Back in January of 2020, before we really knew what was coming, we made a decision that would end up with us living in an ideal location to ride out those crazy first two years of the pandemic. And beyond, really. It doesn’t seem to be going anywhere, and neither are we. We are blessed with plenty of wide open spaces, which was a sanity saver in the early days of that first lockdown. The abundance of outdoor space, however, is inversely proportional to the amount of indoor space we have. From a five bedroom house with a craft room, to a cozy little cabin to live out our (ok, MY) tiny house dreams.
One of the hardest things, as I packed up our home of 17 years, wasn’t the cleaning and packing. It wasn’t sorting our full height book case into 30 neatly labelled and categorised boxes of books. It was my craft room. Which, to be fair, was generally a hot mess at the best of times. But not only did I have to pack it up, into boxes with even more detailed labels than the boxes of books, but I also needed to select projects and supplies I could manage in a tiny house. Small and compact was the order of the day. Definitely no quilts.
Then the Great Finishathon came along, and the further I fell into my WIP boxes, the closer I got to the quilts at the bottom of the box. The first one I tackled was a single bed size, and hand quilted. That seemed easy enough. I knocked it out and moved on and did a couple of other things. Then, the time came. There was just one item remaining. My 2012 BOM quilt. It was queen sized, and to baste it in a small space, and to quilt it on a folding table, was going to be a challenge. But I was on a roll. I came, I quilted, I conquered.
We’re now 2+ years into what was supposed to be a 12 month stint in the cabin. There won’t be much change out of three years, really, even in the best case scenario. Like almost everything about the last two years, we are learning to be flexible and roll with the punches. For a year, I could live with bare bones supplies and small projects. After the last two years, though, I don’t want to live small and confined, at least in my creative practice. We have to do enough of that in real life to keep ourselves and each other safe. Finishing a queen sized quilt in this space was a milestone for me. It showed me size is less limiting than mindset.
I’ve been wanting to make a new quilt for ages. I talked myself out of it for most of 2021, instead choosing to DIVE into garment making. That was small and compact and easy to manage. My me made wardrobe is filling out nicely though, and my mind turned back to a quilt. It seems I wasn’t the only one with the idea, and in one of those fabulous hive mind moments the group chat is notorious for, we spent a lovely evening dumping quilt patterns in the group chat and looking at fabrics and generally encouraging one another into quilty mischief
Rainbows, it seemed, were the order of the day. I fell in love with two Alison Glass fat quarter bundles over at Polka Dot Tea Fabrics. There was a free crosses pattern over on Pinterest that seemed a solid contender. Before I knew it, I’d tripped over the bundles and printed the pattern, and we were off on our newest quilt. By we, of course, I mean me, because I need very little encourage to start something new. I don’t even really need company to consider it a group project I should definitely be part of.
It has been SUCH a satisfying project to work on. From the piles of rainbow offcuts, to neatly snipped piles of chain piecing. My worktable has been a riot of colour all the way through, and it’s been fabulous. Don’t we all need piles of cheery creativeness at the minute?
I powered through the first stages, and then once I had the blocks together, other projects called. There was also that small matter of space, and to work on the layout requires both space and time. Our weekends later have been full of events and happenings, all good things, but things that keep me from having a chunk of time to work on the next stage.
Today, though, I managed to find that time. The two big boys needed to do some binge watching of 60s sitcoms for drama class prep. Beetle Boy has a new remote control rock crawler, so he was happy belting it around the backyard. Butterfly wasn’t feeling so great, and was tucked up in bed with a book. Four small folk all occupied and not needing my immediate assistance for anything? Sounded like the perfect opportunity to start work on the layout.
Because of the number of fat quarters I had, I ended up with 144 blocks. Two positive and two negative blocks for each of the 36 colours. The pattern, however, for a single bed quilt, requires 165 blocks. The way I had to cut the fat quarters has left me with 2.5″ strips of each colour, so to make up the difference, I am planning to use these strips to offset various blocks. I’m hoping it should break up the grid enough to create some interest, and not just be a stock standard 11 blocks by 15 blocks. To make up the difference, I need to add three strips per row, and another three per column.
Today’s plan was to rough out the layout of the blocks and the colours. Tomorrow, I hope to start cutting the extra strips I need. Some will be 2.5″x6.5″, while others will need to be 2.5″x8.5″ to account for the adding of the strips. I am not entirely sure how and where the extra strips will go, so I’m planning to cut a mix of both sizes, and play from there. It will likely also vary by colour depending on how much length I have in the leftover strips to work with.
I will confess there was an ulterior motive to wanting to get it sorted today. The weekend is coming, and with it, rain. Mr Barefoot has meetings all day Saturday, and the two big boys are off on a youth group excursion. For those doing the maths at home, that means it’s only half my family at home, on a day made for staying nice and dry inside. If I can get my layout sorted before then, and stacked neatly into rows, it won’t be hard to carve out a small space to start piecing them together. Dare I even hope for a finished quilt top by the end of the weekend?