I follow quite a few quilting blogs. Each one has its own flavor or style. Many of them offer events for readers to participate in. Often times the event is centered around a project. It takes a great deal of self-restraint to keep myself from mentally signing up to participate in each and every one. I think I could keep myself busy with a new project every single week.
Aiming for Accuracy
Every once in a while there’s an event that grabs my attention and won’t let go. Those are the ones I jump in with both feet. One of the blogs I follow is the Quilting Gallery. She offers what seems like an endless list of activities. These are the events I have participated in:
Sandy Quilt Project (you can find numerous posts in my archives detailing my journey through the assembly and completion of four quilts)
This looks like it’s going to be a really fun event. I am really looking forward to getting started.
Step One: Choosing My Fabrics
The obvious starting point was a trip to my fabric stash. The quilt instructions call for six yards of assorted fabrics or 24 fat quarters. I could have had a blast shopping for a new selection of specimens but I thought the smart thing to do would be to shop my own stash first. Hopefully by doing so I could save myself a lot of money.
My taste in fabrics evolves. The majority of fabrics currently residing in my inventory are centered around muted colors. Some might call them Reproduction or Civil War Fabrics. My attraction to them initially started when I began quilting back in the early 1990’s. The patterns and stores I first frequented centered strictly around that theme.
Let the Selections Begin
Since my early days of quilting I have noticed a gradual shift in my direction. I’ve begun to add fabrics with brighter colors and a more modern design. Finding enough options in my stash to suit this new focus took a bit of digging but I am quite pleased with what I have chosen. I was able to pull all 24 of them from my inventory. Here’s photos of what I have selected.
Group Shot of Aiming for Accuracy Quilt-Along
Pinks & Purples
Oranges & Browns
Aquas & Teals
Next I must choose fabrics for the contrasting pattern pieces, the borders, binding and backing. Those I will have to purchase from a fabric store because I don’t have enough on hand to fill all of the requirements. It just so happens the Wisconsin Shop Hop started today. While I shop for my additional fabrics I will have the added bonus of getting credit for my visit on my Shop Hoppassport.
That’s all I have to share for now. Stay tuned for future updates on my Aiming for Accuracy Quilt. Thanks so much for visiting. I look forward to sharing time with you again.
My commitment with the Sandy Quilt Block project has finally come to an end.
This has been one very long road. When I signed up to assemble and finish four quilts for the Hurricane Sandy Quilt Project I think I must have been a tad bit nuts. Originally I agreed to stitch together 20 quilt blocks. That seemed like an easily attainable task. Then for some unknown reason I found myself registering to put together first two then four quilts. What was I thinking??
I didn’t fully understand the impact of my commitment until I was well into the challenge. Foolishly I had thought I could conquer the entire endeavor by the end of December. Unfortunately December came and went and I still had not received all of the blocks. As January rolled on I began to panic. How in the world was I to finish these quilts if I didn’t receive the necessary shipments. Out of desperation I enlisted the assistance of my leader at Quilting Gallery. With her gentle prodding the last package finally arrived.
Now don’t think for one minute the project was a total drag. I found great joy in the creation of the four quilts. Watching them develop from a stack of donated quilt squares to a finished masterpiece was truly a pleasure. The most laborious task was the pressing, trimming and refinement of the individual squares. Because the quilt blocks were the foundation and focus of the quilt I made certain each and every one received as much attention as needed.
Once each block met with my approval the painting process began. By mentioning the word painting you’ve probably filled your head with visions of paint cans and brushes. I’m sorry if you feel misled. Instead of painting perhaps I should have said design. These quilt squares came from all over the United States and Canada. The variety of origins as well as the smorgasbord of fabrics made each one unique. No two were identical. None of them arrived with a pre-assigned placement attached to their border. Somehow each one had to be analyzed in order for it to be placed in its optimal location. This is what I call the design phase and/or the painting process.
My living room floor became my canvas and the quilt squares were my paint. One by one each square was removed from the stack designated for each quilt. I found this process to be invigorating. Carefully each one was moved about until a harmonious picture was achieved.
Once the placement process was complete I systematically stacked the blocks into rows then carefully relocated them from my living room floor to my sewing center. There I stitched together the individual squares forming first the rows and then the rows into a quilt top.
Each seam was carefully pressed making sure they aligned just so. Paying particular attention to this step helped to make the free-motion quilting more successful. As the final details were accomplished the fruit of my labors was evidenced by the amazing display of color shining back at me. I pondered how wonderful it would have been for the women that created the magnificent quilt blocks to be present to view the unveiling.
With the squares assembled into quilt tops two borders were added. The first was a color chosen based upon the overall theme of the squares. Black was always used for the second border. Just as with the individual squares the black outermost border provided a unifying frame.
All four quilts were given unique fabrics for their backings. Quilt # 1 was pieced together with fabrics from my own stash. Quilt # 2 had a backing donated by one of the quilt block participants. Quilts # 3 & # 4 also came from my inventory. Both had backings fashioned from flannel.
Just as with the quilt squares and backings the quilting stitches used for all four were different. Quilt # 1 had an all over loopy design. Quilt # 2 was filled with the meandering pattern. Quilt # 3 had three different patterns. The outer most border was saturated with a meandering stitch. The inner border was adorned with the pebble stitch and the body of the quilt was painted with a paisley stitch. Last but not least Quilt # 4 had its own distinct stitching design. The outside border of Quilt # 4 was filled with pebbles. The inner border had a continuous row of swirls and the body was filled with a random swirl pattern.
Applying the quilting stitches to each quilt was my most favorite part. I take great joy and pride in my work. This segment was solely my responsibility. At first I was not at all in a hurry to complete it. The further I got though the harder it was to resist the urge to finish. The desire to see the completed product grew stronger and stronger. It’s like eating one of your favorite chocolates. At first you dive in, take a bite, and savor each morsel. Before long you realize it’s almost gone. You hesitate as if to slow the progression. Eventually that overpowering craving takes over and you give in to the urge.
When the final stitch was applied to Quilt # 4’s binding I was overcome with a bittersweet feeling. The goal I had sought after since November had finally arrived. I had pushed myself to achieve it as quickly as possible. Each passing day meant one more day a recipient would wait for its arrival. Often we think of the destination as the journey when in all reality the journey is the destination. It’s the experiences along the way that add up to make the event.
This challenge has absorbed every ounce of energy I could muster. At times I found myself close to exhaustion. Being careful not to lose sight of the journey I kept reminding myself to enjoy every moment, don’t be in a hurry, absorb as much as possible and savor every minute. Aside from the joy I received from accomplishing my task the participants blessed me with numerous cards and well wishes, along with gifts of fabric and even a donation of money. These rewards were greatly appreciated.
Over the life of this project I took delivery of 148 quilt blocks. From those squares I assembled four quilts with an average size of 96″ x 85″. I consumed no less than eight yards of black fabric to create the outer borders and bindings. I lost track of the number of bobbins I filled and the amount of thread I used. Countless hours sewing, pressing, quilting and hand stitching were accumulated to produce, what I consider to be four glorious quilts.
All four quilts have been shipped to New Jersey. Two of them were due to arrive on March 21, 2013. What has happened to those quilts since leaving my arms I can only imagine. A part of me went with each one. My only hope is that the deserving recipients will take great joy in receiving them. Those four quilts were destined to bring comfort and warmth.
As we part company I would like to share with you one last look at all four quilts. I hope you have enjoyed following me on this adventure. It’s been one that I won’t soon forget.
I’m linking up with A Lovely Year of Finishes. Please take some time to visit Sew Bittersweet to share in the other participants success.
Another week has flown by and once again it’s time to connect with
The majority of last week was dedicated to wrapping up one of my largest challenges. Read on and you will discover what I am referring to.
Another Quilt is Completed
With mixed emotions I am sad yet overjoyed to announce Sandy Quilt # 4 is finished. The joint efforts of the wonderful ladies that constructed the individual blocks coupled with the hours I logged to assemble the quilt top, apply the quilting stitches and finally frame it with a binding have now come to an end.
A Look Back
Sandy Quilt # 4 is the fourth of four quilts I have assembled for the Hurricane Sandy Quilt Project sponsored in part by the Quilting Gallery. Historical details of the process can be found here, and here. Let’s take a look at its vital statistics:
The quilt has 6 rows of 7 blocks each for a total of 42 blocks.
The quilt measures 84.5″ wide x 96.5″ long.
The blocks originated from Canada (20) , Florida (2), and Utah (20).
The quilt has two borders. Border # 1 is pink and measures 2.5″ wide. Border # 2 is black and measures 3.5″ wide.
The binding is black and was made from the same fabric used for the outer border.
The brand of batting is Warm & Natural.
The backing was made from a blue and green colored flannel. The printed pattern is called Butterfly Scarf. I purchased the bolt of fabric many years ago. Who knew it would be used as a backing for this quilt.
The outer border was quilted with a bubble or pebble stitch.
The pink border has a swirl pattern.
The body of the quilt was stitched with a random swirl pattern.
For the first time ever I recorded the number of hours my long-arm quilt machine was used and the number of stitches applied. I logged five hours and thirty-six minutes and tallied 220,699 stitches. That’s a lot of stitches.
Enough with all the numbers now let’s take a closer look.
Cross that One Off
Well there you have it. Although I am able to record this one as a successfully completed project for the 2013 A Lovely Year of Finishes challenge there’s an endless list of other items awaiting attention. No time to bask in the glow. Time to move on to other projects.
I’m linking my post with Freshly Pieced’s Wednesday Work In Progress and Sew Bittersweet’sA Lovely Year of Finishes. Both blogs are a wonderful place to peek in on the progress of other quilters. Don’t miss the opportunity to check them out.