I find it hard to plan for the holiday season in August but once September arrives it seems a slippery slope to December. Making Christmas Tree raggy throws and wall hangings takes time and I always seem to take longer than I think!
This year my friend Jillian O’Dwyer persuaded me to open my own Etsy shop – Something Old, Something Blue by Bizzi Lizzi Creations. I was very skeptical and had to put it on hold while I was away in the summer but I reopened for business in August. I was thrilled to see people were looking at my shop but made no sales with the jewelry and bags I was putting up.
I made a Halloween raggy throw from my Halloween fabric stash and took it along to the August Mission Gables Art Show and there was some interest. So I thought nothing ventured nothing gained and posted it in my Etsy shop – you can’t imagine my surprise and thrill when it sold! I ended up buying some more Halloween fabrics, made three more throws and sold two.
Inspired, I made two Christmas tree raggy throws. I call them throws because I don’t put batting in the centre of the squares. It takes longer to make them into quilts because there are 110 squares of batting to be cut, then each square becomes a sandwich which needs the batting held in place (otherwise it bunches up as a lump in the square) so they have to be “x” d and then sewn into rows and the rows sewn together.
The triangle squares at the tips of the tree branches create their own drama! To make a triangle you first need to cut a slightly larger square, then divide it to make a triangle. But you can’t just then sew the two triangles together, you have to take into account if the fabric is directional. Directional fabrics create considerable wastage because the “other” piece of the triangle is usually unusable. The pattern becomes upside down, horizontal or vertical and goes into the scrap pile! And this applies to all four pieces of fabric that make-up the completed square. If you are putting batting into triangle squares then each little triangle has its own small piece of batting and that needs x’ing once its pieced! And once the 80 triangles become 20 squares they need to be trimmed to size which I find satisfying because then they are ready to use!
Once the throw is finished I sew round the outside of the throw with a double stitch.
Finally there is the snipping! I’ve found the triangle squares are better snipped before I add them to the throw. But then there is the rest of the throw to snip and that usually takes 2 evenings!
But that isn’t the end of the journey. The throws need to be washed to start the ragging process. I put Retayn (a dye fixative) into hot water and use a colour catcher because sometimes the dye in the flannel runs, especially the red which turns the white or creams a round the tree cream! After the hot wash I tumble dry it – it’s the friction in the washing and tumbling that starts the ragging process.
So about 8 yards of fussy cut fabric and 18 hours later there is a throw.
I’ve always made green trees with a cream or white surround with a red border but this year I’ve experimented and made blue trees, white surround with pale blue or turquoise borders…
Blue and white tree – cotton top, flannel back
Blue & white with Mickey & Mini Mouse The back with Olaf from Frozen border
& Goofy on the white
Nativity theme tree – cotton top, flannel back
Some of my favourite fabrics are in this one The back snowflake tree and border
Now to turn my hand some some mini wall hangings…still the same number of squares but either 3 or 4 inch ones… more like an I-spy wall hanging but in the tree shape and no pine needles to sweep up afterwards. Feel free to check out my Etsy shop.