Yesterday I announced a new CQ challenge to make a 2020 over the next couple of years. I am delighted to have a good few takers for this challenge so I have heaps of stitching buddies which makes me grin. Today I thought I would share how I have gone about organising and planing for such a large project. I learnt a lot when I made the I Dropped the Button Box quilt and no doubt will learn more with this one.
For those who missed it here are the guidelines but just to recap the idea behind a 2020 quilt is make a quilt using 2020 different items such as different fabric, lace, braid, ribbons, doilies, hankies, buttons, charms and beads. One of the attractive aspects about this project is to see how my stitching has changed since I worked the I Dropped the Button Box quilt which is a Y2K quilt with 2000 unique bits on it.
Made in the year 2000 revisiting the idea a couple of decades later is an interesting exercise but as I embark on this I also realise that I will face similar creative challenges. To keep it interesting and new this time around I will count ‘bits’ fabric lace etc but I am also going to count varieties of stitches and embroidered seams so it is not a simple repeat of what I have done before. Also instead of making my blocks square this time around I am going to make hexagons.
Planing and keeping track of 2020 bits of stuff!
A fun part on this type of quilt is to use 2020 different pieces of fabric, lace, ribbon, braid, buttons etc as the quilt has to be made of 2020 unique items or pieces. You get to dig out all your stuff! Because you dig it all out and because you are trying to find things that are unique to meet the ‘all different’ requirement you find your self rummaging in all the nooks and crannies of your stash and finally using that special thing-a-ma-bob that you have hoarded for the last 20 years. So this type of project is a great stash buster.
Anyway the first thing I did was dig out all my fabrics. As I went I selected a small piece and then pinned it to my design wall.
Tip! Keep everything for this project together in one place.
It is quite a challenge not to have duplicates in the quilt. To avoid accidentally using something twice in the quilt I pick out all the stuff that I am going to use and double check it for duplication. So that means going through my stash selecting one of each of the fabrics I am going to use. Then doing the same with lace, ribbon and braids. I have a design wall so I just pin them up until pulled out everything.
As I go I select fabrics that may go together so each of these bunches look like this. I wont get to piece all the blocks in one hit but each of these selections goes in a zip lock bag. If I see an obvious match with lace or braid I put them in the bag too as I add laces, ribbons and braids as I piece.
If the fabrics and lace are not organised into coordinated blocks I put the whole lot into a big plastic storage tub. The main thing is to keep the supplies for this project separate from my regular stash. It is easy to think as I did with the the I Dropped the Button Box quilt, that you can assemble blocks as you go and pull from your stash as needed. It did cause me troubles. The the I Dropped the Button Box quilt has 100 6 inch blocks each had 20 or so items on them. The first 10-15 blocks were fine as duplicates are easy to spot and prevent when assembling the next block. Once you reach about 30 blocks it is hard to hold in your minds eye what you have used and what you have not used. I have not done this type of project with larger blocks so I would be interested in hearing from anyone who does and if they need to pull out everything first.
I also go through all my buttons and make up a box of buttons that hold no duplicates and the same with charms. So everything that I can use on the project is set aside in one place.
Using a studio Journal
The other thing I am looking forward to is experimenting with the embroidery a lot more as I hope to experiment with more stitches and more embroidery techniques. To keep track of this and to catch ideas as I think of them I will use a studio journal. So I have a spiral bound A4 art journal sitting on my desk. I chose spiral bound in order to be able to stick in fabric swatches, threads and photos without it getting too bulgy – it will and I might even need a second notebook by the time the project is done but I am tracking it from now. One side of the journal will be me tracking the project block by block and I will turn the notebook over and use the back as the side I store ideas in. When doing this type of large project as I stitch I often thinks of other things I can do – I will note it in my studio journal. Then of course there is stimulation and inspiration of stuff seen online. That too goes in the back of my studio journal.
Decide on block size and shape
I have over 3 years to make it as technically the deadline for a 2020 quilt is the end of 2020 so it’s not a stressed or hurried project and I was looking for something that was easy to pick up and set down when I wanted to work on something else. After seeing hexies made by Vivian Garforth’s and then Margaret Roberts (both members of Facebook groups Crazy quilt International and Crazy Quilt Divas) I have decided to make hexagons using the quilt as you go method.
The next thing to work out was how many hexies I wanted to make. To do this I used a the cddesigns calculator I found online. The calculator measures the side of the finished hexagon. I am using a template that creates a finished side of 4 inches which is 8 inches across from point to point. I like this size as it fits on hoop easily with no worries about having to move the work and crushing embroidery or beads etc. This size also works up relatively quickly. For a long term project like this I am trying to avoid stall points as stall points lead to UFO’s. So for me a handy size block is a way of giving myself the best chance to complete!
Using the calculator on the cddesigns I fiddled about with the size of the quilt and came up with the number of 120 hexagons and 11 half hexagons to give me a quilt top that 76 inches by 74 inches. I then divided 2020 ( the number I need to make the challenge) by 125.5 (120 and 11 half hexies) to get the number of items for each block which is 16 unique items per block which I can do. So the composition of my blocks without embroidery will be something like this 5-7 pieces of fabric, 3-5 buttons, 2-3 pieces of lace, ribbon or braid, 1 charm/feature bead and 1 lace motif. These are approximate as I will jiggle what looks best on each block and what works with the embroidery on the block and this time around I am counting different embroidery techniques and seam combinations.
One thing that is of concern is that if I pile all that stuff on to each block I don’t have much room for embroidery. Now this number is good in theory but if I get very wrapped up in lots of embroidery I will need more room on the block! This means the final count of 2020 items may fall short. If this happens my solution is to add more more hexies and have bigger quilt. So in the long run, I am not sure yet as to final number of hexies but they will be around 120 or more if required. I will be counting and recording in my studio journal.
Well thats the plan – Comments and discussion welcome in the comments below. My next post on this will be hopefully be sharing my first block!
Where to Share your progress on your 2020 crazy quilt
Admins on the two big Facebook groups Crazy Quilt Divas and Crazy Quilt International are more than happy for people to share there work there. For those who have blogs you can leave your web addy in the comments. Instagram people can use #2020crazyquilt to share progress photos.
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