Friday, September 17, 2021

Another Difficult Quilt Top All Wrapped Up!

Here it is! A completed quilt top for the Positive Thinking challenge over at the AHIQ blog. This prompt was introduced in June of 2020, more or less encouraging us to keep going with whatever form our creativity allowed considering the stresses of the year. Doing anything 'positive' based seemed like a reach at the time {and even later}, but turned out to be a really great idea. Most of the intention behind what I do is for a cozy, happy, comfy outcome, and it was a timely reminder to keep on trying.

Positive Thinking quilt top is done!

It was also suggested that we might want to chop some of our clothes up in the getting-started phase. {Begin with the comfortable and familiar.} I cut up about six or seven shirts and used them to determine the base of the color palette moving forward. The cream print fabric behind the raspberry pink letters {and those same pink letters} are from two of my favorite shirts that I wore for years. The blue shirting fabric in the middle of the quilt is from a barely worn shirt from my husbands closet, and then there are two more of his shirting fabrics that made it into the quilt as clamshells. The other shirtings were dumped into the stash totes without being used at all. No worries, one of these days I'll dig them out and introduce them into yet another quilt!

What do you think of the whatchamacallit
at the bottom of the words?

So yes, those specific fabrics being used mean something to me, causing the quilt to feel a little more special. The decision to attempt another 'wordy' quilt was actually quite simple when I thought about trying to project positivity. It's all in the message, right? Coincidently, there was a suitable one that had been pinned up on a board in my quilting room for eons. 

Cutting and sewing letters together doesn't take a tremendous amount of creativity once a person gets started. It's more of a formula and that seemed to be a good thing last summer. Like maybe I could coast through at least part of the process on auto pilot! Ha. Of course there's always the phase {or two or three of them} where everything comes screeching to a halt and Very. Important. Decisions. Have. To. Be. Made. And it's usually in the details that later appear so thoroughly nonessential, but whatever. I made it through and finally got to the puzzle, getting the words and background to fit together in a way that hopefully everyone can read!

Bright, happy flowers

I ended up with the cream/black pinstripe fabric as the background because I loved the way it blended with the one cream shirting fabric especially calling out to me. The old fashioned charm was irresistible and also, there looked to be enough to hopefully take care of the entire background. Generally I'm okay with mixing and matching background fabrics {making-do}, but wanted something more controlled this time around. The stripe made me a bit nervous initially. Stripes?? But after I made the decision to put each word into its own 'box' of sorts, then the rest fell into place and started making more sense. 

No leaves this time

There were plenty of stops and starts getting it all pieced together. Energy would run very thin on the ground occasionally. What am I doing? What am I actually trying to accomplish? If I do this, use that, then where does that leave the emphasis of the message? 'Cuz you know, changing up the value of some of the colors per words, makes a huge difference in how the message could come across!

It's a wrap!

Fabric usage was carefully planned out ahead, but you can only do so much because of the waste involved. You can only imagine how thrilled I was when the cream shirting behind the pink letters was just enough and then later, when I was trying to puzzle piece the entire background into place, having the perfect amount with barely a scrap or two leftover! 

Originally I wanted every single word to have the same exact cream shirting background but it simply wasn't possible. Waahh! That's why I paused part way through the letter making and spent some time considering. How do I move forward in a way that doesn't mess up the whole {imagined} look to the quilt? Eventually I just had to do something and leave it up to chance as to whether or not everything could/would come together. So that's where the blue background shirting came into play. Off on another tangent and we'll just have to see if it makes or breaks the quilt!

Also, the greater background was pieced intentionally with the stripes positioned on the vertical. All except for the very bottom of the quilt where I had no choice but to sew a narrow strip on the horizontal. It was a scary hairy determination to make as I worried it might 'waste' too much fabric and potentially leave me lacking enough to finish. The main reason it seemed important to deliberately choose one direction or the other was to eliminate extra chaos from fabrics being placed into the background willy-nilly. Since the theme was to be 'positive', it felt necessary to at least try to eliminate as much noise as possible. So yeah, that's one more area of this quilt that makes me super happy. It's a very small detail of the quilt, but almost boggles my mind. Lets just say it again.... the stripes are all going in the very same direction!!

The clamshell background is much whiter
than the cream center, but it seems to work.

Once the middle of the quilt was totally pieced, then I let it sit for a good long while. It was tempting to wrap it up and say 'It's a finish!', but honestly, the whole message thing was a bit too much for the totality of the quilt. I almost wanted to say in return, 'Oh yeah? So what?' With nothing but words to look at on the quilt, it seemed to make the quilt feel almost aggressively opinionated and I didn't want that vibe. Besides, I was pretty sure it needed applique. I mean, lets be real. How could there possibly be that much background space on one of my quilts, and not have a flower somewhere? It was always meant to be.

A couple months went by and the quilt decided that it probably needed to have borders. Almost any border would do, but didn't clamshells sound interesting? So I pondered and played with the idea until coming up with the scrappy 6" clamshells plan. Big enough to more easily learn the new-to-me technique, yet not so small as to get buried in the minutia of 'not quite good enough'. Mistakes were made. Things are far from perfect, and yet... I love it! Adds such a wonderful exuberance to the quilt. Definitely helped lift the quilt into a place of confidence and meaning without the overbearing quality it had before.

These strange blue colors are difficult for me to work with...

And then before the clamshells were completely finished and attached to the quilt, I finally settled on the applique flower addition. They are MUCH brighter than I ever intended, so in-your-face happy to be on the quilt. Wowsers. Dial it down a bit, could you? hehe  Why does it take more than just words though? They just aren't enough by themselves sometimes, especially on quilts. In fact, at the very end of adding on all the applique, I felt compelled to add on the little curly-cue or whatchamacallit thing as extra emphasis there on the bottom. Like an underlining of intent that I mean this. I feel this. Does that make sense? Laughing at myself here because the quilt was a little too overbearing without the border and applique and then after? Not quite serious enough. These quilts. They just love to run us in circles, don't they?

I know that not everyone will appreciate this quilt as much as I do {already figured that out by showing it to my mom}, and that's okay. Personally, I'm very, very pleased to have pushed through with this particular challenge. It was a good one in so many ways! There were definitely times that I sincerely thought the quilt had lost its way. What a drab little nothing of a quilt! And then, this. Plus, I finally got over my fear of playing with clamshells! Just goes to show that attempting the occasional challenge can take us on an unexpected, but wonderful adventure! Next AHIQ challenge is Symmetry/Asymmetry. I'm only a little behind on getting started!

Saturday, September 11, 2021

Making Time in the Week For the Post is Sometimes the Hardest Part

Well here it is, another go at a baby quilt. After the last disastrous effort, I focused more intensely on gathering a cohesive grouping of fabrics. Something happy and cozy looking and at least a little bit girlish. As the days went by, fabrics were pulled out and other, better fabrics included until the stack had the right vibe.

Blocks for the baby quilt

Since that's where things went wrong last time, I calculated this step to be the most helpful overall. You would think that I {of all people} would never take a good color palette for granted, but hey. We all have our moments! Eventually I reached a spot in my latest hand work frenzy where it became obvious that there needed to be some machine quilting time. For equilibrium. And mixing things up. Okay! Good time to get serious about moving on with the baby quilt! And yeah, it's the strangest thing, but somehow I had lost my confidence with making these quilts for the littles. Everything that I imagined and conjured up just seemed so overblown and complex for the ultimate purpose. 

Starting to consider the fabric in the setting

Finally I managed to get ahold of myself and made the decision to start with a very simple courthouse step {or brick?} block. Just keeping it very basic and see where it leads us. Everything was free cut even though I occasionally used a ruler to avoid the wavy 'hand cut' effect. As you can see I used groups of color for each segment of the blocks, rarely using a repeat. After all the blocks were completed, then I trimmed the width only to the exact same size. 

Making it all work

That gave me a starting place to determine what to do next. As I worked through a period of about three different sessions, I found that it was a simple matter to just 'go with the flow'. First I joined blocks into the longer rows. If I saw that the peachy pink fabrics looked fine in the adjoining areas, then I didn't even bother to try out another option. Decision made, cut the fabric and move along!

Trying to make sure the blocks aren't' an exact
line-up in placement horizontally

As I was working along on this baby quilt, there was also progress being made each evening with the hand quilting on the Patina quilt. The more that I looked at the backing fabric there, the more that I realized some of it needed to go directly into the baby quilt. The green flowers [especially} on the pink print just seemed so perfect for breathing room between the blocks! 

Patina with the binding sewn on by machine,
waiting patiently for the hand stitching time to finish up

Thankfully, I wasn't too far out on the stitching. The push to finish wasn't some herculean task, but just a dedicated effort to make the best use of regular handquilting time. Wallah! It was a finish! And then it was an easy matter to trim all the extras from the backing into long sashing pieces, sewing sections together wherever needed. Yes, some of the trimmings were cut on the horizontal view of the printed fabric and others on the vertical. Does it matter? Altogether, the print worked to pull the blocks into a soft, unified whole. See how it comes off as a great background, helping make those stronger-look blocks 'pop'? Mission accomplished.

Baby quilt top all sewn together, ready for sandwiching 

Even the lighter {fill-in} sections of the lighter peach fabric used at the top and bottom of the quilt were re-used from the backing trim-offs since I often use 2 or 3 fabrics to make up a back. How fun to use up the backing pieces so readily! Really makes my frugal, use-it-up quilter soul want to high five someone.*wink  The only thing that I'm not 100 percent satisfied with, is the very far left sashing strip--its just a little 'off print' and showing lots of solid pink. Overall though, I think this effort can be considered a success. And it restores just a tiny bit of my baby-quilt-making confidence! Will probably try to wait and do the quilting at the same time as the next one in line. It's already late. What difference does another couple weeks make?

Half the Crazy Daisy blocks ready for next phase
of hand stitching

The primary applique project worked on in the last week or so has been Crazy Daisy. It's not a show stopper and in fact, at this stage in the game, it still looks a little sad. I kinda knew that, but it wasn't until a friend stopped by the other day and asked me what I was working on that it really hit home. When I showed her one of the blocks, she had this look. You know the one. It was pretty evident she was trying to figure out how to say something positive and polite, but didn't quite know what to say.... Oh well. You and I both know my quilts are never finished until the binding is put on!

I kept avoiding these blocks until one evening it occurred to me that truly, what I was doing was sabotaging available hand work time. I would take the hand stitching bag into the living room and place it by the couch. Then, you know... I'd have to go check the laundry, pick up in the kitchen, go water the flower pots, etc. etc. until there might be 20-30 minutes left to actually DO something. 
Looking closer at the flower detail and
potential sashing fabric

When that realization finally broke through my consciousness, things got serious. I hate wasting time. My goal was 5 blocks a week and I was waaaay behind. So then I really put my head down until now there are 13 blocks out of 25 ready for the next phase. Whew! So exhausting. But now I can happily do some hand work on the Positive Thinking quilt without any guilt whatsoever. Until next week, which uh... starts tomorrow? Unless I count it as being 3 blocks ahead? Hmmm...

Whatever. There was serious progress made to the point where I could put enough blocks up on the wall to do a quick audition for the side-setting triangle fabric. {The way the flowers are being sewn onto the blcoks pretty much pre-determines the final layout.} Uh huh. This is where it occurred to me that this quilt wasn't going to be happy without sashing. The vague idea I had about just slapping these blocks together and getting a top done lickety-split pretty much crashed and burned. Why do some quilts have to be so demanding? The only fabric/color that made any sense at all is a Tula Pink stripe that was only lacking about 20" from being enough. Of course! You're all going to be shocked, but yes, I ultimately caved and just ordered it online from an Etsy shop. Enough waffling about. When you know, you know.

It turned out that I was also able to get an excellent feel for what needed to happen at the bottom of the flowers too. At least that part was straightforward and almost exactly as imagined! It will most definitely be more of those sharp citrussy greens with a narrow band of the brown/green to help emphasize that it's actually a 'flower'. Super happy about that as I've been wanting to use more of those lately. I'm going to use about 6 of the different greens from the stash, but only that single brown for the narrow arch. That particular print has a lovely, subtle green included which just makes my heart do a little pitter patter of happiness. Love how the quick free-cut arch is so imperfect looking and will probably use it exactly 'as-is' for the final plastic template.

Patchwork Garden ready for the hoop!

Next up for the quilt in the hoop is Patchwork Garden, top all finished up sometime in 2019. All summer long, I was looking forward to getting this one in the hoop and finally, here it is! I totally forgot about taking pictures while it was being sandwiched, so this is 'it', in all its rumpled glory, pinned and ready to go. Things are not always perfectly camera ready around here in case you hadn't already figured that out. I wonder why? 

Alas, the first night of stitching was just wrong. So wrong. I had to pull out all of the stitches and start completely over. The colors, the patterns. Meh! As of last night, I'm finally starting to find the proper groove and rhythm. Always so good to be falling into the sheer enjoyment of being able to sit and happily stitch! 

It's kind of an different color palette for me, not one I've played with much before. Still, I'm having a ball being reintroduced to some favorite fabrics and remembering the many decisions made while putting the top together. I think that's one of the best things about hand quilting, having plenty of time to enjoy the very last moments with a quilt. Unless it's an ugly or unsatisfactory make, then it gets pretty wearisome to have to keep coming back to the hoop!

Thursday, September 2, 2021

One Little Decision at a Time

Lets take a meander through the latest applique work going on around here. For whatever reason, that's what has seemed the most interesting of late. Plus, there are a couple projects that really, really need the attention so they can move on to final quilt top stage!

Positive  Vibes getting the attention

The main project that has been getting my complete and almost total attention is the Positive Thinking one. It's not a super long term project as it's just barely a year old. The clamshell borders ended up being easier than I expected once in the groove of hand sewing.  We won't get into the initial angst and nerves of getting started, but I will say machine sewing two-three stiches at the join of each clamshell helped me out tremendously. Just don't go looking for perfection! The borders lengths were not cut 'exact' as I was quite, quite sure that my measurements would be all over the place, and well.... I was right about that. 

The right side applique templates

That means that I will have to either cut all the clamshells off at the ends of the borders or potentially add a narrow border around the centerpiece of the quilt. Right now my brain just freezes up at the math, but I might try and get that worked up so I can at least make an informed decision. If I do add in the narrow border, it will probably be a cream fabric so as to look like it's part of the centerpiece.

The left side applique templates

What I always did know, is that there needed to be some flower applique to the side of the words. Don't you know those open spaces were meant for applique all long? The shape of the flowers have always been an iris shape in the imaginings of my mind, so that part was easy. Sometimes I grab fabric and start cutting, other times I use the leftover pieces in the applique orphan totes for auditioning and other times, I jump in with the free-style drawn paper shapes that I love to play with.
Auditioning all the wrong fabrics

Most generally, that saves me from ruining lots of pieces of good fabric. Not this time though.*sigh  I worked on the colors and prints of these flowers for almost 2 hours! Then I put it all up and went downstairs for the evening, telling my husband that all my creativity had apparently left me for good. It was all looking and feeling very much like MUSH!

More of those wrong fabrics

The next day I tossed all the lousy looking colors/prints and deliberately went searching for things that might 'pop' more. It was very annoying because in the end, I had to raid a couple marinating project totes for the better colors. Makes me very twitchy when I think those fabric stacks might be losing a very important fabric.

Finally getting it right!

But all for the greater good, right? And my final version here is much, much better than the previous attempts. No doubt about that at all. After cutting, I realized that the floral vase fabric had never been soaked for possible fabric bleeds, so those parts are currently resting in hot water and Dawn dish soap, sure enough, bleeding out a little bit of red/pink dye!

And even more right....

All in all, this quilt is pulling together and projecting a lovely positive vibe. Finally. Those old tired blues are gonna be the death of me though. I just don't know what to do with them to properly wake them up! For the past couple years I've been raiding the stash totes and earnestly trying to deal with some of the older colors that have fallen into utter disfavor. This is my second endeavor with similar looking blues taking over the med-dark blue stash tote. Maybe I'm just biased, but this version of blues, purples, orange, and hot pinks looks a whole lot better to me than the previous attempt! And bonus. I'm using up some older oranges with the blues. That's definitely helping to keep the lid stay on those totes a little bit better--always the real goal.*wink  It's not like I enjoy playing with odd color palettes or anything strange like that...

All starting to come together!

So yeah. There's that. Making good progress here! Also in the works is this other tangent of mine. I'm making pear blocks. Uh huh. There are part of the next border for Big Basket #4, another one of those impulse projects started late last year. I wanted to make a quilt that seems a little bit disconnected with itself, but somehow achieves a common vibe. All the while using up mostly older, less interesting fabrics as a whole. I was really wishing that my green fabrics had more value change-ups than what I'm achieving, but honestly, this is the best that I can do without buying new. Not happening for this particular quilt!

Three sizes of pears for different sized blocks

Okay, prep work accomplished, moving on to something else. I'm not in a huge hurry to get them hand stitched down yet, so I turned my attention to Crazy Daisy. It is one that has received almost zero attention since the original mad dash to get it sorted out and prepped for stitching. I'm thinking that if I can just get five blocks stitched a week?  Can I, can I? There will be more to stitch over the bottom of the flower later, just haven't made up my mind completely about those particular colors. Regardless, I'm tired of it haunting me and making me feel like a slacker! One block down, 24 to go!

A start. That's gotta be worth something!

I also started a brand new project. Ha! I bet you're not even a little bit surprised either! No pattern, just a picture to give me inspiration. One of the things that I did in the weeks immediately after our daughters wedding was to go through each and every simmering fabric stack--all of the dreamy project ideas. During those perusals, it occurred to me that I have an awful lot of good fabric tucked away and 'off limits'. Mostly. Unless there's a desperation search or something! 

Obviously gonna need a trim

So.. I determined that at least a couple of these needed to be initiated soon so as to get the good, yummy fabrics re-circulating back through the stash totes. Where they are currently VERY needed! lol  I spent quite a bit of time here and there trying to match fabric stacks with ideas that seemed logical based on gathered fabric. One stack got completely thrown back into the totes and another two were combined into one. You know how it goes!

Once these {grandma fans?} blocks are cut out, then all the prints, minus the white ones, can be cut loose. I am moving along on the cut-out of these 80 blocks quite slowly, in fits and starts as there's no real rush or intense desire to get right smack in the middle of it. This gold block was the mock-up to see if? how? the construction is going to work out. I'm thinking that I will machine sew the fan tips in an arc, then sew it onto the quarter circle, then, I will hand applique it all to the correct sized background block. At which point it will have to be trimmed down to that block size because I can never do curved piecing without some give and take in the stitching effort! All in good time. It will be great to have these parts ready for machine stitching whenever the handwork gets a bit tedious.

All for me!

And maybe there'll be another one or two similar quilt projects waiting in the wings soon. I do have a LOT of marinating fabric that needs addressed soon or dumped back into the totes for current use. In other news, I celebrated my 51st birthday with a brand new roll of Hobbs batting! Very exciting as I was running much too low for making it through the lean winter months. All of our children went together for the purchase and made this momma extremely happy. Not a boring gift at all no matter what they might think....

Monday, August 23, 2021

It's Always a Pleasure to Switch Out the Old Quilt in the Hoop For a New One

This quilt has been in the hoop for longer than any other quilt in years. So very happy to see it finally come to a good finish and give me an excuse to move on to another quilt! It's an AHIQFlowers prompt where I took great liberty in the interpretation of one of those intriguing Unconventional & Unexpected scrap quilts. 

AHIQFlowers quilt finish!

As you can quickly see when looking at the picture of the original quilt, there were no flower shapes involved in the original make. Somehow though, {to me}, the scrappy mess down on the lower right corner of the quilt always vaguely looked like a Lemoyne star. Which, of course, in my quirky brain, is a very short jump to 'flower' shape!

Turned out to be much more interesting than it should have

And so it was. This project looks like a super easy, dump all the fabric out and zip, zip! All sewn up! But no. It actually has to have a bit of balance in all the mumble jumble of scraps.

Loving the soft colors with the gold

I pushed myself quite a lot in order to bring the entire quilt to a successful conclusion. Almost threw up my hands in defeat a time or two, but eventually managed to figure things out one little decision at a time. Improv. is such an exhilarating way to play, but then, also terribly grueling at times. For me, these U&U interpretations provide an excellent framework of where I might want to start. 

And the scrappy, scrappy vibe

Though they never turn out identical, I adore the similar-but-different feeling when it's all said and done. When I can add a whimsical twist that makes it more of a 'me' quilt, then it's all the more satisfying.

This flower still makes me smile!

The colors in the particular quilt were a puzzle. Lots of blues, yellows and pinks in all shades and tones. It almost has a cold feel to the quilt instead of the more usual warm and cozy vibe that I normal shoot for.

Looks like it's ready for snuggling!

I think that's partly why I went ahead and stitched with a heavier hand than I might normally attempt to do. More stitching equals a cozier look if it's not completely overdone. Right?

Just can't resist looking across a well stitched quilt

The backing fabric was a fun pick from the bottom of the languishing stash totes. This old-timey circus print was given to me years and years ago and it was super entertaining to finally find a perfect quilt top to match up with. Every good quilt should make us smile at the end of the day!

All happiness and feelings of victory in conquering the AHIQFlowers quilt aside, I was absolutely thrilled to be moving another quilt into the hoop.*sigh  

Patina getting sandwiched and quilted!

This log cabin quilt is the perfect thing to switch my attention to. No decision making other than which colors the thread needs to be. Get it in the hoop and just start stitching away. I am in LOVE! So very, very peaceful and satisfying to stitch on the improv. log cabin quilts. I really don't know why there isn't a mile high stack of these tops on demand! Something to think about?

Looking so good in the hoop!

On another note, my youngest daughter went and spent the weekend with our granddaughters {and their parents}. She sent me this sweet picture of one of my late quilts hanging out on one of the granddaughters beds! Makes me so happy to see it put to good use!

Loving this quilt on Reagan's bed

And... then there's the clamshell borders that I am finally, finally attempting to figure out how to do. These will be attached to the Positive Thinking quilt. It's another one of those AHIQ challenges that I enjoy playing around with. The center of the quilt has been done since April and I'd pretty much determined that it needed an interesting border.

We'll see if I can do this!

Color us all shocked that it ended up being an 'applique' design! I decided to go with the clamshells because I've loved the look forever and have never managed to work one into a quilt. 'Cuz well... I'm quite terrified of the entire process. Not to mention, simultaneously outraged that there's anything there for me to actually be terrified of. I know, I know. It's all in my mind as I've made lots and lots of swag applique borders. The general idea of the clamshells should not be the least bit intimidating! So... here goes nothing!

p.s. Here's some links to my previous 'Unconventional & Unexpected' by Roderick Kiracofe interpretation quilts if you'd like to take a look.

Saturday, August 14, 2021

Scratching This Long-Term Project Right Off The List!

I have a finished quilt top to show you today, and no it's not the baby quilt. That has been completely set aside to be used as a potential backing someday. Just couldn't find any joy in it at all and finally decided that I didn't want to spend another minute on it!

The little bitty flower that makes me smile...

This quilt top is quite possibly my longest open ended project to date. I've been working on it for so long that I can't even find the start post any longer. I found a post in 2019 with a mock-up of what it was 'supposed' to look like. It's had many, many ups and downs and quite frankly, I am amazed to find myself with any completed quilt top. This one has been a humdinger of all projects. One that I was probably just too stubborn to give up on!

So happy with the overall look and vibe to this quilt!

In November of 2020, I completely ditched the original idea and started careening off in the direction of a row quilt look. I sort of drew up a rough idea, but just figured there was way too many hours of stitching involved already to throw everything away. Basically, my mindset was that the quilt would sort itself out during the ensuing hand applique or maybe I would die trying. 

Just bold enough to have a spark...

Then, in June of this year I decided the row quilt idea {by itself} was not going to cut it at all. Just not good enough. And that's where I really went off the rails and started making you all feel kinda nervous for what might be happening over here at Quilty Folk.

Where the side pieces DON'T match up...

But too, that's when I finally started feeling a glimmer of excitement about a quilt project that had long ago lost all the spark and energy it ever started with. Drawing, cutting out and starting the stitch all the words together made it feel interesting and worthy. Why not go for it?

A happy quilt

The main problem was that I was super busy and distracted during this summer {as you all know} and my base fabrics for the letters crazy old and boring. You all know that, saw it, and felt horribly sorry for the time and effort I was spending on this unending quilt. It made it terribly difficult to sustain any sort of enthusiasm for the end product and so then of course, there was a boat load of self doubt, loathing and massive recriminations for such a dumb, stupid idea. 'Cuz surely I was deluding myself about how great an idea this old timey quilt look could be starting from where I was starting from? It seriously felt kind of hopeless at times. 

Loving the scrunched look

With nothing better to do and feeling all the effects of the long, smoky, summer doldrums....., I literally MADE myself start plowing through the hand work to complete the stitching on the letters. One letter finished and then another. 'Cuz by then, I just wanted to SEE! Was my idea a total wreck of mixed signals and too much stubborn pride? 

I messed up on which fabric to choose for the 'Together' word and started sweating whether my remaining fabric would be the right look and be able to be properly balanced etc.  Still I forged on, determined to make this project come to an end. Please just let it be done!!

Almost there!

When the letters were FINALLY completed, it was on to the layout, which was already pre-determined minus a few fussy little details. I thought about off setting the melon patch rows with an uneven number, every other row, and then liked perfect repeats better. Okay, 6 it is for every row. That's pretty good except that it vaguely looked like wide open mouths. Yah. Totally ignoring that particular thought! But what about a border? Good, bad, or indifferent idea? If I chose to add a row of the melon patch applique on each side of the quilt I would have to hand stitch one more row, plus? It just looked like TOO MUCH. If you know what I mean. Nah, scratching that idea. But wait!!!!

Didn't even hurt a little bit...

What about half of the applique piece? I know a lot of you are cringing so hard right now, but it was so... easy to draw a line through the middle of the cut-off portions of the melon patch rows and sew a quick seam on either side. Then, just cut the appliqued rows open and then sew them in long rows. {Keep in  mind that I had 3 short melon petal rows leftover from each specific row used in the quilt}. I decided not to worry about whether or not those side borders pieces matched up very well or not. After all, the quilt now has good reasons to be very forgiving of all real and imagined flaws! Right? It says it right on the front! Just a little bit of 'fix-it' hand stitching to re-secure where the hand stitching flaked out during the cutting and sewing then it was all done.

The last bit of inspiration that helped
me get over the hump of great ideas
that had all crashed and burned....

The quilt still didn't seem finished though. Almost, but not quite. I pondered and debated until eventually I went ahead and added a subtle red striped fabric to the top and bottom. Simple, simple. Then.... it sort of sighed and finally, finally let me do a victory dance. All mental of course. I am a very dignified quilter. Ha!

The start of a new project

So yep. It's all done and I couldn't be more excited and happy for my very unique and interesting {to me} quilt. Absolutely nothing like what I started out thinking that I was making, which is probably an excellent thing. The original idea was a little boring anyway. It feels like I'm maybe, sort of starting to get my groove back. We'll see.

One of the few books I've bought in the last several years

In the mean time, there are lots of bits and pieces leftover from the original project idea. Like, 20 background blocks with the center medallion already stitched down? I found an idea in the 'Mixing Quilt Elements' quilt book that I think will go well to perhaps move things along on a brand new project. I cut out and mocked up one of the quarter rings that I will be making to sew onto all those backgrounds. Some day. Totally different colors of course, but a solid idea. Not starting in on it just yet, but I know something needs to happen with at least some of those bits and pieces. It feels good to start wading into some of the older projects languishing around here. You never know, I might stumble onto a baby quilt idea any day now!