I have been sewing away like a madwoman lately. I've still been taking breaks to feed my hubby and sleep and such, so it's been worse, but today I was happy to throw some stuff in the crock pot for dinner and wander away with no guilt. (I can only get away with about one crock pot meal a week, or the hubby gets suspicious!)
First up, though not necessarily in order of events, is the Project Quilting prompt for the week: Snail's Trail. My very first quilt project, 20-odd years ago, was this pattern. Other than a few sampler blocks, I have not tried this since. And to be honest, I was not the one sewing on that first project. My mom was. I was in charge of the design floor and un-sewing. Since, as any of you who have attempted this block, know that is simply a part of the construction.
So, needless to say, I was not terribly thrilled with this idea. But I perused Pinterest a bit in the first few evenings, while the hubby was watching garbage TV, but wanted me to spend time with him. I found a few ideas, but nothing that really grabbed me. So instead, I grabbed some scraps out of the trash bin, from the stick project, and started sewing. No pattern, just winging it. Might as well use trash in case it goes poorly, right? And I want it small.
First, I wasn't paying attention and ran out of the lighter fabric. Thankfully, the fabric you can see more of (pilfered from the actual stash) blended nicely and I didn't mind wasting a bit as I played.
Then, they turned out way larger than I imagined. I mean, finishing at 3" isn't huge or anything, but I had envisioned these tiny blocks that would come together as a foursome and make a cute little pincushion. Well. A 6" pincushion is hardly what one would call tiny. Nor is it what one might generally want, unless maybe you need a weapon. And I didn't want to use ALL of my crushed walnut shells on this one project. (I mean, I bought the big bag at the pet store, thereby saving a chunk of change, but still. It's dangerous to send me into pet stores. There are adoptable cats there. And many, many cat toys. Nearly as bad as a bookstore.)
On to plan B. Or maybe plan A-1?
A cute little single block pincushion. That, when you blow it up this huge on my computer screen, does not make my quilting look very good. Not that it was all that grand to start with.
This technically satisfies the PQ challenge rules, but I still have three blocks left. I went back to the monster stick project for a while, but felt, after another milestone (whatever it was...they're all blurry right now because I'm trying to forget all the work so I can enjoy the quilt when it eventually gets finished and not just stare in horror about the month I lost), I could take a day to play and make a mini-runner with the remaining blocks!
I used some scrap binding that has been living on the scrap binding shelf for, um, 10 years? I made this quilt for my friend Krystal when she got married. (Oh look, it's in the category "quilts made before 2010" so it's been more than 10 years!) I made binding for the quilt and apparently miscalculated because I have enough left over to go around the earth about two times. It doesn't lend itself well to many scrap projects, even, so there it sits. Well, it looks pretty good here, so I'm using it. If you don't like it, I will gladly send you the little piece and you can rip off the offending binding and sew on something else. You don't even have to send it back.
Anyways, that gave me two offerings for the challenge, and I'm satisfied. Also, another pincushion, which is funny. Maybe only to me, but I don't care if you're not laughing. It wouldn't be the first time.
Also on my day to play, I decided I needed to make some masks. Remember a few weeks ago when I made some for my coworker Stefanie? Okay, maybe you didn't know they were for Stefanie because I didn't mention her name. But they were. Anyways, one had daisies. I made one for myself out of that fabric, too, because it was pretty and I wanted it and I'm making them, so I can do whatever I want.
She wore it to work and my other female coworker who I made masks for a few weeks before that, Tara (who I also probably did not tell you her name), saw it and went "WHAT?" Tara really likes daisies. Tara was not happy she did not have a mask with daisies. I should have just made an extra mask for Tara when I made the first ones. Silly Katie. Guess what else I did on my play day? Yeah.
But it started with these:
I mean, if you've got St. Patrick's Day fabrics in your stash and you know how to make masks, what other excuse do you need to make St. Patrick's Day masks?
I made an extra of the clovers, just in case. Tara got one, too. And I made one for me, obviously. Tara got her masks today and she was so excited. And then she showed me her new smartwatch band that has daisies all over it. And they think I'm crazy because I have four cats.
So now you're probably all excited about seeing the monster quilt that is taking over my life, right? I mean, I've alluded to it a few times already. And last week it was still in a lot of pieces. You hadn't even seen all the pieces yet! I counted 50 pieces in each block. I probably shouldn't have counted, but hindsight...
First, though, I'd like to share with you a fun photo. I've got varying sizes of spools of thread. They come from a variety of stores, but since my machine does quite nicely with Coats and Clark, that is what they all are. (With exception when I need a specific color for hand sewing and just can't find quite a match in that brand.) The larger spools are either 400 yards or 500 yards. And since this monster has chewed through one spool of each so far, I thought you'd like to see a comparison of the thickness of the cores. Maybe you don't, but I'm putting it here anyways.
It seems crazy that it looks so different, but there you go. (And yes, there is still a bit of thread on the 400 yard spool. Fear not, I sewed that right off in about 5 minutes, and have moved on to another spool. Yes, a third spool for one quilt. See piece count above.)
I last left you with my sewing of the second and third quarters of the blocks. I finished all 128 of those and placed two lefties and two righties on the floor in the conformation they will be in in the finished quilt.
Brighter than the first quarter blocks, but not as visually interesting. But trust me, it gets better.
Next up was the final quarter. This one required strip piecing and subcutting. Easier than the templates and their infernal need for matching and lining up just so, but still labor intensive.
I sewed and sewed and cut and cut and took no photos, aside from this one. Not even of the quarters all alone when they were finished. Making sets of 64 of anything gets exhausting and takes hours at a stretch, so I was just glad to be done with each milestone.
Okay, well, I tried to take a photo of just these quarters, but Toby had other ideas. His backside needed cleaning. This seems like a good spot. I mean, our house only has like 8 other rooms and a fair amount of floor space, so obviously this is the one.
Again, not much compared to the first set, but still pretty, right? (Toby handsomes things up nicely, so I suppose he saved the day.)
Wanna see all four quarters together? This is where the quilt spoilers start to happen, but I think you all can handle this. You've been waiting.
This is actually four blocks (or 16 quadrants) together. A "block" per the pattern is a quarter of the star.
And this is where I started to relax. Though the matching of seams is yet to challenge me, the fabrics and colors all look pretty nice. The original had orange and pink next to each other, which was my biggest fear. I'm not entirely sure I would do this again, but it's not awful. And that bright pink really pops all by itself, so I think it works out okay.
I mocked up a whole quilt by making a collage of these photos, but I'm going to wait to reveal the whole quilt when it's a whole quilt. So you gotta wait a bit longer.
Here the seams start getting longer as a whole. It took hours to get the first two quadrants sewn to one another...
...and hours more to get the second two done. Today I tackled the longest of the seams so far: sewing the two halves to one another. It literally took over 3 hours to sew and press them all! (Remember, I'm still at 64 pieces - but am happy to know that from here on out, the count of parts gets smaller, even if the seam length gets longer.)
Before I pressed them, I noticed how pretty they looked from the side, all stacked up.
The other side wasn't as pretty, so I'll not bore you with that photo.
I spun all my center seams and stacked the blocks up neatly on the cutting table next to my ironing board and that stack...
...literally 6 inches tall. I didn't smoosh them down at all, so they're a little fluffy here, but this is insane. I literally made half a foot of blocks. Wow me!
And that is where I stand exactly at this moment. Taking a bit of a break before I head back up to sew these to each other. Very excited that the end of this quilt is imminent. I'm going to make it by the end of the month, barring any oddball problems. I think.
Lately, though, Finn has been the oddball...
...there is a cat tree that stands about 5 feet tall about a foot away from these built-in cabinets in my sewing room. He decided, after throwing the things hanging from the knob to the floor and pulling the door open wider (I hadn't latched it last time I raided the stash), he would launch himself, not onto the nearest shelf, but onto the TOP shelf. At the ceiling. And then burrow through the fabrics (there was some room, but still...) into the other side. And poke his silly face out the middle door, which was also not latched, that I opened to see what he was doing.
This spot was obviously not doing it for him, so he burrowed back...
...to the original side where he jumped up, and took a 30 minute snooze. And then mewed pathetically when he decided he wanted down. He wasn't sure how to do it. The top of that cat tree was so far away now. I went to help him (because I'm a good cat mom like that), but before I got there he basically belly flopped onto the cat tree top. He is a clumsy oaf and basically belly flops his way through life (in some ways more literally than others), but he survived and was mad at me the following day when the doors were latched and his efforts to throw things on the floor to open them failed. (Things still went on the floor, just the doors stayed shut. Poor, pathetic, mistreated little goober.)
So I guess having a second chair up there is not good enough any more. It's the stash or bust.
(I am surprised he didn't throw any fabric down. He may have made it a bit messier, but it all stayed up.)
And that, folks, is the better part of my week. (No one wants to hear my works stories and the book I'm reading isn't all that good, so...)
Time to go stir the beef stew!
PS You can thank my boss for the sarcasm today. We had a staff meeting at 8am, where we all had to sit quietly and hear all the company mission and values and ideas that we've been hearing since the beginning of time AGAIN. And we got to take home the foldable lawn chair we sat in. There weren't even cookies.