I began quilting in late 1999 having found Quiltmakers on Avenue Road and I was, from the beginning, a very loyal customer, always purchasing my fabrics and classes there. When my grandmother, at the age of 100, was moved from a seniors residence where she lived on her own to a resting home in the summer of 2000, I began travelling to New Jersey every three months to make sure things were going well for her. It was at that time that I began visiting other quilt stores along the route. Just off Highway 81 near Cortland there was a quilt store named Patchwork & Pies. It was in an old firehouse on a corner off the main road and it became one of my favourite quilt stores. It was there that I picked up this kit - Yellow Brick Road is the pattern (well known pattern from Atkinson Designs) and the fabrics were these luscious, earthy toned flannels.
Fabrics with pattern
This kit sat in my pile of kits for many years just waiting for the right time. A couple of years ago I had a private student who was making her first quilt and she wanted to do this pattern. She chose black and white and red and I pulled out my kit. We worked together and I am happy to say she got hers done but I had only managed to make a few blocks so the project ended up in the UFO pile. Since I don't have a lot of flannel projects, I had pulled this one out to complete along with my Bricks & Mortar and the Scrap Flannel I completed in the fall (which by the way has been basted - thank you Sandy - and is ready for my "big quilting" by hand). On Sunday, with Jonathan away working, I completed all the blocks to make the lap size quilt.
Completed blocks (sort of)
The pattern calls for 40 blocks for the lap size but you only use 35, however, I think I want to make it one row larger so I will add 2 more blocks to give it a bigger width (hopefully today). That was about all I could do Sunday and Jonathan was off Monday and Tuesday so I was back to hand piecing.
Monday and Tuesday were extremely productive. Getting so close to completion I have really been pushing towards the end. Each block I complete is an accomplishment and I've noticed I left a lot of the really complicated blocks to the end, what a surprise. I guess we all do that......
I have now changed my strategy for completion and am completing them in the order that I need them to complete the rows outstanding. This block completes Row #13.
Block # 75 - Rosebud - 28 pieces
The next few blocks are the ones I need to complete Row # 12. I alternate between prepping and piecing the blocks to adding the sashings and cornerstones and completing the rows.
Block # 86 - Squash Blossom - 22 pieces
Block # 93 - Swallow - 23 pieces
Row #13 completed
Row # 13 attached to Rows 14 and 15.
Having attached Rows 13, 14, and 15 together I now have 4 rows to complete. Rows, 9, 10, 11, and 12. I am currently working on Row 12 for which I need 7 blocks some of which are already completed. The next blocks are still for Row #12.
Block # 89 - Steps to the Altar - 26 pieces
Row #12 - started
As you can see, I put quite a dent in the Farmer's Wife over the two days I had to work on it.
Wednesday was a busy day. Liz picked me up and we headed for Gillian's to have a lovely lunch and a nice long visit. I was scheduled to be at the Odette Centre to see Dr. O at 3:45 P.M. and we made it in the nick of time. For the first time in 3 years we only had to wait half an hour until I was called in.
What can I say! I'm not sure what I was expecting to hear. The radiation, which I struggled through in October did not do much good. The tumor has shrunk but not substantially. Because of where it is located it is inoperable and they can't do a biopsy. So we are back to chemotherapy which, if I chose to do it, will start next Wednesday. He seems to think that the pain I am experiencing is from the cancer and that the chemotherapy, if it works, will help alleviate the pain. At the moment I just feel like a guinea pig....that didn't work, so let's try this! I sort of get it but I can honestly say I'm not particularly happy about it. Will I ever be cancer free?!?! That's the million dollar question.....there comes a time when you have to say ENOUGH! I am certainly not that person that gives up easily so chances are I'll be back in chemo next week but we are still weighing the pros and cons so I will stay positive and continue doing my thing.....
With all that went on Wednesday I got no quilting done!!! ...and Jonathan was working so I wasn't pleased to have lost my quilting time. When I got home and settled in I was extremely tired so I didn't get much of anything done and Thursday Jonathan was off again so it was a hand piecing day.....
I continued working on The Farmer's Wife and this will be the last block in Row 12, which is slowly coming together.
Block #107 - Windblown Square - 32 pieces
First two blocks of Row 12 attached.
Block # 79 - Silver Lane - 40 pieces
It is an understatement to say I would like to just keep on going but that is just not feasible. By the time I chose my fabrics, cut the needed templates and marked and cut the fabric, then hand pieced the last block - I could barely see straight. I've been checking ahead and I've got one block that has no less than 57 pieces coming up, can't wait for that one. Like I said, left all the difficult blocks to the end.
Some of you may still be wondering why I chose to do this quilt by hand. At times I wonder the same thing, however, I can honestly say that the accuracy has really become evident. I have yet to have to stretch or ease any of the blocks to the sashing size. They all fit perfectly and that is such a rewarding feeling. I know that when I machine piece, I sometimes don't get an accurate 1/4" seam and there are times when I will have to square up my blocks or ease them into my quilt top. This quilt is coming together beautifully. Would I do another one like this? Maybe. Once the top for The Farmer's Wife is completed, I will have Sandy baste it and I will be hand-quilting it so I have plenty of time to decide whether I would make a quilt this large again by hand.....
Okay, I really have to get what's left of my day going and get to work on that Yellow Brick Road.....
Have a great day everyone, and I will keep you posted!