My current project is a large quilt from a Missouri Star pattern called Quatrefoil. It calls for a layer cake and I used Barbara Brackman's Richmond Reds collection. It is predominately reds and greens, but doesn't really scream Christmas. The biggest decision I make when machine quilting is deciding on a design. Once that hurdle is overcome, I enjoy the process. I browsed my reference book of quilting designs and decided on an adaption of a poinsettia design, adapted to my limited skills in the machine quilting department. I think it could be used for most block designs, especially anything that is basically a 9-patch type.
The first step is to mark a circle in the center.
Here is the template set that I use.
Begin stitching at the top of the circle, stitching a pointed petal shape to the outer margins of the design, returning to the circle. Stitch on the circle to the next petal location. There will be gaps in the stitching line along the circle, but we will pick them up later. Continue around the circle until you have stitched 8 evenly spaced petals.
To stitch the shorter bracts, follow the previous stitching line about halfway up the petal, then stitch another pointed shape, meeting the stitching line on the next petal, and following it back to the center circle. Stitch along the circle until you reach the next petal and repeat the process. This will fill in the rest of the circle stitching.
After all of the bracts are completed, move into the center of your circle (without lifting your needle) and stitch pebbles to fill the center. I stitched one row around the perimeter of the circle, then stitched the center ones. This seemed to push the fullness toward the center, making the pebbles stand out against the stitching. I backstitched on the last pebble and cut my threads.
Here is a completed one against all reds. I think it shows up a little better.
My quilt has 30 blocks, so I have stitched a lot of poinsettias. I'm ready for the Christmas season.
Hope your Thanksgiving Day includes a little stitching.