The past few months of hand quilting have been on projects that I 'had' to get done, and now it's time to pull out my Beyond The Cherry Tree (BTCT). I saw Lori over at Humble Quilts got another block finished on hers, so this was the nudge I needed to keep mine moving towards finished.
This is all I need to work on this quilt, well, this and time; the elusive element for so many of us. I use a Roxanne Thimble, the little blue rubber thimble for my pointer finger to help eliminate the stress on my wrist when pulling the needle through, some scissors and the lint brush. There is always fluff or cat hair or threads that need to be removed.
I like to load up my spool of thread with a group of needles. I do this for a few reasons. The biggest reason it that I can keep track of my needles. I would hate to loose one on the carpet and then find it with my foot. The other reason is that it helps me keep my rhythm when stitching. Finish one thread, and just pull off another one. No need to stop and thread a needle. I always make sure I end my sessions with the spool loaded up, makes for a fast start the next time I sit down to stitch and I count my needles.
Speaking of spools, my 'go to' hand quilting thread is YLI. It comes on wooden spools and the manufacturer still hasn't realized we need a place to dock or lock our thread. No worries, a Sharpie and a sharp pocket knife will do the trick. I just put a little notch in the edge of the spool, and mark it with a dot of Sharpie. This makes it easy to find the notch when locking the thread.
Here's a picture of my quilt. Clearly, I have not stayed on task with the quilting as the top was finished in 2012. My original goal was June of 2015, then it moved to end of 2015 and now I'm thinking end of 2016 is a possibility. All the blocks have been outlined, and about 2/3 of the border has been outlined.
The 9 center blocks have all the cross hatching completed, but the quilting in the appliqued pieces will wait to the end. Changing colors will be the last part of the quilting.
However, most of the outside round of blocks, 18 in total, look like this. Random lines of cross hatching have been stitched, but most blocks are a few hours away from each being finished. I got a bit done on the weekend. It's the perfect break from my longarm machine. Just getting this quilt out and back on the couch is enough to keep me motivated.
This is definitely my 'best quilt' to date, and I hope I can keep focused on it in 2016 and find those few minutes here and there to keep rocking the needle on this treasure.