Okay. I know quilters are known for taking on too many projects at once, but I may have just crossed the line. “But Jess, you’re just so talented and wonderful and incredible, surely you could handle ANYTHING!”
No. Not this time. This time I think I really might have bitten off more than I can chew. Let me explain.
See, there’s this wonderful lady down in Australia, Kathryn Kerr. And she has something called the 365 Challenge. You can probably already guess the direction this is headed based off of that name. But yes. Every day, a new block is posted, and by the end of the year, you have 365 blocks you put together to make a wonderful quilt. The one above as the feature image is one that she did last year. I especially enjoy it because she also tells you a little bit about the history of the block and some of the alternate names. I’m learning as I quilt!
I decided to do this after seeing someone who made theirs last year in batiks. Except I’m going to do it using solids. All shades of every color, backed by either black or white (or maybe some other dark colors). Hopefully it will be a colorful quilt full of happiness!!
Here’s the trick- these blocks are SMALL. Some of the pieces she uses are 1” square. But she promises to not go below 1” in measurements! (Ha! I’m crying from terror.) At least at the end of this year I should be REALLY comfortable working on small pieces, huh? So far, every block I’ve completed has measured in at 3.5” unfinished.
I do have ONE confession- when I did the first 10 or so blocks I didn’t realize they needed to be a “dark” theme. So some of them are pretty bright. Oops. I’ll just mix them in and hope they don’t stand out.
Last weekend I was lucky enough to get to go to my very first quilt retreat, and I was able to get caught up on the January blocks. They go pretty quickly, since they’re so small, so even though I don’t have much time to work on them during the week, the 4-5 I miss during the week come together in just a couple of hours on Fridays. Honestly, the hardest part so far has been picking the fabric!
I think I might make this into a weekly post where I post the 7 blocks I did that week. Y’know. As a way to keep myself responsible. (It’s like a diet or exercise blog, except for sitting, eating junk food, and sewing! It’s basically the same thing.)
Annnnd, here are my first few blocks! (1-21) I have more done, but I’ll start posting them in batches of 7 every week on Sundays. When I post their picture, I’ll put the name of the block and give a link to the block instructions, just in case you want to do this with me! Please note, I am cropping the pictures so they do NOT include seam allowances. So if you make them your blocks (particularly the 4-patches) will look kinda weird since they will still include their seam allowances.
Now onto the quilt retreat. It was so. much. fun. And so much sewing! I started on a quilt for my husband, as well as working on these blocks. I figured he’d been more than patient, being married to a quilter for 2.5 years and not having his own quilt yet. So when I asked him, “If I ever WERE to make you a quilt- now, mind you, I’m NOT- what colors would you want it to be?” and “Would you- again, just hypothetical- prefer a more modern or traditional look?” He told me a modern winter theme. I’ll share that one when it’s done… hopefully soon. It was going to be for Christmas but… well… it’s frustrating. So for now I’m doing other projects and letting my mind rest and reset on that one.
Well, at the retreat I almost had TOO much sewing. I’m not used to sewing for two days straight, and I was there the LEAST amount of time! (I came a day late because of work and had to leave a little early unfortunately. I’ll just leave you with the only photo I took that weekend- the room where I worked! This was room 1 of 3 (although it was the biggest)! If you look closely to the table to the right, you can see the blue and white beginning of hubby’s quilt. A sneak peek, as you say.
Anyways, I had a fantastic time, and if we weren’t moving to Cleveland in just 5 and a half short months, I would DEFINITELY be going again next year!!