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Santa is Coming . . . as a Sweet Paper-Pieced Block on Friday (Giveaway Today!)

Considering how long I’ve been cooking this idea for a paper-pieced Santa block (i.e months not hours), you’d think I could’ve managed to make some headway by now. Alas, I seem to be all thumbs or the quilting goddess is leading me astray.

First draft Santa Claus by Jennifer-where did the seam allowances go?

The prototype phase wasn’t too dramatic. Sure, I cut the edges too narrow and had to struggle with fat seams when pressing, but with those problems tackled, shouldn’t the final phase be a breeze? Nah! Everything that could go wrong went wrong plus celebrating Thanksgiving and hosting house guests took me out of the quilting game for most of this past weekend. Oh well, it’s my “When life gives you lemons” moment and maybe I’ll have that Santa block (and a partner Christmas tree block) ready for you to see by the Friday post, along with downloadable PDFs. Fingers crossed!

Paper-pieced Christmas tree with light strands! Check out that fabulous snowflake background purchased at Back Porch Fabric in Pacific Grove, CA.


Blog update (9/22/15): To purchase the complete pattern, go to


In the meantime, though, what’s so new and fun about my paper-pieced Santa block that you might want to try it? Well, mine is a fab-u-lous riff on a Santa that was featured in a book of quilted Christmas projects from C&T Publishing that I co-edited with Catherine Comyns a few years ago called Winter Wonders. We selected a series of holiday-themed projects from Nihon Vogue’s Quilts Japan magazine and translated them for use by English-speaking quilters.

A paper-pieced Santa tumbles across the quilt–the block, though, it’s about 4″ in size!

I loved their idea of Santa Claus somersaulting across a quilt, but the original block was too tiny for my taste. I’ve re-imagined the block on a larger scale and added details to lively-up the guy: a mustache inset in the beard seam plus more bling and “fur” for his clothes. Once I drafted the new Santa, I realized there were more seasonal ideas to explore following the prototype layout, thus the Christmas tree block with strands of colored “lights.” I think an angel with inset wings isn’t far behind, but for now, I need to finish the Santa block.

The Quilts Japan Santa block with pieced setting triangles finishes to 5″.

Don’t you think alternating the Santa blocks with the Christmas tree blocks could be the makings of a fine holiday table runner? I’ve also wondered about enlarging the Santa to the dimensions of a Christmas tree skirt and arranging the Santa blocks (without the arms) into the tree skirt’s characteristic doughnut layout–mind you, I’ve not thought through the details so there may be hideous construction challenges.

To launch the holiday season I’m offering a giveaway of my very last copy of Winter Wonders–this is a super-quick promotion so leave me a comment by this Thursday, November 29 and I’ll announce the winner in my Friday post. Here’s the question to answer:  What’s your Christmas wish?

See ya! Remember:  fingers crossed!

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