Finished: Box Full of Letters

Finished: Box Full of Letters
Finished: Box Full of Letters

Yay! I finished my Box Full of Letters quilt last week. This was a fast sew. I started it sometime in March, I think. The first mention of it here is at the end of March. I am pretty sure I saw Torie’s version, or her start, back in January at the Twilter meetup. That is a 5 month process, which must be some kind of record for me. I don’t even feel like I rushed through making the quilt.

I have to give Colleen credit, because she quilted two gift quilts in record time. She has cleared out her backlog and can get to quilts within a month now. For how long, I don’t know, but for now.

I think part of the speed was that there were limited choices in the quilt:

  • limited color palette
  • one block
  • limited number of blocks.

Those kind of limitations can be frustrating, but, in this case, I gained speed and was able to use the limitations to create a creative layout.

Anyway, you have been here during the whole journey and you have seen my process. I didn’t expect to like this quilt as much as I do and I think I like it because of the layout. I didn’t think it would be that interesting of a quilt. It wouldn’t have been if I had laid out in a straight set, but the diagonal layout really makes it interesting. IMO, anyway.

Looking at this quilt makes me feel like I want to play with this pattern more. I can see making these blocks from scraps and in different sizes depending on the size squares I have around. The pattern is so easy, you barely need a pattern and making these blocks is like eating chips. One just isn’t enough.

This is large lap quilt. It will go to a doctor who has been working with the Young Man every week or two for the past 10 years. She told me she feels like her kid is heading off to college and I have to say that I can’t blame her. I did not put a sleeve on it. Handwork is a challenge right now and stitching through the damn batiks (when will I learn NOT to put batiks on the back???) to get the binding stitched down was difficult. My PT got mad at me.

Oddly, this quilt had a lot of help. Lots of thanks go into this quilt:

  • Torie for the inspiration, encouragement and charm pack
  • BAMQG for the layout inspiration. I think it was probably Ruth who laid out the Opportunity quilt on the diagonal
  • Missouri Star Quilt Company for the pattern and that method of making HSTs (though I suspect someone else thought of it first and MSQC just spread the love)

Box Full of Letters Back

I finally feel like I made some real progress over the weekend. I finished 2 backs, 2 bindings and almost finished a top. I spent some time on Friday sewing, which I don’t normally do and that helped a lot.

Box Full of Letters Back
Box Full of Letters Back

The first item I finished was the Box Full of Letters back. I pecked away at it for about a week, which made it seem like it took forever. That was a frustrating feeling, because the piece is not very big. I finally finished it on Friday and that was a good feeling!

I always try to use large pieces, but somehow I end up with some fiddly piecing. I resolve not to do it again, but there it is.

I also sewed around the edge of the top to stabilize it as there will be no border and made the binding. The whole package is ready to go to the quilter. Hooray!

Box Full of Letters Top - Finished
Box Full of Letters Top – Finished

Box Full of Letters Top FINISHED!!!

Box Full of Letters Top - Finished
Box Full of Letters Top – Finished

Yes! I finished something! Not much of something, but something. It is even vaguely Fourth of July related – in color at least.

The Box Full of Letters top is finished and I am really pleased with how it looks.

I wanted the envelopes to look like they were flying away and I think I achieved that look.

BFOL Top Layout

Layout - First Pass
Layout – First Pass

I finally had a large chunk of time to make some good progress on a few projects over the weekend. Yay!

I made really good progress on the Box Full of Letters top. I think I will have a top soon.

As I said before the straight layout of blocks was too boring and it felt too confined or compressed to me. I suppose the ‘modern’ movement is affecting me, because I wanted these little envelopes to breathe a bit as well. I hadn’t any idea what I was going to do with them until I started to put them up on the wall. I had seen a quilt where the blocks were arranged on the diagonal kind of like a rocket taking off.

Yes, I arranged the colors and fabrics as I went along, but not too much.

BFOL - almost done
BFOL – almost done

After I got all the blocks up on the wall in the arrangement above, I looked at them for awhile, moving a few around and trying to imagine the final effect. I decided to go for it and began sewing. I sewed for probably 10 hours on Saturday, which is what happens when I am sew-deprived and finally get some time. I thought I would finish the top on Sunday, but I didn’t quite. I only have a few seams left.

I am more pleased with this piece than I had been. After quilting, I think I will just put a binding on it and leave it without borders.

Box Full of Letters All the Blocks

I haven’t had a lot of time to sew recently. I was determined and pleased to carve out some time out on Sunday. I was resolved to accomplish something. Thus, I needed the most bang for my buck. I looked around and thought of the Box Full of Letters project.


I got to it and finished the rest of the Box Full of Letters blocks. I know I intended them to be leaders and enders, but bang for buck was foremost in my mind. As an added bonus, it was just the right project, because I didn’t have to do a lot of math or thinking.

the last 15
the last 15

There were about 15 left to sew and I did them chain piecing style. Three seams per blocks makes quick work. I only had to rip one out.

I tried to arrange them to take the photo so all of the blocks made from dot fabrics were separated. Therw ere a lot of dot fabrics, so it was pretty tough. It was not a horrendous hardship, however, I have to admit. 😉

All the blocks
All the blocks

Now, ‘the rest’ is relative. In looking at the finished group of blocks, I am not sure that I am done.

As you can see there are an uneven number of blocks. That means that I am wondering if I need to make more blocks. I have 45 blocks total and I am not that excited about making more, but the design has to rule. I don’t want to make an ugly quilt.

The other option is that I have is to arrange them in an asymmetrical manner. I got the idea from a quilt I saw in Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine. It wasn’t this pattern, but the blocks were arranged in an alternative grid and I might just try some different layouts to see what you think.

Stay tuned.

Box Full of Letters Progress

Sample Box Full of Letters blocks
Sample Box Full of Letters blocks

I worked on the Box Full of Letters blocks at the Retreat. I made 21 blocks as leaders and enders. The photo (left) shows a selection of the blocks I made.

I love the leaders and enders technique. I couldn’t believe how much I accomplished using leaders and enders.

I still don’t know what I am going to do with these blocks, but I am thrilled that I have an actual group of blocks with which to work.

Box Full of Letters Progress

First 3 blocks - Box Full of Letters
First 3 blocks – Box Full of Letters

I have been preparing for the CQFA Retreat. I have been putting projects, supplies and parts into project bags in preparation to grab and go.

I was all over the place sewing over the weekend and this was part of the wackiness. I don’t know why, but I decided to sew a couple of the blocks rather than waiting until the CQFA Retreat.

I guess they look ok. I am not completely invested in the project yet, but I have some ideas and I want to move forward. It might be a palette cleanser

Box Full of Letters

I heard a Wilco song recently called Box Full of Letters and thought that would be a better name for my version of the Missouri Star Quilt Company pattern, Love Notes. Love Notes is a nice name for a cutesy quilt, but I didn’t want to make a cute Valentine’s Day quilt. I just wanted to try out the pattern and see how it worked.

Triangle Squares - preparing for blocks
Triangle Squares – preparing for blocks

I have been sewing the squares and cutting them into half square triangles. I have used the Kiss Kiss charm squares that Torie gave me, but am also adding other fabrics that work well with that charm pack. The stacks in the photo will make about 20 blocks. I found a few more that had fallen down on top of the Stepping Stones fabrics.

Potential blocks
Potential blocks

There is quite a lot of red in these blocks and I need to add some other colors to the group, but first, I am going to sew these blocks together and see what I have. The blue solid background may make it less sweet. There is a fabric with a black background and pink dots (I think) of which I would like more. The bottom line is that I need to see how the blocks look. I haven’t sewn any blocks yet, but stay tuned for that.