I guess it’s never too late to make your Christmas crafts! A lady in the German quilt guild I used to belong to shared this Christmas sampler on their Facebook page back in December and I fell in love with the Dala horse block.
I love these little Swedish horses so I was excited to make the block from the Christmas sampler on Julianna’s Sewing Under Rainbow blog. One of the winners of the Christmas sampler contest made just the Dala horse block into a pillow. I thought I would also make just this block and not do the whole Christmas sampler.
These paper pieced patterns can be downloaded for free on Craftsy. You can find the link on Julianna’s blog or search them directly on the Craftsy website. This block is 12 inches but there’s also a 16 inch version. The block by itself isn’t too Christmas-y although I didn’t feel like making a pillow and this one horse seemed lonely by itself – so I made another one.
For this one, I used Christmas fabrics. They looked so cute but I wasn’t sure what to do with them so I made the tree block from the sampler so that they would all form a little Christmas quilt.
Then I added some sashing to pull the whole thing together.
I thought it might be fun to bind this little quilt with prairie points to pull all the triangles together. Prairie points are little triangles that are used to finish or bind the quilt top with the backing. They are sewn right side towards the top, then flipped over and the backing is creased and hand sewn to the front. I’ve only used this binding method once and it was many years ago. My grandma used it on lots of her quilts. I wish I could ask her why. I looked up the history of this method and couldn’t find much except that it was most popular during the 1930’s and before. I can only guess that it was used because you only needed little squares of fabric which might be all that quilters had instead of long strips that we go out and buy today.
(Here’s a picture so you can see what I’m talking about.)
There’s quite a bit of math involved in this method. You have to decide how high you want your triangles to be then multiply by 2 and add 1/2 inch. Mine are 1.5 inches so I cut my squares of fabric at 3.5 inches. Then to figure out how many triangles you need you measure one side (mine was 28″) and divide by the length of the base of the triangle (3″). I got 9.33 so I rounded to 10 so I would need 10 triangles for each side. There are many different ways to lay these out for different looks so just play around with them until you like the layout.
There are Youtube videos online that show how to make cheater continuous strings of prairie points but this was a small project with enough math for me.
You’re supposed to quilt the quilt before you add the points but I didn’t do that so we’ll see how it goes. Did I mention it’s been a long time since I’ve made this type of binding? You definitely have to leave enough unquilted space on the edges of the quilt to add these after. I bought some grey thread and am planning to do some free motion quilting in the background and quilt around the shapes. More practice! I’ll try to remember to post the finished quilt (unless it looks horrible).