01 December, 2011

Advent Wallhanging

Today is December the first, the date when our Advent wallhanging used to make its annual appearance in our home... twenty plus years ago. I was a novice quilter in those days and had come up with this design of twenty five trees for our children to "decorate" as they counted down the days to Christmas. The idea was to begin at the upper left tree and spiral to the right and into the middle, one day at a time, until the permanently decorated center tree was reached on Christmas day.

Minimally quilted, I remember struggling to hand stitch around each tree and in the border with gold metallic thread. I was forced to use short lengths of thread as it frayed terribly and would fall apart if the piece was too long.

The tree below is decorated. I purchased twenty four different resin ornaments at a local Ben Franklin store and hot-glued pin backs onto them. I numbered the backs of them (why? who knows) and they were kept, two per compartment, in an egg carton. The children took turns pinning them on.

In a courageous, or maybe foolish, move I entered this in a judged quilt show. It was displayed fully decorated, the judges comment sheet contained the compliment: "nice pin collection". Really! That's one way to build a quilter's confidence! (But I'm over it!!)

Back then my binding technique needed a little tweaking. I used to fold the corners on the front side and run a little gathering stitch around the corner on the back of my quilts as I whipped the edge down... hmmm, maybe that judge was being kind when she complimented the pin collection! In the photo below you can see the edge of the attached label, I rolled a sheet of muslin through a typewriter back in 1987. Prairie points were one of my favorite edge finishes in those days!

The Advent wallhanging has come out of retirement, I believe that the grandchildren will like it. Mason will spend this weekend with us and he'll enjoy pinning on a few decorations, I bet he'll never even notice those corners!

Life is Good!
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16 comments:

Pat said...

Your commentary is too funny! It's great to look back at where we were when we first attempted quilting, or any sort hand craft. It's a great reminder that what is now second nature to us was once not quite so easy.

Your grandkids will LOVE this Advent calendar! "Noce pin collection'? Phooey. A tradition, made with love, for the next generation.

Baby Steps said...

I was thinking about that Advent calendar as I was making ours and again as I hung ours last night. Hope my children remember ours with fond memories like I remember that one. I love you!

Becky G said...

What a charming story. I can feel your steadfast determination in the details. How wonderful for your family (including the grandchildren) to have such a wondrous treasure which holds so many memories of Christmas' past with still more to be made. Christmas more than any other time of year is when I am most intentional about "making memories." Thanks for sharing this. B

Nane said...

Mason will love it, we have one with little painted ornaments that Mom made when we were kids...we had to take turns as we got older on who got to put up the church on Dec 24th. Mason should have a year of two before he has competition from cousins!

Janet O. said...

Your homemade Advent calender stands head and shoulders above the glued together felt creation my kids worked with each year. I think yours is wonderful, and I'm sure the grandchild will think so, too!

AnnieO said...

So glad you are "over it" :) What an inventive idea as a new quilter--I would not have thought to use pins to count the days down. What great fun to have this in your memory banks and get to reuse it with the next gen!

LizA. said...

What a darling little "pin collection". I just love your creativity in dealing with the corners. Isn't it fun to pull out something you created early on in your quilting life and see just how much you've learned? I'm sure Mason is going to love decorating it.

Synthia said...

Actually, I kinda like the gathered corners on the back. Very creative!! Go away, quilt police!!!! I think you did a great job.

Karen Newman Fridy said...

I like the corners too! And the quilt itself...what a neat idea. Mason will love it!

paula, the quilter said...

Welcome to the vintage Christmas wallhanging club! Tee hee. I have always wanted to make something to 'store' my advent pins on but just never got around to it.

Quiltdivajulie said...

I remember Ben Franklin!

The embroidered Advent wreath that I stitched probably 30 years ago came to work with me today and is now hanging at a co-worker's desk. Our "chief manager" attorney hung the first ornament this morning - a little girl with curly red hair (french knots) that looks VERY much like his oldest granddaughter . . .


Vintage Advent hangings are worth their weight in gold!

(and I love your gathered corners!)

Linda in Calif. said...

It's so much fun to have a treasure such as this cute quilt and those memories isn't it? As for the corners, very clever idea - for not knowing how to do it. I actually like the gathered corners - you might be able to start a new trend!

Kathie said...

what a nice story, love the center tree with the heart! Hope you have a great weekend with Mason oh and I bet he is going to love decorating the tree :) lets see if he can only hang one ornament a day!
kathie

Kim said...

You know what? the proof is in the pudding as the old saying goes. No this quilt did not win a prize for excellent quilting but it has held up over many years and brings you joyful memories.... and now the grandkids get to enjoy it...to me that is better than any prize from a show. I hope when you "kids" see it they too have a warm Christmas memory too.

Happy Sewing

phyzz said...

I adore this! Wonderful ideas and beautiful results!
Blessings of Advent!

Teresa said...

A treasured memory wrapped up in a quilt. What does some quilt judge know anyway - they don't factor in the love and joy that a quilt brings.