oh man.  the one word I would use to describe this project, is, ambitious.  this was a very ambitious project.  I did not realize when I began how very ambitious it was.

a few years ago, ann gave me a stack of kaffe fasset fat quarters for christmas.  I had a hard time deciding what to use it for.  his prints are a little loud.  I remembered them last winter as I was contemplating making a quilt for becca, the older of the two girls I used to nanny for, who is going off to college next week.  for real?  I am getting old.  so I had it in my head that I wanted to make her a quilt for graduation to take to college with her.  and these prints seemed like a good fit–I mean, it’s pretty normal and okay to have crazy bold stuff in college, in the dorms.  so I knew who the quilt would be for, what size it would be (x-long twin, duh) and what the main fabric would be…and I had to decide what the pattern would be.  and this is where I started to lose it.  when I decided that this project could be translated into a quilt.  oh boy.  elizabeth hartman, I love you, but you should have warned me that this was a bad idea.  so my first mistake was thinking that this nice little pillow project could be multiplied into a quilt fairly easily.  so when I was visiting lindsey in manhattan, we went to the quilt shop (all about quilts, holla!) to get a few solids and a background fabric.  my original goal was a dark charcoal gray, but this lighter one was all they had and I was impatient so this is what I went with.  and I think it was a better choice, I think the lighter gray helps the colors to pop more and helps the pattern to stand out (except…that I did not buy enough….and it wasn’t kona, so I had to pretty much guess to order more and I got super lucky).  my next mistake was to jump right in and think the directions for the pillow would naturally be the same.  WRONG. I excitedly cut up all my fabric into tiny pieces.  after several weeks and making eight or nine blocks, I realized if I continue making the blocks this way, I will one, never finish, two, hate this project, and three, probably kill someone.  and I had to come up with a new plan.  which I will share at some point, simply for the benefit of anyone trying to adapt this to a quilt.  so I had to get some more fabric (ebay to the rescue! so helpful with hard-to-find prints!)  and actually I like a lot of the “new” fabrics even better and I think they made a big difference.  I got pretty fed up using only the tiny scraps, so sadly many of them went to waste.  things went better after that.  but enough talk.  I’m sure you’re really just here to see pictures.  disclaimer:  I had a hard time getting the colors right in the pictures.  they are super bold and bright…in the sun it was a little too washed out, but inside it was too yellow and I’m not good enough with my camera yet to make that happen.  so there’s pictures from both and you can just imagine the average 🙂

first, a full shot.  I suppose my final name for this quilt is “mod mosaic stained glass windows.”  the stained glass windows part is pretty obvious, but I do need to give elizabeth hartman a little credit because the design of the blocks is all her.

and….here is the back!  which…unfortunately, I like almost as much as the front.  I say unfortunately, because if I had just used it for the top it would have saved me many months of work!  the back did take longer than I wanted it to, but I think it looks pretty great so whatev.  you can see the quilting best in this shot I think.  oh…the quilting.

here are some of the blocks up closer.

you can see some of the quilting here.  the quilting on this project is the only part I am not super pleased with.  I think it goes with the project overall, but I don’t think it looks great up close.  it was hard to make it flat and steady, and there are more puckers on this project than on every project I have ever done before combined.  everyone says it is fine but it is frustrating when your hard work doesn’t turn out the way you want it to.  and I have really realized how much I do not enjoy quilting large quilts on my machine.  it is pretty difficult and I am not very good at it.  if only this was portland!  or somewhere that has people who will let you rent time on a longarm!  I know that I could pay to have someone else do it, but I would rather finish the project myself, and I certainly don’t have the money (or the space) for a longarm.  so I don’t know how many more big projects I will be doing in the future, at least until I have the money and the space to at least get a frame for quilting, or until I find somewhere around here that I can buy time on a big machine.

this is also a good time to give a large shout-out to my mom.  (oh! and to lindsey!  she helped me baste the whole thing!  I am not skilled enough to baste anything bigger than a crib size on my own!  plus my floor is too small.  and to bobby!  for putting up with the ridiculous amounts of sewing I did on my visits).  but back to my mom….I hauled my project over to her place, where she has a bigger floor to work with, and a bigger table to support everything.  she let me use nearly three rolls of her masking tape (sorry environment….that was unexpected!  we totally underestimated how much tape it would take to mark this guy) and also helped me use said tape to mark the quilting lines.  AND, she was my cheerleader.  as I alluded to before, I DID NOT ENJOY QUILTING THIS PROJECT.  I would say my attitude needed a severe adjustment, and I was not terribly friendly I’m afraid.  there was a lot of yelling and a small amount of swearing and a lot of comments along the lines of “I AM DONE WITH THIS!  NO MORE!!!!” and she put up with me and helped me keep going.  and gave me reality checks when I needed to add more quilting.  if it were up to just me there probably wouldn’t be nearly enough quilting lines.  and she kept telling me it looked good when I thought it looked terrible.  thanks mom.  you are the best.

here you can see the front and the back together.  I don’t know if you can tell from the pictures, but those five solids are all on the front too, in little pieces.

all folded up.

the binding.  I ended up doing it in the same gray as the background.  I originally wanted to do a pieced binding, but I didn’t have enough of the prints, and I thought one of the bright solids would look dumb.  I like it like this in the gray.

so it is finished.  see the rest of the pictures here.  thank you also to carrie for being gracious with how much space this project took up.  I would have finished it WAY sooner, but it wasn’t a project you could just work on for an hour or two, you had to commit a good five or six at least, and that wasn’t always a can-do.  and this project literally took up all the shared space in the apartment, from the dining room to the kitchen to ALL of the living room.  it was ridiculous.

I will say that overall I am pretty happy with how it turned out.  I think it will serve its purpose well, and I hope it gets lots of love and use at UCM.  be good becca!!

since finishing & delivering it, I have actually almost finished the quilt for my new niece!  it has been much more pleasant on all accounts.  it will be delivered this weekend and I can show it off next week.  heads up:  I LOVE IT.  it is my favorite project I’ve done in a long time.