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Sparkle and Shine Pattern: A Bed Pull for the Holidays!

Hello, GO! Getters! It’s Gina from Gem Hill Quilts. When the temperature starts to dip and stores start to sell Halloween candy, you just know that the holidays will be coming one after another. Before you know it, Christmas will be here!

I seem to make at least one quilted item every Christmas and this year is no exception. In this blog, I’ll show you how to make a fun bell pull while exploring textiles and techniques!

Whether you study antique quilts from the 1800’s or enjoy innovative quilts from today, you will find quilts made of fabrics other than cotton. I have seen some magnificently quilted whole cloth quilts made entirely of silk and primitive-looking quilts made with wool. I have also seen quilts made with a combination of silks, wools, cottons, and a whole lot more!

So, for my bell pull, I decided to use silk as well as wool to complement the usual quilting cottons that I use.

There are many versions of silk – charmeuse, chiffon, habotai (or china), taffeta and dupioni are some of the most popular ones.

The silk dupioni I used for this project has slubs that create a linear texture. It has a nice subtle luster that adds a sparkle to the quilt. It also has a nice firm hand and was not slipping and sliding as you may expect silk to do. Because of the linear texture, you may want to keep an eye on the directionality of the silk texture as you die-cut the silk and sew the patches. I was able to keep the linear texture on the silk horizontal on all the patches I used for this project but, it is really not necessary.

A lot of quilters use interfacing to stabilize silk before cutting and using it in a quilt. I was quite ready to do that as well but with the dupioni, I found that I didn’t really need it! After pressing to get creases out, I die-cut the shapes I needed very easily. You can even layer silk and cotton fabrics and die-cut together! When die-cutting silk, you can use up to 6 layers, just like you would with regular cottons. The dupioni silk patches also sewed really nicely. It did not slip as I thought it might. A different silk fabric may not work as well and would need more stability. Note that silk can fray horribly so be careful when handling the edges. You may even want to serge or zigzag the seams as you go.

Wool is a super-easy fabric to use. I love the hand-dyed wools in this project! Good quality 100% wool does not really fray and makes for wonderful raw edge applique.

Be sure to wash and felt wool before using. An easy way to felt wool is by washing/agitating it in your washing machine with detergent (high heat and cool rinse), and tumbling dry in high heat. It will shrink a lot but the fabric will feel sturdier and more stable. Hand-dyed wool will have been washed and felted already. Note that you can only cut 1 or possibly 2 layers of wool at a time. It is just that thick!

When pressing, make sure the iron is on the Silk setting especially when pressing the silk patches. Be mindful that both Silk and Wool require a lower heat setting on the iron than regular cottons.

Because I wanted to spotlight the appliques, I used three shades of gold, for the background. The dark gold has a slightly metallic scroll pattern, the medium gold has pretty little hearts and metallic curls and the light gold is the silk dupioni with its linear texture and slight sheen.

To cut the blocks for the background, I used the GO! Qube Mix and Match 8″ Block.

You can also use the GO! Strip Cutter – 1″ (55052) or the GO! Strip Cutter – 1″, 1 1/2″, 2″ (55164) to cut the sashing and the GO! Strip Cutter – 3″ (55084) to cut the outer border strips.

For the applique shapes, I used the GO! Holiday Medley (55043) and the GO! Sleigh and Snowflakes (55322).

Optional: You can pre-fuse the wool pieces prior to die-cutting so you can fuse the die-cut wool applique onto the background. This would be more useful when planning to machine applique. For hand applique, pre-fusing may make it harder to needle. For this project, I did not use fusible and just pinned the applique pieces down in a couple of places before doing machine applique.

Half-Square Triangle Units (HSTs)

Sew a Shape 5 Light Gold Silk Triangle with a Shape 5 Dark Gold Triangle to create an HST. Make 4 HSTs.

Flying Geese Units (FGs)

Sew a Shape 5 Light Gold Silk Triangle to two sides of a Shape 4 Dark Gold Triangle to create a rectangular FG. Make 4 of these Light/Dark/Light FGs.

Sew a Shape 5 Dark Gold Triangles to two sides of a Shape 4 Light Gold Silk Triangle to create a rectangular FG. Make 4 of these Dark/Light/Dark FGs.

Block 1

Layout 4 Shape 2 Medium Gold squares, 4 Light/Dark/Light FGs and 1 Shape 1 Medium Gold Square. Sew units within each row together and, then sew rows together to complete the block.

Applique the Reindeer shape in the center of the block. I machine stitched it down with a straight stitch along the edge of the applique. However, a really nice stitch to use with wool applique is a blanket stitch done by hand or machine.

Block 2.

Sew a Shape 2 Light Gold Silk Square with an HST to make a rectangular Side unit as shown. Make 4 of these Side units.

Layout 4 Shape 2 Medium Gold Squares, 4 Side Units and 1 Shape 1 Dark Gold Square. Sew units within each row together and, then sew rows together to complete the block.

Applique the Tree shape in the center of the block.

Block 3.

Layout 4 Shape 2 Medium Gold Squares, 4 Dark/Light/Dark FGs and 1 Shape 1 Medium Gold Square. Sew units within each row together and, then sew rows together to complete the block.

Applique the Sleigh shape in the center of the block.

Triangle Block

The bottom of the bell pull is a triangle. To get this shape, take the 7″ x 13 1/2″ Dark Gold rectangle and crease/fold the left and right bottom edge up to make a 45 degree triangular shape. The crease lines will be your cut lines but because these will be bias edges, don’t cut yet.

Position the 2 holly leaves and the 3 berries on the Dark gold rectangle, at least 1/2″ away from the crease lines. Applique in place. I used a decorative feather stitch in the center of each holly leaf and left the edges loose for a three-dimensional effect.

I did some fun beading on this project. To applique the berries down, I simply stitched about 3 red beads in the center and like the leaves, left the edges loose. If you do not want to do any beading at all, you can stitch red french knots in the center of the berries and it would be just as pretty.

Well, I just couldn’t stop my beading with the berries so all the wool appliques received some kind of a beading treatment! My favorite is the Reindeer applique with the “red nose”!

It is a choice to do the beading before or after the quilt is finished. If you do beading before, like I did, you would be stitching through the wool applique and, maybe the background. It is so very easy to do! However, at the quilting stage, it becomes more difficult to echo-stitch around the applique pieces. Some beads are too large to go under the presser foot and may even break while machine quilting. So, echo quilting will have to be done by hand or it will have to be at least 1/2″ away from the applique pieces to avoid the beading.

If you add beads after the quilt is completed, it can be difficult to stitch the beads down through a lot of layers (backing, batting, background and the applique itself!). Beads, especially small ones, require rather thin and narrow needles. However, thin and narrow needles are seldom made to go through several layers of fabric easily. The main advantage, though, is that you can machine quilt your project without restriction!

So, now back to finishing the quilt! Layout Blocks 1, 2, 3 and the 2 Dark Gold Sashing strips. Sew together.

Then, sew the 3″ x 25 1/2″ Dark Gold Border strips onto the sides of the quilt center. Sew the 3″ x 13 1/2″ Dark Gold Border strip to the top of the quilt.

Last, sew the 7″ x 13 1/2″ Dark Gold rectangle to the bottom of the quilt and cut on the crease lines. Before cutting, you can top stitch about 1/8″ away from the crease lines to stabilize the bias edges.

Finishing

Layer the batting, backing (right side up) and quilt top (right side down). Stitch about 1/4″ away from the raw edges all the way around the quilt top. Leave about a 4″-6″ opening on the top or the side of the quilt.

Trim the extra batting and backing off. Then, turn inside out through the opening. Push the quilt edges out from inside the quilt to have a crisp seam. Then, stitch the opening closed.

For mock-binding, use gold thread to stitch about 1/4″ away from the edge all the way around the quilt.  I echo-quilted around the applique pieces, keeping well away from the beading. I also feather stitched along the narrow sashing strips and straight-stitched on the borders about 1/8″ from the blocks. The borders could be machine quilted further, if you wish.

For the final touch, hand-stitch a tassel to the back of the bottom point of the bell pull.

Add a sleeve to the top of the backing, hang your quilt from a decorative hanger, sit back and enjoy!

Come and visit my site to see some of my other projects including several made with the GO! Fabric Cutter.

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