I won! I whipped the quilt out in 6 days! I couldn't believe how quickly it came together. In fact, I wasn't even going to do this. Row pattern collecting (all patterns are free) begins in June. My daughter was busy with college and work all summer. My son was busy with work all summer. I'm the driver. There was not a single day where I could drive for hours in different directions to collect patterns. However my daughter's college classes finally ended so the first part of August she was free from college! I still had to drive her to work, but I had a bit more time to drive to patterns. I thought I'd just go to a few shops without trying to conquer the required 8 shops to compete. I was too busy organizing piles of paperwork at the house. However a few locations and patterns intrigued me and I thought it would be a nice outing with my daughter. So how did I end up winning the contest?
Well, it began with collecting a fabulous row pattern of Mount Vernon. An 18th century lover needs one of those for the collection, right? So, on August 8, I set out on a gorgeous day along the Potomac and beyond to collect free patterns from Alexandria, Great Falls, Haymarket, Warrenton, Nokesville, and Manassas. That's all. Nothing much. Just an easy drive along the sparkling blue Potomac with a chance to see the gleaming white monuments and back to the "western frontier" that I call home.
Then my son had a leadership conference at Breakpoint headquarters and there were two more row collecting spots in the area, so I collected two more free patterns (and walked through a new to me historic town) from Ashburn and Leesburg on August 12.
Then my yearning for a drive in the Blue Ridge led to a few more free patterns (and exploration of history-stay tuned for that post) in Lexington and Charlottesville on August 20..
By now I was hooked, so after church on Sunday, August 21, I whipped up 2 rows, with a break for my neighbor from the Patriot Honor Ride coming through the neighborhood in the midst of his East Coast tour honoring veterans.
Well, if I was going to be serious about competing for a prize, I was going to be picky this time about a cohesive look v using other rows for other themed projects...so, on Monday, August 22 I drove to Culpepper and Fairfax to round out my collection for the win! (although one more pattern was on the horizon...)
Amazingly I conquered this quilt in 6 days! Six! How did that happen? The last two years I also won (2014 and 2015) but it took me 6 weeks. So here is the quilt process...
I began with the Nokesville row, for which I bought the kit of fabric and embellishments. The gingham picnic basket became the centerpiece for my final layout...
These buttons were included in the kit to embellish the scene...
Then I whipped out the Manassas row. I definitely had to use their kit, full of cute fabrics and notions for embellishment. Note the gingham tablecloth...further inspiring me for the layout design!
I had a busy Monday but finally got back to sewing this Charlottesville row on Tuesday, August 23. I used their kit too because the fabrics were so great!
I also whipped out the Warrenton row on Tuesday. However I used my own fabrics for this.
On Thursday, August 24 I whipped out the Lexington row with my own fabrics.
I also whipped out this row from Ashburn with my own fabrics...
And this one from Culpepper. I bought the kit and was thrilled to be given a pack of pre-cut red letters! That was perfect for my layout idea because...I used my own fabric for the gingham (thanks to all the previous inspiration)! The black fabric that came with the kit I set aside for other projects.
Finally I whipped out this Fairfax row with my own fabric!
I began Thursday (the 25th) by laying out possibilities. I definitely knew how I wanted the bottom to go! See my gingham inspiration!? I laid out the camper row first, with the small gingham tablecloth. The idea was for the small gingham tablecloth to spill over the picnic row with the medium gingham picnic blanket. Finally that spills over into my bottom row, the Culpepper red gingham tablecloth. Now if you can imagine, I laid out the bird house to the top left, then offset the other rows in a pleasing manner. I decided on honey bees by day over the campers. Then owls by night in the tree above. Mountains above that, then Virginia as a whole over the whole of the quilt. That meant, again if you can imagine, three spots to fill on the bottom right. I did have extra red gingham from Culpepper . Although done as per directed, I had too many squares left over. I hated to throw them out and had no other use for them, so this seemed perfect. I liked how the gingham wrapped the quilt! Then a few fabric license plates could embellish the gingham wrap.
I sewed it all together, then did a quick large country-style hand-stitched quilt stitch to secure the layers, and added all the embellishments on Thursday and Friday. By Saturday morning I had a quilt ready to find a prize!!!!
On the back (not very neat, the prize goes towards speed of using 8 rows, 1 from each of 8 different quilt shops) I was required to put a quilt label, listing all the shops whose rows I had incorporated into the quilt. I had one little gingham block left over, so that became my quilt label!
Close-up of the quilt label...
Close-ups of the hand stitching and embellishments...
The backs of the itty bitty apron and quilt that I had sewn. I wasn't sure if I could do this but...
...here they are!!! What a challenge!
The spool was empty so it was up to me to wrap it with any color thread I wanted!
I decided to create 3D wings for my bees, using ribbon that I've had in the stash for years!
I also decided to make the flowers 3D with cute button centers from my stash.
These little quilts scared me but I figured them out! I did them in my own fabrics and colors, even though the rest of the row was done with fabrics from the kit.
I decided to make these flowers 3D as well, again with buttons from my stash.
I took my quilt to Daffodil Quilts in Nokesville (the picnic row) because no winner had been announced on either their fb page or the Virginia Row by Row page. However, the owner kindly told me that they did have a winner a few days before. However she said she wanted all Row Quilters to bring in their quilts for consolation prizes, so she put this little gift together for me, a collection of official Row by Row fabric in one of her store mugs. Awwww! Now I have to scheme a quilt around this theme!
Then I called the Fairfax store, because neither their fb page nor the Virginia page had reported a winner. The lady on the phone had no idea so she checked around. She came back on the phone to report that they did have a winner already. My last chance was Culpepper. I called The Little Quilt Shop. No, they hadn't had a winner yet. So we drove to Culpepper...and I won! My quilt continues to hang there! I was just there yesterday but they told me they'd like to keep it up. The fabrics below were my prize! Now I have a beginning stash of reproduction 1930's prints. Of course a 1930's quilt (Dresden, perhaps?) is destined for their future.
After a quick trip to a Magnolia store (think Chip and Joanna Gaines) and lunch at the Culpepper Cheese Company I went to Maryland, where all the stores except one close early. So I only collected one more row for 2016. This one:
As always, I like Row by Row because it forces me to learn new skills, that scare me actually. However being such a small project, one row instead of one bed quilt, it's quite doable. In the meantime I learn and finesse a lot of skills in a short time!
One thing I've learned, is that I like cohesion. I'm very picky about that. As a result, I now want to rip out my first two quilts and recordinate those rows into various themes. For example, I have 2 other rows from Capitol Quilts (above). They are always of Washington DC so I want to collect them all in one quilt and add to it over the years. I want autumn rows with autumn, summer with summer, spring with spring, and so forth. So knowing that, I went into this one with a plan, which meant extra driving, but this is my favorite row by row quilt so far.