Well I never, I’ve only gone and finished a project! My Alaska lap quilt is now sewn together, quilted and bound, and ready for use, just in time for the cooler autumn and winter months.
I know, it’s hard to believe, isn’t it? Especially when you consider that I actually started this particular quilt quite early on in my sewing life. It dates back to 2009, when I was living in the US, and I signed up for a Mystery Quilt class, billed as a “Mystery Tour to Alaska”. There were 2 different colour ways on offer, and I choose this palette of icy, watery blues.
I eventually finished putting the quilt top together about 18 months ago, and, until very recently, it had been languishing in my Cupboard of Unfinished Quilt Tops. I know exactly why, too – and for once it’s not just a case of laziness and Quilter’s ADD!
First off, the quilt’s pretty enough, but my tastes have certainly changed over the past 5 years since I started it. Now I liked this quilt, sure, but I didn’t love it. Looking at it now I find the colours to be a bit ‘meh’, and it’s all rather, well, uninspiring and triangular, really.
Secondly, I was totally lacking inspiration about how to quilt the blasted thing. I knew that it needed some carefully-chosen quilting to turn it from somewhat bland into something special, but I didn’t have the first clue about what that quilting should be.
And so in the cupboard it went, and in the cupboard it stayed, until I decided to tackle it as part of my Q3 Finish-Along list.
Unquilted top – bland, dull and meh…
It was my lovely friend Ms E, who first suggested that it needed feathers. Now, I’ve never been a massive fan of feather quilting, I’d always thought of it as rather dull and old-fashioned. But I had to agree that the idea of feathers, with their flowing curves, would give the quilt the illusion of movement. And once the idea was in my head, that’s where it stayed. And grew. Until one day I went out and bought some feather stencils. And the rest, as they say, is history…
Loving all the curves in those feathers!
Quilted circles to complement the curves in the feathers
Close-up of quilted block
The design in the dark blue triangle is a smaller version of the one in the pale blue triangle
Feather quilting in the outer border, too…
Close up of border quilting
The best thing about doing this was it was so liberating! I wasn’t totally in love with the quilt top. It wasn’t intended as a gift, it wasn’t going to break my heart if I totally screwed it up. I didn’t let myself get hung up about ‘perfect’ quilting. I was brave and chose a dark colour thread, which would show up prominently against the mainly pale background fabric. I just went with the flow.
And do you know what? I actually really like this quilt now!
What’s more, it looks like Mr. Boy agrees with me 🙂
Linking up with Audrey over at Glory Be Quilter for TGIFF – why not pop over and check out some more lovely finishes this week?
Well I never, another finish!
Actually, I finished this quilt ages ago, but never quite got round to taking any photos of it. But a timely reminder last week that the Q1 Finish-Along is about to, well, finish, reminded me that this had been on my To Do list. So I whipped out the camera, hopped onto the balcony, and got to it!
I started this quilt back in September last year, when I took a class with Marti Michell at the Carrefour Européen du Patchwork in Ste Marie-aux-Mines. I’ve loved the look of the Kaleidoscope block for a long time, and the chance to take this class with such a well-known teacher, and in ENGLISH too, was way too good to pass up. Now my French is certainly good enough that I can follow when I take classes here, but, well, they can be quite exhausting! I always have to concentrate really hard to make sure I’ve totally understood what I need to do, and then there’s all the having to translate cm into inches, which makes them somewhat challenging at times. A class in English for a change – well, hooray!
According to the pre-course information, highly contrasting colours work the best for this quilt. So I chose black and white, with a pop of yellow.
The quilt top itself was actually finished on the day of the class – which is an absolute first for me. I’m not a super-speedy quilter like my friends Ms JJ or Ms C, and I’m pretty much always one of the last people to finish any given project. But this time I was the first – probably because it was all in English!
Then I came home, and the quilt languished in the back of the cupboard while I tried to decide how to quilt it.
Back in January, I decided enough was enough, and added it to my list for the Q1 Finish Along and the projects I wanted to finish during my fabric fast. And I got stuck in. I started off quilting in the ditch around the distinct Kaleidoscope circles, hoping that this would make them stand out. But it didn’t have the effect I wanted. So I then quilted every seam in the ditch, thinking that this would show up the contrast between black and white.
Now this worked a little better, but it still didn’t have the effect I was after. I wanted to highlight the circular nature of the Kaleidoscope. And given that the fabric had circular motifs and dots on it, I decided to try quilting some circles.
The design then evolved to contain concentric and interlocking circles in the quilt centre, and overlapping circles in the outer border.
It’s easier to see the quilting design from the back of the quilt – and yes, it really is that bright a yellow, one of the many perils of choosing fabric online…
I finished the quilting back in January, and it was one of my first finishes of 2014. And I’m really pleased with it. It’s only quite small (measures 33″ x 33″) so it wasn’t too daunting to quilt. In fact, it was a great confidence boost for me, as I am always petrified that I’ll ruin my beautiful quilt tops with inexpert quilting or a badly chosen design. This time I just went with it, and let the quilting design evolve organically. And I think that it works. Maybe I should have more faith in myself!
So even though I’ve only just got around to sharing this quilt, I’m linking it up with the Q1 Finish Along Finish Party. Why not pop over and have a peep at some of the other beautiful finishes out there?
Well, my plan for tackling my mountain of projects is coming along nicely. Stage 1 is well underway – I’ve been sorting out my sewing room over the past week, and will finish up just as soon as RR builds the Ikea bookshelves we bought to house my overflow projects, which are currently sitting in piles all over the place. Then I’ll be able to see everything at a glance, and stop having to hide stuff away in drawers and cupboards. Result!
Phase II was to create a list of all my projects, and decide what to work on first. Well, that’s actually done. And it’s makes for scary reading.
…Takes deep, steadying breath…
As of yesterday, the situation was as follows:
- Current projects in progress – 22
- Projects all ready to go, but sadly not yet started – 46
- Quilt tops waiting to be quilted -10
Oh my!!!! I never realised it was that bad. And that’s only quilting-related projects, not dressmaking ones, or bags, or knitting. I haven’t dared to add those in…
It’s all a bit daunting, really. I’d better started, then, hadn’t I?!
And so, without further ado, here are the projects I plan to be working on during my 6 month Fabric Fast, and also (because I can always roll them forward to future quarters) my goals for the Q1 2014 Finish-Along, hosted by the lovely Katy at The Littlest Thistle.
Projects I Started Ages Ago And Never Quite Got Round To Finishing
Red, Black and White Friendship Quilt
When we left the US in 2010, a load of quilting friends made 12 1/2″ blocks for me in a red, black and white colour way. I finally got round to getting border and backing fabric, and I’d love to get this put together and quilted.
Stitcher’s Garden Quilt
Started in 2009, it’s an appliqué quilt of different flowers, I’m so nearly there but then we moved to Switzerland, I put it in a box and promptly forgot about it…
Bunny Hill Stripes Quilt
In baby pink and soft grey. So beautiful. Such an easy pattern. Don’t know why I’ve not finished it yet!
Double Hourglass Quilt II
At the second Patchwork in the Peaks Quilt Retreat, we made double hourglass quilts using jelly rolls. This is my second version. It was going to be a birthday present, but I can’t remember who for. All the blocks are sewn, it just needs putting together and finishing up
Projects that are ready to go
Quilt for Baby Daniel
I bought the kit in the US in December, and just need to get cracking on making the quilt itself. I’m back in the UK in February, and would like to deliver or post it then, so I’d better get cracking 🙂
Kitty Camouflage Leftovers Quilt
After making the Kitty Camouflage Quilt, I was left with a load of 9″ HSTs, plus 2 1/2″ strips of various lengths and some yardage. I want to make something useful with it – probably lap-sized, probably for Mum.
Sundress for our holiday
We’re off on a Caribbean cruise in March, and I want to make another sundress to take along, like the one I made last summer.
Outfit for Ms S and Mr E’s wedding in May
I bought some glorious fabric in New York back in December, and have a great looking pattern, I just need to lose those extra few pounds and get cracking!
Love the look of this bag pattern, and doing it as a sew along will motivate me to get it all finished rather than putting it down when I get to the difficult bits and forget about it…
Quilts tops to quilt
I made the top at a class I took with Marti Michell back in September, and have started quilting it, I just ran out of inspiration and motivation a few months ago.
I finished the top last year, can’t decide how to quilt it, need to drag it out of the cupboard and take another look.
Amy Butler Jacob’s Ladder Quilt
Made using Soul Blossoms charm squares and 2 1/2″ strips, with a bright orange background, I finished it a year or so ago. I love this quilt, it’s so bright and cheerful that I really want to get it all done and put to good use!
And, because I’m an ADD quilter, I need to have some projects I can pick at when I need something different – I doubt any of these will get finished this year, but, hey, you never know!
Grandmother’s Flower Garden Hexies
I’ll be doing a fair bit of travelling this year and this is my ultimate take-along project. This one’s been going on for about 3 1/2 years now…
Blue Squares quilt
I started this back in October, at a class given by my friend Judy, and I like to pick it up every few weeks and make another block or two. It’s going to be one of those long-term kind of projects. I’m hoping it will make a lap-sized quilt.
Scrappy Strips Blocks
I don’t even remember how I got started on this one, it’s been around for 4 years or so and I’m still working on it on and off. It’s basically made up of 6 1/2 ” squares formed of scrap strips of varying width. I know it will be beautiful, and full of so many memories, and I’m on no hurry to finish it. It’ll eventually be king sized, to put on our bed.
Oh, and I’m also planning on getting and then staying up-to-date with my Blocks of the Month – from the Fat Quarter Shop and the Sugar Block Club over at Stitchery Dickory Dock.
So there you have it. Seems quite optimistic, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say.
I’ll be keeping you all up to date with my progress, so come back again soon and see how I’m getting on 🙂
I’ve not been sewing much this past few weeks. I’ve had a really bad back since Christmas and I’ve just not been up to much, to tell the truth. But it’s slowly getting better, and I’ve been able to use the time profitably by re-acquainting myself with my projects and my stash, and deciding what I want to work on over the next few months.
First thing to admit is that I have a lot of fabric. Actually, let’s make that a s**tload of fabric! I’ve been doing a bit of an audit since Christmas, and the quantities I have shocked even me. As did the number of projects I have in progress, the number waiting to be quilted, not to mention the number I have bought all the fabric for but not quite got round to starting yet. Hmmm…
My Stash and Project Cupboard
Inside the cupboard, all so neatly organised
Auditing and re-organising stashed yardage
Suffice to say it was all becoming a bit overwhelming. And this is one of the main reasons why I decided to join in the Fabriholics Anonymous Fabric Fast, hosted by Rebecca Lynne at Making Rebecca Lynne and Jess from The Elven Garden.
When I first heard about their plan to completely stop buying fabric for 6 months, I was utterly intrigued. Over the past year or so, I have slowly been coming to terms with the fact that I might have a bit of a fabric buying habit. And that it may possibly be starting to get slightly out of control. Two years ago, when I last reorganised my sewing room, everything pretty much fit into the lovely glass-doored cupboard I bought to house my stash and my various projects. Now it is spilling over into piles of boxes everywhere, the bottoms of the drawers in my cutting table are falling out due to fabric overload, and I have started to invade other cupboards in the apartment to store my ever-increasing stash.
Extra projects in boxes that won’t fit in the cupboard anymore
More projects and scrap bin hidden under sewing table…
Cutting table drawer 1 – Assorted fat quarter and half yard bundles
Cutting table drawer 2 – Precuts: Jelly Rolls, Layer Cakes and Charm Packs
Spilling over into the spare room wardrobe…
So the Fabric Fast idea really started to get me thinking. Could I do it? I was sure I could. More importantly, did I want to do it? And yes, I was equally sure I did. The decision was finally made when I read a fantastic blog post by Jodi of Tickle and Hide, describing her own 2013 fabric fast. She wrote about how she managed, and how, as the year progressed, she started realising her own style and tastes a lot more. This really struck a chord with me, as I seem to make a bit of this and a bit of that – some of my projects are very traditional and some are über-modern, some use a muted colour scheme and some are in-your-face loud. And in general, I love them all. But I really hope that not getting distracted by the lure of new fabric lines and of new projects means I’ll be able to focus more on defining my own style. And if it doesn’t happen, I’ll surely have fun trying 🙂
And so I joined up. And I feel pretty darned good about it, too!
So here is my master plan:
- First step – re-organise my fabric and sewing room, to get me motivated to start.
- Next step – create a list of projects I’d like to work on for the first half of the year. I have plenty, so narrowing it down will be tricky, but nothing ventured, nothing gained, as they say. I’m also planning on joining in with the 2014 Q1 Finish-Along with the lovely Katy from The Littlest Thistle, so I should have plenty of motivation to keep me going.
- Final step – get cracking on the sewing!
I have the feeling it’s going to be challenging, but ultimately extremely rewarding, so wish me luck, and here goes…