In the lead up to Christmas, I had made the decision to have a stitching break. Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to stitch but I really was just feeling a little burnt out and a little sad that I no longer made anything for myself or my family - all of my stitching was work related or for others. I even remember tweeting something along the lines - 'In a perfect world I would just sit and stitch gifts for family and friends'. To shake these feelings, I felt the best thing for me was to take a few weeks off stitching.
Then towards the end of December, photos kept appearing on Instagram with the hashtag #scrappytripalong. I managed to 'ignore' them for a while but then curiosity got the better of me and I clicked on the link and took a look. I was intrigued as to what everyone was doing and wanted to know more. Then after looking through pictures of all those involved in this stitch along, and watching a few friends joining in too (I blame Michelle from Buttontree Lane) , the desire to stitch crept in. I must confess that I hadn't felt those tummy tingles, the 'I want to stitch every waking moment' feelings for a very long time, so was super excited to be involved.
Then I got sick. I felt dreadful with an awful flu and all I could do was lay on the couch or in bed and try and keep my temperature down with a cold face washer on my head. It wasn't a pretty sight but while recovering I spent more time watching others join in on the fun of the #scrappytripalong. It was like this special club, and I wanted to be a part of it. The excitement was contagious. So on January 1, still not feeling 100% but really keen to do something 'just for me', I headed over to my studio and started digging through my stash. I decided to make one block and see how I felt, if I enjoyed it and if I felt like I wanted to make more. It wasn't long before I had my first 6 strips cut and ready to go.
I just HAD to keep going, I had no choice, I was hooked. I loved that I could share my progress on Instagram, flickr and facebook as I went, and was given such encouragement from others. I felt a part of a brand new (to me) stitching community, and I loved it. It was a feeling that I missed, even more than I realised.
I soon had my first four blocks made, and excitedly lay them together to see the 'trip around the world' pattern forming. I LOVED them and couldn't wait to make some more, however knew I needed to pace myself so went home for a little rest, all the while thinking and dreaming of making more blocks.
I headed back to my studio later that night after all the wife and Mummy duties were done, and made another 4 blocks.
And that became my pattern over the coming days, sneaking in stitching when I could, and then stitching till late into the night in the quiet of the evening. I had time to think, plan and just soak up the feeling of stitching purely for fun. It was food for my soul and something I desperately needed. It was a firm reminder that it is important to stitch for the love of it, to make quilts for my family to sleep under and to take some time out, just for me.
I continued to make my blocks in groups of 4 until I had 20 complete blocks.
I was so very excited to lay my 20 blocks together to get a 'feel' for how my quilt would look. It seemed that most people involved were making 36 blocks, so that was my aim. I was over halfway there.
After seeing my 20 blocks together, the 'need' to have my quilt top finished was accelerated, I just wanted to stitch every waking second. Of course, that wasn't possible but I decided to work on the final 16 blocks all together. The process might feel a little longer but I knew I would be finished them all at once, and that excited me.
So over the next few days, I cut my strips, planned my blocks and joined the strips together.
I then sat and unpicked where necessary to form the strips for my blocks, lay each block in the order that I wanted it, pressed again and made piles ready to stitch together to form my remaining 16 blocks. I pressed and pinned as I went which slowed me down just a tiny bit but ultimately made me happy as my seams matched and my blocks were nice and flat too.
After all of my prep work, yesterday was the day to stitch my blocks together. I was determined to stitch as many as I could, so while the kids spent time in the house with Granny and Grandad, I popped a Gilmore Girls DVD into my computer and set to work. It took me most of the day but by late afternoon I was excited to see this pile of blocks on my table, waiting for a final press. I couldn't believe it but I had actually finished all 36 blocks for my Scrappy Trip along quilt.
I was bursting at the seams to lay my blocks together and see my quilt top form. You see, I had this idea brewing while I was stitching and wanted to try it out. While I loved the traditional way of laying together a Trip around the world quilt, I really wanted to do something that was really me. I just HAD to lay my blocks to form a chevron (zig zag) pattern. Thankfully my parents have some large floor spaces, so quickly before heading home I placed my blocks out to see how my idea would look. It was hard to get a good photo (I have been documenting this journey on my phone) as I couldn't really get far enough away and it wasn't the best lighting, but it was enough for me to see that yes, this was the way I wanted to piece my quilt together. I would have my very own scrappy Chevron quilt. It was SO exciting!
Today I am heading back to the studio to work on the final positions for my blocks and then I will be stitching my quilt top together. I can't wait! I have thoroughly enjoyed the whole process of making this quilt and I know I will be itching to quilt and bind it ASAP too. I promise to take more photos to share the rest of the process with you too. It's going to be a heatwave here in NSW today, so a day in the air conditioned studio sounds pretty perfect to me.
I wanted to share some links with you and give credit to those who started and organised this informal stitch along too. You might enjoy reading their blogs and you might like to play along as well, so here goes. Apologies if I get any of this wrong, these people are new to me, so please feel free to let me know if I have missed anyone who should be credited too.
From my understanding the first people to start making this quilt were Megan of Lucy and Norman, Brenda of Pink Castle Fabrics and Rita of Red Pepper Quilts. They were using this tutorial from Quiltville and making the most GORGEOUS versions of this quilt. A Flickr group was soon set up (which now has over 600 members) and the Scrappytripalong fever spread. I loved watching people like Katy of I'm a Ginger Monkey whip together their quilts in super fast time too, she is amazing. I've loved watching more and more people 'get the bug' and join in as well. Those playing along on Instagram have been using the #scrappytripalong hashtag and there is so much inspiration there to see.
If you are looking for a super fun and easy quilt to make, and want to feel like the part of a great stitching community, then this stitchalong is for you. I assure you, you are guaranteed to be addicted, have a great time and even make some new friends along the way. IN the end you will have a beautiful quilt to remember this fun start to 2013 as well. I know mine is one I will treasure always. I'll be back again soon to share progress on my quilt. Happy stitching. xx