Today I present for you the March UFO in finished form!!!
This all started with a swap among blogging friends in 2010. Yes, 2010.
Really, it even started before then, so let's go back a little further...let's say August 2008!
Way back then, American Patchwork and Quilting hosted a sort of mini-blog on their website. Somehow or other, I found these and started reading them. There was a group of ladies who blogged regularly and I started reading about their adventures. One of them, though I don't remember who, shared about a quilt-along at Patchwork Times - an amazingly beautiful star quilt - and Judy, the host, was doing a linky party so those making the quilt could share their progress. I think I want to do this! I'd never done much online sharing outside of e-mailing people I knew, so this was a little bit of a leap of faith for me, but I wanted to join!
As it turned out, that little blog couldn't be linked to externally. Even Judy tried to help. But I made the quilt. And all I can find of photos are this one of the fabrics I chose:
...and a few of the blocks...
...so you'll just have to trust me.
I made this quilt and gave it to my friend, Penny, for her 40th birthday. This is the one I put a Pepto Bismol pink print on the back. She's a girly girl, but this was likely going on the bed she shares with her hubby, so I kept the colors tamer on the front.
Anyways, the quilt got made and that was a big squirrel.
So we blogged there for a while, but near the end of 2009, APQ decided they were going to change the blogs. It was going to be more like a chat forum than a blog and many of us didn't like the changes, so we struck out on our own - to get "grown up" blogs of our own. Some went to Blogger, some went to Word Press, but many of us stayed in touch and kept blogging. We were each others first followers!
Unfortunately, everything we posted on the APQ site was not saved or archived. I probably could have done it, but didn't. I still have my photos...
And then somewhere along the the line, the idea of an APQ blogging buddies block swap came up. I jumped right in! We each had to make a bunch of blocks and send two to each participant. We split up the list so 2 people would be getting their blocks each month, but if you know me, you might guess I made all the blocks right away!
And if you know me even better, you'll know I can't find the photo of all the blocks...ack! But I know I posted one...off to search the blog...
Oh look, there it is! Complete with Emma and Tucker...my baby boy who is sadly no longer with us. (We still have Luka, who to the untrained eye looks a lot like Tucker! But Tucker very much liked to pose on ANY quilt I was working on.)
My name was one of the first on the list, so instead of sending these beauties out, I got my sets of blocks first! I was scheduled for March of 2010 and had a blast getting the mail that month! (I almost didn't mind the bills mixed in!)
For many months after this, I got to send boxes. I chose to include little goodies with my blocks and had fun watching the blogs to see what blocks my friends received from others as well as their reaction to what I sent. It was a fun time.
And I got busy. This quilt is a treasure (each block is signed) and I wanted it made into something SOON! Well... I got the top done fairly early...
Well, I think I did, but can I find THAT photo either? What the heck is going on?
Another blog search turned up this photo from May of 2009, so maybe I didn't get it together as fast as I thought?
I know I don't have any photos of the quilt after I put borders on and before I put it on the longarm a few weeks ago, so I'm not even gonna TRY to find those!
Anyways, the top got some fun, floral borders and then it sat. For almost 8 years. What a shame. Some of my blog buddies finished theirs and I celebrated with them. And scratched my head over what I wanted to do. And promised myself I'd get mine done SOON! I didn't have my longarm quite that long ago, so I'm not sure what my problem was sending it out, but maybe the borders took a while? (I can't hardly remember yesterday, so please don't ask me to remember 2009, okay?)
So when Judy, still of Patchwork Times, decided to do her UFO challenge again this year, I jumped in with finishing quilts because (since I let the cat out of the bag in December last year) you all now know I have TOO MANY tops. This one went on the list fairly quickly, though my numbering scheme doesn't exactly reflect that. I just kinda assigned them randomly, knowing Judy would choose numbers randomly anyways. Double random?!
I procrastinated a lot on quilting this one last month. I just couldn't decide how I wanted to quilt it. I was terrified I'd ruin it. I felt I wanted something show quality done to it, but couldn't figure out how to work around all the names and such signed on the blocks.
Finally I got over going around the signatures. The thread isn't going to distort it that much, right? (It didn't.) And then I dug through books and online ideas and stuff and finally came up with an idea. At about 9pm on a Saturday night. Too late to start, but at least an idea! But not too late to do a little doodling, right?
Have I gone mad?
I procrastinated more on Sunday so I got a late start on this, but at least I got it started. The first pass went splendidly. Even my pebbles felt okay. (I'm not very good at echoing or tracing patterns, but figured this was a good way to get better!) This just might turn out okay!
The second pass...WHAT? My BORDER is WAVY? No. I know how to not do that. I'm better than that. I didn't do that. Really? I did that? (Insert naughty words.) Now what?
I decided to take tucks as needed and get it back to square-ish as I went. The "top" and "right side" were better than the "left side" (quotes because this quilt is square and blocks and signatures go all directions, so it was relative to the loading, nothing more)... The "bottom" wasn't awful, but the top is the only side without any tucks. Even with all the pebbles, it STILL has problems.
But here's a shot of it on the longarm. Before I discovered the problems.
Nope, I lied. It's after I finished quilting it. (I think there's a photo somewhere on facebook earlier in the process and that's what I thought I had on my computer, not phone, but you get the idea.)
This took two days to complete. It was getting late Sunday, and I was discouraged, so I went to bed. At least I think I did. Maybe I quilted the whole thing on Sunday? (See, I can't remember anything!)
Oh yes, I shared my back fabrics in an earlier post, but I'll share those again, too, to make sure this post is even longer and includes every possible detail. (Are you bored yet?) This also gives me an extra opportunity to add a photo. Photos are good.
I love the stamps and postmarks from all over the world (and I have a dot problem) and feel it fits because these blocks came from not only all over the US, but Australia and England as well.
I had already made the binding (at least I did THAT right), so I sewed the machine side on and then procrastinated some more. I hand sewed a little, but put it down for a few weeks. Finally this week I forced myself to sit down, get Netflix going, and finish it. It took two nights, but it's DONE!
You're not gonna get any closeups. Sorry. I took this just this afternoon and stood there in my yard trying to find a block that the quilting looked good and you could see it well, but couldn't find one that fit my criteria. So you get to use your imagination with the doodles I shared earlier.
My pebbles never got much better. My bracket-like motifs in the blocks maybe got worse. My motivation to finish this decreased with each pass and every tuck I had to take. I still love the quilt and all it represents, but I am so mad at myself for my stupid mistake with the borders. And even madder still that I didn't realize it until it was pretty much too late. (I'm not a stitch picker, so don't tell me to do that, okay?)
Now I know there's a label somewhere (thanks, Ann!), but where did I put that? So technically, it's not complete, as it doesn't have any label yet, but it's going to get one. With probably more information than what is on the one Ann sent to all of us participants.
So that's it. That's the whole story. Unless I forgot something, which I probably did. But I probably won't remember that I forgot it for long, so there's that.
PS My April UFO is quilted and has the machine side of the binding attached already! A night or two of Netflix and it will be done. And my April dolly quilt is also done, but we'll save those for another post or two.