I am really fond of Santa's Power - both the actual quilt and the cute story behind the name. I hope 2023 is being kind to you! HNY! {{Hugs}} ~smile~ Roseanne

  14. Love the quilt Sandra & the story behind it. Well done on the finish. Happy New Year, take care & hugs. Oh & I'll pop an email through about something trivial, hopefully tonight or tomorrow.

  15. I, too, love the story behind Santa’s Power! I think the quilts is fabulous! Even though I don’t have an Avril, or any other machine for that matter, I really enjoy reading about the quilting process! Thanks

  16. I love the story behind the naming of the quilt. A beautiful quilt even without that white stuff, which I'm doing quite well without btw.

  17. Congratulations on another wonderful finish!! I love the way you incorporated the border fabric into the body and sparkled it up with those stars. Your quilting is wonderful and the photos make me smile. I'm a little jealous because you don't have snow. We are socked in and more on the way. And Dayna's lyrics make this Santa Power quilt even more enjoyable. I'm guilty of making up words to songs!

  18. I *love* the story about Santa’s Power! I’m so glad you were inspired to use your fabric and still love it. The stars and rail fence blocks work so well together! I haven’t decided on a plan for 2023 — a PHD is a great goal. At least I have my January priorities ready to go, starting with tidying my sewing room.

  19. Oh, the fun memories of our kids when they were little! Santa's Power is a perfect name for the quilt, and I love the little messages Santa is tossing out as he sits in the moon. So fun! You could pop down here for some snow pictures - we have about 12 inches of new white snow!

  20. Hi Sandra, that's a great quilt, and congrats on finishing all of the projects that you started! 7 UFOs done is pretty amazing. If you have time, come link up to Free Motion Mavericks. Happy New Year.

  21. Turned out so cute and I like your USO definition. I want to use that. :)

  22. It perfect!!I like the name Santa Power!!! your quilting is just amazing on it!