Colleen sent these two quilts back to me last week. Both are gifts. I have to bind them, which is a problem since I have about 2,000 hours of handwork to do and not enough time to do it. My normal handwork time is taken up now with a 6,000 piece puzzle. I am working on the sky – no clouds, no airplanes – just flat blue sky. It is taking forever. I need to get them done in the next month, so perhaps at Craft Night? At least neither needs a sleeve.
Part of the process is ripping and I had to rip as I was very close to finishing the FOTY 2019 top.
The quilt top started out correct. It is not sewn together completely in the photo (left), but all of the pieces are where I wanted them.
I continued sewing -and it is a lot of sewing to get these Fabric of the Year quilts together- to make chunks.
When I had about 12 seams left, I realized that something had happened. I had reversed a section somewhere along the process.
I can tell because the letters (white on red serif print) are upside down. I try to get the directional prints going in the right direction when I make these quilts. They do have a top and a bottom. I was nearly done sewing the quilt together. I could have gotten the quilt done before dinner if I had just continued. The question, however, becomes “will I notice this forever?” In this case, the answer was yes.
One good thing about this type of quilt is that I could rip out that one section, resew it and finish the quilt, which is what I did.
Except that I also tried to figure out where I went wrong. I know that on November 14 that section was oriented correctly. On November 23rd, it wasn’t. Sometime in that 10ish day period, something happened and that chunk was turned upside down.
It is hard to keep these pieces correctly oriented. By ‘correctly oriented’ I mean in the place I want them. Most people wouldn’t notice and in 10 years, I might not notice either. I notice now, however.
It is fixed and the quilt top is on its way to being finished.
I finally felt well enough to do some work on FOTY 2019.
The first thing I did was start to move the whole piece down and over so I could reach the top better. I also needed to make the top slightly wider to accommodate the various pieces. I am not quite sure how many rows and columns I need since I didn’t do any math around this piece yet.
After move what I had down, I started to add more of the colored squares to the design wall. I am sure I will have to cut more greys, but I haven’t done that yet.
I spent some time working on sewing the plaid blocks together. I was able to finish the top with only a minimal amount of irritation. There are a few places where I would have changed the blocks if I had been able to see them on the design wall, but didn’t and am not unsewing.
In general, I am pretty pleased with how the piece looks. The yellow is pretty well distributed over the top, so it helps the eye to move around. Now on to back and binding!
A bunch of things came together this past week or so to make me think about process vs. product.
For at least a month, I really wanted to finish the Frolic! top and back and get it ready for quilting. I felt like it was taking me too long to piece. However, when I looked at the blocks, they did have a lot of pieces (63? 68? I counted, but can’t remember). Bonnie Hunter, the designer of the quilt, gives the steps, but she doesn’t estimate the time each step takes. I am an experienced piecer, so I expect things to take a shorter period of time. I forget to take the looking, ripping, re-pressing and other parts of the process into account.
Of course, Frolic! might be a particular case. I spent a good portion of last year piecing Flying Around. When I started Frolic! I wanted and needed a quick and fun project. Frolic!’s outcome is fantastic, but it wasn’t quick and there were some frustrating bits. It was a process. I forget that. I really should have done the Windmills before starting Frolic!, but I didn’t know how involved it would be. I have only done one other Bonnie Hunter Mystery quilt, so the complexity of Bonnie’s designs wasn’t in my mind.
I looked through my process posts to find the one I was thinking of and came across one to read over and contemplate again. Sometime ago I pondered on process, but thought more about creating a habit and continuing to improve rather than exactly process vs. product. There is the implication of process vs. product in that post. The other day, I read a NYT times article** about activities in which people were engaging during Shelter-in-place and found the following quote:
“In the 19th century, intellectuals like Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and others started to expand on the positive psychological benefits associated with a concept now known as mastery: practicing an activity at which you have no previous level of expertise, and experiencing gradual improvement over time.”
I know I want to improve over time, so perhaps I need to ponder what Frolic! gave me in terms of skills beyond the finished product. One thing that comes to mind is the way Bonnie Hunter mimicked 8 pointed stars with HSTs. How do I feel about that?
I like the NYT article. It gives examples of non-digital projects people are pursuing, but it talks a lot about the time it takes to improve. I have always been annoyed at ‘quick quilting projects’. Quiltmaking is not a fast process. There are a lot of steps and they take time. I understand the desire for instant gratification, especially since that seems to be what I am talking about in wanting Frolic! done faster. I rely on my knowledge and experience in quiltmaking to finish projects quickly rather than continuously choosing easy patterns. Another conundrum to contemplate.
N.B. There is nothing wrong with easy patterns!
I also came across a Creative Spark post about process, which reminds me of my hopes and dreams within process. This post is part of the Little Spark project we did a few years ago. You can go through the posts again. I am sure you’ll get value.
The post I was actually looking for talked more about product vs. process. Product is very seductive. I like finishing. I try very hard to be more mindful of the process, to enjoy the process and be engaged with the process, to have my quiltmaking be about the process. It can be difficult, because I like to finish things. I also want to use 100 yards of fabric, I want to clear out my fabric closet so I can fit more of my tools and supplies in there and not have them all over the workroom. I want to be more organized. How does the finishing of a quilt contribute to my goals? Does it contribute?
It is possible that how I am feeling has nothing to do with product vs. process. Perhaps Frolic! wasn’t the right project for the time? Perhaps I needed a much easier project to alternate with Flying Around. I needed some mind sorbet. Perhaps my brain needed a rest? It is possible that I will always struggle with that concept when I get tired of piecing something. I do notice that my efforts to teach myself to keep working through problems with projects stuck. I didn’t put Frolic! away. I kept working on it. Did I work on other things? Yes. I worked on the Running with Scissors Tote and I did some work on the UCAB as well as donation blocks and quilt tops, but my primary project was Frolic!.
So, am I stuck on products? Have I not evolved to enjoy the process? Perhaps this is a stepping stone in the path of mastery and I have to work through it. I really think that the biggest issue was that I should have picked an easier project before I started Frolic!
** If you don’t have a personal or work subscription to the NYT, check your local library. They may be able to provide you with access.
Yes! I finished the Frolic! top. The borders were not painful. I was sure the top and bottom borders would cause me problems. I had to ease a bit more on the top and bottom than I did on the sides. Other than that they went on smoothly. I am really pleased.
I thought about adding another plain border, but decided I couldn’t face it.
I also made the back and the binding so the whole piece is ready to be quilted. For the moment, I am not planning on doing a drive-by at the moment, but we will see.
This quilt used about 11 yards of fabric, which put my total up. I am thrilled about that and thrilled that the piece is really for quilting. Really thrilled!
I can’t decide whether I like working on quilts for so long. I did other projects after I started this, but no quilts except donation tops. It is the second project I have worked on recently that took me ~5 months to piece. I am trying to decide if I like those types of projects. I definitely don’t mind the piecing. I think the problem is not having things to show at meetings, feeling like I am making progress and the process being slow. I have to find a balance between impressive, complex projects and speed.
I spent part of my lunch hour working on the Frolic! borders yesterday. I also worked on it for awhile after work and after dinner.
I can’t tell you how fabulous it was! I got the side borders on the quilt, which meant taking the HST borders and sewing them together. They fit really well. I didn’t have to ease barely at all. I am thrilled. On to the top and bottom borders. The end is near!!!
I started on the blue/turquoise HSTs. I can’t say much more.
I do have more blues/turquoises/aquas, which should come as no surprise to anyone. It makes for a more entertaining piecing experience.
I still have to make sure I don’t put two of the same fabrics next to each other.
The first set of borders is finished. The HSTs are sewed together, but the strips are not sewn to the quilt.
The photo shows the border strips hanging over the top of my design wall. I worked hard at not putting the same print next to each other. They are controlled scrappy and I am pleased with the way they came out.
I didn’t have as many red-violets as I have other colors, but I do like that color. Not quite pink, not quite purple.
I know it is hard to see the borders, but, trust me, they are fabulous. 🙂 Click on the photos to see them larger.
I will start working on the blue HSTs soon.
I don’t know if I will keep this quilt or give it away.
I talked about trimming Frolic! the other day. I spent the weekend working on the pouch, but was able to sew the first border on to Frolic! as well. This corner detail shows the border up close and personal.
It was a BIG hassle, because the entire edge of Frolic! is on the bias. If I have any advice for you it is: DON’T MAKE YOUR EDGES ON THE BIAS. It is doable, as you can see, but a lot of easing went into adding the border. You can’t just sew and extra 10 inches on to the edge and trim it off. Bias stretches. By adding a longer border and trimming it, you will get waves and I didn’t want a wavy border.
N.B. I wouldn’t dare question Bonnie Hunter’s reasons for telling me to make the quilt this way. She had good reason (math craziness) for make the quilt this way. I just suggest that YOU not design a quilt this way.
Also, if I had been thinking, I would have sewed a mitered corner. I wasn’t thinking and I don’t think it will matter in the long run.
As usual, though I didn’t design this quilt, as you know, this quilt is larger than my design wall. Thus, it is hanging off the design wall a bit and might be hard for you to see in the second photo (right).
I have the HSTs for the next two borders, so I need to get sewing.
Today would be Tax Day, but it isn’t and I am pretty sure I don’t need to go into why.
This is the last seam. I had to take a photo, because I feel like this top has been such an effort.
Yes, the top is together.
Finally! Seriously, I feel like this center took for-freaking-ever!
As I said last week, I have a long way to go before I can get it to Colleen, but this is major progress. I feel like I have accomplished something.
I think I might need to do something with the secondary blocks/setting blocks. They really look good sewn together. The bad part is that the block is made up of the edges of the main blocks. I could include the pieces on the edges of another block. I just have to figure out how to do it.
I liked this top before I started sewing it together, but I like it so much more now. Despite my whining, I think it looks great. I am constantly amazed how sewing the blocks together can change the look.
Someone asked me why I just don’t put it away and work on something else. Yes, I have been *almost* miserable working on this at times, but I want to keep my habit of not putting a quilt away. I don’t want to build up my UFO pile again after working so hard to get it down to a manageable size. It would be easy to put it away, but I don’t think it would feel good and I am sooooo looking forward to add the yardage to my “Fabric Used” spreadsheet!
I am finally sewing the Frolic! quilt top center together! Yay! I say and I am sure you say, because we have both, probably, had enough.
It isn’t really pretty, though, as I sewed sashing to the blocks in an attempt to chunk the blocks and that worked against me in the final stages. I have had to do some partial seams. Some blocks ended up with sashing on them and others didn’t.
C’est la vie. I see the end.
As I said the other day, I made good progress over the weekend. I have made better progress-
< this is one of the good things about shelter-in-place: sewing at lunch time >
Since then I finished all the blocks, half blocks, quarter blocks: ALL. Hooray. Now I just have to sew the thing together.
This doesn’t mean the piece will be finished. There are still at least two borders, the back and the binding. Perhaps by the time shelter-in-place is over, I will have it done.
The weekend was tough. The sense of unreality I am home all.the.time was very strong. I couldn’t really wrap my head around it even though we have been living it. I took the car out for a spin and felt like I had forgotten the finer points of driving. It is hard to explain. The only thing I can do is not to think about the unreality and list off the good things I have.
Be that as it may, sewing must go on. I am focused on Frolic! I want that quilt off my design wall. I want to work on other projects. For once, I don’t feel like my weekend sewing was futile. I feel like I made real progress.
One thing I did to get to this place was sew a big chunk together (upper left hand side). Once that was done, I repositioned all the other blocks so that they would be in the approximate place they would end up when the quilt was finished. This small act allowed me to see what else I needed to sew. As you can see, All I need to sew is 4 more half blocks. Halleluijah! I can really see that the end is near.
You might wonder why I don’t just toss it on the UFO pile and move on to something else. That is devil talk! I don’t want my UFO pile to grown any higher than it is already. This thing will be ready to go to Colleen when shelter-in-place is over. With any luck, it will go with three friends.
No joke. I really can’t count.
The other day I crowed about finally finishing all the whole blocks for Frolic! I was really thrilled. I made progress!!!
I didn’t actually finish all the blocks. I just counted wrong. I thought I had made 5 rows of 5, but in the photo, you can clearly see 4 rows of 5.
I didn’t figure it out until I was working on the corner and put the blocks on point. In trying to place them correctly, I realized I was short.
I counted, recounted, looked for missing blocks and finally at the photos. I realized what I had done and that I was just so anxious to finish that I had counted wrong.
This was supposed to be fun, not a long and difficult process. I don’t mind difficult quilts with a lot of pieces, but I am still not quite recovered from Flying Away.
Now I have to decide whether to work with the blocks I have or make another 5 blocks. Those whole blocks have 65 pieces each. While I have some already made, I don’t have all made. 5 more blocks is not that many, but still.