Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Improv. Wheels Quilt Top Finish and A Walk-Through

Ever since the creation of this quilt several years ago, I've been intrigued by the idea of how very much difference a tiny, little addition can make to a quilt. Just adding that simple little bird makes me love the quilt a whole lot more. Mostly because it makes me smile! And that's a good thing.
A few little applique birds
So I kept thinking this quilt needed something to cover up the big, fat, white areas {created by the corners of my wheel blocks meeting}, They just made me uncomfortable in some very odd way. Like I had walked into someone's house that wasn't mine and people were saying, 'Well, yes it's your house, don't you recognize it?'
A new quilt top finish!
 And so finally I relented. Even though I wanted the wheel look, chopping off the corners of my improv. pinwheel blocks just to get that particular look. It really doesn't make sense does it? Oh well. Nothing to do now but forge ahead. I searched and dug around for fabrics that would be capable of adding that tiny little spark of 'me' without pushing the quilt over the maximum 'busyness' factor. Everything was sort of 'meh' until the bright, cheerful plaid popped up. Can you even see that in reality, the blues and blue-greens sort of clash in the quilt? Yep. It was meant to be! Just that beautiful surge of cheerful energy and I was sold.
Some fabrics are more clashy than others....
And then it wasn't finished. Still! It kept insisting it needed a border, which just made my head hurt. Everything auditioned was cluttery and such a distraction. Piecing was a definite 'NO'. It wasn't until I went back to the floral fabric {tried out as a sashing fabric earlier in the life of the quilt}, that it started coming together for me. And if you notice, it has a touch of that clashy blue in it as well, along with spaces of white that kind of allow the quilt to ease into the border without overpowering it.*sigh
My son agreed to hold the quilt up 'inside' the house,
only agreed to an outdoor picture for next July. hehe
I knew when I impulsively bought that fabric over a year ago that it was going to be an amazing piece and wowsers, was I glad to see it again in the stash. Some fabrics are just meant to be and I'm a huge, {unapologetic} fan of sweet, distinctive looking floral fabrics finding a good place in a quilt. So go ahead and sneer when they end up, oh-so-traditionally on the borders of my quilts!
Interesting how the colorways always have connections!
I once read an article about how boring, predictable and well, plebeian, having birds and flowers represented in a quilt was. Oh. And years ago? There was also a commentor on a popular modern quilt blog who totally disdained the work of needleturn applique as being sloppy and childish looking. The funny thing was, lots of people jumped on the bandwagon right along with her. But that's fine because it had a good outcome for me at least. These kinds of 'group-think' attitudes helped me to more wholeheartedly embrace the look that I simply love from the bottom of my naive little, country-girl heart. Don't tell me what to do! lol  But the thing is, I will never willingly make a lifeless looking quilt just for the sake of perfection, or a trendy look, fabric use, or popular opinion. That's so not me, nor should it be you. Make what YOU love and let the naysayers go elsewhere or eventually, you'll probably quit making altogether. It's not worth the angst!

p.s. The floral fabric was fussy cut in 7" widths in order to incorporate the best use of large bunches of color. Also, included in the pinwheel blocks is a couple re-cycled men's shirts. Pinwheel blocks were cut and sewn according to Sujata Shah's 'Cultural Fusion' pinwheel formula, then altered to gain the big 'wheel' look that I wanted.

28 comments:

  1. "I'm gonna" should always top "You should". I love that you make what you love!

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  2. The little birds and the shape of the plaid piece underneath as wonderful. I don't think I would have had the courage to chop off the wheels. Great finish, Audrey, and a lesson to us all. Thanks.

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  3. you have created a lovely quilt here and yes the border is so right.

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  4. Glad you followed your heart. This fun quilt looks very "you". I can see where those white areas would be bothersome. They're a little too stark. Your birds are a super solution. And I like that "clashy" blue, it livens up the other colors!

    And I totally agree with Gayle!

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  5. I love the tiny birds and the idea with the rounded corners is simply great!
    I love the wheels!
    And the quilt is gor-geous!! 👏👏
    Best wishes!

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  6. All I can think of is...big wheels keep on turning; proud Audrey keep on churning!

    I'm glad you added something (perfect) in those white areas around your wheels because my eyes were drawn right to those blank spaces on the last pic I saw of that quilt. Love the birdie solution.

    And who doesn't love flowers anywhere? Sweet and romantic!

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  7. The birdies are just the thing - and great choice of border. I admire your persistence in trying this and that to get your quilt truly finished the way you want. And I really agree with your philosophy - let's just all make we love!

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  8. hey if florals work for you go for it!! I think they look good in this quilt. I'm not a fan of florals but I do like them in some quilts when I see them but I can't get them to work for me. I like the addition of the birds - those big spaces sometimes need to be "finished"!

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  9. Love your floral borders--and those little birds add just the right individual touch to make it your own...your intuition was right on...hugs, Julierose

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  10. This is just delightful! :) Makes me smile :)

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  11. I liked it before, but now it is way, way better. Love the happy birds, love the happy colours, love the applique, and you know I always love florals. Definitely one of my favourites!

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  12. I agree - make what WE love, not what the marketing folks say we "should".

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  13. It's wonderful and perfectly YOU! I think of your style as more like folk art, which I absolutely love. Good thing you don't listen to whoever said those things. Who cares what "they" think? Your quilts are there to make YOU happy, no one else.

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  14. Needleturn applique is sloppy and childish!?! What a snobby, ignorant thing to say. Has she seen any antique applique quilts??? She certainly hadn't seen your quilts. I'm glad you didn't listen to her - your birds are delightful and add so much to your quilt. It's fabulous - border and all.

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  15. I love how you are true to yourself. If you like something, if you think certain colors go together, if you want things asymmetrical or spontaneous that's what you do. You don't wait for approval or consent because you are happy with the decisions you have made. I want to be you when I grow up.

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  16. yep, those little birds in their plaid nests are just the thing. I am addicted to that feeling when I know my quilt needs something else, or needs a just right border and then... zingo! I think of it, or it wins the audition, and I can't quit looking at it. I Love that feeling. Best ever. Your quilt top wins this viewer's choice.

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  17. I love everything about this quilt! It is definitely an "Audrey" quilt! Your quilts are always just so amazing and full of little surprises, like those little birds. Perfect!
    All I can say about whoever made that comment about needle turn applique really did not know much about quilting.

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  18. Doing and making what we love is what quilting is all about. You definitely did in this quilt.

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  19. I too love this quilt... the border, the birds, the blues, & the blue-greens! Sometimes it does take time, but I love that you make what you love!

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  20. Well, Audrey, I think it's a jolly good thing that no one can tell you what to do. Imagine if you'd been 'shamed' into giving up on applique! Or on birds and flowers. I liked this top without the little birds, like it even more with them, and love your fabulous floral border. Carry on, I say!

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  21. The quilt is beautiful. Love the little birds. I enjoy the way you describe how you "have" to make the quilt into your own style. Keep on quilting!

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  22. Love the wheels, birds, colors and border! Your quilts are always original and delightful! There are no rules! cheers!

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  23. I always leave yours with a smile on my face. Not just because I adore your playful color and pattern placement, but because you clear and honest writing is a joy to read. I too will continue quilt with plebeian pride!

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  24. Luuuuurve this quilt!!! The border is perfect for it and your birdies are so sweet and just right. Such a great finish, Audrey.

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  25. That turned out to be the perfect border for this quilt, making it all come together! Very lovely applique too!

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  26. I love everything about this quilt, and I love your attitude!

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