After years of this project being a UFO and a WIP, the end is in sight. Colleen is back in the saddle and she did this quilt as soon as she returned. She has had it for a year. I didn’t believe her, but when I looked back in the blog, I had to agree that she was correct.
Five more quilts will follow quickly over the next couple of months with one coming, perhaps, next week. I am not quite sure what to think! I had better get to binding; that is for sure.
I am hiding upstairs for a minute to breathe. I am Miss Popularity down in the dining room (she who brings food is popular) at the moment.
The Black Friday Sew in is on Friday (thus the name). Sandy organized all the things she wants to work on and I realized halfway through the main course that I had not thought about what I am going to work on tomorrow. Yes, I have to sort silver and put the china away, but I am talking about PROJECTS! Sewing projects!
The Spiderweb top is done and I am still ripping out paper, so I will start the back, etc after I finish the ripping. I don’t want to work on that, because I want to be at the machine and ripping out foundation paper is a good TV project. I have to put the borders the A-B-C Challenge, so I will definitely do that. BUT what else? I don’t know. I do hope something occurs to me before I waste a whole day staring at the machine.
T-shirt quilt, I think.
Patchwork Wheel blocks
Perhaps those two projects will keep me busy and I will get a lot of them done.
I am really pleased to say that the Spiderweb top is finished. There are still a lot of things to do to get this finished into a quilt, but I am pleased, really pleased, that the top is finished.
The paper is still in most of the blocks. I had to pull out some of the paper as I sewed, but there is still a lot to pull out.
As usual, the piece looks a lot better sewn together. The sewing together brings the whole thing together. I am pleased with the overall look, though I still think the background is a bit dark. I can tell that my tastes have changed, because the new blocks are filled with much clearer fabrics, more pink, aqua, and chartreuse. I do wonder what this piece would look like with a lighter background, but am NOT making another.
I have enough fabric, I think to make a binding. I have been thinking about the binding and wonder if I should make a straight of grain binding rather than my usual bias binding. There are bits of the border on the bias, because of the kite shaped pieces.
Because I couldn’t match up all the bottoms of the webs, there are some that don’t match up. I am going to be ok with the differences.
I have firmly moved into the realm of obsessiveness with this project. I don’t know what got into me this past weekend, but I worked on sewing the blocks for this Spiderweb piece like a person possessed. I had about 7 blocks (sewn in groups of 4) sewn together last week and now I have about 108 sewn together in groups of 4.
By Sunday night I had all of the groups of 4 done and laid them out on the workroom floor (top photo, left). The piece will be large. The original pattern I drew called for a layout of 8 blocks x 10 blocks. I was glad to have the layout and some idea of what I had been thinking except that I ended up with 20 extra blocks.
Hhhmmm. One of the drawbacks for me of leaving a project to languish for so long is that I can’t really remember what I intended. I am pretty sure I didn’t intend to make 20 extra blocks and not use them. I looked at the quilt and the blocks and thought about adding them or making a companion quilt with the extras.
After much thought, I finally decided to add the blocks to the quilt. I couldn’t add them to the side because of my border blocks, so I would need to add them to the middle and make a couple of additional border blocks.
As I may have told you, my workroom floor isn’t large enough (would it ever be?) for a quilt of any size, so I had to take advantage of a half an hour after work to lay the whole thing out on the living room floor. The furniture and life debris still is in the way. The arrows are pointing to the column of blocks I am adding. I am 4 blocks short to complete the column. I will print the foundations, make the borders in between sewing the rest of the new column together in order.
I have to admit that I wasn’t sure my scheme would work. I tried to look at the layout drawing and figure out from that if my changes would work, but I couldn’t tell. I needed to lay all the blocks out.
I can be impulsive. I just started sewing the leftover blocks into blocks of 4 and figured I would work out the details later. This isn’t always the best strategy, though it does makes for some interesting design challenges. Fortunately, as I said, in this case, it worked.
I don’t have all of the leftover blocks sewn together. There is also one block whose seam allowance is a bit off. It is bugging me, so I will need to fix that.
I was afraid I wouldn’t have enough of the background fabric, so I was very frugal while making the border blocks. This fabric is so old that there was probably not even a whisper of a chance that I would be able to find this fabric again. I pieced parts together where I was short. It turned out that I had plenty of fabric in the end, but I am glad I was frugal. I don’t think anyone will notice my frugality.
Because the blocks are different (center and border) as well as oriented in different directions I marked each block with a number in the lower left hand corner. This tells me where to place the block and in what orientation I should position it. I often do this, if I find a layout I like and I want to position certain blocks or colors specially.
In the “Spiderweb marked” photo, you can also see how I added two more blocks to fill in so the gap where the border blocks will go did not look quite so gaping.
I always hope that the quilt will draw up when I sew it together. The blocks have already drawn up a bit, but this will definitely be another monster.
It feels good to immerse myself in this project and I am excited that I have made such progress. I really didn’t expect to have so much done by today. I wish I could just spend a week doing nothing but sewing. I don’t know if that experience would get this mania out of my system, but it might lessen the feelings a bit. Perhaps such a focused time would make the feelings less special. I suspect having a week of time where I didn’t have to do anything but sew would make the mania worse.
From this picture you can get an idea of what the quilt will look like. In order to complete the whole section, I will need 5 more border blocks and 1 center block. I have labelled the photo below so you can see what I mean.
As usual, what I am trying to do is to complete the plates. I want each of the plates to be complete. I don’t want any of them to be cut in half or just show a quarter. There is nothing wrong with those types of layouts, but they are not for me at this time.
Sometimes the border blocks take too long and I need to make some progress, get a little bang for my buck. At those times I grab some center blocks and sew them together. I think that alternating keeps me from getting bored. When I sew some center blocks together, I feel like I am making real progress.
I walked by my Sampler quilt, the first one I ever made and saw the Spiderweb block in that quilt and it made me think that the first Spiderweb block in the Sampler quilt was just a taste or precursor to this quilt. OR I might be getting just a bit too philosophical.
I really hope you can understand this when you read it. I stayed up too late watching the election Tuesday night and, as I write this, the exhaustion is taking over.
The last time I wrote about the Spiderweb was last December. Nearly a year later, something is finally happening. But the worst part of the story is that I started this project in 1998. I looked at the blocks many times and my tastes had changed and I didn’t really want to work with dark backgrounds. The project languished, but the 26 Projects list has forced me to get to it. Forced is a strong word. I could have donated all of the blocks to the Charity Girls and been done with it, but something prevented me from doing that.
I started small by buying some Carol Doak foundation paper. Then I continued by printing the main foundations for the border blocks. Then I started sewing and found I printed the foundations the wrong size, so I started over. Finally, I was able to sew enough to get some blocks put together.
In the process, I found something really remarkable. I feel really good making these blocks. I don’t know why. They don’t seem especially gorgeous, though they are pretty. I get a warm glowy feeling inside each time I work on them. It is so odd.
I have all of the center blocks done, but, like the Flowering Snowball, I needed to make special border blocks so the border plates weren’t cut up. I wanted them to be finished.
In the photo, right, I have put numbers on the border blocks. You can see the differences, if you compare them with the center blocks.
The border blocks are definitely brighter and more cheerful, because of the newer fabrics I am using. I hope there isn’t a big disparity when the quilt is finished.
My biggest problem, however, is that I have nowhere to lay this quilt out. My design walls are full and the quilt, since there is foundation piecing paper on the back of the blocks, wouldn’t stay on the design wall without pins anyway. For the moment it is on the floor in front of a design wall and blocking the closet. This isn’t going to last long, but I don’t have a solution right now.
At the moment, I have 7 border blocks complete and one needing some trimming and pressing. The quilt will be 8 blocks wide and 10 blocks tall. I have about 32 more blocks to make and I hope I don’t run out of the border fabric. If I do, I will have to make the quilt smaller and donate a few of the leftover blocks to the Charity Girls.
One thing I have learned (or hope I have learned)is that projects get stale for me. This means that I need to focus on them, get them done and move on. Have I said this before? I think so. I am reiterating it here.
I have a stack of various sized strips I have been saving for this project. The longer they sit around, the easier it is for me to forget why I am saving them and the other day I thought I would just send them off to Katie. Then, I remembered why I am saving them and the big problem with finishing this quilt.
1. I have too many blocks. What do I do? Make a giant quilt that comfortably seats 12?
make a normal sized quilt and put the extra blocks in the Children’s Quilt Project bin at EBHQ?
2. The border. I want to use the self bordering technique, but I need to sit down and figure out how that will work with this pattern and paper piecing. I just have to do it. I never seem to do it.
I often find older patterns that don’t seem popular, but have very interesting shapes or lines. I see them at shows in antique quilt exhibits or in books or in early to mid-century magazines or in Barbara Brackman’s book or ripped out of ancient newspapers for sale on eBay.
Mostly, they cannot be strip pieced. Let’s face it, some of those patterns are nearly impossible to piece with the patterns given. Remember the Snowball Wreath? The Flowering Snowball is also no picnic to piece, though completely doable.
I was cruising around the web and found my way to Mrs. Schmenkman’s Quilts somehow or other. Those pesky links, you know. 😉 There I found another, yes ANOTHER spiderweb quilt.
You can see a tutorial and a post about her changes to the tutorial on that site as well
The hand stitching is a nice addition, don’t you think?
It is very obvious, at least to me, now that I don’t get out much. Here I am sitting in my workroom sewing away on quilts with patterns that I think nobody is interested in. then I find a whole quilt subculture of people making the same pattern.
This just makes me think that I am too isolated in my quilting world. I sit in my workroom and work on pieces in which I am interested. I don’t get a regular influx of other people’s ideas except from the web. The web is good, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think it is enough sometimes. OR I am not cruising round enough.