I think I have recovered from teaching and working at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. So now we can throw ourselves into full holiday preparedness mode.

Are you ready for this? Now is the time for finishing up those gift quilts and making holiday decorations and last minute quilty gifts. Put your newly gained skills quilting the 5 basic shapes to good use and try out some holiday themed motifs for free motion quilting.

Holiday Leaves

We have been creating lots of leaves on our quilts lately and there’s no reason to stop. There are some special holiday leaves that are fun and easy to quilt.

photo of holly

photo by lum3n on pexels

Holly

Holly can be quilted with simple curves. Like this:

Start with a slightly curved line. Make it the length you want your holly leaf to be.

start of holly quilting design

 

Add 3 curves going back toward the start.

part 2 of holly quilting design

 

Cross over the original curved line and add 3 more curves, ending at the right side of the original line.

part 3 of holly quilting design

You have a holly leaf!

Note that this design starts on the left and ends on the right. That means it is repeatable! Why is that so exciting?  You can do lots of things with a repeatable motif like this.

Make a string of holly leaves and you can fill a border or sashing. Simply start with one holly leaf and repeat the motif as many times as you need to fill your space.

line drawing of continuous string of holly leaves

Pro Tip: Holly leaves, just like all leaves, are organic. No two are alike! They can be different sizes and shapes and they all look great! No stress here! Notice the center lines are not perfectly straight, they are just a very slight curve. Vary the way that curve turns (up or down) randomly along your string of leaves.

 

To make your holly extra jolly, add in some circles here and there for berries. You can place two or three berries in a cluster between leaves. Make it random.

Line drawing of holly leaves with berries

 

Another idea is to mark a large meandering line over your quilt and add holly leaves to it for an all-over edge-to-edge design. Like we did in this blog post. Use the meandering line as the center vein of your leaves. But don’t quilt the line first, quilt it as you quilt each leaf.

line drawing of meandering holly leaves with berries

 

Mistletoe

Another iconic holiday leaf is mistletoe.

photo of christmas poppers with mistletoe painted one them

Photo by Nick Fewings on Pexels

Notice the shape of the mistletoe leaf, an elongated teardrop. A teardrop is like a long tall loop with a narrow base and a wider head. Quilt this like a vine, adding in berries (circles) randomly. The berries are usually in clusters, two or three together work well for a quilting design. Remember, quilting designs are not literal depictions of an image or thing, but rather a simplified version.

line drawing of holiday misletoe with berries

Just like holly, you can make the mistletoe meander to fill areas of your quilt or quilt an all-over edge-to-edge pattern.

 

Poinsettia

photo of poinsetta flowers

photo by kstankss on pexels

This popular holiday flower is a great design for blocks. It uses the lazy S shape.

Start with a swirl for the center and add leaves around it made with the lazy S shape. I find that five leaves is a good number for the first round. But there are no rules! If your flower has less, or more, it’s all good!

line drawing of the start of a poinsettia flower

 

Then add more leaves (or bracts is the real name) around that first round. You might have to do a little over-stitching, traveling along the leaves you already quilted.

line drawing of holiday poinsettia

You can keep going adding as many rounds as you like, or need, to fill in your space.

 

Stay tuned for more holiday fun designs!

 

by Mary Beth Krapil