Have you ever had those times (quite possibly more than one) where you looked at a project, and thought ‘What On Earth Was I Thinking?’ (WOEWIT)? If you are anything like me, you will have numerous projects in various stages of finishing and starting, and every so often, you will pull out a project, have a look at it, do a bit more work on it, and then say to yourself that you really must get round to finishing it some time. Of course, getting round to finishing it takes time, especially when you have other projects to work on; you know the ones, – those that really do have a time constraint: the quilt for a new baby, quilt for a new family member, Project Linus quilts, Quilts for Care Leavers, the project that a group member is keen to see finished, the quick to finish projects that you’ve started with your group,… the list goes on and on.
I was thinking about this today, as I managed to get a bit more time in my sewing room. On the day of writing this, I received some fabric to review, so I spent some time in my sewing room to try to get some inspiration as to how to showcase the fabric best. When I hadn’t found anything, I turned to a WITWOE project. I wonder how many of you have had the (daft) idea (in my case anyway) of doing the 365 Block Challenge. For those who don’t know about it, this is a project that has been around for several years now. The website can be found here. Each day a new block is uploaded to the website, and it remains on the website for about 3 months. Bonus blocks are given, and eventually you have enough blocks for a large quilt. There are borders, a centre medallion, and a variety of block sizes. What is great about the blocks appearing on the website, is that you get to find out about the origins of it, and also other names given to the block. The website is comprehensive – a lot of information is provided to help you make the blocks, giving hints and instructions for particular techniques.
Now, this seemed like a good idea at the time (I decided to start January 1st 2018 – although heaven alone knows why, as I was not really in a position to guarantee time sewing each day – I was visiting my husband in hospital for the first week of January). Yes, you read that right – 2018; yes, I know it is now 2019. I managed complete the blocks for January, and about a third of the blocks for February, plus a couple from March and April. It is late May as I write this – and I’ve started to do these blocks again (just the ones I haven’t yet done, I’m NOT remaking the blocks I’ve already made – I’m not totally, utterly and completely mad yet!); in the past couple of days I’ve managed to make 7 of these blocks. And as I’ve made them, I have thought again and again – WOEWIT? What On Earth Was I Thinking?
Of course, to some extent I know what I was thinking at the time: I thought it would be a good idea for a challenge, something to work on each day. I also thought it would be a good way to use some of my scraps. And this really is where the WOEWIT kicks in big time. These blocks started off quite easy – mostly squares and rectangles, but they get smaller and smaller. Then things start getting a bit more tricky – half-square triangles, and quarter-square triangles – and you have to work pieces that really are quite tiny: trimming such triangles to 1” or 1 ¼ “. Like I have already said – WOEWIT.
This challenge is ongoing for me, and I will continue with it until it is finished. Luckily, I have plenty of very small pieces to use, in a variety of colours and shades. Additionally, there are several Facebook pages to share results along the way: Friends who like 365 Blocks is one of these pages, and you can see other people’s work. The ability to see other people’s work is great, as I have recently seen that the distinction of Dark Dark, Dark, Medium Dark, Medium does not mean you have to stick to one colour in a block, but can mix colours.
It is probably no surprise that this project seems to have made no impact on my scraps at all. What I will say about it, if you are one of those people who saves every little bit of fabric, no matter how small – this is definitely a project for you. One thing is certain – by the end of this, I will be adept at squaring up half and quarter square triangles, and also at being more accurate with my cutting and piecing. I’ve also learned the value of pressing seams open – this is vital when working with such small blocks with lots of pieces, as it reduces bulk.