A few weeks back I teased you with this pile of fabrics...
I didn't want to tell you what I was up to you, but today I'm going to share!
Months ago, I saw a quilt on Pinterest and pinned it. I didn't find any info on the pattern and such, but didn't really do that much digging either. Then, about a month ago, I saw the quilt as a block-of-the-month in a quilting catalog. But it was expensive, so I didn't do anything for a while. About a week later, I found another quilt I loved (thank you again Pinterest) and it was to be an on-line quilt-along (more on that one soon). So I started digging around on the internet to order the quilt-along book and figured I'd look around for the other one, too.
Turns out, the pattern designers have a blog. And started an on-line quilt-along with this quilt way back in January. Complete with blog posts in new colorways and giveaways! Want to guess how fast that book hopped into my virtual shopping cart?
Ordering directly from the designer turned out to be a good idea - I had actual non-robot confirmation of my order within 30 minutes and the book about 3 days later - with a Sunday included in there!
So if you haven't clicked the link yet, the quilt is called Arcadia Avenue.
The quilt on the cover is what got me interested, but when reading the quilt-along posts, the two designers are making the quilt again - both of them - and one decided to do it in "low volume" and I was even more in love. (That was what really sealed the deal with buying the book.)
(funny, too, that I claim to hate paper piecing, but had absolutely no doubts when ordering this book, knowing it's entirely paper pieced...)
Anyways, I went fabric shopping. I wanted less scrappy than what I'd seen on the blog and just wasn't sure of colors. I knew I wanted one grey and if you've ever shopped for grey, you know that greys have a huge range of colors and if you get the wrong one, it can look awful with other colors you choose. I know it seems silly - grey should just be grey - but that's how my eyes see things and it's my quilt!
I washed, dried and pressed the fabrics and took the pretty photo above and then spent about a week worrying I'd make something hideous. I mean, throw-it-out-and-deny-you-made-it ugly.
Finally, last Saturday evening, I decided to dig in and give it a try. It can't be that bad if I love the fabrics this much, right?
I love this book because they give a list of what size to cut each piece for the paper pieced pieces. That is something I always struggle with and end up with a hacked up piece of fabric. This is so much nicer - the pieces were all rectangles and squares (cut in half diagonally). I still have normal-shaped fabrics left for the next blocks!
If you look close, you might be able to see they're numbered up to 18. That's a lot of pieces! But if you've been following me a while, you know I do this almost every time. Intricate quilts are what I love, so I should be used to this by now, but every time it gets me!
Sunday I started sewing...deep breaths, pins and lots of courage...
There are 12 wedges, so lots of sewing, then lots of pressing.
I worked a few hours Sunday and then tried to get in an hour or so each evening last week. One hour could do about three sets of pieces.
I took lots of photos because I was trying to keep myself distracted from panicking that I was making something crazy.
Wednesday night I put in some extra time, knowing my quilt guild meeting was Thursday night and I'd lose an evening. And wanting to have the wedges done for the weekend.
I made it. And in this photo, you can kind of see how they come together. At this point, I had a sigh of relief, knowing the piecing part was done and I'd only had to rip out a few seams (mostly due to pieces folding after they'd been pinned and being sewn down wrong).
But I still had to sew the wedges together. More deep breathing!
First, I consulted with fellow quilters to see how to best keep those center pointy-points from shifting and creating a D-cup center. They suggested basting outside the sewing and cutting lines - to make it super easy to trim later. Great idea!
(a bit blurry photo...oops)
So I pinned the wedges, but you know how sewing multiple seams and trying to get points to match creates a big thick seam when you add pins? Why not try those little red Clover Wonder clips? Can't hurt, right?
With the extra paper and such on the edges, it gave enough to hold things in place, but still allow it to go under my machine!
And guess what? It works! They held (there are a few pins in there on the thinner sections where I wasn't sure the grip would be as effective - and pins didn't add so much bulk) and other than half of the final seam, every point is very well matched! I'd not used these clips much in the past, but you can bet I'll be using them in block construction more now. Particularly for this project.
Another nice part of the quilt-along is that the designers shared some pointers for getting the center, bulky seam points to match in the center. Whether paper piecing or not, those are always a challenge for me, but the pointers they gave worked! My center is nearly perfect and with it being all white, a little off-ness isn't going to be too noticeable, particularly when it's quilted. (And it's very much good enough for me!)
At this point, I started thinking this must be about what having a child is like. You think about it for a while, contemplate things, decide to go for it and then wonder all sorts of things that could go wrong during the pregnancy. But once it's born, you're in love! (Of course, this takes a lot less time and is just fabric, but there was a lot of worry on my part during the construction!)
It's not been trimmed to its hexagon shape yet and I'll probably wait until final quilt construction to do that, but it's a block and I am SO happy with it.
The block measures 19 inches from flat side to flat side and there are 215 pieces in this block alone! (Block two has a few less...)
I'm not sure if I'll use the aqua fabrics for half of the blocks or stick with just the coral, but that will be something to contemplate before I cut into the fabrics for block two.
I'm only 5 blocks behind in the quilt-along now (there are 12 total and they're all different), but I'm so excited by how well this turned out (both color-wise and construction-wise) that I can't wait to start the second one. (And I'll be honest, I even though about just making 11 more of these because I love it so much, but onward with the original pattern!)
But for now, I think I've earned a rest (this block took probably 24 hours of work, start-to-finish) and the hubby is watching a movie, so I think I'll join him. (And become cat furniture, as he likes to call me whenever I sit down - what can I say? I don't sit enough and the cats love me!)