Some quilts take a year to finish. This is one of them.
At the beginning of 2015, I had an idea of using up some fabrics from my stash in a color spectrum quilt of some sort. You know me and the color spectrum, after all.
With an Alison Glass quilt as my inspiration (I didn't realize there was an actual pattern until I was nearly finished with mine! Of course I didn't!) I started by gathering the fabrics I had from red to purple, and cutting them in various lengths to create feathers (I also saw arrow quills as I stared and stared and STARED at them for days, then months). This was one of my favorite parts, as I had time to think about each piece of fabric, when it originated, how I used it, etc. Turns out I can be fairly sentimental when given the chance!
(Jan 30, 2015)
(Jan 31, 2015)
I had more of the red/pink/orange than anything else, and soon my 5-row arrow quills became 4-row arrow quills. It's cool!
(Feb 3, 2015)
(Feb 9, 2015)
All during the process of arrow quill-making, I knew I had to find a background color that would really make the bright colors pop. No more white background for me, at least not then! I decided to be BOLD and go dark gray instead.
(Feb 17, 2015)
Oh, if only it were as simple as laying the pieces on the gray and calling it good! Instead, I had to create tiny little strips of gray for all my in-betweens, then somehow sew everything together while maintaining the clean, vertical lines. It was about this time that I wondered if a pattern were available and, upon finding one, saw how one was REALLY supposed to do this kind of thing. Turns out it's easier to hook everything together via paper piecing, then chop it all off together to create those nice verticals! Too bad for me, as I'd already cut everything out by then, and had to continue with my painstaking strategy instead. Again, it's cool! I continue to be me!
(March 11, 2015)
(Notice a few switch-outs in the green and blue at this point. Others were too dark for dark gray background!)
After all those teeny tiny grays, it was time to add long gray rows. This is the funniest part about quilting. I took that huge piece of gray material, cut it into 10 pieces, then sewed it back together again!
(March 20, 2015)
Adding top, sides, and bottom was the next step. By this point I was a little tired of looking at all those colors. (So much for sentimentality!) We took it outside, snapped a picture, then I put it away for a few weeks.
(March 24, 2015)
In the meantime, I saved my money and bought batting and backing. The backing (which you can see here at the moment) went first to my old house in Florida, then back to California before making its third and final cross-country trip to SC. It was at this point in the journey I learned one should update one's Paypal account address more than once every 3 years!
(May 9, 2015)
Even though I sewed half the backing right side up next to the other half upside down, I called it good and made the sandwich. Then I took deep breaths, put it away again, and went in search of the right thread to do the hand quilting.
I found it here:
(June 17, 2015)
During my 2nd annual dream-come-true trip with these wonderful gals:
The thread was this awesome array of pearl cotton in BRIGHT red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Oh man I loved that thread. I had to sit and stare at it for a few months before I could even start the process. Too pretty to mess with.
I finally started the hand quilting (long straight rows around each set of arrow quills, then on the outside gray, another set of "transparent" arrows) around the beginning of October. Here's a little preview of the finished product, so you can see the looooooong lines of beauty.
It is here my tale takes a disastrous turn. During an out-of-town trip in early November, I LOST MY BAG OF PEARL COTTON THREAD. I was 4/5 of the way through the quilting, BUT I WAS NOT DONE. And try as I might, I couldn't find those exact colors anywhere. Not at any stores, not online, nowhere. Now, that's not to say they weren't findable. I'm sure it would have been rather easy for the average thread-searcher, actually. However, I am hopeless at the online shopping world (as showcased in my earlier story about the backing fabric mix-up), and these threads just weren't getting found, not by me.
Well, the darn quilt might not have ever gotten finished had I not heard in early January about a special family who could really use a quilt to brighten up their lives! Once I realized they might enjoy this beauty, it was easy to finish. Turns out, I had regular ol' thread in my quilting stash that pretty much matched the fancy thread colors. And in fact, once quilted, I couldn't even see the difference. Silly me! Insert sheepish shrug here. I quilted and binded and washed this happy thing in about a week and voila! A finished quilt.
(January 23, 3016)
(rainbow binding, of course!)
One might think I'd want to hang on to this pretty thing for just a bit before sending it off to our special friends. But seriously, I'd had it long enough, don't you think? Soren did sneak in a nap with it though. Who can blame him?
(Ashley C., tell your mama I used my first mermade label on the back! Thanks to both of you!)