Christmas Bells 1 and 2

Christmas Bells 1

It is the season I am usually opening cupboards and letting the Christmas decorations out, but I am restraining myself this year, as the man  of the house will be on crutches after an operation on a foot next week … and he is not too steady on those crutches with two feet, and next week there will only be one. So this year, I will be relying largely on virtual Christmas decorations, though a few new ones, just completed, haven’t found their way into storage yet.

Through the year I have been playing with bells virtually all the time … well for short periods pretty much every month … playing with different layouts of bells, just to see what would happen.

It has crossed my mind a few times that any Christmas baubles could be used instead of the jingle bells I started with, and continue to use. Maybe next year I will change the bells to balls, or icicles, or gingerbread men, but for now I am staying with the bells.

Christmas Bells 2

What I love most about playing with quilt designs in Electric Quilt is that I can design a quilt, but then keep playing with the design, testing every thought that pops into my head when I ask myself that very important question, ‘What if?’

Because I keep asking myself that question I find it hard to limit myself to just including one design in a pattern, when there are twenty possibilities to make something which would suit the purpose. I want some feedback on a different way of presenting multiple designs. This idea is for people who already know how to make quilts, or can sign up for classes to learn some basics, follow instructions in a book or magazine, watch you-tube tutorials etc. There are many methods of piecing, appliqueing and quilting, and once quilters know what methods work best for them, they (I definitely include myself ) ignore the instructions and do it their way, despite the designer spending many hours writing clear, precise instructions, including as many details as possible in a given technique.

(Well, sometimes the instructions are clear and precise … I have spent lots of time helping quilters decipher instructions, sometimes resorting to telling them how to do it my way when I couldn’t work out what the writer was trying to describe.)

So, I have put together a couple of block patterns, a shopping list for a project, and lots of alternate projects. No instructions. I am going to send a sample PDF to one person per day for the next 25 days, when I reply to comments. I want to know if you might be willing to buy this sort of package instead of a package containing details of one project … and I would also love to see photos of any project you make using the blocks designs.

My thoughts so far … much quicker than writing full instruction which will often be ignored, and I probably should include about three shopping lists for different size projects … but won’t bother including a shopping list for a one block cushion. Maybe a wallhanging or table runner, lap size quilt, and a large bed quilt.

Want to know what I am talking about … leave a comment … make it a really nice one!

Keep in mind that life as I know it is going to be well and truly interrupted by the crutches, moon boot, appointments etc associated with his left foot, so I will not be replying to comments on any regular schedule.

About Virtual Quilter

I am a quilter who designs many more quilts than I will ever make, and I am sharing one quilt design every day in Virtual Quilter. I also share my completed projects in Stuff-Ups, and Christmas decorations in Christmas Everyday of the Year.
This entry was posted in Christmas with Bells on, Free Pattern and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to Christmas Bells 1 and 2

  1. justpurrfick says:

    Hi Judy, Really hope the MOTH doesnt cause you too much grief over the next few weeks.
    As far as patterns go, I totally agree, most of us just need the basic info to get started. I do love the way you always give alternate views of the same block. The only hard part is then deciding which one to start with.
    Hoping that the fires stay away and your Christmas is full of everything joyous to your soul. You have been my bright spot for a while and I thank you for your generosity.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Karen,

      The MOTH will have the bulk of the headaches … he doesn’t like sitting still, so being forced to sit with his foot up is going to be torture for him. For me the torture will be getting all the things done around the place while he isn’t mobile, and he does way more than put the bins out!

      Sounds like there are at least some who think the how to notes with patterns are often, if not quite always ignored. I just keep hoping that people will be inspired to look at block and quilt designs and work out that most of the changes I make are pretty simple. The hardest part so far has been working out how to show that in virtual designs.

      Judy B

      On 1 December 2015 at 12:54, Virtual Quilter wrote:



  2. chanzy01 says:

    I agree that most quilters with some experience will be able to figure out a pattern and how to do. Even if the quilter is fairly new I would think by just having the size and a few fabric requirements would be enough to get them going in the right direction. If they can’t most of them will turn to YouTube to watch a video on how to do a certain step.

    This should be interesting to see how each person you send a sample to likes it. Rina


    • Rina,

      Yes, it will be interesting to see what people think of the project! So far it seems that at least some people agree that the words are not a necessity.

      Judy B

      On 1 December 2015 at 14:14, Virtual Quilter wrote:



  3. Cherie Lumsden says:

    I was one of those who wrote detailed instructions for patterns in magazines and know that for the most part they are ignored. Experienced quilters will do their own thing – newbies will ask a friend or the internet. Do think detailed instructions are redundant – take up a lot of time to write and paper. Cutting sizes and pattern sheets (applique) should be fine the rest of the information is out there.
    Far better spending your time designing than writing.

    who is still struggles with drawing on EQ but will get there one day


    • Cherie,

      I have purchased some great how to books, and know there are people willing to help in person and via internet sources etc, but get frustrated with the amount of space and time which is taken by the written instructions, particularly in pattern books. And some magazines cut it back to the bare bones, and in doing so cut out the essential bits!

      Judy B

      On 1 December 2015 at 20:25, Virtual Quilter wrote:



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  5. cindythequilter says:

    I agree that most patterns are written in too much detail or do not use any of the well known shortcuts/faster versions of doing things (like half square triangles). I also just basically read how many of each half square triangle I need and then make them my own way; as I do for strip piecing and cross cutting sections of the same fabrics for multiples. Love your idea of multiple alternate projects!


    • Cindy,

      Sounds like you are a normal quilter … only following directions when you need to! I would include basic cutting instructions/number of pieces per block for pieced blocks rather than templates, and just the templates/block diagram for applique.

      Judy B

      On 3 December 2015 at 03:52, Virtual Quilter wrote:



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  7. birdnana14425 says:

    sounds interesting Judy…. I have quite a collection of quilting “how to” books that I pull out if needed. Trying EQ and going through the lessons on there….so don’t feel that I need step by step directions anymore…. but like anything, if you don’t use it you lose it….LOL so do try to sew everyday


    • Carol,

      Sewing everyday seems to be a virtual dream at the moment, so the how-to books are pretty much unsused too, but I have removed quite a few pattern books from my book shelves.

      Judy B

      On 3 December 2015 at 10:49, Virtual Quilter wrote:



  8. Roma Bennetts says:

    Do the falling snowflakes come with the movement as well as the pattern? LOL.


    • Roma,

      The snowflakes are free and start on December 1 every year … much more reliable than Mother Nature! I am glad they are contained within my virtual world though … real ones would melt in seconds here today!

      Judy B

      On 3 December 2015 at 13:13, Virtual Quilter wrote:



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  10. Cherie Lumsden says:

    Have only just realized that when I design a quilt for my group on EQ they only ever just get the pattern as EQ doesn’t “do” instructions. Duh! No wonder when I showed them your pattern on Wednesday evening they thought it the way to go.
    By the way, I am starting to think that you must have the “magical” version of EQ. Of course that is the only reason I can only do simple shapes whereas yours……….
    I love Nutcracker soldiers and have a few that come out every Christmas all I need now is to work out how you did yours or – is your pattern yet for sale?


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  16. Deb says:

    Merry Christmas! Love the bells and the log cabins. We are having record high temperatures here in the northwestern US today, it’s like summer!


    • Deb,

      Thank you … and hope your Christmas is merry and bright. What we need right now is just a touch of winter rain to put out some fires across the state, but suspect that summer is here to stay for a few more months!

      Judy B

      On 9 December 2015 at 10:36, Virtual Quilter wrote:



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