This was a long and eventful year and sometimes bumpy year, and my FW quilt memorializes it all for me. Although there were some very, very low points, the quilt itself feels joyous! Triumphant! Yay!
I really hadn't been a quilter for very long and certainly hadn't done very much piecing of traditional blocks when I began this project. In trying to (finally) put together a post today, it has been interesting to retrace this sampler's progress, just in broad strokes....
Oddly insecure about my palette and fabric choices, I plowed ahead with encouragement from some of the 1000+ followers of the Farmer's Wife flickr group...making a couple of versions of block 1, Attic Windows -- without yet having access to the book itself, which was on order and then stuck in a postal strike -- until I achieved the correct size, 6.5" unfinished.
It's very strange to wade back through the annals of my flickrstream and see how uncertain I was as I started out. I was considering re-making Attic Windows (and this was already my third attempt) -- but why, I don't know! I love this block now, and in fact it is the very first one I sashed last week, as I started the amazingly fun process of piecing together all -- ALL, I mean all 111 -- of my blocks. But I'm getting ahead of myself....
By the beginning of July 2011, with my book and set of cardboard templates well in hand, I had a pretty decent number set of blocks. If I remember correctly, I was starting to lose a little steam in August, but I kept at it.
My pace ground to an absolute halt several times during the first half of the academic year, but in fits and starts I made more blocks. And in the late winter I rediscovered some passion for this project -- thanks in large part to my bloggy/flickr friend Melinda! Her enthusiasm for the project and the sight of her stunning blocks motivated me...and through March and April I pieced together FW blocks like there was no tomorrow.
In late March I had about 76 blocks, and was contemplating sashing colours.
I remember telling my husband that I was planning to stop at 83 blocks, ready to just wrap it up.
And he asked why?
Why don't you do the whole thing? You've already done so much...?
I cast that plan aside and in the next couple of months I made the 35 remaining blocks -- including some of my favourites.
So I ultimately made every block in the book.
Many of them had looked very daunting when I began, many didn't have immediate appeal to me.
But I made them all, with this last one recorded on May 31, 2012.
Of course I continued to torture myself with the sashing and cornerstone choices, but my fabric stash yielded up some good options. I settled on natural Essex linen and teal Quilters Linen.
Once I started the process of piecing last week I just couldn't stop.
Ramone (whose own life was completely and utterly transformed in the time it took to make these blocks) was there to cheer me on!
There are lots of imperfections in my blocks, but I don't see them any more.
I love this sampler, and am still stunned by the thought that I made all of these...I made these, I perservered -- and I exited from a difficult year with joy. This quilt will always remind me of that fact.
I am absolutely certain that another sampler is in my future...and I think I know of at least one other person stuck on samplers after this project...we'll have to come up with a plan and see if anyone else wants to join us!