A Big Ta Da!

The Big UFO in the basement is no more. The Big WIP in the basement is no more. Instead, Janni’s Woven Stars is now a finished quilt.

Here it is on our bed. It is huge (88 1/2″ X 106″ or thereabouts), so I had some problems figuring out how to photograph it. And, no, I don’t think I would put it in my bedroom, the shade of blue that it is. But it is not staying here anyway.

Here is a side view.

I tried hanging it over the railing in the living room, but, as you can see in the picture below, you don’t even see half of it.

This quilt looks better from a distance than it does close up. Now that it is done and I am not closely examining mistakes every day, I do think it looks kind of nice. 
I learned three big lessons from this quilt. Well, that is not exactly true. I learned two lessons from the quilt itself and one lesson after I had marked it and begun the quilting. Want to know what the lessons are? Keep reading – yes, there will be more pictures.
Lesson #1 – I have mentioned this one before. Don’t take four years to complete a quilt, because your quilting improves and then you have less respect for the quilt you are working on that you started so long ago. (Yes, I have mentioned this one before.) This was the first quilt I ever did that was set on point and I did not deal well with the setting triangles which resulted in the cut off points like these:
I have gotten better at them now, which is a good thing because this year’s church quilt requires them! But working on the hand quilting was much less enjoyable because I kept seeing the mistakes in the quilt that I wouldn’t make if I were piecing it now.
Lesson #2 – (This is the one I did not exactly learn from the quilt itself.) Quilting should be kind of evenly spaced and should fit the shape of the quilt. The borders and setting triangles of this quilt have elaborate curvy motifs which leave big gaps in the quilting between the motifs. Not the best look. Simple crosshatching might have been better used. 

(I guess maybe you can’t really see them.)

Lesson #3 – Pay attention to details – all of them. This quilt was the first quilt I ever put on my “new” four rail frame. I probably hurried too much putting it on because there are places where the backing is a little wrinkly and the batting bunched up in a couple of places. Sigh. I know that I was very anxious to get started quilting, but I should have been more careful.

The other place I should have been more careful is in the marking of the motifs.

I hope you can see these. The two motifs are not at exactly the same angle. Although you can’t see the border, there is no rhyme or reason to how these are arranged. “Somebody” should have really been more careful. Really.
I don’t think hand quilting a queen-sized quilt will always take me four years. (After all, I took at least a year off and let every other project under the sun take precedence over this one.) However, the next quilt that goes on the hand quilting frame will be a bit smaller. Maybe that won’t take me four years!
Quilt on!

Wovens

So this is just a brief post to catch you up on what I’ve been doing lately.

Mostly at home I’ve been working on finishing the quilting on this:

I am actually on the last border row so it looks more like I will be done with the hand quilting by tomorrow! Yay!

I have also done my very first paper piecing:

I still have a long way to go, but it is a start!

At work, I have been pretty busy, but I did manage to complete 48 of these:

Now I need to trim them up and attach them to the 12 blocks of the American Beauty BOM.
So far, you may be wondering what the title of this post means. Well, now you get to find out!
The other day I was thinking about the three quilts that have taken up most of my time this year: Janni’s Woven Star (for which the pattern was named Woven Star), the church quilt (for which the pattern is named Woven Links), and the quilt being paper pieced for my niece’s wedding (for which the pattern is named Woven Double Wedding Ring). Anyone else see a trend here? It makes me wonder if there is something I am supposed to be learning from all this. Or is it just a weird coincidence. After all, I didn’t chose the pattern for any of these by myself. 
What do you think?

Today’s Accomplishments

Well, another day of work. We had staff meeting today, so that took up a bit of my time. And I still had more people to catch up with so… I still didn’t get a whole lot of sewing done. But I did get eight of these done:

Of course, I still have forty more to go. And the pressing and the trimming. These will be added to all 12 of the blocks for this quilt. And the flash really washed out the fabric in this picture.
I guess I could sew these more quickly by machine, but if I have machine sewing time, I’d like to be working on my paper piecing project. And if I’m sewing by hand at home, I’d like to spend as much of that time hand quilting the big WIP in the Basement. To slow things down a bit, it looks like I will be helping with a big project at work in addition to my regular duties so… less sewing time. But I’m not complaining! I like my job and like the idea of being more helpful there. 
That being said, I still hope to have two big finishes in the next month or so. Actually, there is every possibility that I could complete 4 bed sized quilts (3 queens and a twin) in the first 6 months of this year! Whew! I will be so amazed with myself! (Of course, it hasn’t actually happened yet.)

Name Change

Where are my brains?

I have been calling the quilt I’m handquilting the big UFO in the basement. When I took more than a year off from working on it, that was an apt name for it, but since I’ve been working on it pretty steadily, it is obviously a WIP.

Now I will adjust the resolutions in the sidebar here!

Quilt on!

End of 2011 and Random Thoughts

Since this is the end of 2011, it is time to evaluate my 2011 Quilty Resolutions.  So, here goes!

  1. Finish the Big UFO in my basement. Good news: There has been significant progress made. Bad news: It is not done yet and becomes 2012 Quilty Resolutions #1.
  2. Finish the photo quilt – Completed last February!
  3. Finish the American Beauty BOM – Well, I am almost done with block 12, the last block – but there is still much to do before it is a completed quilt. This becomes 2012 Quilty Resolutions #2.
  4. Go to the Paducah AQS show – Completed and enjoyed! Due to my work schedule it may be a while before I go to Paducah again, but in 2012 there is a show in Grand Rapids, MI which is not too far away.
  5. Finish the quilt for my husband – didn’t even touch it. I have decided that that one needs to wait until I learn something about Free Motion Quilting before I attempt it. I probably won’t even move this to the 2012 list. He doesn’t really know it exists anyway.
  6. Things I did that were not on the Quilty Resolutions List – started two quilts to go on the twin beds in the guest room and completed one. Organized the two quilts for the church auction. Bought a new sewing machine. Began studio reorganization. 

I guess this brings us to 2012’s resolutions.

  1. Finish the big UFO in my basement.
  2. Complete the quilt for my niece’s May wedding.
  3. Finish the American Beauty BOM.
  4. Complete the studio organization.
  5. Learn something about FMQ and quilt at least one small project.
  6. Complete the second twin quilt for the guest room.

Numbers 2, 3, and 6 will be quilted by a longarmer unless a miracle happens and I really take to FMQ. Just saying. I enjoy quilting by hand too much.

On the bright side (maybe) – I only have 6 UFOs! I think that is pretty cool. Unless the Fat Quarter Shop Designer Mystery BOM (which I haven’t even started) counts, in which case I have 7. And one of those is a table runner which I am planning to use to fulfill #5. So….

All’s Well That Ends Well!

Look what came yesterday!

Yes that is my package from Heirloom Quilting with what I purchased with my $100 gift certificate! And the picture below shows exactly what I purchased. Lots of pre-cuts, a yard each of blue and lilac (which I will probably use as if they are neutrals) and lots of batik fat quarters! Yay!

The Fat Quarter Shop enticed me beyond my ability to resist with a big Fairy Frost sale, and 13 one yard cuts of that arrived yesterday also! Now, I just need to start using all of this marvelous fabric!
I was a bit productive yesterday and today, quiltwise that is. (The Christmas tree is still not up and I have not made fudge or cookies or shopped for groceries for the weekend yet!)  I put in a few hours handquilting the big UFO in the basement. When my eyes and fingers got tired from that tonight, I actually sorted some fabric into some of the plastic storage drawers I purchased a month or so ago. Maybe I’ll get the batiks sorted tomorrow!
Quilt on!

This Is Why

One should never take three years to quilt a quilt.

I know that if I were piecing this quilt today there would be real corners here. I have gotten so much better. But I pieced it (in somewhat of a hurry) more than three years ago. Then I started quilting it. Then I took a break for more than a year. Then I worked on it very sporadically between church quilt pressure. Now I am trying to get this quilt (AKA the big UFO in the basement) finished soooon! Or by the end of this year at the very least. Sigh. But whenever I quilt and see these it makes me sad.

On the brighter side, the points of the actual stars on this quilt all came out pretty well.