holiday friends applique blocks
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Celebrate Christmas in July with the Holiday Friends quilt

As kids revel in the freedom of summer vacation, quilters know it is time to think about the gift-giving season and start on those Christmas quilts. New fabrics are arriving in stores and I was inspired to update one of my first patterns. I invite you to celebrate Christmas in July with our Holiday Friends quilt pattern.

holiday friends quilt

See this quilt come to life! Watch the video here.

Back to the beginning

Blue River was the first pattern I wrote for my first book, Monochromatic Quilts: Amazing Variety.

monochromatic blue free motion quilting

It’s a beginner-friendly pattern with two easy blocks – the Rail Fence and a Snowball. In the original, I left the snowball blocks empty and had a grand time playing with free motion quilting designs in that negative space. Ever since then, I’ve wanted to play with other colorways and do something else with those blocks.

Meet Becky

The obstacle for making my artistic vision a reality was the fact that I don’t have much experience with other quilting techniques. I dabbled with a few applique patterns early in my quilting career but found I just don’t enjoy it much. So I needed some help re-imagining the Blue River quilt. Luckily, I know someone who is a fabulous applique quilter!

Meet Becky Campbell of Sewforever Quilting. When I mentioned my idea of revisiting the Blue River pattern with a holiday theme, she was ready and willing to collaborate. It just so happened that she had some applique blocks prepared that were exactly the right size! The patterns come from her book Holly Jolly Ornamental Applique.

holiday friends pattern books

Introducing Holiday Friends

We decided to include an elf, an angel, a gingerbread man and a soldier/Nutcracker figure in the Holiday Friends quilt. I chose gradients of red and green, staying true to the monochromatic feel of the original Blue River design.

The reds were all pulled from the Shadow Play line of fabric from Maywood Studios. It can be a challenge to find four shades that work well in the progression from light to dark, but I was happy with my final choices.

red fabrics for holiday friends quilt

For the green tones, I decided on a more eclectic approach and searched for prints that had a little more texture. Here, I pulled from a variety of fabric lines to gave my quilt a more scrappy feel.

green fabric for holiday friends quilt

It was a simple process to add some golden corners to Becky’s applique to create the Snowball blocks for the Holiday Friends quilt.

holiday friends applique blocks

Becky suggested a symmetrical nine-patch layout, which we can preview with EQ 8 quilt design software:

9 patch holiday friends quilt diagram

Celebrate Christmas in July

But I decided on a 3×4 layout which gives us a nice 36″ x 48″ crib-size quilt. It’s just the right size for a small throw to decorate the couch during the holiday season!

holiday friends quilt




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Longarm Quilter, Pattern Designer, Teacher


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