Tag Archives: document your days

My 2020 Miles Quilt

I’m discovering that if there’s a way to intertwine the fibers of life with my love of quilting, I’m going to do it! Between the Milestone Quilt I made for my third child in 2015-16, the Summer Adventure Quilt I made documenting our summer adventures during the summer of 2017, and the tiny adventure blocks I made in 2019 (I may not have shared them here yet!), it’s clear I have a thing for documenting my days in the making of a quilt.

running quilt track my miles 2020With my new love of running, and the start of a new year and decade upon us, I decided to pull inspiration from the temperature quilts people make to track the high and low temperatures through the course of a year and make a color-coded quilt tracking the miles I run or hike in 2020. Sharing this idea on Instagram, a good number of fellow running quilters expressed interest in joining the fun and making their own, so I thought I’d outline my thought process and plan here in as much detail as possible.

If you’re a runner, walker, hiker, cyclist, or any other active adventurer, I invite you to join me in the making of a quilt documenting your miles. I’m hoping that the thought of “earning” a quilt block will help get me out there running even short runs more consistently, as well as doing more cross-training between run days.  Running helps me not only feel physically strong, but also helps me feel more mentally strong, fighting back that mean voice in my head to help assure me that I can do hard things on even the toughest days.

The Basic Plan – Color Coded Miles

running quilt track my miles 2020 konaThe foundational idea behind my plan is to coordinate colors of fabric with a certain number of miles run or hiked. Years ago I cut up my Kona color card and attached magnets for easy use, and this was a perfect opportunity to pull them out and work on a color flow I liked. I am hoping to train for my first full marathon this year, so I knew I needed colors for 1-2 mile runs all the way through 20+ miles.  I chose colors I liked the most for the lower miles, since I know that many of my runs will be between 2-6 miles long and I want a quilt that’s heavy in my favorite colors! I then built a color flow from there, working my way all the way up to 21+ miles. Here are the colors I chose in case you want to use the same:

Number of Miles  –  Kona Color by Robert Kaufman Fabrics

If you know you run more miles, you can make the allotted mile span longer to compensate, OR you could choose more colors to keep it going. For example, instead of each color representing 1 mile span, you could have each color represent 0-5 miles, 5-10 miles, 10-15 miles, etc.  This would make the same color flow fit no matter how far you run, ride, or hike in a given activity.

I have decided that each color will coordinate with any run or hike’s whole number. So a 3.5 mile run will be in the 3 color, a 12.9 mile run will be in the 12 color, a 13.0 mile run will be in the 13 color, etc.

Special Codes

running quilt track my miles 2020I will designate races with a Kona Citrus yellow top corner using the stitch and flip method of adding the corner. (I’m starting my year with a 5k race so I have that block ready to go for January 1st, as seen above).

If I get a PR in a race, I will add a smaller Kona Cyan corner on top of the yellow.

Each time I reach 50 miles, I will sew a 3″x3″ runner block from my Run Run Run pattern into the bottom of the block to visually show larger milestones. At the end of the year, I will easily be able to see where I hit 50 miles, 100 miles, 150 miles, 200 miles, etc.

I plan to count the miles we hike as well, since I want to encourage hiking miles as well as running miles, so for every hike, I will show that the miles were earned hiking by piecing a 3″x3″ Kona Kiwi tree into the bottom of the block. I will likely adapt a tree block from my Summer Adventure Quilt pattern for this.

Cross Training & Rest Days

In any training plan, cross training and rest days are essential, too, so I plan to mark those as well using Kona White and Kona Titanium fabrics. At first I was thinking that Titanium would represent cross-training days, but I think I like the aesthetic of the white better, so I may switch and make white the cross-training days to add motivation for me to do something–planks, yoga, push-ups, Russian twists, really any type of cross-training exercises–on days I don’t run. I’m going to see how the first week of the year goes before deciding for certain.

Cutting Measurements

running quilt track my miles 2020I will cut each run/hike mile block at 3.5″ x 9″, which means they will finish at 3″x8.5″.  Initially, I was planning on cutting them to finish at 3″x9″ but by cutting to 9″, that will allow me to use smaller cuts of fabric (1/4 yard cuts and FQs) efficiently.

I will cut Citrus squares for races at 3.5″x3.5″.

Cross training and rest day strips will be cut at 1.5″x9″ since I want to mark those days, but emphasize the miles.

Tracking Miles on Paper

running quilt track my miles 2020 quilters plannerI will be tracking all of my miles on a Project Planner page in my Quilter’s Planner, and once a row reaches 60″ I will begin another row. I most likely will plan to sew a week’s worth of blocks (really, just color fabric strips) together at a time, and will cut a bunch of strips of each color in the beginning so that most of the time, all I’ll need to do is pull a strip and add it to my design wall. I like to set myself up for success and this is no different!

Fabric Requirements

Buying fabric for a project like this is tough, since I have no real way of knowing how much I’ll need. For me, I know that the bulk of my runs will likely be in the 2-5 or 6 mile range, so I bought the most yardage of those colors (assuming 40″ as the WOF, 44 run strips can be cut from a yard, 22 can be cut from a half yard, 11 can be cut from a quarter yard, etc.). For miles 8 and above, I ordered 1/4 yard cuts since I can’t imagine myself going on more than 11 eight plus mile runs in the year. I guess time will tell, and we’ll see how it all shapes up through the course of 2020!  I ordered my fabric from Fabric Shack since I know they have nearly all of the Kona colors and allow 1/4 yard cuts to be ordered. The one color they didn’t have (Honeysuckle) I ordered from Fabric Bubb, which is another good option for ordering 1/4 yard cuts of alllll the Konas.

Optional – Daily Run Temperature

I toyed with the idea of tracking the daily temperature as well as my running miles, but ultimately decided against it, since I know my sewing time is not copious, and I really want to make this project a fun and encouraging thing rather than a stress or burden.  If you know you have more time to sew and want to track the high and low temperatures each day, that would be another fun bit of data to track along with your miles run.  I thought about using smaller squares for the bottom corners to indicate low and high temperatures, or adding skinny strips to the bottom of each run block (cut to 1.5″x3.5″) for both low and high temperatures (you’d need to add 2″ to your rest and cross training days if you opt for this route), so those are two ideas if you decide to add temperature tracking as well.

Having this all mapped out, the fabrics chosen and partially cut, and a plan to track the miles on paper as well as just in fabric makes this feel like a fun and manageable project to add onto the many others I’m sure to want to finish and begin in 2020. You can follow my progress on Instagram @nightquilter under #my2020milesquilt where I will likely share weekly updates.  If you want to join in and create a quilt tracking your miles as well, please let me know in the comments and let me know how I can see your progress, since if enough people are interested, I will create a Facebook group so that we can all cheer each other on and help hold us accountable to reaching our goals.

If you have any questions about this process, or there are details I inadvertently left out, please let me know and I will update this post with answers and more details. My hope is that my thought process is clearly mapped out so that you can decide which route you’d like to go with your own version.

Here’s to a fun year of getting out into the world, facing challenges head on, and stitching those experiences into a quilt.

 

 

 

Summer Adventure Quilt Beginnings

I’ve recently begun a really fun summer project to help replace the absence of Finn’s milestone quilt, now that that’s completely finished (blog post coming soon!).

summer adventure quilt milestone quiltIn the spirit of documenting our days through the creation of a quilt, I’ve decided to create a Summer Adventure Quilt with each block representing a different family adventure. Each block will accompany us on its adventure, be photographed along with our fun, and then become a part of a quilt stitched together in the fall.

summer adventure quilt milestone quiltSince our adventures primarily consist of hikes and beach days, I am making an improv tree block for every hike and an oceany, quasi-improv block for every beach day. The beach day blocks are entirely inspired by the Beach & Boots block from Piece n Quilt’s 30 Days and 30 Blocks sew along in 2015. I really wanted the white negative space to be a big part of the block to match the aesthetic of the trees and this block fits the bill! To go with the improv trees, I am making mine a bit wonky and imperfect, so I’m not using the exact measurements in the tutorial, but the overall design is the same. I decided that I will be making mine in full and half blocks to increase the wonkiness of the quasi-improv nature of my piecing.

tall ship quilt blockI will be making a few unique blocks here and there to represent other adventures, such as a tent for when we go camping in the Adirondacks with my parents, a bridge for when we visit my husband’s dad and stepmom (GrandDude & GrandPrincess) in Pittsburgh, and a big sailing ship I made for a Camden Harbor tour we went on last weekend while GrandDude and GrandPrincess were visiting us here in Maine, shown above. I hope to fit these blocks in smoothly with the rest of the quilt and think it will work nicely!

summer adventure quilt milestone quiltHere’s my progress so far!! As of today, we’ve been on 8 hikes and 1 Camden Harbor tour (on a lobster boat, but the tall ship is representative of the harbor, not the vessel!). We have not yet “earned” the ocean block to the right of the ship block, but I included it for the photo to help show how the block will work into the overall quilt.

birdsacre trails ellsworth maine silly kidsPerhaps the most fun aspect of this quilt is that one block accompanies us on each adventure, and therefore appears in memorable photographs.  I’m hoping to be able to put a photo book together at the end of the summer with photos from each adventure. It’s a big hope, since my list of hopes is endless, but I really think it would be the icing on the cake for this project.

hiking friends summer adventure quiltI’m grateful to have a wonderful group of mom friends who also have kids the same ages as mine and who love to get out and hike. We have created a Mommy Hiking Club (unofficially coined Mountain Mamas Lugging Babies & Towing Trekking Toddlers… it’s a bit of a mouthful, but gets the idea across!!) and we are determined to hike at least once per week with all of the kids. Our hiking groups vary from 3 moms plus kids to up to 5 or 6 moms plus kids, just about every mom is also carrying a baby or toddler in an Ergo or similar carrier, and everyone is welcome. Sure, sometimes there are crying babies, whining toddlers, bug bites, scratched knees, and I’ve been known to have to carry both of my boys (ages 2 and 5) simultaneously on some hikes, but it’s all worth it! Here are some memories from a few of our hikes (since we are 8 hikes in, I am not including every one, but from here on out I will try to share regular updates!).

Blue Hill Mountain, Blue Hill, Maine
The FIRST hike of the summer!!blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt blue hill mountain summer adventure quilt

Great Pond Mountain, Orland, Maine

great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike great pond mountain hike

Ecotat Garden Trails, Hermon, Maineecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine ecotat garden trails hermon maine
Camden Harbor Tour, Camden, Maine

camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine camden harbor tour camden maine

BirdsAcre Trails, Ellsworth, Maine

birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quiltbirdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quilt birdsacre trails ellsworth maine summer adventure quiltHere’s to many more adventures, and to keeping up with the quilt blocks so that there’s always one on the ready for any given adventure. I currently have 3 extra trees and 3 beach/ocean blocks ready to go, so right now I’m feeling ahead of the game!

What adventures do you go on with your family? I’m brainstorming other blocks I could make, and *might* make a few rainbow segments to include for every time we see a rainbow this summer. Rainbow sightings are always exciting!

I’m linking up with Let’s Bee Social since it’s been a while!

Happy stitching, and happy adventuring!