February 10, 2013

On the Fly

We're well into February, and I'm still not finished with 2012.  As I visited my favorite blogs last month, many people were sharing their New Year's resolutions, and some had even chosen a single word to define their expectations and goals for 2013.  If I had a word, I'm afraid it would have to be something like "unpredictable" or "chaos," so I'll pass on the word thing.  If I had made any resolutions, I'm sure I would have already failed to follow them, so I'm happy to have not spent time thinking about it.  I'll just keep doing it on the fly and hope it all works out. 

And today, on the fly, I'm sharing pictures of Courthouse Steps, my first finished quilt of 2013, as well as a little about my process.  Sometimes I work on projects that I'm not able to share along the way, so I'd like to be better about doing that when I can.  That isn't a resolution, mind you.  It's just a thought. :-)

This is part of the fabric "audition."  Some of these fabrics made it; some didn't.  I gathered every fabric that I hoped would work -- yardage and scraps alike -- and sorted them by value (light and dark).  There were more baskets and more auditions, and eventually I settled on a huge pile of fabrics that I pressed and cut into 1 1/2" strips, one strip from each fabric.

For some of you, cutting is just a necessary task that gets you to the fun part.  I kind of enjoy it.  Probably too much.  I like to cut every piece, plus a few extra, before sewing the blocks together.

Had I thought ahead about discussing my "process,"  I would have taken more pictures of the block construction.  I like to sew in an assembly-line fashion, constructing at least five or six blocks at a time.  Check out the picture of my design wall, and you'll see that I'm a little fussy neurotic about arranging all the pieces before sewing them together.   

Do you do this, too?  (Just say yes, even if you don't.)  I like to spread out the large-scale prints and the bold "screamers" so they're not in the same area of the quilt.  If I arrange the pieces before sewing the blocks willy-nilly, I'm always happier with the arrangement, and I don't have to think about it any more.  And while I'm not thinking about it, I can simultaneously watch (or half watch, half listen to) an entire season of Homeland.  For the second time. 

Part of my process includes moving the cat around the room until we find a place where he's content to sleep while I quilt the layers together.  It's hard enough dragging a quilt through the little opening in the sewing machine.  When there's a 12-pound cat sitting on the quilt, it gets a little dangerous for both of us.  Cat hair in the lint filter isn't so bad, but having to explain to the vet how I managed to sew his tail to the quilt would just be embarrassing.   

The stats:
Blocks:  11" finished
Size:  55 1/2" x 66 1/2"
Batting:  Warm & Natural, 100% cotton
Quilting Design:  Free-motion paisley

Do you enjoy hand-stitching the binding?  I enjoy doing it, but I love the feel of it even more.  Once the binding is on the edge, it begins to feel like a quilt.       

This one now lives with a dear man who has promised to use and enjoy it.  And for me, that's just the best part of making a quilt. 

I hope you all have a terrific week and find plenty of time to play.