I realized that I had started 16 new quilts in 2013 (not counting the one I abandoned and threw away), but had only finished 15. THAT CANNOT HAPPEN.
So. I finished two more yesterday. My fingers hurt but now I have a net positive of ONE QUILT for the year. Go me.
The first one was from the “Christmas Favorites” pattern booklet by Nancy Halvorsen. I signed up for the Block of the Month with Fat Quarter Shop so that I could get the complete set of fabrics and embellishments, and not have to run out to get this and that to finish the quilt, since it was the first time I had ever done something so whimsical and I didn’t know if I’d ever finish it if I had to go hunt for stuff. The first month shipped in September of 2012 — right when we were moving back into the house. Obviously I didn’t get to it right away.
Progress was slow, because fusible applique and the blanket stitching, particularly around words, is not a fast process.
I started working on it at a retreat in February, and was discouraged when I realized how long this was actually going to take me to complete. And then for Lent I decided to give up buying new fabrics and taking on new projects. Since this one wasÂ already started, you see, it was a legal project to work on during Lent. So during episodes of Downton Abbey I traced every single shape to be fused onto fusible web, even for the months that hadn’t been shipped yet. Then I cut them out. Then I fused them to the correct fabric for the months that had been shipped, and had the rest stored in bags with the correct pages of the pattern. Yes, I was compulsive. I even made all of the 3D embellishments during Lent — the ones that would be attached after the quilt was completed — like the poinsettia leaves, Santa’s mustache, etc.
By the end of Lent, I was caught up with all of the months that had been sent, and I was a little ahead on other months because Fat Quarter Shop is so good about sending extra fabric each month. When I could work ahead, I did.
Santa’s block took the longest, because of all of the letters. Letters were a pain. But I got really good at doing a machine blanket stitch, so I guess that’s a valuable skill to have, right?
At retreats this summer, I finished making the top and adding the borders, and then decided to continue in the spirit of no-new-fabrics and made a backing out of the leftover pieces of fabric that remained at the end of the project. Turns out I had much more than I anticipated!
I love this approach to making quilt backs — using up fabrics from the front of the quilt. It does slow me down, of course, but in many ways that’s a good thing. And it’s economical. And it’s entertaining — to me, anyway.
So after the quilt show this October, I started quilting this one. I decided to quilt the dickens out of the backgrounds, which is something I’m enjoying right now for some reason, and match the thread to the background fabrics. At some point I had purchased all of the correct threads for this — I guess when I signed up for the project during the summer of 2012? — because I didn’t have to buy any thread.
Here are what each of the blocks look like up close:
I really love what the three-dimensional embellishments add to the quilt, and I know that I never would have bothered with those on my own.
Here’s the whole quilt on the back fence, and then on the wall in our dining room.
I followed the pattern book exactly, except that I did change Santa’s eyes so they weren’t as lopsided as her pattern showed because Jerry really didn’t like them super crooked. I will let this hang in our dining room for about a week before packing it away for next year. I’m so glad I finished it before New Year’s because otherwise I think it would have languished in the “almost finished” pile for another year, making me feel guilty. I’m so happy to have that one finished. It was fun, but it was much more involved than I had anticipated when I signed up for it. It was also a very big challenge for me to do since it is so outside of my usual style. Fantastic learning experience.
And then I also finished this small Cross quilt yesterday, a commission for a friend. It’s 27″x33″.