Slowly but surely...

I started making my first quilt back in January.  I actually cut all my strips the same weekend that I hosted a party in my cabin, made a three minute (grand prize winning!) short film for the 48 Hour Film Competition, and helped my boyfriend with camera work for his film.  Oh, the joys of unemployment.

I purchased my fabrics from this shop on Salt Spring Island when I was hope for a post-Christmas visit.  I really liked this jelly roll quilt that was on display in the shop, but didn't want to just buy a selection of pre-cuts.  I wanted the fun of choosing my own fabrics, especially since I was in an actual physical quilt shop and not just buying off the internet.  I browsed one day, and then a couple of days later went in to put things together and make my big purchase.  The lovely woman (whose name I do not know, alas) who made the quilt I liked was there and she gave me so much advice--a crash course in quilting, and lots of help pulling my fabrics together.  We pulled many, many bolts off the shelves and in the end came up with a selection of fourteen different prints, with three co-ordinating solids for the backing.

I cut five two-inch wide strips from each of the fourteen prints, and made five sets of strips, each containing one strip of each fabric and with different arrangements of fabric.
I then sewed each set together, first by sewing the prints into pairs, then joining two pairs and so on.  Then I chopped things up.  This was scary!
There are three different widths.  If I am remembering correctly, I was aiming for finished widths of 2, 4 and 6 inches (I may be wrong, and am too lazy to measure right now).  Then I opened up the futon--the futon saved my ass during this project, as there was no other possible space--and laid things out.  This isn't my finished layout, but it's close:
This actually only took four of the five blocks I made.  The extra block was insurance in case of mistakes, for added variety and for a pieced detail on the quilt backing:
Laying everything out for basting was crazy.  I had to move the futon under the window--it just squeezed in beside the heater--and move the big basket o' knitting as well as my "end tables" (plastic bins once used for keeping things organized in the car when I was more of a travelling girl) out of the way.  So messy, and just barely enough space in which to baste.
I used a basting spray, which worked out quite well.  I would definitely use it again, and that's not just because I have a big can full of the stuff. To get my seams lined up front-to-back, I held the quilt up to the sunlight and used the see-through affect to my advantage.
I decided to hand quilt this bad boy.  I discovered while piecing that I am not a fan of big long seams, and wrangling lots of material through the sewing machine.  I love chain piecing: all those short seams, so conveniently made one after the other, turing out like a little strip of bunting.  Also, I wanted to get a really good dollars for enjoyment ratio out of this project.  The fabric cost a small fortune (although I did end up with plenty of leftovers for pillows and whatnot), and this being my first quilt project, there were some start-up costs as well.  Hand quilting means extending the process, and taking my time--getting as much pleasure out of the materials and the making as possible, before I start to enjoy the finished object and start casting around for something else to make.  In addition to, you know, all of my other works-in-progress.

I haven't paid much attention to how the progress is coming.  I'm probably about a third of the way through, but refuse to count how many squares and rectangles I have left.  There is no goal: just something to pick up and put down as the mood strikes me.  It sometimes even gets used as a blanket, even in its unfinished state.

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