Many years ago my local quilt guild would choose a Saturday in July to hold classes for the members of the guild. Several guild members would volunteer to teach these half-day classes, and we could sign up for a morning class and an afternoon class.

Depending on how many volunteer teachers we had, there would be four to six different classes to choose from. These classes concentrated on items like small wall hangings, table runners, pot holders, quilted clothing, pillows, fabric ornaments, and sometimes a full size quilt.

Most of the classes had a holiday theme, and the day was called “Christmas in July.” The whole idea of this activity was to get quilters prepared for, or even get a head start on, their holiday gift making.

After all, six months should give us enough time to get several gifts finished before all the holiday chaos starts. This is a good plan in theory, but for some reason it hardly ever works out.

Several weeks before the big sew-in day, members who had signed up for a class would get their supply lists.

List in hand, we headed for our local craft store or quilt shop.

Once there, we wandered the aisles looking at all the wonderful fabrics, and finally discovered there didn’t seem to be any holiday fabric.

When asked, the sales person looked at us like we’re crazy. Why would you need holiday fabric in July?

“We should have that in around Halloween,” she said.

“But we need this fabric for a class this month,” we replied.

“Sorry,” she said.

“Do you have some in the back storage?” we asked, getting a little anxious by this time.

“I’m sure we sold all of it last year,” she stated. There’s no way she wanted to go in the storage part of the store and look for holiday fabric, even if it was there.

Really disappointed, we formed a Plan B (quilters are famous for their Plan Bs.) We found fabrics that gave the impression of holiday. Reds, whites and greens had to do.

We also made a mental note that when the holiday fabrics arrive in November we’d buy some to have on hand next July. And that’s exactly what we did.

Even though the guild no longer has a Christmas in July sew-in day, every year around July quilters are in their craft or quilt stores looking for holiday fabrics. July seems to be the internal time clock we use to start on our holiday gift-making.

Some of us can plan out what we want to make and for who. (We seldom make something for ourselves, and when we do, we somehow feel guilty about it.) When the holiday season arrives several of the gifts are made and wrapped well ahead of the big day.

Others wait until two weeks from Christmas and then burn the midnight oil in an effort to finish that item we just “had” to make for that special person.

On a final note, I’d like to think quilters carry some clout. After years of quilters requesting holiday fabric in July, you’ll notice holiday fabric is now carried in craft stores or quilt shops all year long.

Nancy C. Judd of Harker Heights is a member of the Crossroads to Texas Quilt Guild.

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