Quilt Pep-talk time

So this year I have signed up to participate in the 2012 Quilt Craftalong on the Craftster forum. Every participant puts up a list of ~12 quilt projects they want to do in 2012 with the idea that public accountability + community encouragement = actual finished quilts. Given the massive pile of unfinished quilting objects currently occupying the corner of the dining room I thought this sounded like a great idea. Being me, I of course listed 13 projects. Just to make doubly sure I am shamed into following through I am doing this blog post. Here is the list in no particular order:

  1. Wedding quilt for my friend. It is two years overdue (Hanging head in shame) but only 13 blocks to go!
  2. Recycled flannel shirt quilt. It is a split rail fence pattern. I started it three years ago for my hubby (Hanging head in shame) and am only now getting it done. It was originally going to be queen size but it has rather ballooned. More on that soon.
  3. Animal print novelty fabric quilt. I call my design “Windows on Animals” since it is black sashing of little fussy-cut squares of animals with the idea that it will look like a contact print when it’s done. The basic pattern goes something like this: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projects-ideas/bed-quilts/splashes-of-color_1.html and it will be queen size. I have it mostly cut out, just have to cut more sashing strips and backing squares.
  4. I want to make this quilt pattern: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/projects-ideas/throws-wall-hangings/simple-sashing-rectangles_1.html using fabrics from Laura Gunn’s Magnolia Lane collection of fabric. I have it mostly cut-out but I still have to cut out all the sashing strips.
  5. I’m making this quilt for certain people: http://www.allpeoplequilt.com/techniques/piecing/sew-easy_ss1.html  Both quilts are mostly cut out, they just need to be actually sewn.
  6. Ditto above. 🙂
  7. Quillow
  8. Quillow
  9. Quillow  (I don’t want to spoil the surprise, so I’m not saying more than that for these last three)
  10. My Genji inspired wallhanging that I started piecing this fall. I just have to finish putting it together.
  11. My summer reading inspired wallhanging. Yes, I have a sketch and pieces and everything. I just have to put it together. (Are you sensing a theme here, readers? Hanging head in shame)
  12. A Doctor Who throw using fabrics I got from Spoonflower.com. I want to make this for my hubby for his birthday but who am I kidding? He’s got 364 unbirthdays that need to be celebrated too.
  13. A T-shirt quilt. I have the pieces cut out in a bag! Again. (Cutting pieces seems to be my virtue, doesn’t it? Hanging head in shame)

That’s what I’ve set myself to do this year. Now the good news is that I’ve got #1 mostly pieced (only 13 blocks to go!) and I have found my missing tools which I needed to finish it. The further good news is that I’ve got the top of #2 finished, the back well-begun, and I have plenty of fabric. But it has ballooned from queen to king size and I had forgotten just what a tremendous lot of work actually finishing a quilt actually is. Oy but my memory needs work. It’s back breaking bending over my machine and wrestling these massive slippery stretchy pieces and it is a rhombus so I know that piecing my backing is going to be an a improvisational experience. Yes, I am whining. But I got myself into this beautiful mess and by gum I’m going to see it through. This calls for a photographic pep talk. I’ve done this whole process before and I can do it again! Mwaahahahaha! Behold the evidence:

Pinning my graduation quilt of dreams by E.A. Schneider

By the time I graduated with my Bachelor of Arts degree I had successfully made two queen size quilts for two of my dearest friends, albeit with help, but still I’d done quite a lot of work. One is pictured here. The other one I sadly do not have pictures of on my computer. I designed it myself and did most all the work myself with some guidance, support, and a few squares from my mom. Someday I will get pics on my computer and tell its story. But back to this quilt. By the time I’d finished those two quilts I had learned a lot from the process and I had a lot of fabric stashed away.  I also had a yen to make something for myself and my hubby to celebrate the end of one life chapter and usher in the next with style. So I got to work. It took me nine months to get the whole thing finished. It was wonderful. I vowed to use some of every cotton in my stash so it is very eclectic. But if you look carefully you will see a certain yellow print in every pieced block as my feeble attempt at design unity.

A different angle on pinning

Every block, every fabric, has a meaning and a story.  Most stand for friends and family who are dear. Many stand for dreams, favorite places, scientific research (past and future), and interests. Some I just plain like. One of these days I will write it all down. I made a point of using fabrics from my other two quilts for my dear friends and I’ve also made a point of including fabrics from this quilt in other projects I’ve since made for friends and family. I am always connected by fabric to my friends.

More shots of pinning

The design is intricate and rather eccentric. I have never made something this involved before or since. Actually, the wedding quilt I’m making is more complicated but it has the virtue of being half the size of my quilt of dreams. I developed my maxims of quilting with this project. Notable ones include:

  • Maxim #1: Just add a border! Then it will look right.
  • Maxim #2: It will quilt out normally
  • Maxim #3: No one will know it’s wrong unless I confess
  • Maxim #4: The binding will cover it!
  • Maxim #5: A rhombus is just as good for napping under as a rectangle

And the list goes on but I shall save them for another day. More pictures!

My quilt of dreams, all finished by E.A. Schneider

My mom pitched in on this quilt too by stitching a few of the 9-patch blocks and embroidering the faces on my appliquéd turtles, my first foray into appliqué. I swear that I sleep better under something that she made (or helped make) than under something store-bought so I was thrilled that my quilt of dreams would have mom-magic. She was also kind enough to donate three choice fabrics to the cause and I cherish them. Two of my friends helped me tie the quilt and one of them helped me quilt it by gamely perching on my dining table to help me pull it through the machine. I used both quilting and tying simply because I want the quilt to be industrial strength. It is backed with a white sheet. Yes, I realize this was very naughty of me and goes against the rules of quilting but it is just so darn soft. The binding is the leftover binding I made from my  first quilt. There was just enough to go round.

My quilt of dreams, all done!

I love that this quilt was a group effort, that when I see its patches I see my friends and family who helped me make it happen or who were simply part of the inspiration. Really this quilt is the perfect allegory for my life. Lots of wobbly bits, very imperfect, not likely to win any awards but beautiful, unique, crafted by me with the help of many loving hands all working together through the wonky bits and the bits that made me curse to make a vibrant, precious, whole. There will be more quilts. I firmly want a wash, wear, and a change at least of bed quilts and I aim to make that happen this year. But this quilt will always be special, the first quilt I made for my home in which I sewed my dreams.  I am happy to say that many of them are coming true including the fundamental dream sewn into any quilt: many nights spent in cozy warmth and comfort.

Yaay! photographic pep talk. Soon, dear readers, very soon I shall be posting pictures of some finished quilts from that list. In the meantime I present you with a sneak peek to enjoy.

Quilt #1, in progress. Look! That is a thick stack of finished blocks and a sketch. Only 13 blocks to go!

Quilt #2, the recycled flannel quilt, in progress by E.A. Schneider


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