It's a Finish, People!!
I finished Ice and Fire in a binge of handwork on Boxing Day.
Officially Quilt #40, it was started on Thanksgiving Weekend 2004. Like a few other of my quilts, the design and fabric selection happened independently of each other, then merged together. I don't remember which came first. The design was just this little notebook sketch:
It would turn out later that working with so many triangles would pose some challenges for me. I'd have to make special templates for them, and arrange for eight 45 degree points to more or less meet at the center of every block. But for now, all of that was in the future. I just liked my design.
It would also turn out that this is a venerable old pattern, with a traditional name (although I can never remember what it is), that people have been making for at least 150 years. This is par for the course. When you work with simple geometric shapes, like I like to do, you are not going to stumble on much that has never been thought of by the generations upon generations of quilters that have come before you. Such is life in the fiber arts.
Meanwhile, the day after Thanksgiving brought with it the traditional annual spending binge at the early morning JoAnnes sales. At the 2004 sale I bought two sets of cheap batik fabrics with the intention of using them for some unspecified future project. My mom rolled her eyes at both of them. Regarding the set of four that went on to be used in Ice and Fire, she has subsequently been forced to recant. (On the set of two that make up the still-unfinished Batik Boxes, she was pretty much right, as you'll see sometime next year.)
Eventually, I noticed that I had a set of four fabrics and a design that needed a set of four fabrics, and came to the obvious conclusion. I made most of the blocks in the 2005-06 season, moving at a steady but slow pace. Getting the eight-point meets as accurate as I wanted them took a lot of doing, and plenty of re-doing too. All of the blocks were complete by the beginning of the dismal 2006-07 season, but I didn't manage to do anything but get them assembled and pinned to a back that year.
Something else that happened in Fall 2006 that would indirectly benefit the piece, though, and that was the machine quilting class I took from Helene Knott. That taught me, among many other things, the painter's tape trick, which I used extensively with Ice and Fire. Just as importantly, it gave me the confidence to increase by as much as three or four times the density of my quilting on large pieces.
The actual quilting happened over the last four months, and in October the SoTC readers helped me pick the name. I finished the binding at a guild meeting on December 10, and got to show it off as "close enough" to done at that point. Finicky detail work and the addition of a hanging sleeve on the 26th officially took it over the finish line. It's the first time I've finished anything for half a year, and the first time I've finished anything besides a baby blanket in a year and a half, so "done" is a good feeling.