I finished drafting all 98 blocks of Salinda Rupp’s 1860s sampler quilt (popularly known as the Nearly Insane), a few days ago.
Today I cut out the fabric for 3 blocks.
Isn’t that pretty? I am so excited! I have made a diary, where I am making note of the fabric requirement. I plan to cut out fabric and sew 5 blocks at a time.
Meanwhile, I am having second thoughts about making all the blocks of this quilt. There are more than a couple which are very similar; so, first I am making only my favourite blocks. Then, I may seriously consider adding instead a few Midget and Dear Jane blocks. Those will have to be re-drafted at 6″. I will probably add a few blocks of my own too! Crazy, isn’t it?
I first saw this a picture of this quilt about seven years ago, and fell in love instantly.
It was in this book…
…and I went back to it again and again. I later discovered that it had been named ‘Nearly Insane’ by Liz Lois, who first drafted the blocks and got together with five friends, each making her own version of the quilt. It took them 3 and 1/2 years to complete their quilt. Liz has a website for the quilt and has also published a book which contains the designs of each of the 98 different blocks that make it up. ( There are no templates, only the drafts of the blocks.)
In some ways, I have spent the last seven years honing and polishing my piecing and quilting skills, preparing for the day when I would finally be able to attempt this. Meanwhile, I bought every book which I heard or read had pics of this quilt. I lapped up everything I read online about it. I discovered that there have been several people who have made this – there are gorgeous ones in blue and white, red and white, in lavender in yellow…
I decided to make mine in blue, yellow and green with white to offset the busy nature of the blocks. Liz Lois has not given any fabric estimate in her book, so I ordered a layer cake of Summer Breeze iii by Moda Fabrics with matching solid fat quarters. I am not very happy, because several of the prints are pretty large, so I shall probably end up doing the blocks mainly in solids, with a dash of prints here and there. I did have a jelly roll of buttercup yellow and a couple of fat quarters of periwinkle blue which should look good here…Or perhaps, I will order a fat quarter of each of the tinier prints – there are about 4-5 of those in the Summer Breeze collection.
I am drafting the blocks – which I plan to paper foundation piece to the extent that I can – on Quilt Assistant free software. The easiest blocks have just 10 pieces and the most intricate one has, hold your breath, 229 pieces! Yes, that is right, 229 pieces in a 6″ block! I will be sharing my progress as I go along. Would you like to join me? I really am not sure if I am allowed, for copyright reasons, to share the paper piecing templates I will be coming up with…I know EQ drafts are available for free download, but I do not have EQ and am in no mood to invest in it right now. By the way, I am not sure if I like all the blocks in the quilt and I do plan to add a few of my own!
Here is a list of important online resources you may like to refer to, if you do embark on your own journey
3. http://fabadashery.blogspot.co.uk – This is probably the most useful resource available to a nearly insane quilter. She has given, with pictures, a description of how she English paper pieced each block.