This past weekend I finally got to start putting together the Diamond Dazzle group quilt. If you've been with us now for 8 weeks or so, you will know what I am talking about. If not, go right ahead and check out the Diamond Dazzle part one and part two updates, along with the announcement of the group quilt project back in January/Feb timeframe. The rest of us can wait.......
While we are waiting for the newbies to catch up, can I just be really uncool for a moment and admit that it gave me a small thrill to have Mark Lipinski comment on my FB status the other day? The man has 5000 plus friends, and I am such a nobody compared to him; really, I just felt very special and this paragraph has proven I am a total geek with possible stalker tendencies.
Everyone all caught up now? Okay then! So for several weeks now I have had all these gorgeous diamonds hanging out in my house, as well as being the caretaker of a lot of gorgeous diamond blocks, and have been so busy writing the pattern, dealing with a mostly dead all day computer (a Quilting Hottie pin to the first commenter to correctly identify that movie reference in the comment section) and attempting to decipher the new carseat guidelines that I just have not had the chance to devote to sewing together my share of the close to 500 blocks total I was sent for this project. A crying shame by any stretch, I tell you. But last Friday I finally decided the time had come, and come hell, water in the sump, or a non-napping preschooler, I was going to start it.
The first thing I did was to go through all the envelopes and grab one of each unique set of diamond blocks (you may recall if you read for content that each participant was to make me four sets of blocks - if you didn't read for content or just pretended to read at all, well then, don't yell at me if you are confused). This alone was enough to send me into fits of ecstacy as I once again got to see how gorgeous all these blocks were. I lay them out on my living room floor because my design wall wasn't nearly large enough for the size quilt I was clearly going to get, which I would like to technically refer to as "big-ass". It's actually somewhere between full and queen, but isn't big-ass more to the point?
The next step was to sew the rows into strips; this part always goes really fast and gives me false hope that I can finish the entire thing by dinner. In reality, it's still not quite put together several days later. It was really fun to play a little game with myself as I sewed and tried to guess who had made each block based on style and fabric choices alone. I was about 75% right, which is pretty cool considering I only know about 25% of the people who contributed blocks. Call it more proof of my stalker-esque tendencies if you will, but I prefer to call it photographic memory mixed with exceptional name recall.
At some point during the day on Friday, my four year old non-napping preschooler who goes variously by Monkey or Greta to her face and Your Lovechild when we are passing the childcare buck, came walking by the layout on the floor and randomly announced to me "Mom, that's old school." I truly have no idea what the heck she meant by this and couldn't ask because I was too busy drying my tears from laughing so hard. Did she mean the colors? Did she mean because I couldn't fit it on the design wall so I was reverting to the floor, as in the days of yore? Did she simply mean to try out this phrase Daddy says all the time? In any case, it was highly amusing for it's complete randomness and she may have named that particular version of the quilt.
Old school or new school, I have to say the thing is stunning. There are so many fabrics in there that your eyes just keep moving, searching for
your new favorite every few seconds. One of my personal favorites is this pink and orange floral fabric, which has a little silvery thread thrown in to give it a fun metallic edge. But the most shocking thing about this fabric is....the maker of this block bent the rules and used (gasp!) FLANNEL! Yes, it is flannel. And while it wasn't in the rules as to whether or not flannel could be used, if I had been asked, I likely would have said no, please keep it all quilting cottons. But then I would have missed out on this awesome fabric which I absolutely love. Maybe being a controlling psycho for this project wasn't the best attitude to take after all; thankfully I was saved from myself just by being kept in the dark.
I also love this blue swirly fabric with a little teal and lime thrown in. While it reads a little lighter than the medium blue I specified for this project, I love that it lightens things up a little in its corner of the world. In fact, there was enough straying from the base colors of hot pink, orange, and blue into the worlds of lime, yellow, teal, and even a little purple that at first I was concerned about the overall effect, but once I put the top together these extra colors really became total poppers! Just another happy quilting accident.
Once my strips were together I had to determine fabrics for the framing diamonds and the borders. I had shopped for some basics in blue and orange prior to getting the blocks back, so really the biggest thing to decide was which fabric would be for which quilt element. I decided on the dark blue flowers ("Nobu" by Kona Bay) for the framing diamonds, and the dark orange mottled (Robert Kaufman "Marblelous") for
the border, and set about adding them to the strips so I could sew them together. And look at how well they came together once the strips were sewn together with the most perfect 1/4" seam allowance at the points! It's almost like I am a self-proclaimed professional or something.
So where is the photo of the entire quilt top, you find yourself wondering I am sure. The answer is: I am not showing it to you. That would necessitate that it be completely done and I don't want to have to admit to you that it is not completely put together yet and is still missing a very important element. So we are all going to pretend together like you have seen all you need to see and are incredibly impressed with my progress so far. And look at it this way - it leaves the door open for Diamond Dazzle part 4.