Last year, Elisabeth Woo hosted a QAL on IG for the book she coauthored with Nichole Ramirez, the Fussy Cut Sampler. I decided to join in, I actually find QAL's to be quite motivating and fun to participate in as long as I really love the pattern it features. I already had a copy of the book and I decided to cut into my stash of Japanese fairy tale fabrics.
Here's a picture of the whole quilt:
I absolutely love this finish. It is scrappy, features fabrics I love, the piecing is interesting (not too simple), and the quilting brings it up a whole new level. I actually paid a professional longarm quilter friend to custom quilt this for me: Hannah Robinson. Her work is just perfect, the thread she chose works on every fabric, the free motion artistry is stunning, and she did a unique design on every single block (48 different blocks!).
I felt so weird paying someone else to quilt this for me. But I chose to do this for several reasons: my longarm table was still not functional (thanks to idiotic movers and an idiotic longarm table company that didn't care to help me get replacement parts), I am pregnant and find it difficult to stand for hours on end, my little one has stopped napping and my sewing time is increasingly limited, and I did not feel that my FMQ skills were up to the task of quilting this very special top that was not easy to make (more on that shortly!)! It's been about a decade since I paid someone to quilt for me. I literally only did it once before because I thought that was the only way to quilt a quilt: pay someone with a longarm to do it for you! But I am so happy I passed this over to Hannah and it was worth every penny!!!
People have asked me where I got all of these Japanese fairy tale fabrics. I wish I could say that I bought a bundle and it was as easy as that.... but that is definitely not the case. This was a collection I have been building for years- easily 10 years. It started on Flickr when it was so popular to swap fabric there. I've found some goodies on Etsy, at Pink Castle Fabrics, and SuperBuzzy. I even bought some at an epic yard sale. I still have a good amount of fabrics leftover but I have to admit I am a little tired of them but not enough to destash them.
As much as I love the first picture in this post that shows the full quilt, you really need to peek at individual blocks to appreciate this quilt. Every block tells a story and is cut and arranged very thoughtfully. I'll admit I found many of these blocks to be very time consuming but not too difficult to piece. But seriously, some of these blocks took me as much as two hours and that definitely felt tedious sometimes.....
This "3 little pigs" block shows some of the difficulty of the piecing well: getting those pig motifs in the little flying geese triangles was a monumental task:
This block features some scraps from a dress I made Charlotte several years ago, see the post here.
This block is one of my favorites, it's the "label" block and I fussy cut those tiny letters to spell out "Once Upon a Time."
All of my kids like this quilt but Charlotte is especially keen to "inherit" it (we had a discussion this weekend on what that word means). I tried not to make it too girly so that the boys might enjoy it too.
I am pretty proud to have share this finish. It definitely wasn't a quick or easy project but it's so satisfying to have finished a challenging pattern that uses some of my most special fabrics.