I finished piecing my 168th block last night! I have only one inner block left to piece. I still have 20 blocks to quilt and bind before putting them all together but I can now relax and enjoy Christmas because I made my goal of piecing them all by the end of the year.
I have been quilting for a LONG time so when I learn something new I like to share it. I learned 3 very important things while working on these little gems.
1) when pressing the blocks (especially those with lots of tiny pieces) I sprayed the backs with a little water, then turned them over onto a thick cotton wash cloth and pressed them from the top with a pressing cloth (I used plain muslin). This avoids scorching and makes even the tiniest piece lie flat.
2) I learned to love my seam ripper. For years (and years) I voided ripping out seams. I was like a man who never turns around to go back once he has left the driveway. I would rather have thrown out the whole block than to rip out a seam. For some reason I felt compelled to save a block once I had put 30 or 40 pieces into it and I learned that if it didn't fit, I needed to "rip" it out and do it over!!!
3) Most importantly, I learned patience - or at least I learned to be more patient that I normally am.
This is the first quilt I have made in years that I did not design myself. As I pieced these blocks I began to feel a connection with Jane Stickle and also with Brenda Papadakis. If a block wasn't going together properly, I simply fiddled with it until I was (relatively) happy with it. I thank Jane for making this quilt and I thank Brenda Papadakis and the thousands of others who have even attempted to make this quilt for sharing it with the rest of the world.
I'll keep you all posted on the pesky border pieces - Hope they will work in this pot holder method!