What better way to jump full into this new obsession than by joining a Quilt A Long (QAL for short)? While lurking in the quilting facebook groups I saw this dramatic quilt and decided that since the whole thing was broken up into manageable parts, maybe I would be able to keep up.
I got the downloadable pattern from Slice of Pi and printed it out and started thinking about the colors that I wanted to use. The weekly QAL emails from Laura were super helpful and encouraging, giving me a little bit of confidence that this project could be completed even by a beginner like me. She guided us through the fabric selection as well as the cutting, and I’m really glad that the pattern included the cutting directions for using the Accuquilt Die system. I can cut long straight lines, but the precise cutting of small bits still eludes me, so having HELP really helps! One of the secrets of quilting – piecing really – is that the finished piece is absolutely dependent upon accurate cutting at the very beginning. Once I’ve gotten that HUGE part down, all the rest seems (seams?) ridiculously simple. The fabrics I chose were really random bits of small pieces of fabric that were from various other projects. I know of two fabrics that were specifically from dresses I made for my girls when they were little, and it’s nice to see them again preserved here since those dresses have long since left the house.
Week by week Laura’s emails came, explaining what to do, so I set time aside after all the regular things were finished to work on the Exploding Heart. I was really surprised by how quickly things came together with a manageable plan in place. I understand the value of a well written plan, but I got to put myself under someone else’s plan and just let them tell me what to do for a while, and I’m really glad that I didn’t try to break any rules with this project.
Within a few weeks the quilt top was completely done, and it is just waiting the quilting. My excuse for the last few weeks is that I didn’t yet have the batting, but that just came in (Hobbs Heirloom batting in black – which wasn’t in stock anywhere in town). So now the batting is here and I think I will be using a backing that is black with pink polka dots for a little bit of fun on the back. I need to add borders to give it just a bit more width and length. I do have a little quilting plan for the black areas, and I’m just going to let the colorful areas pop.
Overall, I’m really kind of excited that I was able to follow the directions AND that it came out so well so far. I’ll update again when I have the other parts done, but I just wanted to share the progress so far.