Monday, January 1, 2024

7 Days of New Years - Day 7: And Now A New Year Begins!

So my "7 Days" marathon has come to an end.  Much like all of 2023, it went faster than I expected.   I was glad for the things that did get done ("Tobacco Road" is well underway!!) and just a little bummed on the things I couldn't get to (the "Thanksgiving" cross stitch finish is still a ways away😔).  All in all though, it was great to really focus on some things and I am more than ready to ring in the New Year with another set of projects!

One of the things I didn't get to tackle before the end of the year was one more thing on my 2023 UFO Challenge list.  My "Roll, Roll, Cotton Boll" quilt was the only thing I managed to get completely done on that list although the good news is that I also got a few things moved forward.  The last project I had hoped to try to tackle was the number American Patchwork and Quilting magazine had picked for December: 

That task was just to set up my Hand Quilted Wholecloth project.  Since it only meant pulling it out and getting it onto a new frame, I thought that would be easy to get to.  However, the weekend and it being a holiday one at that, got in the way.  So the first day of the New Year is as good as any to get it in place!  Like "Cotton Boll", the wholecloth project is a blast from the past that I started on back in 2018.  I ran into problems stitching it on my original circular hoop.

This was taken around the time I started the project.

I am not yet adept at hand quilting so can only stitch in one direction.  The problem I had with this frame was that it was hard to turn the bulk of a queen size quilt around in order to stitch on it the way I am able.  Doing so often left the bulk of the quilt all twisted around the base. 

So I went on the search for an alternative.  Greatly influenced by the beautiful hand quilting being done by Karen over at her Quilts...Ect/Karen's Quilting blog, I really wanted to get a frame that for future quilts that I might want to hand quilt,  I wouldn't have to baste them in advance.  In 2019, I was lucky enough to find a used Grace Frame at a great price:

I also loved the idea that the width of this frame could be telescoped out to whatever size needed and that it could be stored folded down either while standing or laid flat for storing under a couch or bed.  The separate rods it has to hold the quilt top and backing were just what I wanted even if I wouldn't use that feature for this project since it is already basted for trapunto work.  

Unfortunately, I thought I would be able to sit it in my living room with full width of the quilt open but realized a little too late that I don't really have the space to do that easily for the duration of the project (measure twice, quilt once)!  Additionally, it also still meant only stitching from one side of it. 

So I continued to look around and eventually I saw another option:  a Q-Snap quilt frame (also used)!  

The good news here is that it has legs that can be tilted on both sides of the square base which makes it possible to turn it around when I need to change the stitch direction.  Well at least I hope so --- I haven't tried it up until now so we'll see this year if it works.  Today was a chance to take a crack at it!  

It was easy to assemble and on the plus side, a larger stitching surface than I expected.  One issue is that it is also taller than I thought it would be.  In order to use it from my "stitching chair" I will need to add a couple of the couch cushions to set myself high enough to stitch at it comfortably.

On the other hand, my sewing table is next to here and the drafting chair I use for it is tall enough for the frame.  I can also turn it in that direction and stitch using that chair although maybe not as comfortably as I might like.  So I'll have to see how this goes. 

In 2022, I had waited until APQ called the UFO Challenge number for January and I had slotted the wholecloth project in that spot with the intention of starting on it and then working on it for the whole year.  However, that didn't happen as I never got to the wholecloth that month and didn't pick it up after the month it was introduced passed.  For 2023, because I had already been working on the string blocks for "Cotton Boll" at the end of 2022, I put that as my January pick for 2023 (and at least that one did get done).  

So I am trying that strategy again for 2024.  This year APQ is not picking the numbers but has given quilters an "evergreen" list sheet (there is no year pre-printed on it) and a page of numbers to cut out and use to pick their own.  I also decided to set up two separate lists this year:  one for projects that still need piecing and one for the "To Be Quilted" projects.  

My lists are already set up and I pulled the first two numbers for the year.  I've already assigned the wholecloth  to the "To Be Quilted" list and put my "Scrappy Figs BOM" on the "To Be Pieced" list as I had hoped to also work on that during the "7 Days" quilt-a-thon.  Since I want to finish both the blocks and the top for that,  I have also already put "Figs" on the "To Be Quilted" list as the February pick so I can continue to work on it and just finish it.  

I have the project from the improv workshop I took back in October as the February "Piecing" pick and my Double Wedding Ring project is the March pick as I want to finish mine as a precursor to working on one as a gift for someone.  The rest of the projects on both lists will be picked as I pull the numbers in the subsequent months.

So starts the New Year!  I hope mine is as productive as last year's and that everyone will have a lot of beautiful things to show us in 2024!!

1 comment:

Vireya said...

Sounds like you are all set for a year of productivity!