Completed: June 2015
My 2015 resolution was to finish all of my UFOs before starting/buying any new quilting projects. Flower Patch was started in either late October or early November 2013, when I had only been sewing a few months. This was a pattern I found while looking for something to do with the fabric I had originally purchased for a mother quilt… a jelly roll and layer cake of 30’s Playtime by Moda as well as a bunch of solid cream fabric. Flower Patch was a perfect fit for the fabric, and the photos in the quilt along by the designer really drew me in.
If you have any quilting experience, you are probably looking at this pattern and wondering why any new quilter would ever attempt it. Well, frankly, I didn’t know any better. That is part of why this quilt sat unfinished for so long. After stitching 136 flying geese, I’d had enough of this quilt! I packed Flower Patch away in its bin thinking to take a small break from it during the holidays… and didn’t touch it (or flying geese!) again until March of 2015.
February saw the completion of my Elegance quilt top, so Flower Patch became the March goal for ‘A Lovely Year of Finishes‘ (ALYoF). It was a real struggle to make myself work on it, and a lot of foot-dragging meant I just barely missed my goal of finishing the top in March. Therefore, the top was completed in the first few days of April and quilting it was set for my May ALYoF goal. I managed to get the quilting finished on 25 May, and made binding my June goal. I was able to get the binding done at pretty much the last minute, but I got it done! Scroll all the way to the bottom for some preview shots of the finished quilt… I am working on where/how I want to take a photo of the completed quilt. Once I get some decent photos I will post them, and probably revamp this page to just include the highlights of the quilt’s progress.
I have been dragging my feet on this. There is a reason this has been sitting around unfinished for so long! I am finding I still don’t want to work on it, but I am trying to keep myself moving forward. Many times now though, I have found myself sitting next to my sewing machine playing a game on my phone or watching Hulu instead.
It took me until last week to pull the bin down and start getting reacquainted with the quilt. The picture to the left is what I pulled out of the bin, the rest of the un-cut fabric remained in the bin. Each clipped bundle you see in the pictures represents a flower block, 17 flowers total.
Each flower consists of twelve main units – these include eight rectangular flying geese units for the outer petals, and then four squares for the inner petals. The squares have three of their corners done in the same way as the flying geese; two use the same fabric as the outer petals. The third corner uses a smaller 1.5″ square of fabric rather than the 2.5″ squares the rest of the geese use. When all of the units are assembled, that third corner will form the center of the flower.
While taking inventory of things I discovered that I had completed all 136 the smaller flying geese rectangles for all seventeen flowers, but had only stitched one set of the squares that form the inner petals. It also would appear I never cut any of the fabric needed for the leaves, borders, or anything else aside from some of the background. So, in other words, there is a lot of work left to do.
I have slowly made my way through stitching the inner flower petals, and did some rearranging of the color layout I had put together back in 2013. I am still not completely happy with all of the flowers, but there isn’t much else I can do without hunting down some more 30’s Playtime fabric. I don’t have time for that, and if I stop working on this quilt now I may never pick it up again.
Here are a couple photos of the quilt’s current state… Aside from the flower centers, the units for all 17 flower blocks are complete. I spent the night choosing and cutting the flower centers (while enjoying a nice Gewürztraminer and catching up on some TV), I didn’t even turn on my sewing machine. You can see the little 1.5″ squares that will become the flower centers pinned next to their blocks. Time is ticking! I have 14 days left to finish this quilt top if I want to make my March goal. I am going to give up the last Project QUILTING challenge so that I have more time to devote to this project… unless things start coming together much more quickly than I imagine anyway. Tomorrow night I will start stitching up my flower blocks!
Quick Update 3/19/2015: I was too exhausted on the 17th to do anything, I just went to sleep right after I put the kid to bed! Last night though (3/18) I felt much better after a good night’s sleep and did some stitching. All flower centers are complete! I didn’t take a new photo of all the blocks, but here is one block with the center added. Tonight I will be cutting border blocks in order to take inventory of what I have… I am lacking strips long enough for the focus flower borders, so I must track down fabric for that. Hopefully I won’t need any other additional fabric! This could be a major kink in getting this done by the end of the month.
Another quick update 3/24/15: I am still struggling to make progress on this quilt. The past week saw a lot of procrastination, but I did make some head way. The border pieces are all cut, save for the long strips that go around the focus flowers. The bottom border is pieced. And two of the flowers are pieced aside from the bottom row… 15 more to go. The reason the bottom row is not pieced is because five flowers will need to have rick rack (for stems) sewn into that bottom seam, and I haven’t decided which five yet.
It is the flowers that have me staring at my design wall thinking, “I really should be sewing… but I don’t wanna.” It is just a lot of the same thing over and over, and each flower is time consuming thanks to all the seams that need pressing. I am so ready to be done with the flowers. I just need to gain some momentum. I know that once I am over the hump with them, I will feel that eagerness to get to the end. Right now though, I am standing at the bottom of the metaphorical mountain.
If I want my wall back though, I have to complete this quilt!
An even quicker update 3/26/2015: I have the top and bottom rows stitched for all flowers (except one bottom row I missed) and am now up to seven flowers completed. Starting to feel a little momentum building now! Still no way this is going to be done by the end of the month though.
3/31/15: I have made a lot of progress in the past few days, so much so that now I regret the nights I didn’t work on it… I would have been able to finish on time. Last night I finished stitching all of the flowers and borders, including the five flowers with rick rack stems. This just leaves the leaf blocks, which I cut last night. I will stitch those up tonight (hopefully) and then start putting the whole thing together. If only I didn’t have to work today, I could get the quilt top completed in time for my March Lovely Year of Finishes deadline!
4/1/2015: As expected, I didn’t really have much time to work on the quilt last night. I did start stitching my leaf blocks, but only made it through a couple of them. I probably would have had a third finished, except I messed up one and had to rip it apart. The photo to the right shows one of the flower blocks with a leaf block as it will appear in the quilt, but the two blocks haven’t been stitched together yet in the photo. It is disappointing that I couldn’t finish by the end of March, which was the deadline I had set for myself. The end is in sight though! Once I get all the blocks completed, I will take a brief break so that I can do the Under the Veranda block that’s due April 11. That way I can start putting the quilt together without another impending deadline hanging over my head. I am getting pretty excited about the prospect of having another UFO crossed off my list!
4/2/15: Getting closer! Last night I completed all the leaf blocks, joined them with their flowers, and then stitched the rick rack down using a clear thread. I even got the inner border on one of the focus flowers. Next up will be getting that second focus flower done, and getting the outer borders on both of them. Then all that will be left is putting the whole thing together!
4/7/2015: Progress! Sorry that I missed an update, but a few nights ago I finished piecing the inner and outer borders on the focus flower blocks. I added a few photos above. After that I took a couple of much needed nights off from the quilt, but last night I worked up the motivation to get back to work on it. My new goal is to have it finished by Friday night (4/10/2015) so that I can show it off at my Under the Veranda meeting Saturday morning.
The pattern doesn’t really have instructions on assembling the quilt beyond, “You will put the quilt together in three major sections with the dark lines separating the rows.” Which means I had to sit down and work out how to approach putting all the segments together into those three major sections. I must admit, I am constantly tempted to rewrite the pattern from start to finish.
Last night I completed the first step of my assembly plan, which turned the seventeen segments of the quilt into eleven. As I worked, I paid close attention to the seam junctions and tried to flatten them out as much as possible. It was time consuming, but it will make quilting it easier and the finished quilt will be much better without all those little “knots” where the points come together. There are many places in each flower that have eight layers of fabric in the seam. What a pain!
4/9/2015: Almost there…. Last night I was able to complete two of the three main sections of the quilt and join them together. The third section is nearly complete as well, the missing bit in the photo is laying on my work table waiting for the seam to be ironed/wrangled flat.
Then it will just be a matter of three seams to put it all together. Only one of those seams will be time consuming to iron, the other two should be super easy. So tonight (hopefully) I will be able to finish the quilt top!
Thoughts on what fabric to use for the backing are starting in the back of my mind… Right now the forerunner is this pink print, even though it is not in the quilt.
4/11/2015: Finished!! I will try to get a picture soon, and then re-write this page.
4/15/2015: I just spotted (and promptly stole) this photo on Wish Upon A Quilt’s Facebook page. It isn’t the best photo, but it is me showing off my finished quilt at the Under the Veranda meeting last weekend.
And, I just ordered my backing fabric! I hope to start quilting this in a couple weeks.
4/18/2015: I got the backing fabric yesterday! I ordered it from Loopy Ewe only three days ago, which means I ordered it on Wednesday and it arrived Friday. Wow they are quick! And they wrapped it with a ribbon like a present… isn’t this adorable? It is folded so neatly I am reluctant to remove the ribbon. This is only my second order from them, the first was for some Valdani threads I think. They are more focused on yarn crafts than quilting, but I highly recommend checking them out.
4/23/2015: I have scheduled time on the long arm May 1st! That means sometime in the next week I need to get the backing fabric pieced together, and pinned to my long arm zippers. I am excited and a little nervous, as this will be my first “real” quilt on the long arm. I say “real” because I have quilted a few small charity quilts, but nothing for myself and nothing this large. This evening I have one more charity quilt to practice on, and then next Friday it is time for Flower Patch! I doubt I will be able to complete it all on that day, but I will get as far as I can.
5/1/2015: I started quilting today! I only made it about a third of the way through the quilt though, and that took me about two hours. I will have to schedule more time soon so that I can get this thing done in time to meet my goal of finishing the quilting in May. This is a really busy month for us though, so finding time to do it will be challenging. For instance, I could have left it on the frame and gone back when they open tomorrow morning… but my daughter has gym at 9:00, my husband has a meeting at 10:00 that will last most of the day, and then we have to go out of town for a family reunion dinner. Sigh. Every weekend in May is pretty much the same!
5/16/2015: I was able to make a little (very little) more progress on quilting today, but I didn’t have much time to spend on it. It is probably about halfway complete at this point. Hopefully I will be able to schedule some more time soon, but May is a pretty crazy month for us. Here is a preview of the quilting…
May 25, 2015: Quilting is done!!! I don’t have a good picture yet, the one below was taken by the APQS dealer. It is a little blurry, but you can get the idea. The quilt is roughly trimmed up now, just to get rid of the excess batting and backing fabric… it is much easier to fold up and store without a ton of floppy fabric and binding hanging off the edges.
Overall it came out okay, considering it is my first real long arm effort. And aside from the small charity quilts I had done recently for practice, it is also my first real free motion quilting effort as well. The only other free motion quilt I have done was about a year and a half ago… it was just a large (and horrible) basic meander that I did on the little Bernina Bernette I had at the time. This quilt actually has a design in the quilting! There are plenty of mistakes in it, and I see every one of them. It bothers me to no end… others have been complimenting me on it though. It is hard to tell if they are just being nice, or if they are just saying it is good because they know how new I am at it. Can you tell I have trouble taking compliments?
The next step is to figure out what material I want to use for binding. Do I want to do a solid? A 30’s print? I don’t know! Every time I say, “I am thinking of going with…” I immediately change my mind. Somehow my brain is making the binding fabric choice a blocker. There are some quilting mistakes in it that I need to go back and fix with a hand needle, as well as a few loose threads that need to be buried. But I have absolutely no motivation or will power to even consider doing that right now, the little voices in my head just demand I figure out the binding before I even consider touching the quilt again.
So, for now, I am going to put Flower Patch aside and focus on other things for a week or so. Then I will tackle the binding decision. My Under the Veranda meeting will be this coming Saturday; I plan to take it with me then and see if the shop has anything that will work. Hmm… taking it for show and tell just might be good motivation to get those little things fixed sooner rather than later!! So scratch what I said before. Now the voices in my head are telling me that I can’t possibly go show the quilt to others until I can remove all the little bits of orange masking tape that are marking things I need to correct.
6/14/2015: While shopping for binding fabric, a clerk snapped another photo for me…
6/21/2015: Binding is in progress! I started yesterday, and haven’t had much time to devote to it… but I am determined to have it done by the end of the month!
6/28/2015: It’s done!! I finished the binding last night (at 2:00am…) and washed it this morning. It looks great! I promised to get some pictures just as soon as I figure out the best way to photograph it. Until then, here are some preview shots…