I am horribly lazy about organizing any aspect of my life; I’m one of those people who has giant heaps of crap all over the place, but claims to be able to find anything anywhere on command (whether that’s true or not varies from situation to situation). I’ve recently had to admit, though, that my scattershot approach to keeping track of my quilting is totally not working. I have a stack of four plastic “pizza boxes” that I keep next to my seat on the couch, and that’s where my projects get haphazardly sorted. It’s also the place where finished quilt blocks or segments go to die. In the last few months I’ve managed to panic about losing significant portions of two group projects and one of my own quilts. Confronted with an extended holiday weekend, I decided the time was right to sort through the boxes, get all the quilts matched with their appropriate components, and take stock of what I’m really actively working on. It turns out that I have 17 (!!!!) quilt projects I currently consider “active”, but not including the three group (or “quilt factory”) projects Boomer, Pookie and I are doing, the quilt top I’ve set aside for my first hand-quilting undertaking, the entirely-finished-but-for-the-binding Christmas quilt up in the guest room closet, the Three Sisters kit from Fat Quarter Shop that I’m going to cut into next week, and the Massive, Self-Designed, Inspired-By-A-Picture-From-The-V-&-A Pineapple Quilt that I’m still figuring out how to draw the pattern for, the following is a catalog of my in-progress works.
This is Fuddowsweet. It’s the “log cabin” (I think it’s more “housetop”) pattern from Kaffe Fassett’s Quilt Romance, a pattern I’ve already rendered once in French General’s “Rouenneries”. I so enjoyed this project that I not only earmarked it for Sandi Henderson’s “Meadowsweet”, but I excitedly chose this as the project I wasn’t going to be allowed to start until the Devils lost in the playoffs. It was meant to be a way to sweeten the blow of the Devils’ annual failure, but it mostly served to make my beloved team’s March swoon and April suck-fest even more interminable because all I wanted was the stupid team to just lose already, so I could get started on Fuddowsweet. It was motoring along until I came upon a minor cutting error, and I’ve been distracted by enough shiny objects since then that it’s a bit in a state of stall.
This is “Cotton Candy Blooms”, a kit from Fat Quarter Shop that uses Chez Moi’s “Hunky Dory”. Like Fuddowsweet, this project just screamed “wonderful springtime colors!” when I saw it online, and I breathlessly awaited the day it would shift from the “coming soon” section of FQS to the “new arrivals”. As soon as it was delivered to my door, I had Pookie cut into it for me, and then I discovered that the entire gist of the pattern is strip-piecing. Little skinny strips of fabric. Sigh. I’m trying not to be as machine-sewing averse as I used to be, so I was all, “FINE. I’ll do it.” I got a few strips in, and Boomer finally told me to step aside, and she’d take care of it. The strips are all finished now, but it’s not springtime pink outside anymore. I still love this quilt (especially now that the machine piecing is done), but while it’s still in my “active” pizza boxes, it’s realistically not going to get worked on much before this coming winter.
You know that feeling when you’re overwhelmed by how many projects you’ve got started, and you’re sort of ashamed of how much you’ve spent on fabric recently, and you vow that you’re not going to buy any new projects until you finish at least two more entire quilts, but then you stumble across a fabric you just can’t live without? That was me and Alexander Henry’s “Farmdale”. My workaround for the “I’m not buying anything new until I finish more quilts” promise was to convince myself that it doesn’t count if I buy the fabric for someone else. Our friend Patty (In Dallas) is a brilliant home decorator, with an impeccable eye for details in her adorable ’50s ranch house. She’s got a strong retro sensibility without being kitschy, which means that I often look at retro fabrics and think of her. But like I said, she’s got an impeccable eye, so I’m sort of terrified that she’s going to hate this quilt. Consequently, I’m trying to reveal as little as possible to her until it’s finished, so that I won’t have violated my vow not to buy new fabric. If she hates it when it’s done, drat — I get to keep it. If she loves it? Even better! I know, I’m a genius.
This 16-patch lapquilt using American Jane’s “Happy Campers” is my neverending “super-easy” project. I’m making enough squares to do some piecing on the back of the quilt, too, so it’s going to take a lot of squares for a relatively small project. But still, I’ve been working on it for about a year now. The reason it’s so slow-going? I don’t ever work on it in earnest. It’s the perfect project to have on hand for those times when I finish everything in one step on a primary project, but there’s still half a period left in the hockey game I’m watching. When there’s not enough time to keep working on the primary quilt, I just pick up some Happy Campers squares and 16-patch away. I don’t know what I’m going to do in those situations when this is finished.
Well, maybe I’ll be able to do this. A few years ago I gave Pookie a “fat quarter bundle of the month” subscription from Fat Quarter Shop for her birthday, and this year, in return, she is giving me a custom-selected equivalent amount of fabric every month. A recent entry in the series was a layer cake of Barbara Brackman’s “Arnold’s Attic”, a line I’ve been quietly admiring from afar for ages now. It’s so deliciously autumnal and just lovely, and as soon as the layer cake arrived, Pookie remembered we had a pattern we’d picked up in Columbus for a funky-yet-simple squares-and-rectangles sort of quilt that uses one layer cake and one jellyroll. WOO HOO! Arnold’s Attic is underway as of this weekend! You can never have too many quilts that reek of Fall, the most wonderful time of the year.
Speaking of birthday fabric, I bought this kit with my May birthday-month discount coupon at Pennington Quilt Works. I went in just to browse and maybe pick up some random fat quarters at 20% off, but when I stumbled on this shirtings-esque, complicated patchwork sample hanging on the wall, I decided I had to have the kit. When I got closer to the fabrics, I realized they weren’t just normal shirtings — they were basebally. I am not a baseball fan, but I have good friends who are; I won’t say much more about this project except to add that it is TOP SECRET. I’ve probably already said too much. Heh. (It does include foundation paper piecing, a technique I need to have figured out before I can start one of my kits from Den Haan & Wagenmakers. I’ve been stunned to discover how much I enjoy it.)
Ah, Beaks Street, my beloved. As you can probably tell from this post, I have a whole lot of projects that are started, but not grabbing my attention as full-time projects. Beaks Street is probably the closest to being that quilt I just really commit to finishing fastest. I love putting long strings of little (in this case 2-inch) squares together, then making those strips turn into a pretty design. Beaks Street is getting near to being a quarter of the way done, and I feel like the section I’ve got going just turned the corner from being “a long, sorta wide strip of squares” to being “a quilt top”. That’s always a good point to reach in a quilt.
Several months before my last birthday, Pookie showed me this post on Red Pepper Quilts. I emitted several long, pointed, dreamy sighs to let her know how much I needed to have that project, and then promptly forgot all about it. Fast forward to my birthday, and what should be waiting for me under the birthday tree? Why, an ENORMOUS heap of Kaffe Fassett shot cottons, of course! Pookie is the best. I can’t even describe how lovely it is to work with these fabrics, and this project is a lot like Happy Campers, in that it’s perfect to fill a few minutes here and there. One of the reasons I had to clean out my pizza boxes is that this quilt was one of the ones getting lost. It was buried under heaps of useless stuff, and I’m happy to report that this weekend has brought it out into the light of day.
When Fig Tree Quilts’ “Whimsy” first popped up on Fat Quarter Shop’s “coming soon” page, I nearly died from how badly I wanted to work with it. Then, when they published this jellyroll pattern along with the release of the line, I nearly died from how badly I wanted to make exactly the same quilt that was in the picture. Because it’s a jellyroll strip-piecing quilt, I had to — gasp — use the sewing machine, but it’s all part of my master plan to become more comfortable with all aspects of quilt-making. The strips for this Whimsy quilt are all sewn, and several of the squares have been assembled. I see myself gearing up production on it as the days grow colder, because it’s got such a snuggly, wonderful, wintry sort of vibe.
Finally, I have Bananatanagram City, my other “Happy Campers” quilt. This is a giant extravaganza of little diamonds that conspire to make up stars, and it’s going to take me the rest of my life to finish it. But for all that I don’t prioritize working on it, I regularly think about how much better my entire life is going to be when I have it on my bed. That’s one of my favorite parts of quilting — the heartfelt belief that my newer, better life is just this one epic quilt top away. I’m sure I’ll find a few more quilts I feel that way about before I finish this one off.
[Posted by Schnookie]