Monday, March 10, 2008

Another Sewing Project

Cleaning a sewing room can cause a chain reaction response. As I sorted, decluttered, organized and otherwise sanitized my studio, I uncovered a long-neglected project (okay, a bunch of long-neglected projects or LNP's) that just inspired me to keep the sewing machine humming for a little longer.

The fabrics for this quilt were purchased while we were on vacation in Colorado 4 years ago, with a master bedroom quilt in mind. Being that I share that MBR with a pretty special fella, he helped select the fabrics and pattern for this particular quilt. With characteristic enthusiasm and energy, I managed to design the quilt in my Electric Quilt software, print the paper-piecing patterns (106 of them) and cut the strips in the first week home from vacation.

Once I started the sewing process, though, my enthusiasm was somewhat dampened. Being an assembly line seamstress, my plan was to do one step to all the blocks before proceeding to the next step. If you are familiar with the log cabin block construction, you know that you start in the center and work your way out. The red center is sewn to the first strip, pressed open and trimmed. Then you rotate the block 90 degrees and add another strip, then another, working around and around until you've added all the "logs" to the block.

Thus, when I started step one and worked my way through all the blocks, it took nearly 3 hours to finish the 100+ blocks. To add ONE STRIP to all the blocks took three hours! Hmmmm, well, maybe I'd streamline the process and find shortcuts.

Well, I did and I managed to pare the time down to just over 2 hours per step. However, being the somewhat flighty and fickle crafter that I am, I eventually drifted away from the quilt. Occasionally, (usually when I'd done some cleaning and rediscovered the LNP) I'd get a burst of energy and start working on it again. Then my interest would flag and the inspiration would fizzle and it would disappear into the LNP pile again.

Well, this time when I rediscovered the LNP, I realized I had only three strips or "logs" left to add. That was under 8 hours of work left (allowing time for me to stumble along until I remembered all the short cuts and streamlining stuff from before).

Anyhow, thus the frenzy was upon me again and I spent all this past weekend plugging away on LNP and I finished all the blocks on Sunday. I spent a few hours laying them out, making sure that no two blocks had matching fabrics touching and managed to get half of the quilt assembled this morning. Another couple of hours will see the main body of the quilt together, then a few more hours to design and add some borders and I'll have a complete quilt top.

Of course, wrestling around half the quilt while assembling the rows of blocks has reminded me how physically grueling the task of machine quilting a queen-size quilt can be. However, I'm steeling myself to stay strong and not let a little worry or self-doubt cause this project to migrate back into the LNP pile.

Of course, I'm counting on all of you to periodically remind me of my promise to finish the quilt - you know, just for some encouragement.

Or nagging - whatever it takes to finish this baby.


Carrie said...

It's really really pretty! I think it feels good to get projects that have been tossed aside completed.
Have you thought about sending it out to be quilted?

Ellen said...

That is gorgeous! My late mother-in-law made quilts for us and the girls but died before making one for Youngest Child. That task has fallen to me - but it's been slow going so far. Maybe I shouldn't keep my sewing machine in the same room as the yarn stash . . .

Guinifer said...

You are so close! Nag. Nag, nag, nag!

livnletlrn said...

Paper piecing is new to me/us. I thought it was best used for piecing odd shapes together. Why did you choose to use it for a log cabin?

Beautiful design, BTW!