Quick, let's review the sticks for this month:
I've already finished the pink and white triangles (that were quarter squares, not half) and was working diligently on the quilt using paper templates - Midsummer Solstice.
When I last left you, Midsummer Solstice was in block form. 64 blocks to be exact. Lots of seam matching and long seams ahead, but I had a goal and worked diligently.
Toby snoozervised. He seriously didn't move at all as I removed one block after another. No, wait, he did move...
Gradually the single blocks became twosies, the twosies became foursies and the foursies became actual rows of eight. Finn made sure I was keeping things straight...
Once the blocks were sewn into rows, the really hard part started. The long seams. The dreaded long seams. But with each seam completed, I got more excited and that kept me motivated to keep going. It took a few days and a few rounds of hours of sewing, but finally I had a top!
I counted pins as I pulled them on the last long seam - 63. Every single row I sewed to another had 63 intersections that needed to match. 63 pins inserted. (Some matched up better than others in the sewing, but let's not look too closely, okay?!)
It's not pressed here and kinda just haphazardly draped over my ironing board, but the colors are pretty true, which is rare for an indoor photo.
It is heavy. I weighed it. 5 pounds.
I spent a good chunk of time pressing it (it is 96x96" and I wish now I had made it smaller, but the pattern wasn't easy to decipher and cut down, so I just went for broke) and then talked the hubby (bribed him with brownies I would bake) to hold the quilt as best he could outside for a hopefully better photo...
The colors are actually less true here, but you get a better view of the patterns.
The pattern is called Midsummer Solstice and was found in the Love of Quilting magazine in the May/June 2013 issue. It was identified as difficult, but I had to go look at the pattern to find out what they rated it. I agree it was difficult, but things that made it harder were no scale on the template page (I downloaded and printed the pattern) to make sure it was the proper size, no information on what size block units should be to make sure things weren't getting too big or too small in relation to each other, and no help with pressing directions to help seams nest. My test block helped remedy all of these, but figuring out what to cut and how many alone was a challenge. It also called for JUST enough fabric. I had an inch or so left over of a few fabrics. An inch is not enough extra - no room for errors! So...not the best pattern I've worked with, but I've seen worse. (There were no errors in cutting numbers or sizes or piecing, which is good!)
And my local quilt shop is having a clearance on the sale room fabrics, so I popped in, wearing blinders, to get a back for this. Just this.
This seems so different from the geometric-ness of the top, but the colors are fairly similar and it's just so soft and pretty. It reminds me of vintage sheets. Or, rather, sheets from my childhood. (Oh man am I old!)
So stick number two is complete. I never said I was going to quilt these new starts, so I'm good.
With just a few days left in the month, I still had two sticks to tackle. And having an afternoon free, I decided to play with the watercolor pencils. A Left-Handed Quilter was playing with some a few months back and I remembered I, too, had some. Why not play a little?
I watched some tutorials and read some (less than helpful) articles online and the more I read, the more convinced I was this was crazy. Everything I looked at assumed I had some knowledge of drawing and shading and, well, art. I do not. I finally had to drag myself away from that and just DO IT!
You can't do anything without help around here, though. Toby also helped by grabbing at the pencils as I tried to draw. Freddie supervised from across the room. And since Toby has decided chasing Gabby is the funnest thing ever, Gabby has been hanging out under things. We're working on that.
I drew a few things. Some from little tutorials, some just because I thought it would be fun. I did a few drawings and then went after some water and brushes. It took a while to get the hang of how much water was too much and how much wasn't enough and my hand is not as steady as I would like, but no one is grading these.
I am least happy with the flower-roses and I thought those would be the easiest! And I'm happiest with the cactus, though I forgot to take a photo of the final finish on that, where I took a black marker and drew in the spikes.
Check off stick number three.
That leaves us with number four - longarming Single Girl. I had some ideas how to quilt it from previous research and watching what others did when I joined the quilt along in 2019 to make it. That helped get me moving more easily than normal. Having a deadline helped, too.
I ended up quilting it with a light blue thread, as grey is still on backorder. The back of the quilt is a light blue print (I'll show that soon), and I figured it wouldn't stand out too much against the grey, which was what I wanted.
I went a little crazy with the swirls here and backed it off some on other circles, but I wanted to make sure I didn't have any too large gaps. I tried to get photos of the other circles when I had it outside yesterday, but didn't do too well. Each circle has a different motif, so I'll show a few that photographed better than others...though I adjusted the colors and contrast to try to get it better, so the colors are a bit off...
The quilting went fast and before I knew it, I was done!
Due to the curved nature of the blocks, it had a little wobble around the edges, so I trimmed it up square before heading up to sew down binding.
Every time I shifted the cutting mat, Finn also shifted. He loves the longarm. Every time I'm using it, he tries to help in some way. At least this time he waited until I was nearly done to help...
Then it was on to binding. I had cut and prepped the binding when I finished the top, so all I had to do was sew it down. All. Yeah.
I was nearly done when Toby started getting restless. Because of his aggressiveness towards Gabby lately, he and I have been spending the night in my bedroom with the door closed. My routine was off this night because of the binding and he was ready for bed. He burrowed right in and went to sleep. Thankfully, I was close enough to the end that I didn't even have to move the quilt significantly while he was under there.
It was fully dark, though, by this time, so I needed to wait another day for photographs. That was yesterday and the day dawned rainy and snowy and cold and overcast. Not the best day for photos, but by afternoon, the sun had come out and we were nearing 50! That did not mean all the snow was gone and I was stepping into piles of snow probably a foot deep out at my clothesline, but I have taller boots and a warm house to return to, so out I went!
As you can see - sunshine! But it makes shadows, too. I'll take sunshine any day in February and deal with the shadows, no problem.
And the back?
When I saw this fabric, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I kept telling myself this was not the right fabric for the back of this quilt. But I couldn't stop and ended up buying it. Turns out it matches the thread really well, so maybe it was fate?
Pattern: Free-Wheeling Single Girl (a tweak from her Single Girl pattern)
Designer: Denyse Schmidt
Size: about 65x65"
And that finishes stick number four.
Another month of squeaking it all in, but this month, instead of having a convalescing cat, I chose a nearly impossible quilt pattern. I mean, the pattern was difficult, but my timeline added another level of difficulty. Or stupidity. Whatever. It's done.
Tomorrow starts March. March? Yeah, that went fast. But it means four new sticks!
And today the fifth challenge for Project Quilting will be released.
So much excitement!
But now I need to go figure out some lunch.