My second quilt! This is a half square triangles quilt, made in Cotton + Steel’s Tinsel fabric, that I gifted my Mother-In-Law this past Christmas. My first quilt was gifted to my husband the Christmas before, and it left me swearing I’d never make another one. I felt my reservations start to melt once I started spending more time on Instagram – I follow lots of talented quilters there and their projects are contagious!
My sister gave me a fun new sewing book, Patchwork Essentials: The Half-Square Triangle* by Jeni Baker (who blogs at In Color Order), and I decided it was time to dive in again. I still hadn’t figured out a present for her, so I looked for the simplest (relatively speaking) pattern that I could find.
Check out more inspiration here – 30+ modern Christmas quilt patterns!
Half square triangles quilt
It called for 8 half yards of fabric, and I spent wayyy too much time trying to mix and match between different lines. I couldn’t get a mix I liked so I decided to use the Cotton + Steel Christmas line, Tinsel! I love the modern colors and designs; I think my favorite print is the snowglobes. Something I didn’t anticipate was how much contrast there would be between the red & dark blue prints against the others – I ended up putting them both diagonally and like how it turned out. I am so in awe of the color theory & spatial awareness that designing/making quilts requires (a skill set I have lots of room for improvement with!)
I used plain white for the backing and a plain red for the binding. I played with the idea of an “improv” strip down the back but I ended up psyching myself out. Normally I’m the first person to say “it’s just fabric! experiment!” but the idea of messing something up with only a few days until Christmas was too intimidating.
I’m trying not to point out my mistakes, but I will say this quilt is slightly smaller than the book’s pattern. I cut all my initial squares at 17″ instead of 18″, after one cutting error required me to even them all out. I was worried it would be too small, but I actually am glad it wasn’t any larger. This is a great lap size!
I added one of my favorite labels, they always make me smirk.
I used my walking foot, which made the actual act of quilting a breeze. I decided to try skinny little lines, which I regretted after about five of them. It took forever! I definitely took a wonky/organic/imperfect approach intentionally but it ended up being even wonkier than I intended. I normally use the start/stop button, my foot pedal isn’t even attached, but I think that was a mistake. When I had to stop and shift the quilt layers around, the stitch length went wonky and then jerked around when I restarted. Next quilt, I will use my foot pedal!
I stitched in the ditch (more or less) around the blocks before I did the straight line quilting. You can see how “quilty” the fabric got – normally I am a diehard pre-washer for clothes & projects so it was hard for me to sew this fabric straight out of the bag! I love how it turned out though, so I’ll definitely do that again.
I machine sewed the binding on, and am really happy with how this half square triangles quilt looks. I’d love to hand sew binding on to a quilt eventually, like I did for this mixer cover, but I need to give myself more than three weeks from start to finish!
I have TWO more Christmas quilts planned to give this year and already bought the fabric on clearance. My goal is to have all my handmade gifts done by September – fingers crossed. Have you made a quilt before? What’s stopping you?
Pin this modern Christmas quilt for later, with this image and link: