Tuesday, February 27, 2018

AQS Christmas Countdown Blocks - A Tuesday Tutorial

In December I had the cRaZy idea to join in on not just one, but TWO Christmas Countdown Block sew-alongs...

Moda offered 6-inch blocks and AQS offered 4-inch blocks.  By the end of the sew-along I was feeling pressured because I had fallen behind and those darn 4-inch blocks were sooooo TINY!  

I did manage to get caught up and then quickly threw the two bags of pieced blocks in the closet and moved on... yet every time I went into my closet I would see them and think "what in the world am I going to do with these blocks?"  

I considered making a layout that would incorporate both sets, but could never "see" in my mind's eye a good layout for them.

In the wee hours one morning as my mind was awake, but my eyes not, the thought of an Advent Calendar with pockets made from the 4-inch blocks floated to the top.  Brilliant!  

After letting the idea "gel" for a few days, I pulled those blocks that caused me so much frustration and stress with the itty-bitty pieces (some as small as 1/2" finished) and grabbed some white flannel from my stash to make the pockets and background.

I sewed 1/4-inch seam on three sides and then turned them

I then prepared my backing and batting and did a "quilt as you go" method by placing the 6-inch top row of flannel and pockets on it...

I placed second 6-inch row on top of that and stitched a 1/4" seam along the bottom edge, pressed it open and repeated until I had all five rows stitched down.

Once all the rows were sewn in place, I stitched the sides of the pockets down and trimmed the whole thing up and did the binding.  

I made a hanging sleeve on the back of the wall hanging so that it can easily be hung on the wall ready to present the daily surprises that are contained in the pockets.

The options are really endless.  You can include some sweet treats, or Scripture cards that tell the story of the birth of Jesus. With the Scriptures you could include portions of a Nativity scene.

One fellow quilter shared... My older children do the Jesse Tree, so I put the daily reading cards in the pockets with either that day's ornament if we have one already, or the things to make that day's ornament with. The youngest wanted something more like her friends in 2017, so she made her own advent and I filled the pockets with Bible themed quizzes, and the pieces to make a nativity finger puppet set.

Another suggestion was to make cards for each day with fun things to do. They could be self-care, kids activities, creative explorations, art prompts... You get the idea.

It was fun. And it can be useful. And now I have to wait 9-1/2 months until it can be used by someone!

I am now ready to do something with the Moda Blocks! But what??? I haven't been inspired in the early dawn yet for those. I think they will have to wait just a little longer.

What do you do with your blocks from the various challenges?  

Quilts? Table runners? Or????  

Let me know!  I love to hear from my readers. It may look like I don't respond to the comments, but I do!  It just takes place via a private e-mail (unless you are a no-reply blogger.  If that is the case, I reply here on the blog.)

Sew Happy!



  1. Hi! Melva. Another suggestion for the contents of the pockets is to put the pieces of a jigsaw puzzle in each one. My children used to enjoy building up a puzzle over Advent with no idea what the finished picture might be!

  2. What a wonderful idea!! Such a genius idea for using up those small blocks!