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This Thanksgiving Quilt decoration will give your guests a warm welcome on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving quilt decoration craft photo
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Thanksgiving Quilt image)
Do you admire quilts - but shiver at the thought of sewing one? Our faux Thanksgiving Quilt has all the plush charm of a primitive quilt, and none of the sewing. The Styrofoam™ company has long promoted this craft technique of tucking fabric into slits in a foam form (called the "quick-tuck" method), but we took it a step further. You print the center fabric panel on your home inkjet printer, and cross stitch a Thanksgiving sentiment to surround it.

Alright - first we said no sewing, and then said you have to cross stitch on this Thanksgiving quilt. Cross stitch isn't really sewing in our book. It is needlework. Much more leisurely and there's no sewing machine to figure out. Still, if the cross stitch aspect scares you, you can always imitate the cross stitch design with fabric paint.

And we found the cutest little Pilgrim, drawn by Ellen H. Clapsaddle around 1909!

Materials for Thanksgiving Quilt Door Decoration

  • Crafts & Supplies at joann.com!
    Vintage images and templates (FREE PDF download). Print the Pilgrim image on an inkjet fabric sheet (see Tips).
  • Styrofoam™ foam board, 12" X 12" X 1" (see Tips).
  • Aida needlework fabric, 18 count/inch, natural or ecru color (See Tips).
  • Fabric: red micro-print cotton. Four 2 1/2" squares (see Tips).
  • Fabric: gold micro-print cotton. Eight 2 1/2" triangles.
  • Fabric: green micro-print cotton. One 16 1/2" square.
  • Cotton batting: One 3 1/2" square.
  • Embroidery floss, brown (see Tips).
  • Embroidery hoop (at least 8").
  • Embroidery needle.
  • Embroidery transfer pen.
  • Satin ribbon, 5/8" wide, 6' long. Dark green.
  • Pinking shears.
  • Scissors.
  • Craft knife.
  • Butter knife or flatware knife (with a smooth, non-serrated back edge).
  • Fine-tooth saw or sharp bread knife for cutting the foam.
  • Quilting pins (long pins, with round plastic heads).
  • Straight pins.
  • Glue or hot glue (optional).
  • Black marker pen.


  1. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 1Print two copies of the quilt pattern on plain paper, tape the two halves together to form a 10" square pattern, and pin it in the center of the Styrofoam™ square (1" in from all sides). With a craft knife, cut along all solid pattern lines, 1/2" deep into the foam. Save the paper pattern pieces for cutting the fabric. (These  instructions are also printed on the template).

  2. Thanksgiving Quilt craft, step 2Retrace the cut lines on the Styrofoam™ with a black marker.

  3. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 3Time to cross stitch! See the tips below for some general guidelines. The word patterns we provided will be your models. The first step is to measure and mark on the Aida fabric where you want to cross stitch your words. Use the embroidery transfer pen to mark four (4) rectangular panels, 7.5" X 2.25". Then, to help you center the words, mark the horizontal and vertical center lines on each panel. If the whole idea of cross stitching gives you hives, you can paint the cross stitch design on plain fabric (see Tips).

  4. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 4Put the Aida fabric in the embroidery hoop, to show two full panels. Now, read up on cross stitching as we suggest in the tips below - and start.

  5. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 6Remember, this is "counted cross stitch," which means you have to count your stitches to match the pattern. Begin from the center of each panel, horizontally and vertically, so your words are centered.  Also note: we cross stitched over two threads on the Aida cloth, skipping every other hole.

  6. All done? Did you wash and iron your cross stitching? Great! Now it is time to cut your quilt panels.Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 7
  7. Begin with your finished cross stitch fabric. Pin each of the four (4) C patterns over the exact center of each cross stitched word (the short side of each trapezoid is at the bottom of each word). Trim around each pattern with pinking shears, leaving a 1/8" border on all sides.

  8. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 5Pin the four (4) A patterns to the red print cloth. Pin the eight (8) B patterns to the gold print cloth. Trim around each pattern with pinking shears, leaving a 1/8" border on all sides. Cut a 16 1/2" square of green print cloth for the back and frame.
  9. Cut a 3 1/2" square of cotton batting and place it on the center (D) square on the foam.

  10. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 8Now for the tucking. Center the Pilgrim image panel over the batting on the center (D) square on the foam. Hold the fabric steady, and with the tip of the butter knife, push the edge of the fabric into the slit in the foam on all four sides and the corners.

  11. Continue with the Aida cloth panels. These are heavier fabric, and it is important to keep the fabric centered as you tuck around the sides, as it will tend to pull out of the opposite side as you tuck.
  12. Thanksgiving quilt craft, step 9Position and tuck in the remaining fabric pieces on the pattern.

  13. Lay your green print fabric face down and center your foam square on it. Pull the sides of the fabric up and over the edge of the foam, and tuck the edges into the slits in the foam, leaving the corners until the end. Gather the fabric at the corners and neatly pull it to the front (you may have to trim a little so you have about 1/4" past the slit). Tuck the fabric into the corner slits.
  14. To hang your Thanksgiving quilt, center the bottom of the foam on the ribbon, and pin (or glue) the ribbon to the bottom and two sides. Tie the two ribbon ends into a bow, and hang it up! Even our mailman stopped to tell us how impressive this Thanksgiving quilt looks on the front door.
  • Thanksgiving napkin ring craft, vegetarian versionStyrofoam™ is only one manufacturer of craft foam shapes - but I've never seen any other brand. Their board shapes come in several sizes. The one we used was labeled 15/16" X 11 15/16" X 17 15/16". We cut it to size with a fine-toothed hacksaw, but a sharp bread knife would work as well. We called our final trimmed size 12" X 12" X 1", which is close enough.
  • There are several ways of printing images onto fabric. We chose the easy method: We bought paper-backed fabric sheets designed for inkjet printers. Joann's has a good satin version called Electric Quilt Printables - Inkjet Cotton Satin Fabric Sheets. You can also make your own fabric sheets for your inkjet printer, if you are so inclined!
  • Aida is a stiff, open-weave fabric, created just for embroidery. There are distinct holes at the intersections of the warp and weft threads, making it easy to position your needle. The thread count (18 count/inch) specifies the number of holes in an inch, which determines the size of your cross-stitch design. We chose 18-count, because it resembles burlap, and by cross-stitching over two threads of the cloth, our design came out the right size.
  • For the colored shapes, we used simple cotton fabric with a small print in colors to coordinate with the Pilgrim image. Iron your fabric before you do any cutting, to eliminate the fold lines.
  • Here's an important tip about embroidery: Don't imagine that we know anything about it. You are seeing the sum total of our experience right here with this simple cross stitch. Still, there is the outside chance that you know less than us, so here is what we learned from the experience:
    • Do some research. We started with our favorite needlework expert, Victorian Embroidery and Crafts, for the basics of cross stitching.
    • An embroidery transfer pen has ink that disappears when you wet or wash the fabric. Very mysterious but wonderful.
    • Measure your Aida panels carefully, because you don't want to cross stitch everything and then find out your panels are 1/4" too small to tuck in to the pattern. Bigger is better.
    • Mark the horizontal and vertical center lines on each panel. Cross stitch the letters in the center of the word first: The word "GIVE" was stitched in the order of V, E, I, then G. Count the number of vertical stitches in the first letter, and center it vertically with half the stitches above and half below the center line.
    • An embroidery hoop is a good thing, although using it may make you feel like someone's old, spinster aunt. The hoop should be wider than your design, so ours was 8". To "hoop" your fabric: Lay the inner ring on the table. Lay your fabric over it, positioning your design in the center of the ring. Place the outer ring on the fabric, and press it down over the inner ring until they are flat against the table, then tighten the outer ring.
    • This cross stitch pattern is simple, block letters, and the technique is called "counted cross stitch." You don't need a fancy pattern on a grid - you just count the number of stitches you make in each direction to reproduce the design.
    • Standard embroidery floss comes in skeins about nine yards long. One skein is just enough to do this project - but buy two just in case.
    • A strand of embroidery floss has six loosely-twisted threads. Cut an 18" length of floss. any longer and you'll be battling knots. You'll use only two threads at a time, so separate two threads from the others and pull apart gently. Once you separate about 5", hold the separated ends with one hand, and slowly run your finger down between the threads, letting them untwist slowly.
    • An embroidery needle has a very large eye, and you'll bless that fact when you try to thread it with two threads.
    • Never knot embroidery thread: It leaves a lump under the design. just leave a tail of thread on the back when you start, and make sure you stitch over it once or twice as you cross stitch.
    • 18" of thread is about enough for a single letter in this pattern, but we often found ourselves ending and starting thread in the middle of a letter. No problem. End by running your needle under a few stitches on the back and snipping it off. Start again by running the needle under a few stitches to hold the thread.
    • You'll make mistakes. You'll miscount the holes in the Aida fabric. You'll start a letter too low. Proudly cut out your mistakes and do it again. With cross stitch, you really can't get away with imprecision. It shows.
    • Hand wash your finished piece and iron it dry with a medium iron. This will shrink the weave and tighten your stitches.
  • If the whole idea of needlework and cross stitching makes your eyes cross, you can imitate the cross stitch design with fabric paint. Start with plain, natural white cotton. Mark out the four 7.5" X 2.25" panels. Lay the cross stitch word pattens on a light table (or tape them to a bright window). Center and tape your fabric panels over each word so you can see the pattern clearly through the fabric. Paint over the cross stitch pattern with brown or black fabric paint or a paint pen, imitating the tiny cross designs.  It is cheating, but who's to complain?
Don't forget: Continue your Thanksgiving quilt vintage hospitality theme with Thanksgiving Napkin Rings!

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