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Building Blocks Complete!

This past January I wanted to make a fun New Year’s resolution, so I joined Leah Day’s “Building Block Quilt Along” .

Today, I’m happy to say, I’m finished!!

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I was so happy to be done this quilt that when I finished it yesterday morning I needed to take a picture of it immediately before I put it in the washing machine. (I always have this fear every time I wash a new quilt: either the colors will run, or it will fall apart.) I was mad because it was raining so I couldn’t take a picture outside. But then I asked myself – “self, what are you going to do with this quilt right after you take the picture? Put it in a washing machine with water? Rain is just water –  take your picture!”

So I stood outside on my front lawn in the rain in my pajamas and took a picture – I hope no one got a picture of that!

I’ll be honest, by the end of this quilt along I was more than ready to be done. When I started, I was working at a very leisurely pace. Every Friday night I worked on the new block for the week. In between, I worked on other projects. But the pace picked up just around the time I started work on some projects that had tight deadlines, and it started to feel not so leisurely and I fell a little behind.

But I’m happy I pushed through and caught up, because I think it was a good idea to get it done before the holidays. I don’t think I would have completed it by the end of the year otherwise. I’m working on holiday gifts now and with many other holiday activities coming up, this project would have been hard to squeeze in.

I chose this project because, inspired my new sewing machine, I really wanted to get better at free motion quilting.

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These wiggly U’s are my first block.

This wonky star is one of my

last blocks.

Is there improvement? I’ll let you be the judge.

I know I have learned a lot from this quilt:

  1. I don’t like super dense quilting.
  2. I hate marking designs. I started out meticulously tracing each design with a light box, which was a big part of the project beginning to feel like a chore. By the end, I had given up on the light box for all but the most intricate designs. I gave up tracing circles  – even if I traced them perfectly (I didn’t!) I would not sew them perfectly.
  3. When trying to pick my favorite blocks, all the ones I picked were ones with straight line quilting. Which is kind of funny, since I never thought of straight lines as a free motion quilting design. I thought of it as walking foot design. But FMQ lines are so much faster. And it is easy to mark – you just need a ruler and marking pencil – no light box!

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I love these straight lines!

I have to say, the thing I love best about my quilt (besides having finished it) are my fabric choices. I started out the year with the idea that I wanted to use fabric I already owned in my projects this year before buying any more (BTW, this was a miserable failure – I bought a LOT of fabric this year). I owned just the right amount of the green batik for this project, but didn’t have enough solid fabric (well, I didn’t have any solid fabric), so I bought the Kona navy with a half price coupon at JoAnn’s. This project was great for using up odd pieces of batting. For backing, I used various print navy’s that I had on hand.

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I have seen so many beautiful & creative  quilts on the Building Block Facebook group. But I have never regretted my fabric choices. Everytime I sat down to sew, that navy and green made me happy. I hope everyone else working on the project had the same experience.

Finally, I have to say another great part of this project was following along with other quilters on the Facebook groups. Sometimes the internet can be a mean place, but I didn’t see that once with this group. I posted some of my progress pictures occasionally, and when I did, I was overwhelmed with the generosity of the group with their praise and encouragement. It made me feel bad that I didn’t comment on others posts more often. So to all the group members,let me say, thank you for sharing your amazing work with us! And thanks Leah for a great Quilt Along!

Here’s a picture after washing – yeah it’s still a quilt!!

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One Good Dog

Our book this month was “One Good Dog” by Susan Wilson.

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This was a very nice story about how a mistreated dog helps a man heal. Traumatic events from childhood has led to the loss of everything Adam March values in his adult life. Of course, everyone knows the love of a good dog can fix just about anything! Well, it may not fix everything, but unconditional love is always nice and by learning to love and take care of a dog, Adam learns to take responsibility for his actions and to make a new life for himself.

The meeting this month was at Kathy’s house, so we all knew we could look forward to delicious bakery treats. We were not disappointed!
And they were adorable too:

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Thanks Kathy for the delicious treats and being such a great hostess!

I’ll leave you with a picture of my “One (pretty) Good Dog” I loved the depiction of retrievers in the book, because their lovable nature and eagerness to please is why I love having labs. Feel free to tell me about your good dog too!

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