Sunday, January 31, 2016

January Snowflakes

I'm not one of those people who gets overly sentimental when the Christmas tree goes down each year. To be honest, as much as I look forward to getting the Christmas decorations up, I'm actually eager to get them put away after January 1. Perhaps it has something to do with mentally setting the tone for taking on the new year. That being said, I find that the house does feel a little empty after the boxes are put away. My solution has been to reserve some of my house decorations that have more of a "winter" rather than "Christmas" feel to them for January and February. Last year, I shared the snowman quilt that hangs in my parlor this time of year. This year I will share a newly completed wall banner that is hanging in my dining area.
The project that I am sharing in this post is a wall banner that features English paper-pieced snowflakes. Although I adjusted the banner to be horizontal for this post, it actually hangs vertically.
This row of snowflakes is a row that was part of the 2014 Row by Row experience and was designed by Stylish Fabrics in Logan, Utah. 
For those of you less familiar with English paper piecing, it features paper templates, often in the shapes of hexagons. The quilter bastes fabric around the paper templates and then stitches the shapes together. In my March 2015 post, I described my work on a Block of the Week project: Shapes and Pieces. That post also describes some of the basics of paper piecing.
This snowflake project included not only hexagon paper templates, but also triangles, pentagons, and diamonds. Some of the pieces were rather small and a bit challenging, but I put the shapes together. 
After I stitched the shapes together to create the snowflake patterns, I removed the paper templates and stitched them to the background fabric using a blind stitch. As you are about to see with the next set of photos, each snowflake was further embellished with hand embroidery stitching using white perle cotton. I elected to machine quilt this piece myself using the walking foot for my machine. I haven't yet decided whether I want to add additional quilting. For now, this is what I have in place. My goal was to accent the snowflakes without detracting from them.

Here are two other pictures of winter-themed decorations that I have around the house. How do you decorate once the Christmas season is over?

This year in the Intermountain West, our snow has persisted since Thanksgiving. Although we are looking forward to the spring, these verses from Isaiah remind us of the purpose of the snow and how it accomplishes its purpose. Likewise these verses remind us of God's Word accomplishing its purpose.
For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there without watering the earth and making it bear and sprout, and furnishing seed to the sower and bread to the eater; so will My word be which goes forth from My mouth; it will not return to Me empty, without accomplishing what I desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55:10-11