OK - I don't know whether it was the Sew Shine WIP Challenge or the fact that I was on vacation, but I've finished yet another quilt. Maybe it was the timing of the two. Who knows - but whatever it was, I'm on a roll and I'm loving the momentum I'm feeling. Sorta like a dieter who has lost her first two pounds - it's inspiring me to keep moving!!
Yesterday, I finished the last stitches on my husband's coffee quilt - a quilt over a year in the making!!
He and I are avid coffee drinkers - though not coffee snobs - and when I saw this collection at a quilt show last spring (2010!) I wanted to make a quilt for him. The panels have the cutest sayings...my favorite is "Without coffee 'Good Morning' is an oxymoron." Oh, so true.
This is also the first quilt I designed on my own - sort of. The outer ring is a block that was featured onMoose on the Porch Quilts as part of a sampler sew-along. (Just FYI for inquiring minds - it's Block #2.) I didn't do all the blocks, but of the few I did, this one was my favorite. It was simple and quick!
The inner four blocks are my own. I wanted to highlight the panels, so I measured and cut them, then worked with the remaining prints and panel scraps to make the blocks fit. It's basically a wonky nine-patch, with the middle "row" being much thicker. If I remember right - and forgive me for not actually measuring - the panel cuts were 6-ish inch squares and the outer rows about 3.5".
I pieced the back, out of sheer necessity.
Because I didn't have a clue as to what I was going to do with the fabric when I bought it, I bought what I thought was enough. All I knew is I wanted a lap quilt. The lady at the fabric booth helped the best she could with estimates, but let's face it - she didn't have much to work with!! By the time the quilt top was finished, I had a veritable mountain of turquoise, brown, and cream scraps, but not enough floral to cover the back. And I had no binding...something that apparently slipped my mind back then. (But hey - I had only finished two quilts at that point and both were under the watchful guidance of a teacher at my LQS.)
So, a few weekends ago, I sat down with my graph paper, pencil and eraser and got to work. After about three hours, I finally had a combo that would both use my scraps and leave me enough for binding.
The next struggle was the quilting, which is no news to those who have read my previous grumblings about the actual quilting step. I had decided long ago that I would straight-line quilt, but I wasn't sure how to do it with the seams between the two blocks (the outer and inner rings) not even. I finally decided to start in the middle and quilt a square spiral in the center section and then parallel the seams in the outer ring blocks. Except for running out of top thread a little over two-thirds of the way through, it went pretty smoothly. I prepped and attached the binding, then packed it up for my beach trip.
As I was finishing it, I couldn't help but think about how much has changed in a year. The quilt show (where I purchased the fabric) was in May 2010 and I had only "restarted" my quilting in January. I had not found any of the blogs I follow and had never heard of "modern quilting". I hadn't started this blog, either.
Shortly after starting this quilt, I began falling in love with quilts from people like Rita, Rachel, and Julie - who I still admire to the point of near stalking. They had a crisp, clean look that often made me catch my breath (and still do!). I began seeing that, yes, it is ok to use solids in a quilt and - gasp - I liked it! I found straight-line stitching and gave it a try. I started perusing websites more and more, and my list of must-read blogs and must-try projects continued to grow. I grew, too. And it makes me wonder what my style will be like next year.
Looking back, I'm not sure I would have made the same quilt today as I started back then (even though "back then" was only a year ago). Not that I don't like it. I love it... it's cozy and warm and I love the chocolate/turquoise combo. It's incredibly special to me because it's for my husband, my schmookie. It's themed around a quiet cup of coffee, one of the simple pleasures we both adore. I know it will get lots of use.
But, for now, it's back to packing. We leave this beautiful piece of heaven tomorrow. I swear the weeks go by faster each year. Fortunately, the weeks in between trips seem to go just as fast. I leave here refreshed and rejuvenated - just the way it should be - and I'm already looking forward to next year.