It’s been almost a year since we both started quilting, and it seems like now is a great time to step back and take stock of what’s in our active pipelines right now. We’ve both just finished up some quilts and are revving up on exciting new projects — so what’s on tap?
When I last checked in with a quilting progress report back in July, I had just finished “Prairie Gothic” and was starting to buckle down on “Magic Carpet” while starting in on my Christmas quilt, and while wishing I could nibble a bit on “Red Letter Day”. Let’s see what I’ve managed to do in the four months since!
First up, I did finish “Magic Carpet”.
Fabrics: Midwest Modern by Amy Butler; Pattern: “Magic Carpet” by American Jane
I am unbelievably happy with how this turned out! While working on it I was worried that the colors weren’t right, and that I had too much bright blue, and blah blah blah. Let me tell you, once you get it quilted and washed? It’s all good! It is, like all my quilts, the wrong size, but that’s okay as long as I can layer other quilts over it. Oh no! I’ll just have to make more quilts!
Next up, I also finished my Christmas quilt, but it’s so fabulous, it’s going to get it’s own post. Stay tuned! (Also stay tuned for a possible post on “Deer City”, another quilt top I finished but, for some reason, never photographed. It’s off at the long-arm quilter, not to be finished until after the Christmas rush.)
How about that Red Letter Day? I couldn’t resist nibbling for long and ended up cutting into it.
Fabrics: Red Letter Day; Pattern: Pinwheel from Kaffe Fassett book
Six pinwheels out of a lot isn’t much, but I’m pleased with it anyway. I still have the issue of using pieces that are too small for the prints, but that’s okay. With this quilt, I’m most interested in having these bright, cheerful colors on a lap quilt for late Spring and early Summer. Sadly, I’ve discovered that making pinwheels kinda sucks, so this quilt was put on hold (I think I may have even put it down mid-way through a pinwheel; I’m so dedicated.)
In the last progress report, I was working on “Broken Dishes”, but that one has also been put on hold. I had every intention of working in earnest on this one, but then my birthday rolled around and Schnookie and Boomer gave me two awesome quilt-related presents (well, three if you include the subscription to the Free Spirit Fabric fat quarter of the month club, but the only thing I’ve made from that [yet] is a Christmas sewing caddy). The first was a quilt kit for “Salt Water Taffy”.
Fabric: Everything But The Kitchen Sink V; Pattern: Salt Water Taffy from RJR Fabrics
I am so in love with this quilt. The very first quilt we made was a ’30s quilt, and I’ve wanted one for myself since then. This one is everything I’ve dreamed of and more! And even better — the pattern is an absolute blast to make! I was a little leery of the templates, but then I got a great tip from a quilting buddy to use fine sandpaper to hold the fabric in place while tracing around a template, and now it’s a cinch. The best part, though, is the fabrics. I just can’t get over how adorable they are, and how fresh and Spring-y the colors are.
Everything But The Kitchen Sink V
Have you ever seen anything as cute as those puppies?! The quilt has accents in the corners and center that are red and black which really set off the ’30s palette. I think the quilt will go up quickly, once I get all the templates cut, but in the meantime, I’m enjoying puttering along on this one.
It’s a good thing I’m enjoying the puttering, because just when I was starting to think that I should power through this one, I got distracted by my second great birthday present — a gift certificate from Fat Quarter Shop. It was burning a whole in my pocket when I set eyes on this beauty: Simple Abundance whirly-gigs. Every time I saw it I feel more deeply in love with it until finally, I had to break down and buy it. Of course, the kit is a ridiculously small size, so I decided to order four charm packs and quadruple the pattern. Which means making 320 whirlygigs.
Fabric: Simple Abundance; Pattern: Whirly-Gig by Thimble Blossoms
I’m really pleased with how it’s turning out. I love the colors — the rich autumn reds and browns with unexpected accents of light blue, yellow, pink and green. I think the tiny whirly-gigs will be so striking when there’s a sea of them spilling over my bed. But… Man, it’s going to take forever. Cutting the whirly-gigs is a chore and a half.
I have to trim the pinked edges of the charm pack, and then quarter each square, and then line the square up on the smaller grid on my cutting board (which is annoyingly just a bit too far from the edge of the table), cut the square into wedges, and then turn them 90 degrees to trim them to 2″. The pattern was written for machine-piecers, so it took a few tries to figure out how to cut it for hand piecing. The whole process is way fussy, but the actual stitching is as easy as the cutting is annoying. I had been planning that I’d spend Thanksgiving weekend working on it after finishing my Christmas quilt, but then I went to Pennington Quilt Works to pick up my Christmas quilt from the quilter. Oops.
You see, I’d heard all about French General’s “Rouenneries” line and seen pictures. I knew it was pretty. But I also knew it had funky woven fabrics, so I just assumed it was not really good for hand-piecing, so I pretty much wrote it off. Only then there it was at PQW and I went to check it out and… It’s not all wovens. Much of it is super-soft, super-thin, super-fabulous quilting weight cotton just made for hand piecing. And the pictures I’d seen did not do it justice. This stuff is just insanely wonderful in person. I sorta kinda had to have some. And I knew I had just the right pattern for it.
Fabrics: Rouenneries by French General; Pattern: Dalarna
In January, I’d picked up an Australian quilting magazine — something like “Quiltmania”, I can’t remember — that had an old Swedish pattern done up in rich reds and browns. I thought it suited the sophisticated and rich colors in Rouenneries. I dropped all my other projects like hot potatoes and got started. The cutting and piecing is super fun and easy and each block goes up shockingly quickly. And I have a pizza box full of gorgeous, neat stacks of triangles.
So there I was at the start of Thanksgiving weekend, having just finished the binding on a quilt, with nothing to do but putter away on Dalarnanana and Whirlygig City, when all of a sudden I was struck with the strangest impulse.
That’s right! It’s Darla! Back from the dead! I haven’t actually made any real progress on it, but it’s now back in rotation! (Until I follow my usual pattern of finding something newer and prettier [Nicey Jane, I’m looking at you]!) It was quite a shock picking it back up again, but it was my first real challenging quilt project, and just touching the fabrics brought back all the newness and anxiety of the early days of quilting. But after a seam or two, it was back to it’s comfortable “newer, better life” self. As I puttered on it last night I realized that at my current pace, it will only be 15 years before I finish it!
So, all in all, I’m doing pretty good. Since July I’ve finished two quilt tops on my own, collaborated with Schnookie on finishing three more, bound three quilts, and had tons of fun puttering on lots more. I think stumbling onto quilting around this time last year has really paid off!