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!
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.
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
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.
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.
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!