Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Letters to Santa Quilt, the inside story of creating, designing, executing and delivering!!

When I design and create, whether it be a quilt, an art quilt or a painting, I want it to be special, to say something, hold a special meaning or message. I love to create pieces that are both unique and special and I am so excited about my new Christmas Quilt "Letters to Santa".

I thought I would share a bit about the design process and how this slowly unfolded over the past year. It started in October of 2016. I was creating some fun paintings for a painting party for the holidays when I was asked to host a Christmas paint party. It was so much fun to watch this family with their friends have such a great time! At the end everyone took home a mini masterpiece for their own home!

As I looked across all the tables of Santa heads I thought about how unique and special each one was and I thought "What a cute Quilt that would be!"

I started designing that next week, figuring out how I would translate the painting into fabric. Once I had the Santa head designed and put up onto my design wall it felt like it needed something else. So I started to design a body, then boots. It was a process of making, putting them up, taking them down etc. At the beginning I had tons of Santa heads and decided that it was too much. I wanted some white areas to keep the quilt feeling light and fun so I added white blocks.  


Oh I forgot to mention that I had Randy busy digitizing right behind me so we could make these in the hoop on the embroidery machine also! It was lots of stitching and perfecting. As you can see in the photo, I decided to add the element of faux fur. This is really unconventional and although I love it I didn't know how it would go over at the quilt stores etc. Plus there is the added issue of washing  the quilt. Who knows if the faux fur will stand up to washing. I may dry clean. But it is about the look for me and I also suggest chenille or just regular fabric. There are other things that could work. I will say that everyone who comes by the quilt has to touch it and pet Santa's mustache. 

After Christmas the progress slowed.  I had other commitments, fabric, shows, embroidery, patterns and so Santa just sat. I decided that maybe I could have him ready for Spring Market in May. The time came and went and I wasn't able to make it happen.  There was also the problem I was having making the quilt make sense. Did he need a body, boots? Should I do less or more and why would anyone want a Santa quilt?? 

The time kept ticking away and my mind just continued to ponder the quilt, to figure out how I could get it could come together. As Fall market approached I felt pressure to finish this quilt and get the pattern written or give it up for good.  I decided to add the white blocks together with the Santa heads and bodies to see it would help. As I sat there looking at it I thought to myself, those look like pieces of paper!


Lightbulb moment!!!! LETTERS TO SANTA!!  I got on the phone and asked my kids to have my grandkids write their letters to Santa for this year. It was early and they weren't really thinking about Santa yet but they did it!
I digitized their letters and stitched 3 of them into the quilt. I now had a family heirloom! A quilt with my grandkids letters to Santa 2017. It captured their misspelled words, their handwriting, their hopes and dreams for Christmas. It was perfect! We added some snowflakes for quilting and it was ready to be written. 
Unquilted but together

I used the snowflakes randomly throughout the quilt as the quilting and decided to do wonky lines to represent paper around the kids letters

Megan's even has a cupcake. She drew it to show Santa what she would cook in her new cook set.

Rachel's was the most organized and ready for digitizing. Each letter had its own clean up issues.

Designing, testing, writing and making sure every detail is perfect is a tough job, its complex and so now we settled into the testing and writing phase. Taking photos for step by step directions etc. We ended up making both an appliqué pattern and embroidery Cd for all of our customers, those with and without embroidery machine. We also added suggestions for different ways everyone with and without an embroidery machine can add their own family letters or recipes!! 

I was so excited, it had finally come together and was now making sense! We worked like crazy to have it finished for Fall Market. I wrote, stitched, quilted and sewed on the binding as we drove to Houston.  

It was a huge hit and we not only sold out but it took us weeks to fill all the orders. Due to a lot of begging Randy reworked the embroidery files so that people with some of the smaller 8"x12" hoops can also make the quilt. More work, more rewriting and it was now going out to the distributors and clients. 

I am pleased to introduce "Letters to Santa", our newest pattern for both the embroider and the applique and piecer. There are some bonus patterns in both the CD and pattern along with the SVG files to make everyones life easier. 

We hope everyone enjoys our newest quilt, that allows you can make your own time capsule quilt that with freeze this Christmas for many years to come! 
At the end of the day its all about setting up the house for family to come and visit! Somewhere special and inviting!
Grandma's room is all ready!

To get more info on the quilt visit our website!!

Merry Quiltmas!
From all of us at 
Desiree's Designs

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