Friday, May 12, 2017

Let Them Eat Cake--The Long Struggle to Completion

The Mini Cake Stands quilt is finally finished after a rather long journey! It was started back in early 2012 as I just couldn't resist the siren call of making 150 little basket blocks. Obviously. I mean, how cute are they?
Let Them Eat Cake (the mini cake stand quilt)
 After hours of making these sweet, but seriously, tedious blocks, I eventually came up with a quilt top that well, immediately made me wonder what I was thinking. Ughh. It had some good ideas, but mostly just disappointed. So it lingered in the quilt top drawers until January of 2015, when I finally just couldn't stand it anymore and started ripping the entire quilt apart. I don't feel like a perfectionist, but there are some projects that need a second chance. These baskets deserved another try! It took until July of that year before eventually I could settle on a quilt top idea that I thought would work.
Love seeing all those tiny baskets!
 I even included an upside down block in the spirit of make-do'ism. {If that's a word.} It makes me smile. As does the very few blocks with the darkest 9-patch units. They add to the utility look and give a bit of whimsy, an unexpected departure from the sweetness of all that pretty, pretty pink. I also deliberately chose some pinks to be much lighter, helping create a fade-in/fade-out impression which hopefully helps move the eye around the quilt. I love, love, love attempting to creative movement and energy, even in a 'sweet' quilt.
And a purposeful 'mistake'
 A couple months ago I went digging through the quilt top drawers looking for a quilt to gift to my next youngest sister for her upcoming birthday. If you remember, I hate making quilt specifically for people, but generally adore giving away when I feel a need or possibly a connection. This quilt really seemed perfect for her in a myriad of ways. My friend agreed to find time to very simply long-arm quilt it for me by the birthday date. Woohoo! I believe she had it for two months, so it should have been plenty of time? Anyway, things came up, life got overwhelming for her and I didn't even get the quilt back from until approximately 22 hours before the party. Yeah. I couldn't even reach her on the phone the two days before. It was a nightmare. Oh well! Believe it or not, with the help of my daughters taking care of the other birthday prep. I was able to get the binding taken care of, most all the threads snipped and even a few pictures taken!
So pretty!
And I think we totally surprised her! She wasn't even expecting a party, much less a few gifts. You know how it goes when we get older. Birthdays become more about a dinner out and less about the presents and how old we might be getting....
Happy Birthday to my sister!
Here's a picture of my original inspiration, an antique quilt from 'Scrap Quilts-The Art of Making Do' by Roberta Horton. It's one I had drooled over many times and finally decided to make a version of, changing things up as I love to do. I've never been a fan of making a quilt exactly the same as the original one. I prefer to use that original as the spark or the 'seed' and see where we end up. Ha! Sometimes that results in a big fat fail as you know! Nevertheless, one day, with the straggly stacks of recently reclaimed mini cake stand blocks, I took another look at the original quilt. Which elements drew me in the most and could I possibly capture them? It was an interesting process and one that honestly, I thought I had failed at {even the second time around}. There's just something incredibly challenging about trying to duplicate the spirit of a quilt without making an exact replica. Its a wonderful exercise and I urge everyone to try it at least once!
The seed of an idea....
On another note, before the actually quilting, the quilt top itself just looked sweet, but sort of bland and static. It was satisfying but well, uninspiring. I thought maybe it was one of those quilts where the maker just hit the jackpot on having all the perfect elements together in one quilt and I was out of luck. Imagine how completely amazed I was to to see it morph into this lovely, take-you-back-in-time sort of quilt with just a little texture from the simple stitching! Ahhh... It made me so happy! At this point, I just have to call it a success, totally worth the time and effort of tearing it apart and giving it another go. What else can I call it when in the end, it was so terribly {surprisingly} hard to give away? I wanted this one for my very own, and no one was more surprised than me.*wink

Linking to Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share!

23 comments:

  1. it is just GORGEOUS!!! All those tiny basket blocks turned into such a beautiful charming quilt! I am sure it will be adored and you could always make version 2!! lol Happy Belated Birthday to your sister and Happy New Year as our birthdays really are the first day of our New Year!! Take care and Happy Sewing from Iowa

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  2. It looks soft, pretty and wonderful! What a fabulous gift - lucky sister :0) These little cake stands were on a journey with a very happy ending !

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  3. Those tiny cake stand blocks really make the quilt sparkle. I never regret picking things out to make it look better (to my eye). You've got another success!

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  4. I love the solution you came up with to make this quilt your own. Those alternate blocks make the cakestands sparkle. Always best to rescue those blocks when you're not happy, second time around is often the best!

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  5. This is a lovely quilt! I love how you combined the blocks, and those tiny little cakestands are beautiful! The little 'pops' of blue are great too! Thanks for linking up to 'sew stitch snap SHARE'

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  6. such a pretty quilt wondering what size it is at first I thought it was mini but now not so sure

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  7. Great save; I'm glad you didn't give up on those little blocks. Isn't it wonderful the way quilting can transform a top?

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  8. To me, your version is more interesting than the one in the picture that inspired you. It is such a beautiful quilt! Magnificent! Warm greetings

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  9. Your sister must have been over the moon; it's lovely...soft and dreamy looking.

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  10. I didn't realize this was inspired by a vintage quilt. I love that pink! I have a similar pink quilt that haunts me, that I guess I'll have to make some day. I love the mix of fabrics you used, with the toile and plaids. It does not feel like a reproduction to me, it feels like you, now, which is something I aspire to as well. Great finish!

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  11. Lovely finish on this one, Audrey. I especially appreciate the upside-down block (ask me why?? lol)..hugs, Julierose

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  12. The design journey is what it is all about!! I love what you came up with!!

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  13. Beautiful, beautiful quilt!! Those little baskets are precious and I love the chunky 9-patches in various color values in between. It's fun to see your original inspiration and to see how you played with it and made it yours. Bravo!!

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  14. The greens are a great addition. I love the colors and fabrics in the photo where it's folded in a basket. Funny how the light hits quilts differently. Thanks for sharing your inspiration photo, too. Using it as a seed is perfect.

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  15. Such a sweet sweet quilt, your sister is very lucky!

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  16. You are great at documenting the journey of your quilts. The journey of the process of quiltmaking in fact. The ups and downs, the fun parts and the doubts. I love that this quilt had such a happy ending and a loving home with your sister.

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  17. I'm so happy your perservered until you were happy with the setting for your sweet little cakestand blocks - it's spectacular!

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  18. Congrats on the big finish with the tiny baskets. I loved seeing the inspiration photo. I'm sure your sister will treasure it!

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  19. What a wonderful gift, your sister must have been thrilled!! Unlike you, the 150 little basket blocks don't appeal to me that much (I mean I don't like to make HSTs) but, I can certainly admire the beauty of the quilt. I love the stripe outside triangle border, such a beautiful color palette.

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  20. Oh my! So worth the effort of a re-think/re-do. No wonder it was hard to give away, but I'm sure your sister will treasure it. Another Audrey success!!

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  21. Well, you may have used that quilt as inspiration, but this baby is completely your own! It is remarkable how you can take lonely and forgotten blocks and turn them into masterpieces. I'll bet your sister was thrilled!

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  22. Those little cake stands are the cutest! What a wonderful quilt top you ended up with. Congrats on the finish!

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  23. Another great basket quilt!

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