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  • Nicola

God Jul

Let me set the scene: once upon a time, deep in the timeless forests of Dalarna, a cabinet maker and his family lived in a little red cottage made of wood. One winter evening before Christmas, as the snow drifted down and frost sparkled on the pine trees, he sat by the stove - enjoying the warmth of the fire and the aroma of spiced biscuits baking - and carved toy horses for his children. And so the Dala horse was born.

Or at least that’s how I like to think it happened.

Photo shared with kind permission of Today's Quilter

You may remember me designing the Dala Horse block a few Christmases ago for a Moda Bakeshop sewalong and many of you fell in love with it, so I was delighted to have the opportunity to give my Dala horses a proper setting for this year's Today's Quilter Christmas Supplement (free with issue 68). Moda very kindly sent me a jelly roll of Kate & Birdies’ beautiful new Christmas fabric, Juniper, to sew with and the colours were just perfect.

EDIT: You can now buy a separate PDF pattern for my Dalarna quilt here. Look out for Paper Patterns in the shop :-)

The gift bag I made with my Dala Horse block

I used the pine green and verdigris prints for my jelly roll forest and the deep red prints for my Dala horses and the furniture maker’s cottage. And if you’re wondering, the distinctive red paintwork seen on buildings - and toy horses - throughout Sweden originated in Dalarna and was traditionally made with iron and copper oxide from the region's mines.

I added a taupe printed weave from another Kate & Birdie Christmas collection, Return to Winter's Lane, for the tree trunks and the cottage’s turf roof - which I found in the beautifully curated range of fabrics at Honeybee Cloths - and was able to use the creams and low volume prints from the jelly roll to make a matching gift sack, because not every gift fits into a modest Christmas Stocking and there's room for a whole team of Dalas in this easy to make bag.

Photo shared with kind permission of Today's Quilter

My fellow designers, Lynne Goldsworthy and Mandy Shaw, have also created gorgeous projects for the supplement, using the same fabric and interpreting the theme in very different ways. We've done our best to keep you busy this Christmas!

I made these projects during June's heatwave so I'm looking forward to decorating with them in cooler temperatures and perhaps enjoying a glass of warming Glogg and a fragrant Pepparkakor or two,

Nicola xx


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