I am writing this up on Monday morning and scheduling it for release on Wednesday morning. I’ve kept my actions hidden since Wednesday night, last week and am keeping mum on this up until Wednesday morning.
“Why would you keep quiet for an entire week?”
The General’s Wives
I’m glad you asked! You see, my WIP this week is actually already finished. It was a quilt kit given to me for Christmas last year and, up until Wednesday, the 11th, I refused to do it. I was scared of royally screwing it up. However, I’m looking at Christmas coming and, if I want to ask for another such kit (it cost over $260 for the kit!), I have to get this one done! The above picture is what the finished quilt should look like.
I steeled myself and pulled the kit out of its hiding spot in my bedroom (not my quilt room, it was too precious) and set out all the fabric and papers telling me what to do. The boys were at church on Wednesday and it seemed a good idea at the time. It was an unruly mess, at first. I sorted things and looked at the papers but did no sewing at all.
The above picture is the first of 13 blocks that need to be created to make this beautiful queen sized quilt. The quilt is called, “The General’s Wives” and each block has a story behind it about one of the many General’s wives of American history. The kit was sold as a complete unit (minus the backing) at a local quilt store. They originally did it as a “Block of the Month” quilt. I wasn’t a part of that but got the entire kit, all at once, for Christmas last year.
On Thursday, I did the first block. It didn’t seem too difficult so I ended up doing 5 more for a total of 6 of the 13 blocks on Thursday.
Block 6 starts, as usual, with cutting out the pieces required. There are size measurements of what you need to cut and then a diagram on how to piece it together. This is the beginning of piecing it. There are 40 fabric pieces here that need to be assembled.
After all the itty-bitty squares are created, it’s time to assemble the block. As you can, even after sewing all the tiny pieces, there are still quite a few pieces to sew together into the block itself. You can see 28 pieces here that I still need to sew.
Block 6 is done! My goal was to do 3 a day and finish the top on Monday. Mark comes home from work on Wednesday morning, so my goal was to finish before then and surprise him. Doing six on the first day really put me ahead of the game!
Whenever he called, I would tell him I was “piddling around.” He wanted to know what I was doing but I refused to answer him directly. He said he expected the “big reveal on Sunday” and even put an appointment in his calendar to that effect. I redirected him and he never did ask – even though I was done with this by Saturday night. It became a joke between Jen and I – would he figure it out?
He probably did, even though I really never gave any indication of what I was doing. I’m glad he choose not to say he figured it out. That would have really hurt my feelings. I don’t want to know if he knew.
All six done before bed (about 11:30 p.m.) on Thursday night. I did it! I took a sleeping pill – my back hurt from being on my feet all day – and passed out. When I got up on Friday, I set out to try and get 3 more done before the end of the day. They were getting hard! The top right one on that picture started at 49 pieces to cut, piece into squares and then assemble!
Friday night, roughly the same time as Thursday, I had the 13 blocks done. The 13th isn’t shown because it wasn’t really “done.” I was supposed to applique 5 stars on a plain piece of fabric. There’s no way I’m going to try and applique the stars. I am actually thinking of having someone embroider the stars on the fabric for me before turning the quilt into the quilter. We’ll see how it goes.
My friend called and invited me out to dinner and a movie on Saturday night. Typically, I would jump at the chance for an adult night out but I had to decline this time. I was on a roll, assembling the quilt together and did not want to stop. It really looked like I would be done before I went to bed on Saturday night! He did end up bringing dessert to the house for me and the family – and to check out why I would refuse to go out with him. It was awesome to see the look on his face at what I had created.
I didn’t get started until 2:30 in the afternoon on assembling the quilt, after spending the morning with my boys at Farmer’s Market and other things going on around town. I had it completely assembled and laying on my bed by 10 p.m.
When I woke up on Sunday, I took the quilt top outside to get a really good picture. While taking the picture, I realized I had put the very first strip (top of this picture) upside down! The triangles were facing the wrong way! Look at the bottom and then the top to understand. I spent a good portion of Sunday morning unstitching those blocks (o’so carefully!) and then piecing them back in. I did not take off all of the borders to do this – just enough to get to what I needed to fix. By noon or so, I was done.
Now look at the top again – compare the two pictures. Do you see what I mean about messing up the top corners? All better! Also, you can see the empty block in the center. I really need to find someone to embroider the stars there for me. I am not doing the applique!
This quilt is being considered my crowning achievement as a quilter. I don’t think I’ve ever done anything as difficult or beautiful. I’m terribly proud of me and have been showing/telling everyone about it – while keeping it an absolute secret from Mark.
However, that’s not all I did. That one took me 3 days and I was itching to do more. I pulled out the “Skill Builder” quilt I purchased at JoAnn’s here in town and decided to finish this one. I had 7 of 12 blocks done when I set it aside so many months ago. I went to bed at midnight on Sunday and I was down to attaching the borders at that point. I got the other blocks done and assembled the entire top before midnight. I was very impressed with myself.
The only part I am really upset about is the center piece. It really is awful. There is no way to take the puckers out. I’m hoping my friend Ron (he does my quilting) can find a way to hide that disaster when he quilts the top for me.
Can I say, “That’s not all”??? I’ve been busy. My hands have never felt better and I’m definitely using them as much as I can before they start to hurt again. The cortisone shot really did me good!
The center pieces of this wall hanging were done by ladies of the quilt guild. We did a block exchange. I made 13 of those 4 corners you see and then swapped with them (way back at the beginning of the year?) to get different pieces from them. I found a way to show the pieces off – I put theirs in the center and decorated with the ones I created. This just needs a back (probably white) and quilted as a beautiful wall hanging of just a small throw.
That’s pretty much it. It was a lot and I had a lot of fun (except for the center of the second quilt top – it looks awful). Mark’ll be in town on Wednesday and that’s when this post will come out. He should have gotten to the house before this post posts and will have seen them in person. I’m off the computer to go play with more fabric before the urge dies away. I mean, really – I’m on a roll!
UPDATE (Tuesday night, 10 p.m.): Well, I’ve finished another quilt top. Do y’all remember the WIP I did back in April where I decided to try the “new” way of making half square triangles? I started sewing the green and black together but never did finish. Since this was a WIP and I was on a roll with getting things accomplished, I took it out. Jen helped by pinning all the pieces together so I wouldn’t mess it up too royally sewing it (10 of each color, 4 colors) and, on Monday morning, I sewed all the squares and cut them up. I ironed them and we set them aside. On Monday night, I sat and drew pattern after pattern on my graph paper, trying to come up with a decent idea for using the blocks.
Finally, I took them downstairs and used my design board to set up a pattern. I decided to just sew them together and see what I came up with after that was done. On Tuesday night (about 8 p.m.), I sat down at my machine and started. I used two colors per “block” and two blocks for each color set – a total of 4 blocks, two of each color set. It is now 10:30 p.m. and we are finished sewing them into a top. I was going to make 4 “blocks” and then sew 2 of them back to back to make a reversible quilt. Halfway through sewing them together, I had a brilliant idea! I would sew all 4 blocks together and see what happened.
It’s 72″ x 72″ and I’m hoping to add a border or two so I can make it fit a queen sized bed. I love the way the colors came together at the end. Tomorrow, in the daylight, I’ll try and do a better picture so you can actually see the colors involved.
As we’re prepping to show off to Mark, we came up with the idea of showcasing a few of the quilt tops I created these past 5 days. When he walks in the front door, that’s the first thing he’ll see. Jen helped me hang it from the ceiling right at the front door. We padded the fabric to keep it from tearing by adding fabric to the front and back of it before pinning.
A beautiful sight, if you ask me. I can’t wait to add the back and have it quilted. This one is definitely going on my bed! It looks amazing with dark wood of my bed frame.
After walking in the front door and ooh’ing and ahh’ing over that quilt top, he’ll glance to the left and see the next one, hanging on the wall where my Amish Bars has been showcased for the past 6 months or more.
Following that, if he walks into the living room any distance at all, he’ll see the latest I created…
I’m hoping he is suitably impressed with what I’ve managed to create in the past 5 days. Jen got the house all cleaned up as if nothing happened tonight and we’re watching a movie before going to bed. I’m so excited to show him what I’ve accomplished, I’m sure I won’t be able to sleep but I’ll try in an hour or so.