Monday, December 14, 2015

The Great Wilderness Afghan - The Beginning

Back in Ohio, many years ago, I had a LNS (local needlework shop) that I used to love to go to and look through the turnstiles of new charts.  And when I say many, I mean many, like as in I was shopping at this store back when I was still in high school!  I would ooh & aah over many of them, others I would quickly pass because they weren't my style and then some I would pick up to look over closely and decide if I could justify spending money that I really shouldn't because my budget was so tight.  Some of them I bought and some I put back down telling myself I didn't know when I would ever get around to stitching it and I had bills to pay instead of buying stitching stash.

The stash did slowly grow over the years with purchases from this LNS, which sadly has since closed.  The stash included many of my Barbara & Cheryl charts, whom I was introduced to through this LNS, along with many other things.  Every few years I would go through my stash and do a clean out.  Sometimes I would pick up a piece and think "Eww, why did I ever buy this?!" and it would go into the pile to be sold on Ebay or my Etsy shop.  Others I would hang onto just knowing some day I would get around to stitching it/them.

Here enters what will henceforth be referred to as my BAP (big ass project)....The Great Wilderness Afghan.

And big it will be!  Those blocks on the afghan...yeah, they're 95x95 stitching over 1 thread...20 blocks total on the afghan.

This afghan chart is one that I held onto throughout the years, no matter how many stash clean outs I did.  I always said it would be a piece I'd stitch for myself at some point in my life.  Part of the hold up on stitching it was the cost of buying the afghan fabric.  If I had to think hard about and justify spending $8.69 for a chart back in the year 2000, I certainly could NOT afford to buy the afghan to stitch it on that would have been $40+ at that time!

About 2 years ago I decided it was my time to stitch it.  I started a hunt for the afghan.  It appears the afghan was no longer made with the black threads running through it.  I was only able to find pale pink and blue for baby afghans, and that just wouldn't do.  So back in the stash it went.

After I moved to Las Vegas earlier this year and was given the gift of more stitching time, I once again started going through my stash and looking at projects I could stitch just for me.  My lovely afghan appeared before me once again.  Alas, I was still unable to find the afghan online anywhere.  After discussing it with the ladies at one of my stitching groups, I decided to ask my the owner of my LNS here in Vegas if she might be able to find it through one of her wholesalers.  Imagine my surprise when she didn't even have to look...she had one in stock in her backroom! 

Now, it doesn't have the black threads running through it, but I can live with the forest green.  It is a wilderness scene after all, so green will suffice.  And did I really have the money for it (prices have gone up in the last 15 years, you know)?  No, not really, but isn't that what credit cards are for?  I think it was a sign that I NEED to stitch it, LOL!

We're now into the cool "winter" months here in Vegas where you're not going to be sweating with an afghan on your lap, so this past Friday night I sat down with my new project.   I opened the afghan package and spread it out on my floor to make sure it was big enough.  Not only is it, but I have extra room too (pieces for the fabric stash when I'm done???). 

How do you stitch something this large?  I've never done an afghan before.  It was suggested to me from a fellow stitcher that has done a couple of afghans to just use a 11x11 Qsnap on the block you're working on at the time.  Check the Qsnap/hoop stash...nope none available to use as they're all in use with other current models and thread-a-day gifts.  Guess I have to buy one *giggles* if I want to start my BAP.

Next step...decide on which block to start with.  I think I should start with an easy one, so I chose block #2 which is the sun in the sky, and probably the least amount of stitching.  Time to check my floss inventory.  DMC #745 is the predominant color in that block.  Do I have it?  Nope!  Guess I have to buy that too *more giggles*

Is anyone seeing a trend here?  Stash afghan to buy...

In the end, I did NOT start stitching my afghan Friday night, but instead put together my list of supplies which included a new frame and three colors of DMC floss I didn't have in my stash, but will be needed in block #2.  After I left my Saturday stitching group I made a trip to Hobby Lobby and bought one of their frames (40% off coupon!) and my 3 skeins of floss.  And yes, I wrote down my expenditures in my stash diet notebook.

As I'm typing this post it is Sunday morning, and I'm giving y'all one guess what I'll be doing later today after I get all my "required" stitching done on my design model(s) and thread-a-day pieces.  Did you guess I'm going to start stitching on my afghan?  Well if you did, you're right!

Now that you're probably all bored to tears with this super long post, I'll finish it by saying this project will probably take me YEARS to finish.  It won't be a thread-a-day, but will be something I'll spend a little bit of time on each weekend and/or extra days off from work.  My posts about it here on my blog will be few & far between.  I'm thinking an update post as I finish each block.  Either way, I hope it will be a fun journey we can take together and I'm looking forward to stitching a piece I've had in my stash for the past 15 years.

Until the next time...Happy Stitching!  :)


  1. Wow what a great post
    I have been reading it while eating my breakfast
    As soon as this afgan is finished you will treasure it for the rest of your life
    Such a stunning project
    Your spending diet dit maybe not go so good this month but for finally starting a project owned so many years i think thats i a very good reason
    I will follow you in this afgan journey :)
    Big Hug Esmeralda

    1. Thanks Esmeralda! I'm trying to make sure I spend a little bit of time on it each weekend so that slow, but steady progress is made.