Thursday, June 20, 2013

Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden

I am rather proud of myself for finishing this one. Dear husband called it the Millenium Project but I finished it in ever so slightly over two years. He wasn't entirely convinced I would finish it. In all honesty, I wasn't always certain either! I have now been talked into entering it if I can find a show to enter it into this summer. I will be giving it to my brother and his wife for Christmas and won't ask for it back to enter it somewhere after it has been gifted. I was looking for a pattern that suited them and I liked this one because they live on 25 acres just outside of Calgary and have a two acre garden. I said to my husband at one point that we should just keep it for ourselves and he said no, that I had started it with them in mind and they should get it and I can make another quilt for us. He's right.

The "story" behind the quilt:

I tend to like larger, more complicated quilts. Combine this with a husband that has to travel alot for work and and eight year old son and a five year old daughter and I don't get all that many finishes.

BUT! When I do, they sure are a doozy! And, at least to me, this one sure is.

In April of 2011 I watched a YouTube video of how to EPP by hand. After that I did up a "map" of this GFG with hexie graph paper and pencil crayons. From there I did the counting and math to figure out fabric requirements. I bought the fabric, brought it home and washed and ironed it and then cut it all into 2.5" squares. Then I printed off hexie templates onto card stock and cut them out. On May 23, 2011 I basted the first piece of fabric onto one of those hexies.

From then on, these flowers went to preschool waits, Tae Kwon Do, swimming lessons, Jamaica and probably other places I can't think of. They saw any number of evening shows and numerous winter storms (we get that alot in Edmonton). But, I finished.

I am calling this one "Not Your Grandmother's Flower Garden" because I broke so many of the "rules" of a GFG but I love it. There are almost 5,000 1" hexies. Final measurement 126" x 102" and it was sent to the long armer because there was no way I was going to be able to quilt that sucker on my machine. It has Hobbs Heirloom 80/20 batting and a black with white polka dot minke back. I wasn't considering binding either that long ago so it ended up with a black with small white dots binding. It was machine sewn to the back and hand stitched to the front. The final stitch went into the label on May 29, 2013.
Now I am at loose ends as to where to go from here!

Hexie Details:

1755 Black hexies - 275" of fabric
538 Bright Yellow - 85"
264 Light yellow - 42.5"
538 Bright Blue - 85"
264 Light Blue - 42.5"
536 Bright Pink - 85"
264 Light Pink - 42.5"
538 Bright Green - 85"
264 Light Green - 42.5"

I almost always buy a little bit extra to allow for shrinkage, mistakes, etc. When I was about 75% done, I realized that I had to sew an extra row of hexies on the top and bottom because I wanted the binding to finish right on a seam and I hadn't sewn a hexie above that seam to fill the binding and have enough to really attach to so these numbers are slightly off but this is what I purchased. This does not account for binding, backing or batting.

Also, it does indeed make a VERY heavy quilt. I haven't gotten around to weighing it but have been thinking I should. It is heavy enough that while my mother-in-law is pushing me to enter it SOMEWHERE before I give it to my brother for Christmas, I don't have alot of faith in the sleeve supporting the weight of it without damaging the minke back. Between my LQS and the biannual quilt show I went to this weekend, I now think it will be okay with a split sleeve.

When I originally started this, I thought it would be done in time to give for Christmas 2011. I was a long way off on my timing but just kept plugging away at it. Much of the time I worked on it I either didn't want to be in front of my machine or simply couldn't be. We also bought a house near the end of January last year and so had to list the house we were in. We were bursting at the seams and keeping a house "ShowHome Ready" with a seven year old, four year old and, once again, a husband out of town meant that I simply could not get out the mess of machine piecing while this could be taken out and put away in moments. Or sitting pool side in Jamaica, enjoying the sun - we escaped -40 for most of that trip. Or just shy of two hours twice a week for Tae Kwon Do, or, or, or. I've been working on a queen sized foundation pieced storm at sea for 18 months when I could get to the machine.

 Something I loved about this was that I could take it anywhere and even if I only had five or ten minutes then I could easily accomplish at least a little with very little tools. Those little five - ten minute quilting breaks plus "watching" Grey's or whatever else all added together made this quilt.

I had to go outside and do the pictures where and how I did because I didn't have anywhere else big enough where I could also get far enough away to get the whole quilt in one shot. I am standing on a chair on my upper deck to get the shot of the whole quilt so the camera is about 15 feet above the quilt and back about six to eight feet. I'm not even keeping this quilt. It is a Christmas gift for my brother and his wife and they don't have a clue.

Thank you so much for your interest. I don't really have anyone to share with that actually understands. I can't even join the guild here because it meets on Wednesday nights and that is my husband's Army Artillery reserve night but I still love him anyway! :)
In other news, my dear husband is no longer a sergant. A little over a week ago he got promoted to Warrant Officer. Yay husband! Biggest congratulations to the most wonderful partner I could ever ask for in sharing my life with me.


Friday, June 7, 2013

We All Have To Start Somewhere...

Well, I guess we all have to start somewhere and this is going to be my start in blogging. Today I'll just talk about my little family, who, at the end of the day, are my life. My next love though is Quilting!

My husband and I own a home business where he is an Occupational Health and Safety Trainer and Consultant. Over the last eight years of running that business, he has averaged five months a year up at the Oilsands in Fort McMurray, five months here in Edmonton and two months a year just about anywhere else. His company motto is "Have kit, will travel." When he is in Fort Mac, I am, what many people here call, an "Oilsands Widow" or "Fort Mac Widow". He is also a Sergeant in the Artillery Reserve here in Canada and gone on three tours overseas on a volunteer basis.

I am a Stay at Home Mom to an eight year old boy and a five year old girl. My boy is a few weeks away from the end of grade three. My girl is a few weeks away from the end of her kindergarten year. They are both in Tae Kwon Do, love to swim and downhill ski. With the weather we get here, you just have to figure out how to manage and you get on with it.

As for me? Well, I am... well, me! I have a degree in Communications but now I stay at home with the kids. With how much my husband travels, we like to think that I provide stability and constancy. I try to do as much cooking as I can and avoid convienience food but life happens too. With that in mind, I also work at homemade convenience food. It doesn't take much longer to triple a recipe and freeze it than it does to make a single batch and then that homemade convenience gives me what I love best after my family... 

Time to Quilt!