Monday, December 31, 2012

Can You Believe it? 366 Blocks Completed!!!

As I sit down to write this tonight it is very quiet in my house, the boys are working on Pinewood Derby cars which is what they were doing a year ago when I started this whole project.  I should probably start by telling you exactly why I started this project in the first place.

In 2000, I was pregnant and on flat on my back bed rest for six full months.  During that time I purchased through the mail this...



I would flip through that calendar day after day looking at each block and dreaming of one day making all of them.  I thought that once I was off of bed rest I could think about doing it.  HA!  Having a first baby with colic, there was not much sewing going on.  Fast forward 11 years.  My son was now becoming much more independent and I was feeling a little (a lot) lost.  I knew I needed something to help me get over this not feeling needed feeling.  I have friends around me who enjoy quilting, knitting, cross stitching almost as much as I do, but I thought maybe there would be others who would enjoy watching this project develop too.  After going back and forth on whether I could accomplish it or not my husband finally asked, "What are you going to lose if you don't do it?  Will anyone really notice if you quit in April, I doubt it, but you might really feel great if you get to December and finish it."  Okay, so he kind of ticked me off with the who is going to notice comment, but he got me wondering if I could do it or not.  So I started January 1 with this....



Now I made up my rules, I wanted it posted each evening before midnight (which did not always happen), I wanted to make a block each day, and I wanted them to be made out of the same fabric line so that I could use any block and it would coordinate with any other block at the end of the year.  That being said, three fat quarter packs will not make every block in this calendar, and I maybe should have chosen a line that was not discontinued before I ever even started.  By about the end of February I knew I was in trouble with the fabric.  I started looking and ordering Toy Box II fabric by Sara Morgan from any online shop I could find.  Thank goodness I had the foresight to purchase a whole bolt of one fabric from a shop I visited early in March.  I cannot even tell you how many times I would order any amount I could find, and I wish I had ordered more.  But that is something else I have learned during this whole process...planning ahead, even a little, is a good thing.


Now, I had tried sorting the blocks by size many times on paper, and I had tried to figure out how much fabric I would need, but with no fabric requirements listed at all, it was going to be interesting to see if I could make it.  I have used more than one bolt of background fabric and even that is getting hard to find.


Something else I never planned on was my husband being diagnosed in April with a very rapidly growing malignant melanoma and within days of being diagnosed he was in surgery having half of his ear removed.  That was a day I really wondered if I should continue...that is until he told me I had better get home and get my block made.  Did I cry while I made it, you bet I did...was it the best block I ever made, no, but it helped me get through a night that was painful and horrible and for a short time I had to think about something else.  There have also been days when we have come home from oncology appointments and I've run for the sewing room to make my block.  I guess just making something with my hands that had some beauty rather than the ugly of cancer was healing.  It also gave me a place to go to cry and pray.


A year has passed and there are now 366 quilt blocks in my pile.  I'm so excited about it I could jump up and down and dance with delight.  For once in my life I finished a project I started and it required a lot of discipline to do it.  I have a list of projects that I want to work on that is a mile long, and I have these blocks here that all need to be made into quilts.  I am half tempted to just start putting them together and get a finished quilt, but it took me this long to get them all pieced, and I want to enjoy making something beautiful with them (even the ones that are not my favorites).  I have not decided yet what my project for this next year is going to be, but I still have a few hours before I actually have to do that.



Thank you so much for all of your page views, comments, and emails this past year, you gave me more encouragement than you will ever know!  This is number 366 of 366 and it is an 8-inch block.  Happy New Year and Happy Stitching!!  --Kristen

29 comments:

Anthea said...

Kristen i am doing a massive Happy Dance for you! Wow, that is a wonderful story that is woven in with your blocks, I had no idea...
I have loved visiting your blog and seeing your progress at year. What a trojan you are to have continued despite the hardships, least of all the issues with fabrics.
You have inspired me to keep the Big Picture in mind, and taught me that long term projects have benefits!
WELL DONE KRISTEN!! x

sew.darn.quilt said...

I'm raising my glass to you, hon! What a year you've had, I hope all is well now and for the coming year(s).
You're blocks have inspired so many and brought comfort to you win/win I'd say!
Happy New Year to you and yours, Kristen.

Karen O said...

I am so very excited for you Kristen! I knew you have had a lot of tough things going on in your life this year, and I so admire you for persisting in this endeavor. I am looking forward to see the quilts that come from this!

✾Jamie Lee Cooley✾ said...

What a beautiful story behind your beautiful blocks! You have really accomplished something special. Happy new year and I hope this coming year is a good one for you and your family!

scraphappy said...

Congratulations! What a huge accomplishment.

Jamie P said...

Good job my friend!! I am so happy for you--though has me wondering what I will see now each morning when I log on. I am sure you will keep us wowed!! For the record-I would have noticed come April if you quit!!

Nancy said...

I began following your blog in the fall so I missed your posts from the beginning of the year. I didn't know the history of how you started these blocks, nor the challenges you've faced this year. Huge congratulations for sticking with this project and finishing it. I was telling my daughter about your blocks - and that you had a stack several feet high. She was surprised. I guess you could make a dozen quilts if you wanted. Again, congratulations, Kristin, and thanks for sharing. You're an inspiration!
Nancy from joy for grace

Karen said...

You wrote: A year has passed and there are now 366 quilt blocks in my pile. I'm so excited about it I could jump up and down and dance with delight.

I hope you did dance with delight!

I am very much looking forward to reading about your new project(s). Happy New Year!

B Greene said...

Congratulations!!!! What an accomplishment - I was glad to be along for the ride :-)

Michelle Olsen said...

I have spent every day since March (when I entered & won the Cape Ann FQ bundle giveaway) logging onto Google Reader and enjoying seeing your newest block. Back in March I even went back to the beginning of January to make sure I saw all the blocks you'd made previously. It's wonderful and amazing that you have been so dedicated to this project, and I cannot wait to see how you use the blocks in quilts. I also think it's neat that you developed a love for half square triangles! Great Job Kristen!

Holli said...

Oh, Kristen! Here you are with ALL the blocks done - your whole year of blocks! HOORAY!! I'm so impressed and in awe!! And what a story among the blocks - I'm sorry you have had this hard thing in your life. My heart is with you all. Thank you for sharing your inspiration for making these blocks, for sharing them every day. I'm so looking forward to seeing what comes of them! Happy happy New Year!

Tracee said...

Fabulous achievement now go celebrate. Cheers to you!

heartsease54 said...

I have looked forward to your block being posted every day and I was never disappointed. You have a right to be proud of yourself and I can't wait to see what quilts you make with all of these! Congratulations and well done, you.

Martha said...

I am crying...but with joy for you...I have so enjoyed seeing each block and quietly cheering you on in prayer. Thank you for sharing them and your story with us. So many times when I am having one of my own pity parties I turn to fabric to brighten my day. Here's hoping that 2013 is everything you and your family could hope for and that you keep amazing us with your creations. Love Ya.

Jacqueline said...

I have enjoyed watching your blocks come to life and my heart cries with you for the year you have had.

I wish you and yours a healthy 2013. Thanks for sharing.

Deb said...

Congrats! I have loved watching all your blocks each day. I didn't know you had so many things going on in your life but I hope playing with fabric was a good stress relief for you. Wishing you and yours a Happy and Healthy 2013.

Izzy said...

I'm here because Karen O blogged about your adventure! :-). Congrats on completing every block... That is some serious dedication. Happy 2013!

One Minnesota Quilter said...

Way to go, Kristen. I met you at the MN quilt show when Karen O introduced us. I have checked your progress off and on and have been impressed that you have stayed the course.
Today, I read of the personal challenges you had to overcome during the year that made this journey even more personal...good for you for hanging in there and finishing!

Judy

Sylvia said...

Congrats on completing this incredible project. Loved reading your post about your year in review. Happy New Year from Virginia!

Judy said...

Thanks so much for sharing your quilting story behind your blocks!

katherine said...

Happy New Year Kristen and family. You have been through the wringer but it is a whole new year now and may it only bring good health and happiness.

Sallie said...

Congratulations! I have enjoyed seeing your blocks and purchased the calendar that you used. Thanks for sharing your story. Happy New Year!

Nicky said...

I am in awe of the commitment and persistence you have shown in this amazing journey. You are an inspiration! Wishing you and your family all good things in 2013..... Nicky x

Charlie and Wendy said...

Well done my friend! It is so nice to hear the story behind the blocks and I'm so sorry to hear of the tough year you have had. I pray your husband is doing well now. I really look forward to seeing what you get up to this year, you are an inspiration, Wendy xx

Sharon - Lilabelle Lane said...

I have sat here admiring every block and your dedication to this project with no idea what was happening behind the scenes. Your determination and strength are inspiring. I hope that hubby in on the mend and that 2013 brings you and your family great joy. Hugs xx

Deb@asimplelifequilts said...

Such a beautiful post! Congratulations for overcoming your challenges with the blocks and dealing with such a health scare. Quilting can be very therapeutic... I had some loved ones go through tough times this fall and that is what got me back into my quilting room. Cheers!

Alyce @ Blossom Heart Quilts said...

Wow, what a beautiful achievement! Congratulations :) Can't wait to see what you do with them all!

Amanda said...

I found yor blog pretty late in the year, but it was fun seeing you blocks everyday...and your thoughts on them. I bookmarked several that I really liked...we'll see if anything comes from that.:)

Mary Ellen said...

Wow! You finished! I met you at Rosebud's when we tried out Terry Atkinson's Tankini pattern. Congrats! Hope your husband is doing fine, too.