Monday, 12 December 2016

50 Country Quilting Projects - A Book Challenge

When I first watched/read Julie & Julia, I thought, "I'd like to do that." No, not master the art of French cooking, or work my way through Julia Child's cookbook in a year. But maybe some other cookbook. I like a challenge and the idea of working my way through an entire cookbook with a time limit appealed to me. I actually considered doing 660 Curries this way.  Except that I was afraid that I might get incredibly sick of East Indian cooking by the end of the year. Plus Julie had several advantages over me. For starters, she was much younger than I am now. Younger usually means more energy, ability to stay up later without it seriously affecting you the next day, nor usually the aches and pains that someone my age can have. She didn't have plantar fasciitis (at least not that she reported), which sometimes makes it very difficult to stand and cook or do dishes because of the pain. Or carpal tunnel syndrome. Or arthritis in the hands. She lived in an apartment, whereas I live in a house. Unless she had a very large apartment, that means I've got much more space to clean, maintain and repair. And if she didn't own the apartment, she wasn't even responsible for the maintain and repair part. On my house, all of the maintenance and repair is my responsibility. She wouldn't have had to run a snowblower or a lawnmower. And what limited cleaning and maintenance she was responsible for, she had a husband to share the responsibilities with. I have only me (and the cats). She lived in a large city where pretty well anything she needed could be found, while I live in a small rural town, an hour's drive from the nearest city.
Yet, in spite of all my purported disadvantages, the idea hasn't left me, calling me, tempting me, intriguing me...
And then one day, while shopping in a thrift store, as was my wont, I wandered over to the book section and found 50 Country Quilting Projects.  And I bought it, along with a couple of other quilting books. Back home, while perusing this book, I thought, "This is it." Instead of a cookbook, I could work my way through a quilting book. And this one was, I thought, doable in a year, without being too easy. While 50 projects may not sound like much compared to the daunting 500+ recipes in Julia's cookbook, bear in mind that it generally takes a lot longer to make a quilt than prepare a meal. 50 projects is roughly one a week (with a couple of weeks for vacation???).  Thirteen of those are large projects, so that's more than one large quilt a month. However, one of the "small" projects is 70" square! And just because a quilt project is small doesn't mean it's easy either: 10 of the small projects are intermediate and two are advanced.  So completing all of these in a year would definitely be a challenge. And I'd really like to try it. However, I have so many other projects that I need to finish before I started such a challenge that I'd have to put it off for at least a year. And ideally, I'd really need a long arm quilting machine before then. I've found it just too difficult to fit renting a machine into my schedule that it would be imperative for me to have my own in order to meet the deadline of finishing all projects in this book in a year. So, disappointing though it may be, I've still determined to complete all of the projects in this book, but not with a deadline. I will fit them in around my other projects and still celebrate when I've finished the book.
But I have some other stipulations for my quilting book challenge. I will do as little hand-sewing as possible, even when the instructions say to hand stitch or hand piece, I will use the machine if at all possible. After all, if my original goal would have been to complete the book in a year, there is no way I could accomplish it if I quilted anything by hand. Secondly, I use fusible web and machine stitching for my applique, not freezer paper or hand-stitching. Finally, while I intend to stick to the original instructions as much as possible, I will modify and amend where appropriate to meet my needs.
Now, let's get quilting...