Santa's elves are jolly to announce that the Exploding Peppermints quilt pattern is now available!
If you read my last post, you know how much fun I've had making this quilt. But with all the curves and points, I hesitated to jump in to make this a pattern for you all. To my surprise, it actually came together pretty quickly and is a lot easier to make than it looks. The circles are pretty big so they're easy to sew (think about taking a wide turn vs a tight turn in a car - easier and faster going wide). The foundation paper piecing (FPP) of the peppermints is a simple wedge shape over and over so no weirdly shaped pieces and the quilt can be made with solids which makes FPP even easier. While the points of the peppermints are a little bulky, I included some tricks to reduce the bulk. I have posted some tutorials and a video to make this quilt very doable if you haven't tried FPP or curves before.
I love how red and green play off each other (they're complimentary colors - think Kraft Mac N Cheese - blue and orange). I used Kimberbell's Cup of Cheer fabrics by Maywood Studio because they were basically solids but had a subtle print of jolly swirls, holly, candy canes, and peppermints. Isn't this fabric so cute!?! Now that the pattern is written and the top is pieced, it's time to quilt it but I still can't decide on a backing fabric. What would you pick for a backing?
Now for a bit of history...
This quilt started on a road trip to California taking my teens surfing. As my husband drove, I doodled on the ipad. The design was wild. I wasn't concerned about lining things up perfectly or how I would actually make a quilt out of it. I was just letting it flow, seeing where it would take me. This is what it looked like when I left it to start a new doodle.
Months later, this design was still on my mind so I got it back out and started playing around with it again. A relook made the holiday version the easy color choice because the blocks were literally peppermints!
Dropping all the extra four patches simplified the design and I started to see a quilt. Curving the edges of the wedges made it easier to sew. Taking the green from the four patches and moving it to the background gave it a new look too. I also changed the sizes of the white circles. I like how they now go from small, to medium, to big, and back again - easier to see without the red wedges. But now you can't unsee it! This changing size is what gave me the idea for the quilt's name.
I tried duplicating this new version in several layouts and the winner was four put together, rotated 90° each time. More than four and the circles would get too small to make the quilt come together easily. The version to the right, although I love it, just isn't practical to make so that idea had to be passed on.
When I started showing the winning layout to friends and family, there was a lot of, "It looks like dominos!" Five turned out to be my winning domino, who knew! I also see a bead and candy garland strung on a Christmas tree hanging from corner to corner on the quilt.
I still love the deep red background so both options are featured in the pattern.
Once the design was finalized, I wrote a rough draft of the pattern and began sewing. While making practice blocks, I discovered another visually interesting option with this design.
It may not appear at first glance but the center of all four blocks are exactly the same. The background frame color changes creating the optical illusion. I made this in pink and yellow fabrics and it totally looked like it stepped out of Andy Warhol's collection. It makes for a fun 25" x 25" holiday wallhanging too!
And this is why I am hooooooooked on quilting - the possibilities are endless and so fascinating!
It feels surreal that this pattern is complete. I worked so hard to make it concise, easy to follow, and easy to make. This is the 10th pattern I have written and I have learned so much. Thank you for being here and being a part of my journey! Usually I like to end with a "Happy Quilting!" but today I feel like it needs to end with a...