Tuesday, March 4, 2014

A Bobbin a Day Keeps the UFO at Bay....

I have been trying to get more disciplined with my quilt making. I am between studios at the moment as we fit out the new one. So i'm working on the kitchen table. Its a bit cramped but it makes you really aware just how much you have bitten off and if its more than you can chew.

I have 4 projects on the go at the moment. I know thats not a lot for some of you, but its a lot for me. Especially in a very small temporary work space.

The one I am really trying to make a dent in at the moment is my Postage Stamp Quilt. Its 1.5 inch, finished 1 inch squares. Also, its for our bed so its going to be a large queen size quilt. So... when I do the math.. this is what it needs...7,744 squares. Thats quite a few.  Then the back, then the quilting.

I started this one on the election day last year and jokingly thought to myself to have it done by the next election...4 years. So I started cutting squares while I was doing other work and filling preserving jars. When they were full, i'd start stitching them into 2 patch.

The start....the jars to be filled
I would go through all my orphan blocks, all UFO's and any other scrap and cut the squares. I keep a large mixing bowl at my cutting area. After cutting other things, the scrap goes in the bowl till its full.

The mixing bowl. I like using bowls as I can dig my hands in.
A bit of everything.
My bobbin a day came from chain piecing. If I could just stick it out for a whole bobbin's worth of sewing I could at least make some sort of progress for this quilt. I am determined to get it done. I have wanted a postage stamp quilt for ever and a day and I have never found one. I have seen them, but not for sale. I also have to find my quilts. They need to cross my path. So, I'm doing my own. And for me its a bit of a journey and its a record of the fabrics that have passed through my studio, my collection and the print archive. I hope to be able to see this quilt as a bit of a snap shot of my fabrics and adventures over time hunting them down.

Chain piecing a bobbin a day
So now I'm onto my 5th jar of squares and i'm about a quarter of the way through this quilt. I have got them into 4 patch now, they are squared and trimmed and ready to be made into 16 patch. Then I will work out a bit of an arrangement of those.
4 patch ready to go
I am really trying to be very random about this quilt. I am trying not to look too closely at the patches as I assemble them. I want this to look very hap-hazard. As a graphic designer I was trained to be very methodical and precise about things. I am trying through making this quilt to become a bit freer. It's hard at times and I do chuck the patch back in the pile and go find another to make a more pleasing arrangement but in a way I feel I am not sticking to being random and free if I do that. I am trying to un-learn a bit. And to just let the scrap do its thing.


  1. Full of admiration for such a big project, and for attempting random. I love process (architect turned printmaker - much process). Would love to do random- but can't. My random look is always planned!

  2. I made a large twin size for a new baby in our family. It took awhile. I assembled 16x16s and then pieced those when I felt I had enough.
    I loved it too, and have started on a queen size for myself but that one is lagging.
    I found that making it this way, requires pinning the patches together to get the seams right. The pinning and sewing with pins take a lot of time...but it is rewarding. When all is said and done it is gorgeous.