Wednesday, March 19, 2014

what I learned from the road crew. and another quilt

For over a year now, 
there has been practically around-the-clock road work on I-540.

For the most part, I avoid the interstate when possible
but I've learned a valuable lesson
from my observations 
when I do take that route.

Prep work is every bit as important
as the 'real' work.
(and often takes more time...)


Many moons ago,
before Claire was even engaged,
her mom asked me if I'd help make a quilt.
I responded like Peter,
"I won't just help, I'll take over the whole shebang!"

I didn't really say that.
What I said was,
"It would be really fun if the 3 of us all worked together on Claire's quilt.
We'd be making memories and a quilt at the same time."
I took over....

I didn't mean to, it just happened.
After trying to get together for months to go fabric shopping
(who knew it would be so hard to get the 3 of us together?!)
I shopped my stash.
(At this point, Claire was engaged, with a wedding 8 months away!
The plan was that we would work for 3 hours or so 1 Saturday a month.)
Claire had given me a color palette to work with - a beachy theme
and I pulled out every bit of fabric I thought might work.
More trying to get together....
then I shopped Hancocks.
Hobby Lobby.
The place out in Mulberry....

When I had a towering stack of fabrics,
I couldn't get them both over, but Claire was able to pop in one night in November and go through the pile.
Some fabrics, neither one of us thought were just right, so out they went.
There were a few fabrics, though, that Claire wasn't fond of, but I made strongly encouraged her to keep anyways ;-)
because I felt like they were needed for balance.
(I let her veto me on a few that she really didn't like)

this was not the finished stack. it kept growing...

I'd taken the quilt that she pinned (which was baby size)
 and drafted a pattern for a queen sized quilt.
We needed 32 pinwheels, so she picked her favorite fabrics for those.

It took another 2 months before we could get together for fabric cutting.
With the wedding only 4 months away, I was getting downright panicky. 

I only thought I was panicky then.
the wedding is just 2 months away,
and up 'til a few days ago, all we'd managed to accomplish so far
was getting (most of) the fabric cut
and we got started on sewing the pinwheels.
(I should mention that not only is Claire planning a wedding, she is also in college.
And her poor momma.
Well, life has changed drastically for my friend; she is now caring for her mother, who has Alzheimer's.)

I decided that there just wasn't going to be enough time for all of us to work together 
every time.
We'd never get the quilt finished.
So Monday, 
thinking about those road workers, I got busy.
I pressed open the blocks. (2 hours.)
Then I trimmed the blocks (1 1/2 hours) (that stretched into Tuesday...)
Then I glue basted those suckers (40 minutes maybe?)
(I felt like it was a better choice than pins and would allow for speedier sewing)
Then I decided, what the heck,
I might as well actually finish the pinwheels at this point,
so I sewed (20 minutes)
(see that? over 4 hours of prep for 20 minutes at the machine.)
Then I pressed those seams, and glue basted again (?? minutes.
No clue. I was also cooking dinner, so I was running back and forth between the iron and kitchen)
And 15 more minutes of sewing (and several more minutes with the iron, pressing) 
yielded 32 beautiful pinwheels blocks.

Which I've now sorted by color,
so when the girls come over on Saturday (YAY!!!)
we will be all ready to get the quilt layed out - and hopefully sew a quilt top.
(and appreciate prep work...)

linking up again with Lee's WiP Wednesdays :-)


  1. I love the peter analogy. =) you sure have jumped in up to your eyeballs. so much work, but it will produce something meaningful and lovely. memories of one kind or another have been made even if not everyone participated each time. it's going to be lovely! best wishes on your layout session and a strong finish.

  2. WOW! These pinwheel blocks are amazing and I love the way you arranged them in circles. Won't that make a beautiful quilt design ;)

  3. Gorgeous displays of blocks and fabrics. It is fun to look at. It will be fun to see it finished.

  4. Wow I'm staring in awe at that beautiful circle of pinwheels - it is going to be a magnificent quilt!

  5. I love the color scheme you're working with - it's so crisp and cheerful.

  6. Lovely color layout. Good luck on the finish.

  7. They look so beautiful fanned into a wheel like this too.

  8. Good luck on the quilt. It's looking great! Good work on the prep, and I really have to learn more about glue basting.


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