Today’s guest post comes from Joanna of Slate Falls Press. Joanna is one half of the creative talent behind the incredibly beautiful Phoebe’s Sweater and today she’s here to share her adventures in leading a Quilt-A-Long for a spool quilt, inspired by lovable little Phoebe.
Inspired by a fellow knitter and quilter on Ravelry, I decided to try something new this fall. Kristy was interested in a Phoebe’s Spool Quilt Quilt-a-long (QAL), which I thought was a great idea. So it got me thinking…how to go about it? As much as I adore Ravelry, it isn’t the place for a sew-along, so I decided to host it on our website/blog.
I proceeded to create a set of rules and expectations for myself, which seemed quite reasonable when I wrote them up nearly four weeks ago:
Phoebe’s Spool Quilt stash-to-quilt stash-busting Challenge QAL:
1. November Quilt challenge- create a Phoebe’s Spool Quilt during the month of November, posting plans, photos, and progress here as I go.
2. NaBloPoMo- blogging every day this month as I go through the process.
3. This is a pure stash-busting project. No trips to the store, not for thread, fabric, needles, or batting. I need to create the entire quilt from what I have socked away here in my studio.
4. My goal is to create a twin-sized quilt for our daughter, pieced, sandwiched, quilted, and bound, in one month.
27 days later… let’s see how I am doing!
I started out, like any good quilter does, with sketches, plans, and some math. I decided to create a quilt slightly larger than I originally designed for the book, to make a twin-sized quilt for our 11 year-old daughter for Christmas.
Next up- working exclusively with stashed fabrics. My very first quilt was a crazy quilt created from a bag of leftover scraps from a friend who is a seamstress. I have never shaken my affinity for scrap quilts, so this part was really fun for me.
I was able to gather quite a few “meaningful” fabrics for our daughter: pieces from dresses I have made for her over the years, my kitchen apron, our bedroom pillows, a favorite skirt of mine, and some scraps of Amy Butler fabric left over from the original quilt I created for our book.
Although I planned to hand-quilt this project, I have no shame about seaming on the machine. The spools came together beautifully. This was my favorite part so far- laying out the finished spools on the dining room floor. I spent several days experimenting with sashing, strips, and border fabrics and was still not sure about what I had to work with. I finally called in the expert, (the 11 year-old) for the final choices. She selected some great colors, and my family was thrilled to have a table in our dining room again!
All was going well, until I turned my studio upside-down looking for batting. Although I seem to have polyester batting in abundance, I could not find enough cotton batting for the project… tempting me to take a trip to the store. I finally buckled, and purchased two yards of cotton batting at our local craft store. It was completely worth the $11.82, along with breaking my own rule of “no shopping” for this project. I just adore the texture of quilts that are hand-quilted with cotton batting, and refused to compromise.
I was hoping to get the entire quilt top put together by the middle of the month… but life kept getting in the way! Finally, on November 20, the quilt was pieced, sandwiched, safety pinned, and ready to quilt.
The perfect thimble, a gift from my grandmother, makes all the difference. I can’t imagine working without it. Now the project shifts to cruise control, and is a matter of how many blocks per day can I quilt? Too few, and I won’t get done in time! Too many, and I will start to shred my fingertips…
As of now, this is where I stand. The quilt is more than half-quilted, and I have fabric chosen for the binding. I have only gone shopping once, which isn’t too bad, right? (Right?) I am using up lots of scraps of thread, emptying spools to make room for new ones. And my fabric stash is just a “little” bit smaller. Best of all, even if I don’t finish the quilt in its entirety by the end of the month, I will surely have it done in time to wrap up as a Christmas gift for our daughter, who loves to sew, and has enjoyed watching me stitch through the process.