The Quilt of Doom: Harry Potter Quilts for Five

I’ve had this project on my list for the past four years, even to the point of printing out the first four patterns, but never launched the ship.

Today: we begin.

The Project of Doom

The Quilt of Doom is somewhat infamous amongst quilters. It’s a Harry Potter-themed bookcase quilt, made entirely from foundation paper pieced patterns that were initially available as part of a free quilt-along in 2011, then updated in 2015, then enhanced with community member submissions over the years. There are DOZENS of individual block patterns to choose from, and each one is a so far beyond amazing that I desperately want them all. In fact, one of the most common comments I’ve read is that quilters spend nearly as much time planning their blocks as they do sewing the quilt!

finished Project of Doom Quilt by Liz VanRoekel via Pinterest

Which seems incredible to me, because this is A LOT OF SEWING. These are just three of the completed quilts that inspired me the most as I thought and thought about what I want to make. I love the way it’s a bookcase against a wall, so there are really two “backgrounds” giving lots of options for color; and that there are elements outside the bookcase from the world of Harry Potter that are larger and create a sense of place that goes beyond the books–there’s a lot to discover in each different quilt, over time.

I think the intimidation factor for this quilt is largely the result of the level of detail in each 10.5″ block–the ones that are the most appealing because of their link to the books are generally the ones that are the most challenging and use the TINY TINY TINIEST pieces of fabric.

Finished Project of Doom Quilt by MTP Stitches

I personally love the accuracy of foundation piecing. You can make such incredible shapes, and achieve near-portrait-like detail in the blocks. I also adore the idea of making a quilt that closely resembles a bookcase filled with books that are imaginary titles in a series of books that I’ve read over and over with my children. It’s the most meta of meta quilts I can imagine, and this seems like an achievement worthy of my obsession time.

Finished Project of Doom Quilt by Jennifer R of Playful Piecing

Organizing Five Complicated & Not-Quite-Identical Quilts At Once

Naturally, as a hardcore Over-Over-Achiever, I’ve planned FIVE of these, at the same time: one for each of my four children plus one for me & my husband to share. Basically like the National Park Junior Ranger blankets I made for our family, but way way way more complicated.

Years ago, I shared the fabric buckets I made using my Nested Buckets Tutorial to organize all my very smallest projects:

I’ve done something similar for these five in an effort to (1) keep them organized and (2) enable me to work on them a little at a time in spare moments, when I’m between projects or have just a very few minutes on my hands. I figure that’s the only reasonable means of actually getting FIVE of these sewn up. Like, ever.

Each quilt gets its own two-gallon zippy bag. Currently, they each have a Kaffe Fassett print, which will be the “wallpaper” behind the bookshelf; a solid or near-solid (in some cases both but very close matches in color) for the backing of the interior bookcase; and a note reminding me whose is whose. As the blocks are constructed. each completed block will go inside the bag along with the remaining background and “wallpaper” fabric. I’m using a faux bois print for the shelves of each bookcase, same print in all five quilts, and it’s folded and labeled until the time comes to assemble each quilt top.

The scraps and stash fabrics I’m using for the books on the shelves plus all the incredible HP details–from a crystal ball to Hagrid’s pink umbrella to Hedwig and Norbert hiding amongst the spines of schoolbooks–are in a shared, large mesh basket. These are largely leftover bits from yardage used in past Murder Mystery Quilts, along with stashed fat quarters that fell to the back of the storage cupboard, which have been called into service to meet their True Destiny in these quilts. The individual project bags will get zipped shut as I stop work at each stage, and all of it will go into the basket where it’s organized-ish and together.

The basket itself has a new home: in the open space beneath my sewing table, to the left of my chair, where it will be well within reach at all times. I need it front-and-center where it won’t begin to blend into the surrounding environment and get kicked aside, maybe literally. Every single scrap that gets stitched to the foundations will be one step closer to completing this admittedly very ambitious project.

Timeline

I’m choosing to give myself a very loose timeline: my goal is to have the quilt tops all ready at or around the same time, so I’m going for Christmas 2022. I’d MUCH prefer to have them finished Christmas 2021, but it’s currently September, and who are we kidding?? I’d have to work on this and NOTHING ELSE between now and then to have even a prayer, so I’m sticking to a fifteen-month sewing goal.

Fingers crossed for me!! Follow my updates via Instagram Stories as I sew!

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17 Comments

  • Reply
    Mary Ann
    September 3, 2021 at 10:47 pm

    Oh my, what a project even for an over achiever. I made 2 of the blocks for a bee mate and they were 2 of the simpler ones at at that and wasn’t sure I’d survive! In truth they came out good but I am not up for making anymore. I will admire your work from afar!

    • Reply
      Deborah Moebes
      September 4, 2021 at 10:43 am

      They are such tiny pieces!! So, YES. Even for me, this is a ridiculously ambitious project. (And things always take longer than I expect—those Junior Ranger blankets were ready to sew for YEARS before I made them last year.) But I’m hoping a scrap here, a block there, and eventually….taaa daaaa!

  • Reply
    RITA Jokela GÖBÖLY
    September 4, 2021 at 11:21 am

    We LOVE Harry Potter. I hope you will show parts of the progress on the blog as well.

    • Reply
      Deborah
      September 14, 2021 at 12:42 pm

      I will! I’m planning to do a Big Reveal when it’s finished–in the meantime, you can quilt along through my email newsletter! 🙂

  • Reply
    Cricket
    September 5, 2021 at 8:45 pm

    Hi Deborah — this is so exciting! 5! All at once! By winter 2022! WOW!!! Question: are you going to be doing this with us, your quilty peeps? I.e. some sort of quilt along? If so, I’m in!

    • Reply
      Deborah
      September 14, 2021 at 12:30 pm

      Yay!! Thanks to your suggestion, I’m going to share progress by making three blocks a week between now and Christmas 2022–which means anyone who doesn’t want to make FIVE can sew along by making ONE block EVERY OTHER week and make the same deadline! I’m posting exclusively in my email newsletter–are you already subscribed? The sign up is in the right sidebar or pops up on the main page of the Whipstitch site! 🙂

      • Reply
        Cricket
        September 17, 2021 at 10:45 am

        I was delighted when I read that in your newsletter last weekend and am SO excited to have a quilt-of-doom-along! Will be joining in for sure. I just need to gather my thoughts about which block to start with and associated fabric selections so may be a little off from you at the start, but definitely commit to joining in! So glad you’re doing this as I doubt I’d have the energy to start without having the excitement of a shared journey on this quilt. Right now it’s turning into a mother-kid bonding break — for my fun-loving daughter who is balancing the intensity of a new Middle School schedule, and for my sweet son who is just starting the first Harry Potter! I think this will be the just-right thing for us to delve into this year… yay! See you on insta; I don’t really post a lot — I think I have one photo up? — but will do so for this:-) Thanks, Deborah! P.S. I’m quirkycricket in instaworld….

  • Reply
    Renee Boucher
    September 13, 2021 at 8:09 pm

    I love the Project of Doom! Mine is currently plotted to be 40 blocks inside as well as a metric ton of outside blocks (I have… 29? done I think). Can’t wait to see how yours go and maybe this will be the motivation I need to get back to working on mine!

    • Reply
      Deborah
      September 14, 2021 at 12:28 pm

      Oh, I’m envious! I just finished the first three and I’d looooove to already have 29. Ha! I can’t wait to see yours so far!!

  • Reply
    Jonnie L Staggs
    September 13, 2021 at 10:01 pm

    Is this going to be a sew along and are you sharing the blocks? I’d be in, too!

    • Reply
      Deborah
      September 14, 2021 at 12:27 pm

      Yes! I announced it in my newsletter today–I’m sharing my progress through my every-other-week emails. You can subscribe in the sidebar or through the pop-up on the main page of this site! 🙂

  • Reply
    Elaine Whitehead
    October 4, 2021 at 7:52 am

    I’ve just started the POD quilt along and I’m looking forward to getting my teeth into it, even though it’s out of my comfort zone. Is there any other way of sharing progress as I’m not on Instagram?

    • Reply
      Deborah
      October 22, 2021 at 5:47 pm

      Anywhere you like, Elaine! IG seems a simple way to do it because the hashtag makes it easy to see others’ blocks at the same time–but you can always post to your own blog and share the link here, or to a public FB post and use the same #wepodqal hashtag! Hope that helps, we’d love to watch your progress! 🙂

  • Reply
    Teri Fleming
    October 21, 2021 at 3:05 pm

    It seems I have signed up for your newsletter when I heard from this – but haven’t found an email newsletter yet and its been more than 2 weeks. Couple questions is there an archive of your newsletter – or a schedule of what blocks you are working? Though I know you can find the blocks -I would like to follow along for the fun of it, Is there a facebook site for this sharing?

    • Reply
      Deborah
      October 22, 2021 at 5:46 pm

      Hi, Teri! No worries, I can manually add you to the correct mailing list and make sure you get the next installment. If you have a gmail address, you may find newsletters hiding under the “promotions” tab, too–check there and mark it safe and they’ll go to your inbox from then on!

      • Reply
        Teri Fleming
        October 22, 2021 at 7:02 pm

        Thanks!

  • Reply
    Lynn Rhicard
    November 17, 2021 at 6:47 pm

    Hi Deborah

    I am looking forward to quilting along with you on the Project of Doom quilt. I am getting my fabrics together and just started on the crystal ball. Can you add me to your mailing list so I can see what you are working on as it gives me inspiration. I hope to catch up soon with the first four blocks and would like to see how you are progressing and have the patterns for the new blocks as you make them . Thanks for all your inspiration and happy quilting.

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