Whew. A few days ago I was about to do something else, and before I knew it was sitting under an enormous half-finished quilt with a big blister on my finger. It was like I accidentally stepped into the fairy circle, then was further tempted to eat one of their little cakes (even though I know you should refuse all offers of food there!). And so then they just kept me for a while, and made me sew. And sew and sew. Yes. I think that's what happened. I was under a spell.
I do remember that it was pouring rain for several days straight. It was a rain spell. At times I think I had almost every light in the house on just so we could see what we were doing. The sun came out just for a short, glorious while on Saturday afternoon. Andy came into the studio with me and played video games on his phone while I went from cutting table to sewing machine to ironing board, and back again. I just kept adding patches to patches patches. In all honesty, seriously, this quilt top came together faster than any quilt I have ever made. If you really look at it, once all the pieces have been cut, it's just a matter of putting it together like a puzzle, and many of the patches are BIG. I left a few of the big long pieces uncut until closer to the end, when I knew whether groups of vertically pieced patches were going to match up to groups of horizontally patched pieces. (Sometimes they did, sometimes they didn't.) If they didn't (and if they didn't it was, luckily, never by too much), I just added a bit to some other piece that I hadn't cut yet so that the collective group of patches was still the right length, or width. It came together exactly like the diagram except in a couple of places, like where my little green blocks didn't get done in the right order, and I needed to add a strip to the bottom of the log cabin column because it was way too short (and I still don't really know why). As each part came together, I was very happy. I thought it all looked so pretty together. Thank you to anyone who was here over the weekend with me! Your comments were cracking me up bad! That was really fun.
When I first started to cut all of the patches, before I stitched them together, I basically printed out a diagram of what I had drawn, so I knew exactly which patches I needed. As I cut them (randomly, from some new fabrics and from my stash), I crossed them off. So by the time I started sewing I had all sorts of little piles, labeled with sticky notes: 16" x 4", 4" x 4", 58" x 2", etc. Almost all of the patches are 2", 4", or 8" wide. The grid made it easy to see the exact size of each patch, and I just added 1/2" for seam allowances to both the length and the width before I cut. As I finished each strip or section, I hung it in front of the sliding glass door and then I sat and looked at it to figure out where to put some of the darker colors, so that they were a little bit balanced. I didn't plan which fabrics to use where in any sort of labored way, and they just sort of fell where they did. I didn't follow the chart color-wise at all, expect for a few places like the big gray boxes, and the navy-and-green mini stripes.
When the top was all finished I realized that I wanted it to be even bigger than it was, so I added a 4" border all the way around. The binding will be some kind of mustard yellow, or maybe brown. The back is a patched mix of really beautiful cotton lawns — in fact, there is a ton of cotton lawn in this quilt, from Liberty prints to some from my friend Anna to various stuff I've collected over the years. I don't know how well it will all wear, but oh dearie me is it dreamy to touch and work with. It also has made the sandwich so light. I used Dream Wool for the batting (which is what I used for my log cabin quilt). They say you can stitch up to 8" apart on it. I love it. It makes the whole thing feel like a big puffy comforter. I prefer that so much to flatter, cotton-filled quilts. Firstly, it's so much lighter and loftier. Secondly, I just like the way it looks more poufy when it's all finished. Thirdly, It's seriously warm. I was sitting under it (with all its pins in it) last night with just my thin nightgown on and I was toasty.
To finish it, I've decided to tie it. I was thinking of having it professionally quilted, but then I decided that I really just wanted this project to be all mine. It felt like me, and I wanted to keep it close to me. It will take much, much longer to tie than the top did to put together, I think. I'm going to use all sorts of different colors — to match the background fabrics — of embroidery floss. I don't want them to show up too much. Not sure exactly what kind of arrangement I will tie it all in yet. I'll work on the binding first. I stitch that by machine on front and by hand on back. It's about, oh, eleven yards of binding, so that will take me quite a while. But at least I can do it while I'm sitting under it.
Oh — I almost forgot about the cross-stitched patch I made for the back with my initials. It only seemed fair to make a cross-stitched patch, though I didn't actually think of it until the back cloth was all pieced together. So I used 14-count waste canvas and sort of centered it on there. I ran out of room, so although it was supposed to say 4-1-12, I just had it say 4-12 for month and year. I expect to be working on the second half (finishing) through April. Though knowing me I may become possessed again and in that case I can't say what will happen.
Did you notice the woodpecker (I think it's a Nuttall's woodpecker? Downy woodpecker — thank you!) in the second photo? I took these pictures from the house, so I was quite far away from the birds.