The final sharing period for the Summer Book Club Quilt-Along quilts is happening on Instagram now (look for the hashtags #summerbookclubqal and #sbcqalgp for finished quilts and tops), so I can FINALLY share my whole quilt!
(I mean, I guess I could have shown it earlier, but this is more fun, right? Also, there may have also been six other quilts needing to be shared after finishing, so I can wait...)
Way back in May, I signed up for this quilt along. I purchased the quilt block patterns - there are a few different books - and then almost talked myself out of it. It was paper piecing, after all. But one day, after seeing blocks start popping up on my Instagram feed, I decided to give it a try. I mean, this was paced out over quite a few months and there were prizes, too. Who doesn't like a bonus of prizes?!
And I sewed the first one...
...and it was all over. I was hooked. My fussy cutting was a little off (I got better as I made more), but I absolutely was in love with this block.
So I did some math, figuring out how many blocks using a standard border and then figured out how many I needed to make each day to have all the blocks done by the time we needed to start sewing the tops together. It was a ton of fun seeing what fabrics others chose and I had a blast raiding my stash for fabrics that might not get used anywhere else. (Well, maybe the back of a quilt or a pillowcase, but for my usual style, larger prints often aren't usable.) I found fabrics I forgot I had. And used up bits and pieces of fabrics I had just a little bit left - the binding on this block, for example.
The paper piecing wasn't bad. There aren't that many pieces for each block and I only sewed ONE piece backwards in the whole quilt! That's a huge win for me! (But paper piecing is still not my favorite method of block construction!)
You've seen all the blocks as they've been made, so I'll skip ahead to the deciding how to lay it out part... Originally I planned to do a straight layout, using the borders already sewn around each block as a sashing of sorts. But then I saw one that was offset and went "hmmm..." So, with some help from the cats, I tried out a few options.
I guess I didn't upload (or save...oops!) the layout choice photos, but I did think long and hard before deciding that I liked the straight layout after all. The offset I would have used wasn't much and for either a horizontal or vertical offset of just about an inch, it really didn't have a lot of impact. I decided to just go with the straight setting, squinted a little at where all the blocks ended up on the floor, moved a few and decided I could spend a week rearranging and it wouldn't get better. It's busy and colorful and just needed to be put together.
The top came together quickly, and before I knew it done!
Then my hubby left for vacation without me. I had time off from work, so it was a vacation for me, too, just one taken at home. That included Starving Emma. And I decided, after chatting with a quilty friend, to make it a Longarm Week and try to quilt as many tops as I could. I imagined one per day, but didn't set that in stone because you just never know. (But you all know I made it!) This quilt was first on the list. It had an actual deadline, soonest of the quilt-along deadlines, and I was excited to be able to use it once it was finished.
You can see the back a little here, as I took a photo just before starting the last pass, but here is a better shot:
I was at my local quilt shop, looking for something else entirely (exactly what I can't remember...) and found this. It just seemed perfect. Like keeping track of how many books you've read this year or this summer or whatever. And so I bought the end of the bolt, hoping it would be enough. Knowing if it wasn't, I could figure out something. But it was perfect. I got lucky!
I chose to quilt it with a motif that makes me think of cotton bolls, but I'm calling it popcorn because that seems more fitting with a book. You can sort of see the motif in the photo above...but it might be better in a minute with the whole finished quilt photo, too...
After the quilting was done, I knew I needed to do a scrappy binding. So I raided my stash of leftovers, added up lengths as I pulled them out of the mess (it was tidy once...it is not any more...and the pile is still rather large...) until I had the right amount, sewed them together...
...and then onto the quilt.
Since this was the first day of my Longarm Week, I sat down with needle and thread (I opted for off-white, as it matched the back fabric and would hopefully hide any sins of hand-binding!), cranked up the Netflix and some Gilmore Girls, and started a binding marathon. I had no idea if I would finish that night before bedtime, but I was going to make a good effort.
Turns out, if you can just sit down for a stretch of time (don't forget your thimble!), uninterrupted, you can actually sew a whole quilt binding on in a few hours!
It took a few days to get a good day for photos, but I dragged it outside and hung it on the line.
The clothesline sags in the middle, so it looks crooked here, but it's fine. I'm just a bad photographer. Or impatient...
I love it.
The grey-overdyed muslin I used for the background is a little stiff. I'm a little worried that it will fade since I didn't wash it before I used it, but I'm hoping that it will soften with washing and won't fade. Of course, I'll throw in a color catcher, but there's still a chance.
It measures 64x63", so a little wider than tall, but not enough to make it look wacky.
And a few more photos from along the way...
Lexie plopped in the middle of a block as I was trying to take a photo. She gets ideas that she needs ALL the pets RIGHT NOW and pursues them seriously. This was one of those times.
And of course, Kevin helped with the book about Minions!
In other, more recent quilty news, I purchased some purples and a few more lights for the quilt for my niece. The photo below is all the fabrics, but the ones in the pile on the left are the new additions.
I still need to do some math to see how many of each color to cut, but I hope to start tomorrow. Maybe tonight, but my book is calling to me and it has been neglected quite a lot lately...also a nap sounds kinda good...
And, of course, the 100 blocks project continues. I worked ahead by a few blocks today so I am caught up through Saturday. I have to work both Friday and Saturday, and would like a full day to work on Adrian's quilt (at least to get pieces cut and paired up to be ready for sewing), so I decided I would take today and make a few extra blocks.
Some of these are SUPER simple, but that makes up for others that are none too fun (loads of half square triangles anyone?!). At #48, I'm nearly halfway done. Some days it feels like more of a chore than fun to make these, but I'm committed to finishing. And I'm sure, like many other projects that seem to stretch out forever, once it's done, I'll love it.
So that's all that's new around here. With a finished quilt, it makes me look like I've gotten more done than I really have since the last blog post, but I haven't been lazy either!