It's done, it's done, it's FINALLY done!
This week's prompt for Project Quilting is "Pixel Play." As in the past, I tried to science nerd it up and did some research into pixels and whatnot. But I was just not finding anything truly inspiring. At one point, as I was chatting with fellow competitor and friend, Colette, I joked that maybe I should just make a unicorn.
I was cruising along in Pinterest and came across a unicorn. At first, I was like "no, Katie, you cannot do THAT in one week." But I looked into it anyways. I'm good at procrastinating like that. The gal who made the quilt said she was going to write a pattern. I would buy said pattern in a heartbeat. No pattern was to be found. So I kept looking, thinking... And came across a grid pattern for the quilt - with a link that went nowhere. I can't credit the maker...but it is NOT my design. (Other than perhaps a mistake or two...and the removal of a heart...)
So I printed it out and decided since it was just Sunday afternoon and I had most of a week (and only two days on the schedule at work), I could probably do this. I showed my husband. I could HEAR his eyes rolling as he asked "You only have a week to do that?"
Well, it's not a challenge if I don't try, right?
So I made some labels and cut a hole in a paper so I could block out all but one (which I later enlarged to be two) blocks at a time. Thus keeping track of what I was doing!
I decided to do a 5x5 square grid for "blocks" and then sew those together. Otherwise that whole thing was overwhelming. The whole quilt worked out to 40x45 squares and I opted to do 1" finished squares, as a 80x90" quilt using 2" squares seemed large. (Though in retrospect, it might have been cool to put on my bed...assuming I could find enough background for it...in my stash...)
I shopped my stash for backing and the body, knowing, like the original, I would make the mane scrappy. I don't have a design wall, which was a big part of my decision to use the 5x5 grid, so all I had was a small space to lay out two blocks at a time next to/behind my sewing machine...
This actually worked quite well. I thought I might bump things as I was feeding them through the machine, but only a couple of times did it cause trouble. I was pleased. So far, the challenge Gods were smiling on me!
It took a while to cut all those little squares, though! I raided my strips stash first, then supplemented from the stash, trying to use the smaller bits tucked in with larger pieces - the ones I couldn't quite bear to throw out, but wasn't sure what I was going to do with them. Needless to say, a LOT of them are gone now. And it worked well that no one fabric got over-represented!
Before I knew it I was sewing rows together...and it was already starting to look like something!
You can see the horn and ears! Holy cow! This was so encouraging - seeing it come together kept me going on a project that otherwise might have been set aside quickly.
Never fear, I had lots of help...
Lexie helped, then it seems Freddie came along to supervise her helping?
And then there were three rows...
(Gabby also helped...)
...and an eyeball! The unicorn has an eyeball!
Just keep sewing!
At this point, I looked at the photo and went "what?!"...there's yellow way over there on the left... Consultation with the pattern tells me I had sewn the bottom two rows in a set of 5x5 on upside down. So I sat on the floor and carefully removed those 10 (2x5) squares. And flipped them over. Now, know that at this point I was trying very hard to not have the same fabrics touch. I was paying attention to what was in rows above and next to the blocks I was laying out. So imagine the frustration when I found this, upon flipping the piece I had removed, right-side up...
In making the next set of blocks, I had placed the exact same fabrics in there right next to them. How? What are the odds? Really! (You'll also notice the two oranges side-by-side below that, but I was NOT ripping out another set of seams to replace one square that was, other than being the same as its neighbor, correct. And unless you look hard for it, it's not easy to spot in the finished quilt.)
So a bit more ripping and resewing happened, but I knew if I didn't fix that all the way right, it was going to bother me for the rest of eternity. So I did.
And kept sewing...
...and sewing. But at this point, I was so excited, I just kept sewing and forgot to take photos!
At the end, I had some squares left over. I was cutting with abandon until I realized that I was done with red. That prompted me to be more careful and not cut TOO many at once!
I had been keeping each color in zipper bags, which worked very well! Now all the leftovers are in a single bag and I have no idea what I'll use them for. (It occurred to me to use them on the back somehow, but I figured with all the seams on the front, my longarm didn't need any extra challenges!)
And by Wednesday night, just like last challenge, I had a top! (This time WELL before midnight, though - of course, I did start a little bit sooner...)
I can't believe I made this in just a few days. I did use larger pieces in the background and body, where I could - since I was using all the same fabric, I didn't think the extra seams were necessary to get the effect and it did make my job a little easier!
It is a little less than flat, but I figured that would quilt out just fine. (And, for the most part, it did.)
I debated on what to use for a back, but knew I needed to stop to get a smaller roll of batting. I've gone through a lot of scraps and am down to doll-size or unrolling a whole new king-size. Since I didn't want to wrestle with something that large to take such a small chunk out of the one corner, I opted to buy a baby-size batting. And while I was there...maybe look to see if there's something good for a back? (I could find something in the stash, but...)
O.M.G. Unicorns. Purple-backed unicorns.
Well, you know I bought that, right?
Thursday, after much procrastination, I loaded the longarm.
Not without help, of course. I was fast enough that he didn't jump into the hammock pictured here, but he sure did want to. He also attacked the batting from behind and tore a (repairable) hole into it before getting a good hollering. Then he proceeded to take a nap. (Good choice, little man, good choice!)
The quilting went much faster than I anticipated - about an hour and a half!
(I love this shot!)
I did swirls in the mane, wiggly lines in the body and not-straight lines in the background. No, really, they weren't supposed to be fully straight from the beginning. I'm not CRAZY!
I decided to finish up the grey from the body (a fabric I didn't even like when I bought it, but it was the right color and I needed it for a baby quilt for my nephew, Hunter!) and I had JUST enough. Perfect. Win-win. I get the quilt binding, plus a fabric I don't much like leaves my stash.
This morning, while I was rounding things up to take outdoor photos (which, despite the sunny morning, turned out terribly), Freddie gave it one last snuggle!
The quilt was just draped over the ironing board, but there is no place this cat won't go (or try to go - he's learned to jump on TOP of the rolling clothing rack where I store tops to be quilted - like 8 feet up, this crazy cat!), so this was an easy spot. But he's so darn cute, how can anyone resist?
(This also shows the quilting quite nicely!)
The finished quilt?
The hubby, out of bed about the time I got finished with the outdoor photo shoot, obliged me to hold this in the back room - where the natural light was best this morning.
It's a UNICORN!
And the crazy part, which should make sense, really, is that the further away from it, the better you are able to see it.
I loved making this. But there are no more pixilated quilts in my future, thankyouverymuch.
And just to share the sunshine...
Yes, shadows, but look at that sunshine! (And, of course, Freddie is helping...)
These challenges have been a lot of fun. My hubby might disagree, but he's obsessed with some superhero fighting game on his phone, so if we want to argue who is making better use of their pixels...well...this one will keep you warm!
(He did ask if it was large enough for a baby quilt. My answer was "will they give me an actual unicorn in return?" Yeah, I'm not planning to part with this any time soon!)