Facing East, a reckoning

A year and one month ago I started a monumental project.  My motivation:  to make a quilt for our bed that my husband would actually appreciate.  We don't share a similar aesthetic - like at all.  He eschews color, which is the crux of our differences.  But, he also favors Japanese history and artifacts.  Facing East in an all-neutral palette is that rare common ground.


Facing East is a 10.5" x 21" finished block from Carolyn Friedlander's book Savor Each Stitch.  It is an intensely time consuming paper pieced block. Each one takes a solid 2 hours of attentive work.  Knowing I'd have trouble slogging through so many of these blocks in a neutral palette, I set myself the goal of making 2 blocks per month starting December 2016. 


Well... 11 months later and I have 22 blocks!  That's kind of miraculous because some months I did more than 2 and a few months this summer I made none.  Funny how it evened out! 


Today I decided to face the facts.  I cleared my design wall and set out all my blocks.  Then I calculated the big question:  how many more blocks do I need? 

Oh, yes, I've been most definitely avoiding it.  I ran the numbers before, but they were off because I thought the block was 12" wide instead of 10.5". 

Turns out I need 36 whole blocks and 9 half blocks for my queen quilt.  I've decided on a 94.5" square quilt with 9 columns and 4.5 rows.  That last 1/2 row will be tucked at the end of our bed and totally hidden, so I'm tempted to skimp with some easier patchwork, but I'll resist.  Why put in so many hours only to wimp out on the 1/2 block row, right?  Right.

The good news is that I am more than halfway done.  The bad news is that I still have 18 1/2 blocks to go.  Oh dear

So much for sleeping under this quilt this winter season.  Even if I make 4 blocks per month from here on out, I'd not be done until March. 

I'm not sure at the moment what to do about that.  Maybe I'll keep my fabrics out and try to make one block or more per week until I tire of it!  We'll see.

Ok, but let's focus on the fact that I really like how it's looking so far.  I haven't pulled all the blocks out for awhile, so it was inspiring to see them in mass! 


I recently took a reader's advice to try Aurifil's 80wt thread for the hand applique circles.  So glad I did!  The stitches in this fine thread sink right into the project and nearly disappear, while still being easy enough to work with.  I can't say the same for the clear (monofilament) thread I also tried.  That was way too much trouble for hand stitching, being invisible and all.

Here's to long projects, pacing oneself and perspective.  I promise I'll report back on Facing East next time I take a reckoning.