Friday, January 03, 2014

The "No Deadline" Christmas Project

I really try to avoid deadlines for my quilting. I find that deadlines are meant to be broken and are very nerve racking; thus, my NO deadline guideline! (If you've just read my last two blogs, you can see how much I follow my own guideline!!!)

The only way to avoid deadlines when making something for Christmas is to accept that a project could take a few years. Although I’m not committing to having this particular project completed by this Christmas, it’s got a fair chance of happening.

I started a Christmas throw two Christmas seasons ago. It's the Hearthside Quintet designed byKathy Brown, from the McCall's Quick Quilts (December /January 2011) magazine and I fell in love. I've already mentioned that I’m not very good at planning quilting projects (maybe because I was a planner many moons ago) and this project was no exception.
The middle block is my favourite fabric

Year 1 (2011)
I started with my favourite fabric, which I thought I would have enough of, if I was very careful. I also needed green, red and gold for the blocks and then black for the border. That first year, before Christmas, I cut out everything I had in the fabrics I chose. It wasn't a scrappy quilt, therefore all of the green, etc. were supposed to be of the same fabric. I thought that I could buy some closely matching Christmas fabric after the holidays (on sale!) but there was nothing to be found. I did make notes about what I was missing and put the project away until the next November.

Year 2 (2012)
Armed with fabric swatches of the blocks I had cut out, I searched for those matching fabrics. I got very lucky, except that I hadn't really calculated how much fabric I needed! It’s that planning thing again! I was able to make almost all of the blocks – except for a couple. Since there were no more of those fabrics in the stores, I checked my Christmas scraps bag and found enough fabric to piece the blocks together. In a huge quilt, who's going to notice a couple of extra seams?

I thought about creating a fancy backing for the quilt. I bought some fabric with cardinals on it that went really well with the quilt, but when I showed it to my daughter, she said those birds looked very angry! Not exactly the look I was going for, so I ended up piecing the back so that the cardinals wouldn't be as obvious. I sandwiched the quilt and started hand quilting it.

Year 3 (2013)
I finished the hand quilting-in-the-ditch in November but it really needed something else. There are too many large areas that are not quilted. A friend suggested that I quilt a holly leaf in each of the outside corners of the block. So far, I've quilted about half of them!

I found the perfect pattern to quilt in the border. It's a large ribbon with a bow. No matter what I put there, it won't really show, so I wanted something fairly quick and easy. It's coming out great. I have one side of the quilt border finished! (What can I say, I get bored quickly these days.) For the centre squares of each block, I'll be quilting different Christmas things such as ornaments, snow flakes, trees, etc.

I was also lucky to find fabric that matched my borders (2 years later). The borders are holly leaves and berries. The fabric I found is darker but has the same design. Last night I cut and sewed on the binding. That was my objective this year - to bind the quilt and then to eventually finish quilting it. I'm going to keep hand quilting it this winter...who knows, maybe it will get finished (although it will be 2014 by then!) Stay tuned - I'll post an update when it's finally done!

What I learned:
  • Even if I don't plan projects well, there are many ways to adapt. Let's face it, I'm not creating a masterpiece here, just enjoying myself while creating pretty, useful things!
  • Taking the time to write out notes at the end of the first year was a life saver. A year later, I didn't have to spend a lot of time figuring out what to do. I hope I keep doing this!
  • I'm glad I figured out that I could piece some of the pieces of the blocks. In a huge quilt, it really doesn't show. Isn't that what our ancestors did when they quilted....made do with what they had?!
  • Although I've been working on this project for three years, I still love it. Maybe it's because I only have it out a few months of the year.  I love the pattern, the fabrics and the colours.

I wish you all a great 2014! May it be filled with fun times with friends and family as well as quality quilting time - alone and/or with friends!

2 comments:

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