Monday, April 18, 2016

Do you ever find yourself looking at a quilt top and wondering how you ended up here? I do pretty often. It all started over fifteen years ago when the quilt group I was part of had quilt block exchanges and monthly challenge blocks. I would have this stack of sampler blocks that needed a proper layout on a fairly regular basis. While greatly challenging at the time, in retrospect it was one of the best things possible for my creative journey.
Exuberance, a finished quilt top....
The possibilities for layout are unlimited except by the boundaries of our own minds. As you can only imagine, my mind was busy rebelling against the naysayers, the hidebound and the quilt police. What do you mean I can't do that? And so began my endless quest for combining odd stacks of quilt blocks with {in my mind} the most interesting quilt layouts for them, and yes, even adding on the occasional border. Which has the added benefit of making a quilt seem even more interesting or perhaps, more importantly, distracting from a less ahem! fascinating quilt.
A fun touch of applique in the border. Simple yet bold...
These improv./crumb blocks, stitched straight from my scrap bin, looked pretty good to me from the beginning. Sewing them side by side didn't seem to be the right avenue for accentuating their scrappy goodness though, and in fact, made them look a little too blended and mushy. One thing led to another until I had me a nice little quilt top. Not very exciting, but pleasing all the same. Every quilt is not destined to be a star!
A lovely blend of scrappy bits. Always engaging!
Then one day, a lot of little {vague} ideas gelled into something that comprised a border unit for this particular quilt. It took some auditioning with bits and pieces of applique, some hem hawing around with color/fabric swatches and a lot of scratching my head and deep ponderings. It would have been easier to give in to that antsy feeling of 'wouldn't I rather be washing windows than fighting through this creative walking-through-mud process?' But... I've learned through years of trial and error that there are only good endings if you work through that itchy feeling. It's not uncommon to feel like you're having to force yourself to make that all important design decision.

Most quilts take a little coaxing. A little sweet talking. They don't just stomp their feet and demand 'I need a specific design element, don't be stupid, there's only one possible design element that will work!' That's called a pattern. Anyway, the point of my little story here today is that I'm so very surprised by the end result of this particular quilt. Even though I was the one making all the decisions during the entire process... It didn't turn out at all how I envisioned there at the beginning. What a happy, yet quietly exuberant, quilt top started from make-fabric, improv. type sewing. Which is why I'm naming this quilt 'Exuberance'. I think this quilt is absolutely delighted to be numbered among the successes....

23 comments:

  1. I think it is a neat quilt - I love the applique added to the border - it makes it dance

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  2. A great end result Audrey! I really like how you've added those brown strips, there's a real warm look about it!

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  3. Exuberance is the perfect name for this cheerful gem. Your persistence pays off yet again!

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  4. I like how your sashing sort of winks in and out - there's a lot of motion there. Then all that red dancing in the borders - yeah, 'Exuberance' is just right. 8)

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  5. I have found myself wondering, sometimes with pleasant surprise, other times with something close to dissatisfaction! Well, your quilt is certainly one for pleasant viewing, Audrey. I love those clover-like flowers around the border and the bright inner border. Definitely exuberant!
    --Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

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  6. The name is perfect, another wonderful, unexpected design emerged.

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  7. I love the name - it suits this top perfectly! Great border with lots of energy and the center blocks are wonderfully scrappy :0)

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  8. I so love a scrappy quilt and love the blocks here the border look great too

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  9. It turned out wonderfully and I love that applique border!

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  10. Hello Audrey, just love this Exuberance quilt, it is free and soft in color and pattern and I like the fun border with the bright red flower buds. It is so interesting to see your quilts develop and grow. Many greetings

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  11. A wonderful name for this quilt ; love the colors and the border! :)

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  12. A wonderful name for this quilt ; love the colors and the border! :)

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  13. Your quilt is an inspiration! I especially like that this quilt was made over several years. She is just beautiful. Gretchen

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  14. I suspect your Exuberance will become a much loved go-to quilt. Great process post!

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  15. "Exuberance" is a great name for it! It has so much energy, but it's still balanced too. It's definitely a happy one!

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  16. I love how the placement of the flowers sometimes matches up with the darker stripe that reads brown to me. It seems like patches of dirt with seedlings bursting with Exuberance thru cracks of sidewalk to share their beauty to the world!

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  17. Love it! Love the colours; Love the improve; Love the happy border. ... and of course I enjoyed the story of the journey. Thanks for sharing.

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  18. I do love the border with its triple berries. Great post about the journey from random blocks to finished top. I participated in loads of exchanges over the years - still find them in odd corners.

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  19. I do like that border - I may have to file it away for future reference! If I can't decide what else to do to a top, I find it helpful to put it on the design wall,while working on something else ...... walking back and forward past it sometimes prompts what to do next!
    ADonald466@aol.com

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  20. Such a well-written post about a delightful quilt. Thanks!

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  21. I love improvising! And it's fun to see it in other peoples work! I like your attitude. The struggle is part of the journey too! cheers!

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  22. What a great post! You're so right, just ignore the quilt police who say it has to be done a certain way, and follow your creative journey. What a wonderful quilt! And thanks for walking us through how you approached using the blocks and setting up the quilt.

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  23. Great process post - and a lovely happy quilt (perfect name too). This is improv the Audrey way, and it definitely works for me!

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