Monday, January 14, 2019

Winner of the Giveaway and the first 2019 Finish!

First of all, the winner of the Strip Quilt Secrets giveaway is Kyle, who wrote, '...Don't know if I have a true favorite book, but I love looking at all the different states documentary quilt books.' As do I! So much inspiration in many of those books. Lots of ideas for further reading in all of the comments, so be sure and check them out too!
Looking at the stitching
My Rising Sun quilt has become the first 2019 quilt finish of the year! It was the one that kept me company late in the evenings, all through the holidays. As usual, the quilting is mostly echo style quilting with a little bit of grid work over the top of the appliqued vases. 
Rising Sun is a finish!
I machine stitched in-the-ditch between all the blocks and then put the quilt top in my hoop and started filling in the insides of the blocks with hand quilting. That little bit of 'stitch-in-the-ditch' work, prior to hand quilting, is something that I have started doing more of in the last couple years. Whether it saves me any time or not, it certainly feels like it does. Mind over matter. And we all know how important it is to have positive endorphins....
Still loving these folky vases!
I have been using Perle Cotton thread exclusively now for several years and will probably never go back to standard hand quilting thread. There is just too much joy in using #8 or #12 Perle Cotton thread. All the different color choices, including variegated threads.*swoon!  Plus, the texture from this slightly chunkier thread makes me all kinds of happy!
When the quilting makes it all look even better....
I ended up having to soak this quilt for most of two days because of a bad fabric bleed. It didn't even show in the water {just a light tinge}, but when I started to take the quilt out of the bathtub, I could see where the bleed had pooled at the back of the quilt. Only behind one vase and that fabric was a high-quality woven that should never have reacted that way! I'm telling you. This quilt top was put together a long time ago, but for the last year or so, I pre-soak every suspect fabric until all the water is clear as can be. This is getting tiresome.
It's big enough to use on a bed!
So I went ahead and soaked it overnight and then most of next day. Uggh.. I'm half regretting the remaining soak. Yes, the bleed disappeared from the back of the quilt, but unfortunately, some of it ended up migrating to the front of the block in three spots. Very, very annoying. THREE SPOTS! How does that happen? I soaked until the water ran clear for hours and then washed the quilt in the washer with lots of color catchers. They ended up with only the faintest tinge of pink, but I still have the slightest of bleeds in those three spots. They lightened considerable, but as they are a dark purple/red/blue dye, would never go entirely away. Maybe if there wasn't blue in the mix?
Some finishes just feel a little sweeter....
I made sure to not dry it fully in the dryer and so the next time I wash this quilt, it will probably be washed with Oxi-clean. That will be eons down the road though. For now I am done messing with it. Most people will never see the problem areas because they simply won't look hard enough! After a stint of brutal disappointment, I was able to shrug it off and go back to loving my quilt. This one was always meant for me anyway. It's been a bit of a problem child from the beginning, and I had great, enormous fun in fixing it so that it looks fabulous to me. 

The gold floral sashing fabric was won from a giveaway over at Barb's, and is the understudy star of the entire quilt. It simply wouldn't be the quilt it is, without that particular fabric! I want to put on record, that I'd still be tremendously nervous to make these sorts of rising star blocks again. They were very difficult to piece and that sort of complexity is just not my strong suit. Still....  even knowing that, I am extremely grateful to see this quilt laying here in front of me. Courage, my quilting friends. We're never going to get better if we don't even try!

Friday, January 11, 2019

Clearing the Old Adhoc. Improv. Projects Out of the Way

*Don't forget! There's still time to enter the Strip Quilt Secrets giveaway over at my last post!*  I really don't mind having a whole list of open-ended projects to work on. It keeps things interesting as I can feel free to work on whatever phase of a project that currently interests me, be it hand work, chain piecing, layout dilemmas, or perhaps the addition of a new border. It honestly works quite a bit better for my quilting mojo when I'm not dedicated to working on a single project until its finish.
Playing With Scale #2 a finished quilt top!
That being said, I often end up working on several different quilt 'series', throughout the length of a year or two. It's not like it's usually even on purpose, but after finishing up one quilt {or perhaps the new idea hits smack in the middle}, I'm eager to see how a certain element will look if I tweak it just a little or try a slightly different spin on things. This particular quilt came along as a companion idea to our Adhoc. Improv. playing with scale challenge. I ended up with a quilt top that was quite satisfying in terms of completing the challenge, but I just had this niggling feeling that the results had room for growth.

Improv. is something that I definitely feel more comfortable working though after this past several years of dipping my toes in the water, then trying to float, later on starting to learn how to tread water. But... {you knew there was going to be a 'but'}, I still have a long ways to go before it feels like second nature. It still stresses me just a little, and so I often drag my heels and easily allow myself to procrastinate on the follow through. And I wonder, so much of the improv. work I see online and from viewing major quilt show pictures feels a little bit cold. Maybe even a teensy bit harsh at times.
It took a couple hours worth of tinkering before
 the layout finally started coming together...
Please tell me I'm not wasting my time pursuing something that will only result in making my quilts look more 'modern or contemporary'! Don't misunderstand, some of that work is very compelling and I admire all the creativity involved in the making. A lot of it is just not my thing.  It doesn't resonate on a deep level. There's something about say, the QuiltCon style of quilts that feel especially chilly and there's sort of a implacability about them. I can't even explain. To put it bluntly, I usually like the QuiltCon rejections much better than the QuiltCon winners! Hmmm... That's an interesting thought. Oh well. I would sincerely love to go to a show someday and see if my reaction would be different in person, because it's obvious that a ton of people get very excited about these quilts! Maybe you have to be there to feel it. It's so painful that the Australian and French {Quiltmania} style of quilting are so underrepresented at shows here in the states. I have a feeling those sorts of quilts would be tremendously inspirational to someone like me!

My best inspiration overall, is in the vintage and antique style of quilts, preferably the softer, less perfect looking utility style of quilts. Those are the ones that invariably make emotion well up inside me and cause me to dream about making my own versions of what I've seen. If there are only five antique quilts mixed into the annual, regional quilt show, you better believe I've circled around to see them at least three or more times before I leave! If I see them in a book or a magazine or even online, I'm almost drooling over them. That's my lodestone if you will, and why I ever, ever even attempted to dive into the scary world of 'improv.'  Something had to give, 'cuz making straight-up traditional style quilts wasn't getting me where I ultimately needed and/or wanted to go.
The upper applique block is approximate 2" larger than
 the smaller one in the lower left corner of the quilt.
This particular quilt feels like a HUGE step in the right direction of somehow getting my quilting voice to speak louder than the fact that it's actually made in the improv. style. Yeah, yeah, I've heard you. I get it. Most of my quilting efforts do fall underneath the umbrella of  'improv.' {working in an unscripted manner and working successfully to resolve any/all issues that come up, etc. etc.}. I think you all know what I'm getting at though. If you type the words 'improv. quilts' into a search engine, there's a certain distinguishable style that immediately pops up. 

As you can see, this quilt is made up of many of the very same underlying elements today's improv. quilters rely on. Yet somehow, I ended up with a look/style that does actually resonate on a personal level! And so now I'm pondering. Is it the fabric print that makes the difference for me here? The color palette? Adding in a little bit of applique? A bit of vintage and up-cycled shirting fabric? All of these things, without a doubt, help make the quilt more appealing to me. Having those elements, alongside the improv. piecing, somehow makes it more snuggle-up lovable. I guess it's sort of a package deal in my world.
It's the best part of the quilt, those two applique additions...
So it's been a journey. If my quilts don't end up feeling cozy, whimsical, sweet, comforting, joyful, or perhaps even a little bit primitive and naive, then I feel bit lost and maybe even a lot disconnected. Feeling like I completed wasted my time and energies. Sometimes I win and yes, sometimes I lose, but I'm always, always, trying to move forward. Kaja and Ann have been a huge help with their Adhoc. Improv. linkups/blog and real efforts to support and nurture individual creativity and exploration of personal style. It's been great fun to ride along with them and see what new challenge they present next!
Although the rest of the quilt has its charms as well...
So Yay! for a complete win in the 'me quilt' category! Yay! for wrapping up another individual challenge! All that striving, practicing and sweating out the decision making part is finally starting to come together. Don't mind me. Mentally, I'm doing a little fist pump here. It's wonderful to have evidence that all the hard work in the trenches is starting to pay off.

Ultimately, every element seemed necessary to the
success of this particular quilt. Even the vintage
and shirting fabrics play an important part!
On a different note, I decided to throw in a couple more pictures of the Maps Challenge quilt. The color in the pictures from the other day were absolutely terrible. Ughh! I was in a hurry to get the post up, but later on, realized that all my blog records would forever be warped by those lousy pictures.

Adhoc. Improv. Maps Challenge quilt
Who was it that initially raised the bar for having Pinterest worthy quilt pictures anyway? Well, these are much better than before, but they would never qualify for 'Pinterest worthy' that's for sure! This quilt top had already been stuffed in a clear zip-bag and shoved into the quilt tops drawers. Did I iron it upon taking it out of the bag? Um..., no?

Still in love with the brown/white gingham fabric...
Really? The sun was shining and I had about 15 minutes before people were charging through the living room and making demands on my time. Would you have been ironing? Don't answer that.

It's simple, but it works for me
I picked off a lot of stray threads. Surely that counts for something. And you have to admit, now that you're seeing this quilt top in better lighting, it's starting to look a lot more attractive, in spite of its rumpled appearance.  I'm telling you, it looked amazing draped over my sons bed! Couldn't take a picture of that though as there were piles of clothes on the floor. Whatever. It feels good to be starting with a clean slate for the 2019 Adhoc. Improv. challenges and inadvertent detours!  Linking to Wendy's Peacock Party!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

Day 6 of the Strip Quilt Secrets Blog Hop. You Could Win a Copy of This Book!

Woot! Woot! Diane Knott has a brand new book out and I think you're gonna want this one too! In her introductory she says, 'I want to make quilts that are comforting to look at as they are to use'. Oh yes, she's definitely speaking my language.
Reading through the book, I came upon several interesting tips on dealing with strip sets. Things that I always have problems with, like sub cutting the long strip sets. You know how they tend to get this slanted thing going on, and you always have to trim a little bit more to get those nice, sharp pieced units? She addresses that in a way that I can't wait to try out.
The true test of a good quilting book {to me} is when I find a quilt that resonates and suddenly I'm imagining it in fabrics that are already stashed away. I've been wanting to find a good 'chain' pattern and Shimmer really hits the high notes. You have to know that I'm already envisioning it with an appliqued border....
After dithering about color palettes and little details like that, I read a little deeper into the pattern. Hallelujah! She even has pressing instructions for all those strip sets! In the picture below, you can see that the arrows indicate proper pressing directions. Yep, I'm sold. So very frustrating to try and join multiple strips into something that looks good, when all your best efforts inadvertently end up causing stacked seams.
I tried not to veer too far off the pattern with this fabric selection pictured below. Really! So surprising as I usually upend the entire suggested pattern selection and practically stand it on its head. I ended up choosing lighter purples for the chains than what Diane chose, and then mixed up the value in the middle units a little bit more than what might be wise. Didn't choose as many bright and happy colors. My goal here is to create a fade-in, fade-out look with the lighter purple chains barely holding the line. I love that this pattern is so set, but you know me. Always having to take a risk somewhere to keep things extra interesting! We'll see if it works out, but regardless, the strips are cut out now. Guess that means I'm committed!
I also took a good hard look at the Fiesta quilt. Diane does such a fabulous job with value and her brighter, more cheerful quilts are, as always, especially inspiring. When you get a chance to flip through the book, you'll quickly realize that many of the quilts also come with pieced border instructions. Love that! Having collected many scrap quilting books throughout the years, I can tell you that this means that Diane has went the extra mile to make each quilt extra special.
You can also be sure that she is a true-blue, die hard, scrap quilter at heart, by the fact that she includes instructions for the quilt below. Be still my frugal, utility quilt loving heart! Made in different colors and older fabrics, it could very well have been made a hundred years ago! There are great directions for diving head first into your scrap bin and making use of all those little bitty castoffs. Not in the mood to spend much time pre-planning or cutting before getting started? This is your quilt!
Diane is giving away a Strip Quilt Secrets book at every single one of the Blog Hop sites, including this one! For a chance to win a copy of this book, just leave a comment below telling me what your very favorite quilt book is. {I don't care if it's already on your shelf or a new one that's currently just on your wish list, inquiring minds want to know!} And oh yeah, present book excluded as there's no doubt it's front and center in everyone's mind right about now!

I'll draw a winner on Monday, January 14th. Please leave an email within your comment if there's any chance you might be a no-reply commenter. Unfortunately, due to the high cost of postage, this giveaway is only open to US residents. For those of you unable to leave a comment, due to the vagaries of Blogger, you can drop me an email at audkateaster at gmail dot com. I'll make sure to include you in the drawing as well. Only one stop left after mine, so you'll want to be sure and check that out on Thursday! Let's give some love to Diane and have a whole bunch of comments for her to check out. You and I both know that she'll be reading each and every one.....!

Friday, January 4, 2019

Time to See All Those 2018 Finishes Together in One Post

Some years there are more finishes than others. The last two years have been especially good ones for bumping the oldest quilts off the list . It's often difficult to want to work on the oldy moldy quilt projects, but they never get any easier to work on by just ignoring them!
2018 Finishes
It's always great fun to slip a baby quilt or two into the mix and have a fast finish. And this year I even made an oversize doll quilt {hmm... is that actually a baby quilt too?}
2018 Finishes
As usual, I kept my hand quilting hoop busy all throughout the year {both of them, if you want to know the truth of it!}. It's become an oh-so-important part of my quilting journey and I can't even imagine life without that little bit of stitching time late in the evenings. Those peaceful, meditative hand quilting minutes have become something I unabashedly crave at times. It positively grounds me in the best way possible and dare I say, nourishes me as well.
2018 Finishes
The program used to group my picture collages didn't have a good 4-picture setting, so I put my Quilty 365 in two different groupings. It's been on our bed for quite awhile now. I adore waking up to it and then later in the day, snuggling back into bed with it once again. Move over husband dear, I got a good quilt now. lol  Sometimes I think that all my quilting years have led up to this one quilt, in terms of making a quilt that resonates on almost every single level.
2018 Finishes
Overall, I'm not sure how much these quilts represent 'me' as a whole--the way I've mixed up the old quilting projects with the new. It's something that I always find very interesting though, these end of the year quilt reviews. You pop over to someones page and in one click, get to see an entire lineup of the years finishes! What fascinates me the most, is the quilting voice that is always so immediately apparent! There's rarely any doubt whose quilt page you're viewing and that's the very best thing about this time of year. I bet most of us could look at any of these picture groupings and immediately tell what quilter made each of those quilts. Love that!

So now with the details: 2018 found me ending the year with 19 finishes again! That kind of suprised me as it didn't feel like so many. Yep, I was on a finishing mission once again. Trying to get some of those very old, not-as-interesting quilt tops out of my hair.*whew! It was very, extremely, tedious at times, I kid you not. Crossing my fingers things won't get quite that bogged down ever again! Want some year end statistics? I do like to keep track just for curiosities sake.

  • 1 Doll quilt
  • 2 Baby quilts
  • 1 Comfort quilt
  • 7 Lap quilts
  • 8 Bed-sized quilts
  • 6 quilts were completely hand quilted
  • 9 quilts were a mix of machine and hand quilting
  • 4 quilts were completely machine quilted
By the end of the year I had also given away 17 quilts, a mixture of new and old quilts. That was a little nerve-wracking at times. My family lives in dread that they'll wake up one morning and all our quilts will have been given away! hehe  One was given for a church raffle, for helping to make money to buy their building. Still waiting to see who winds up with that one as I do like to keep track of where my quilts end up!

Lots of ideas for the next year. Stacks of fabric that have been simmering on the counters for months and months and need a little bit of attention. Mostly I just intend to quilt the things that I find interesting without getting too far into the weeds with those pesky squirrels! There are 5 or 6 open-ended quilt projects that will hopefully get wrapped up and around and around we go. I loved diving into the orphan blocks totes and intend to try that some more of that. Adhoc. Improv. is definitely still a happening thing and umm..., there is a scrap bin monster that just has to be addressed soon. No ifs ands or buts about it! Taking up way too much room over there in the corner of my quilt room.*sigh Oh, and don't forget about those oh-so-tempting QAL's popping up all over blogland. Probably gonna join in on with the Unconventional & Unexpected one and also, Lori's String Quiltalong. Sounds like a good start to me!

Monday, December 31, 2018

Two More Quilt Tops To Finish Out the Year!

As the year was coming to an end, I found myself very determined to squeeze in enough time to finish at least two more quilt tops.  These were projects that I really, really didn't want hanging over my head all throughout the next year!
Sweet Hospitality
The first one I tackled was the pineapple quilt. These blocks were started sometime in 2017. Can't find the exact month, but the plan was to mix them with stringy improv. basket blocks. Yeah. That was a big fat NO. Eventually I got the basket blocks together into a nice looking quilt top. I still rather like it, but the problem is, it wasn't the quilt top I wanted.*waaaah
Bad lighting inside the house, but it's a true-blue quilt top finish!
Then the pineapple blocks proved difficult and strangely unwilling to work with me. Like at all! Later in the year I finally refused to take no for an answer and wrangled them into some semblance of order. It didn't seem like enough though. Rifling through the abandoned fabrics, I decided to throw together a very basic, scrappy, two-toned, sawtooth border. {It sounds more challenging than it really was.} And I  kinda like the old fashioned vibe with the final layout scheme. It seems to work together pretty well.
Love adding in a scrappy border...
Then it started demanding a border. Let me tell you, I was not in the mood. A hundred ideas later {most of them involving applique} and I rebelled and made the decision to go super simple. Yep. It's one of those typical one-fabric borders with a tiny bit of applique embellishment on the corners. It's probably gonna be one of those quilts that look amazing with the quilting texture, but until then, I'm sort of giving it the side-eye.  Be gone with you quilt!!
A little bit of applique
Okay, then I immediately dove into the Maps Challenge from AHIQ. This project pretty much stalled out before I ever even started it. Then I accidentally stumbled into an idea for how to move forward with the challenge and well...., got to the point where I thought it needed words added. Yep, stalled out once again. While I do love adding words onto a quilt here and there, sewing them together is not my favorite thing in the world to do.
Adding words onto a quilt
The thing is, this quilt just seemed determined to have its way! Somehow during actual making, the maps thing had gotten all twisted around and the quilt was beginning to be about something else entirely. I'm not sure I can even properly explain it, but the name of the quilt is now 'Directions From a Local'. Does that help?
Starting to see the quilt take shape!
One of the quirky things that I happen to love is when local people give directions that only make sense if you've lived in the area like, forever. And if you haven't, then you tend to go around in circles trying to find what they were actually talking about. Seriously, sometimes it might not even exist anymore! When my husbands cousins moved into our area several years ago, they were told that the best deli/fountain drinks in town were at 'Bob's Texaco'. They said that they drove around town for almost half an hour looking for Bobs' 'Texaco'. Unfortunately for them, Bob's Texaco hadn't been a 'Texaco' for over ten years and in fact was now an Exxon station. And not knowing 'Bob', they had no idea which gas station to even start looking at. Small town or not, sometimes you're totally lost before you even start looking!
Directions From a Local is a completed quilt top now!
We have all sorts of {only-making-sense-if-you're-a-local} directions around here, but I figured one such directive was enough for this quilt. These letters took a couple days and more time than I wanted to spend, but really make me smile when I look at the quilt now. It's always worthwhile to try and make the quilt we are envisioning in our head!

For sewing the words, this is the one I always turn to for machine pieced style of lettering. I love that we can make the letters any size we choose and just as funky as our imaginations will let us.
Maybe I'll take a better picture later...
I do so wish that I could have finished up earlier today when the winter lighting was absolutely beautiful, but that's the breaks. I assure you that this quilt is not nearly as dull looking as the previous pictures make it out to be! I tried to change up the values in the quilt, use plaids and other old fashioned looking fabrics {and one cotton/poly gingham fabric that was probably a mistake!} and otherwise keep things simple. Any busy looking fabric I tried to use just looked ridiculous anyway.

It was great fun using the quilt below as inspiration. Mostly I consider it a great success! First, that I actually managed to finish with the AHIQ Maps Challenge! Woohoo! And 2nd, that I kept to the look and feel of my inspiration quilt without copying it exactly. Love that! Always so much to think about when using any of these sorts of quilts as a jumping off point! It looks so plain and yet somehow it's very engaging regardless.
The original inspiration
Something interesting for 2019. There is supposed to be a QAL for making quilts inspired by this particular book 'Unconventional and Unexpected' by Roderick Kiracofe. You can check it out over at The Root Connection if you are at all interested. I am definitely willing to try this again if it's something I can do from this blog.

Okay, that's that. All the quilt tops that I can finish up for the year! I really don't know how many I added to the queue, but what thrills my list-making soul is this: At the start of 2016 I had somehow accumulated 28 completed, but not yet quilted quilt tops. Yikes! At the start of 2017 that number was reduced to 25, For the start of 2018--there was 22,  and now for the start of 2019 it's down to 20!! Even after adding in these last two makes.*sigh  I'm trying so very hard. You have no idea! Sitting on my hands and just staring at the fabrics stacks sometimes....  hehe  Next up will probably be the 2018 finishes post. I'm thinking it had to be a pretty good year to get down to only 20 quilt tops. Happy, Happy New Year to all!

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Finishing My Christmas Makes

I should be Christmas shopping today, but will have to wait till next week to finish up. The town we go to for intense shopping trips is just over an hour away. Believe me, we go with a list and do not leave until everything is checked off! All my Christmas makes are finished now--the doll quilt and the potholders I made for my mom.
The doll quilt is finished
This doll quilt was so much fun. I haven't made one in years! My granddaughter has a 'My Life' doll {18" tall} and so I made sure this quilt will be plenty big enough to properly wrap around her baby. No just laying it on top and calling it good! Growing up, my sisters and I got a doll every year for Christmas until we were eleven years old. It was always frustrating when our doll blankets weren't large enough to swaddle our bigger dolls! It was a very big deal. And so this may look large to you, but at 32" before being washed and shrinking a bit, it should definitely work well for whatever Miss Lucy Mae decides to do with it!
The colors are so saturated looking!
It was probably a bad day to begin with, but when I started machine quilting the straight lines I ran into trouble immediately. The fabric was being pushed all over the place and really panicked me for a bit. It took some time, but then I realized that my dual feed wasn't attached to the stitch-in-the-ditch foot like it was supposed to. Arghh!  I flatly refused to take any of the stitching out. {My internalized mantra for the day: It's just a doll quilt for a 3 yr. old!!}. Thankfully, when I switched to the walking foot for the in-between stitching lines that weren't 'in-the-ditch', then it mostly smoothed out and behaved properly. Well, after I finally remembered to place the walking foot 'arm' over the bolt like it needs to be....  Okay, so there are a few eensy weensy puckers. Sue me. Both attachments are genius, but I've found to my chagrin that you do have to use them correctly.....
A fun, happy looking finish
I've had this retro looking decor fabric for years. Found it at a rummage sale and picked it up on impulse. This year I was thinking of all the things that I could get my mom for Christmas and realized, she has everything. Isn't that so true of most of our parents? So I took the plunge {I do so hate the pressure of Christmas makes}, and sewed up three usable potholders. No fancy little hanger thingy on the corners, she would never use it anyway. I used Insul-Brite batting on the inside and also one square of regular batting. They still feel fairly flexible and so I think they should work well. The binding was all leftover pieces from the binding tote which thrills my frugal soul.
Retro looking potholders
In little bites of time, here and there, I have also been tinkering around with Playing With Scale #2. Since I don't have the amazing design wall that some of you have, I decided to use the 'parts' method. It's a Freddy Moran and Gwen Marston thing I first read about years ago in their book 'Collaborative Quilting'. Wowsers, that book seemed expensive at the time, but it pretty much changed my life.
The first layout audition for Playing With Scale #2
Who knew that quilters were allowed to have so much fun with their quilting! After getting the initial parts sewn together, then I did a tentative layout right in front of the living room door. There really isn't any other option during the Christmas holidays. Moving very quickly {and crossing my fingers that none of the family would come home early}, I was able to determine that I needed more triangle units. Also, Wouldn't it look better with an applique block or two?  hehe  You knew that was happening....
Adding some more triangle parts
At the very least I was able to make notes about what widths to trim the larger strip/triangle parts to. I'm totally out of the light green background fabric that I used in those units, or I would probably make another one or two to better balance the quilt. Yes, it's still very rough looking--needs a lot of moving and switching things around before it starts to properly gel. This is one that I don't feel excessively compelled to get perfect though. Ultimately, I want it to have that old fashioned utilitarian look/vibe of just making do. I did get rid of the pink/blue triangle in the center though. Ughh. Some things just have to go....

Linking to Wendy's Peacock Party once again.

Thursday, December 6, 2018

Take One Out of the Hoop, Put Another One Right Back In....

Time to put another quilt in the hoop! Once the Christmas tree goes up, there is zero room on the living room floor for pinning larger quilts. And hello? One thing that does not need to happen around here during the holidays is an empty hoop! Those of you who enjoy hand quilting, totally know what I'm talking about. lol
Rising Sun quilt
I put all the names of those interested in the Kaffe floral vase panel {offered in the previous post},in a bowl today and drew out the lucky person. Congratulations GranChris! You are the winner! I'll get it into the mail asap after getting your mailing address.
Looking a little closer
It was wonderful to pull this quilt top out and finally start making a plan for quilting. I had a very good pattern I was following for this particular quilt and then... Well, it just wasn't working for me anymore. During the making of it, I finally stumbled into a better solution {for me} and then had to laugh at myself for being so contrary about following a pattern. Growing pains are not always easy to transition through are they?
Loving the sashing fabric I won long ago
from Barb
And really, I think those growing pains might still be happening around here. I don't feel quite as betwixt and between as before, but there's still this underlying restlessness that I deal with pretty often in regards to quilting decisions. Especially in terms of starting in on new quilts. I second guess myself all of the time. There are so many quilting ideas hanging out in my head and I really, really don't want to waste time on quilts that won't matter a lot to me in the long run.
A few false starts and now I've got it figured out....
Which I guess is pretty much the way I was feeling with the Basket Medallion quilt. So sad because it was a great learning quilt for me. Thankfully, I only have one other much older quilt top in the queue these days. All the rest only go back a year or two! And I have to remember that there is very real value in the learning and doing. It's how we get to the next step of amazing ourselves with our wonderful creativity!
The Basket Medallion quilt is completed!!
And you really can't go wrong with a quilt that has basket blocks in it! Right? Always a place for these in our repertoire. You better believe that I am not done making basket quilts any time soon.
Little basket blocks making up the last border
Plus, this is a medallion quilt. Something that I still love and adore making up as I go along. There are like a million different ways to work through a medallion style quilt and pretty much none of them are wrong. I am sure there are many, many more medallion quilts in my future....
A close up of the hand quilting...
Very fun to work out the math. Play with various options in size and proportions. Get each pieced border to attach to the previous one like it was always meant to be.
And a closer look at the more subdued center baskets...
Sure, if I could do things over, I'd change a few things about this particular quilt. For instance, the yellow sawtooth border has a funny way of turning and going around the corner. I didn't really know what else to do with it, but it bugs me just a little.
Six borders in all, counting the coping borders
And I'd probably place the black hourglass corner blocks so that they were all presenting the same direction. Maybe. But maybe not. I've always loved the energy and whimsy of them being different. One of my favorite things about any quilt is including something that feels unexpected.
The last larger quilt finish for 2018!
The very best thing about Basket Medallion quilt being finished is now I can mark it off the list! It won't be nagging me or haunting me anymore and that feels so... good. Other than the doll quilt and a couple pot holders I'm making for my mom, this will be my last finish for 2018. 

Linking up with the Peacock Party over at Wendy's Quilts and More. It's a new 'quilt share' linkup with a more laid back philosophy than most linky parties. Gotta love that this time of year!