I like to feature a lot of pink on my blog during the month of October in support of breast cancer awareness. Instead of working on the two deadline quilts I SHOULD be working on, I began the month with a bit of a pink.
Back in June, I received my second swatch of Spoonflower fabric I designed, and I was so excited about how well it turned out, I couldn't wait to cut into it!
I made some pink strips from Kona cottons in my stash and made one pink log cabin block with a Pink Wave snowflake center. At the time, I thought it would be a cute baby quilt, but I had so many other things going on, I set the project aside without another thought until the first weekend of October.
We'd planned another leaf-photography trip for that weekend, this one deep in the middle of nowhere, 100 miles from anything. But I'd had such a rough week at work, I was too exhausted to spend hours and hours in the car again. We decided to stay home and relax instead, gambling there might still be a few more golden leaves remaining the next weekend. Sewing time!!!
As a super duper stay-at-home weekend treat, The Lizard invited me for a lunch date. We had a great salad, then returned to the car to head off on a much-needed grocery-buying run. My husband backed my car out, and it died. And it stayed dead for five whole days! Such a good thing we didn't go into the wilderness.
Plenty of time for sewing, once we got home, thanks to a lift to a local garage and then another lift home thanks to the garage's courtesy car. Grounded for a few days, I got in some more real quality sewing time!
I didn't remember cutting out four more Pink Wave snowflakes back when I made that first square, and I didn't remember what I had planned, but it wasn't hard to figure out I must have had four other blocks in mind. Five blocks do not a four-edge quilt make.
I dug through all my stash and pulled out every pink fabric I had, then log-cabined the remaining four Pink Wave snowflakes, each entirely different. Isn't Fairy Frost perfect for a snowflake block?!?
Because nothing else was cut and I couldn't remember what I was going to do for the other four blocks, I got to play around with design ideas again, and I ultimately decided to incorporate some of the snowflakes from my special project. I robbed myself of four snowflakes that may be too big for the special project anyway and appliquéd them to plain Kona blocks in a color I had not used for the log cabin blocks.
Originally, I had thought of making a baby quilt I could just keep on hand for next time someone I know has a little girl. But then I remembered my stair-climbing friend Connie helps manage the Race for the Cure. I used to make a Race for the Cure quilt each year to raise money to help fight breast cancer, so I have a lot of pink ribbon remnants. If I incorporated them into this quilt, this would be the perfect quilt for Connie!
Piecing went very quickly. I had plenty of remnants to piece a backing, but not enough to cover the entire back of the 44-inch square top. I thought a new pink snowflake fabric or a new pink ribbon fabric might be even better. We were getting cabin fever after nearly two full days stuck at home, so my husband very kindly offered to take me to the nearest fabric shop in his truck to see if this year's pink ribbon fabric is worth buying.
I was studying the pink section of the quilting and fat quarter wall when I heard my husband, about two aisles away, excitedly say, "Deb, you better get over here."
There, I saw the fabric HE found. Not only does it include pink ribbons, but it has circles of pink ribbons in snowflake shape!
My very dear husband knows what a huge stickler I am for six-sided snowflakes, and he even counted points to make sure they had the proper number before he called me over. Did I marry the right guy, or what?!?
The fabric wasn't quite wide enough to cover the entire back of the quilt without piecing, and I love the fabric so much, I wanted to have remnants from this one, too. So I pieced a strip of remnants to make the back big enough. I sandwiched the layers, and my husband helped me load the layered quilt onto the quilt frame he made for me.
Initially, I was going to practice free-motion quilting on this quilt, but once we got it on the frame, ideas for quilting began popping into my head, and I decided to do it by hand. I hadn't done that in a very long time, and I enjoy the process.
Hand-quilting takes a bit longer, and I learned threading the needle isn't the only time I need my reading glasses now. (Dang!!!) The stitches in the first two blocks I quilted without the glasses aren't consistently sized, and some of the lines aren't even straight. But for now, to me, that adds to the quilt. This is how I learned nearly half a century ago (only then, I could see but was just too young to sew straight or consistent), quilting in the church basement with my grandmother and other women in Relief Society, making quilts for each new bride and each new baby. I love that this quilt documents my humble beginnings and my rusty laurels as well!
I finished hand quilting all the crocheted snowflake blocks with pink thread in 10 days. I'd planned to do the other five blocks in white thread.
Because I have two deadline quilts that need to be done in two months, I began to second-think the white hand-quilting. I have less than a month now to finish the quilt for my husband's nephew. So I decided I'd better do the white quilting by machine. I had planned to put the binding on by machine, but hand-sew it down on the back. I needed to speed my way through, so I decided to try Red Pepper Quilt's total machine binding method.
I got a tiny bit brave and did free-motion quilting to make white thread snowflake designs in the middle of each of my Pink Wave snowflakes. Surprisingly, I like the way these turned out, and that's yet another much-needed boost of self-confidence.
However, I did not care for finishing the binding by machine. I don't think it saved me any time, and it was a pretty frustrating process for me. I think I'll go back to hand-stitching the second edge of my bindings from now on. I'd been using the same method Amanda at Crazy Mom Quilts uses since I was a teenager, and that works just fine for me.
The morning after I finished the quilt, the sky honored breast cancer warriors and survivors, too!
This entire pink journey has been educational.
As I was looking up my blog posts from past (pink) quilts, I rediscovered the need to make yet one more pink quilt. My co-worker who kickstarted my obsession with breast cancer awareness quilts has never won one of the quilts I've made for fund-raising raffles, even though she put in heavily for each one. I really should have given this quilt to her!!! (Kicks self in rear quarters as facial cheeks turn rosy pink with embarassment.) Nevertheless, while piecing the back for this quilt, I decided to cut two charm squares from each pink remnant in my stash, one set for another quilt I've been wanting to make for forever (which will be for my quiltless survivor friend), and one set to sell on Etsy.
This quilt taught me I still love making breast cancer awareness quilts. LOVE. For whatever reason, I don't get tired of stitching with pink in October.
I got so excited about these charm blocks, I initially thought deadline quilts may have to wait just a bit longer while I try to work my way through yet one more pink quilt. But there truly isn't enough time. I have to finish another quilt by mid-November, and I am driven to make it look good, not rush the process, thoroughly enjoy the quilting stage and put a ton of love into the gift while I work on it. It's sort of symbolic, really. The love that goes into a quilt wraps the recipient in love, right?
Another thing I gained from this quilt, which I'm calling Tickled Pink, is the memory of how much I enjoy hand-quilting with a hoop on my lap on a chilly night! Or a chilly morning before work... I could do this every cold day and never get tired of it. The warmth of the quilt blanketing me as I work is a feeling to be treasured.
I had forgotten how much I love hand-quilting. I still want to become proficient at machine quilting, but I think I've learned I don't have to wait and wait and wait to finish the rest of my WIPS while I try to perfect my free-motion skills. I can hand-quilt some of the quilt tops on my UFO rack!
This finish earned me the title of "Speed Queen" in the Ravelry Fall UFO Group because I finished in under a week of the quarter's sign-up deadline. I hope to carry this title into next year's cycling events... Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!
Linking up with Crazy Mom Quilts here and Confessions of a Fabric Addict here.