Monday, July 15, 2024

First Border Prompt for Bramble Blooms II

I've been doing a lot of thinking about how to present the second Bramble Blooms prompt. First and foremost, it needs to be said that it's your quilt. If you already have ideas spinning around in your head and fabric to back it up, just go do whatever it is that the quilt is requesting. Series work that starts gaining momentum doesn't need outside help. Feel free to follow the muse! 

Bramble Blooms II--A
If you're here for the next prompt because the quilt hasn't spoken yet, then I'm all about that too. This is a QAL after all! What we're trying to do with this particular quilt is introduce most of the same variables from BBI, but in a brand new format. The point is to mix and mash and basically just throw things at the wall until something inside us says, 'Oh yeah'. That's the thing. I kinda like that!' It doesn't have to be this huge welling of excitement. A positive hum is perfectly satisfactory.

1ST BORDER PROMPT FOR BBII: This specific prompt is all about choices. Personal choices. Where do you envision this quilt going? The 1st border can include piecing, applique or even a mix of the two. Don't panic yet! This will be easier than you think to decide. Go back to the first Bramble Blooms quilt and take a look as to what elements might look best carried over into this border round of BBII. You're not going to want it to be an exact copy, but you definitely want to strive to keep the essence of your previous make. Something is probably going to settle into your subconscious. Think connections. Associations. Correlations. Or even echoes?  It's important to keep to the theme, however loosely that comes about. Don't be afraid to stretch the obvious boundaries while redoing a previous prompt.

PIECING OR APPLIQUE?: If you choose piecing, the logical choice is to go with a patchwork look because most of us addressed the quarter triangle or quarter triangle {X block} in our newly completed centerpiece. If you choose applique, have it be a spin-off of what you used before in the first border round of BBI, not the center. Go bigger, smaller or even more improv-ish, but at least make an attempt to pursue a minor change to the general look of your border or even the applique motif.

By this point in the QAL, you should be a little more accustomed to first checking in with your marinating stack of pulled fabrics. See if any of those fabrics spark initial inspiration. Nope? What do you have an excess of? Maybe start there. Is any of it acting desperate to be used up or perhaps is super sentimental to you at the moment? Is any particular color speaking to you a little more loudly in regards to cozying up directly side by side with your completed centerpiece? Try making easy change-ups such as using a 9-patch block in this quilt even if you used a 4-patch before, etc. etc. The point is to keep the general look and feel of a patchwork border, which should definitely help with keeping good connections going between the two quilts. At the end of this QAL, the goal is to be able to look at BBI, BBII and BBIII and immediately pick out the similarities or at the very least--distinguish the evolution of the creative journey!

WORKING THROUGH MY OWN PIECED BORDER FOR BBII: What I thought made the most sense here {based on my odd, clunky looking centerpiece}, was to take the 2nd border prompt from BBI and re-imagine that. If you remember, that specific prompt was as follows: Put together a border that includes adding 4-patch, 9-patch, 16-patch or even larger patchwork blocks. You can set your blocks side by side {continuous block layout} or 'on point'. This border can be any width you like. It does not need to have the patchwork blocks throughout--use as few or as many patch blocks as you think will look good! Totally up to you if the blocks are improv. style or traditional-look.
A closer look at the piecing
So that's exactly what I did, using a stack of medium green fabrics that were just itching to be used up. The colors were not glaringly right for the centerpiece, but justification came quickly. I reasoned that they could work splendidly to create a satisfactory transition space for the next border after this one. Remember? I told you previously that the last border in BBII was going to have some vines? That is code for applique in my world.*wink  So try to save your previous centerpiece applique motifs for the next prompt if you can.

Seeing as how this border isn't terribly important {in the context of things}, then the whole thing becomes easier--at least in our minds. Whenever we're deliberately making a 'transition' border for a medallion quilt, we don't have to stress about it looking AMAZING. The entire point is to simply create neutral space. If the intent is to have one fabulous looking {more detailed} border later on, then go ahead and take it easy on this particular border. The eye is going to glide over this area to yet another area in the quilt anyway. It only requires a little bit of texture and depth. Don't make dramatic looking blocks and definitely avoid anything that could compete with the potentially complex border coming up. Do something that shows that we care about our quilt without expending so much energy that we lose interest in the final result.

Another way to envision this transition area is to think of is as something that encircles the previous sewn area and somehow manages to say, 'There's that. Now lets get prepared to highlight something a little more special.' Which all happens in a blink of the eye, really. Without that transition area though, the contrast between the two might just be a little too jarring for our eye to properly appreciate. And a one fabric border sometimes just totally kills the sought after vibe. Joy will go there to die. I'm serious. We've all seen it happen! To keep the blocks less busy looking and the feeling to be restful, keep your fabrics few and the colors fairly well blended together or at least flowing well from one fabric or color to the next.

GIVE YOUR MUSE FREE REIGN TO TAKE A DETOUR: Because it's important if you want to see personality shine through in your quilt! As you can see, I ended up having to add a few little pieces of applique to my border anyway.*sigh  Is anyone really surprised? The quilt basically stomped its feet and demanded it and that's my story. Thankfully I was still at the mock-up, auditioning stage with the 9-patch blocks and the green setting triangles. Figuring out 'flow' in the layout and basically yawning at what I was looking at. Somehow it just wasn't enough. My reaction, as usual, was along the lines of, 'What little, tiny change can I make that will have the most impact?' 

I didn't really want to add a lot more color, thinking that would work better in the next border. So, the next step {working within the current prompt} was to think about adding in some applique. Mixing things up. Not replacing the border entirely, but working to improve it. Applique over the top? Applique in lieu of some of the blocks? How many? Going back to BBI quilt, it had to be the bramble motif, but maybe more stripped down? A lot of times, the sensible answer works just fine, so I don't overthink it. In all honesty, if I take too much time with 'improving' this border, I'm gonna get too bogged down in the what-if's to make any real forward progress. 

Annoyingly, I had the little applique blocks cut out and ready for stitching when it occurred to me that actually, I wanted them in the size of the cut-out pieces after stitching. Grrr... Time to cut out a new, slightly larger set! Oh well. Much better than having to add endless applique repeats to the entire border. {Which was fine once, but I don't wanna do it again unless the quilt HAS to have that!}

You can't tell from the pictures, but I will also admit to making the on-point, pieced border waaay too wide. I did it sorta, accidentally on purpose, because experience tells me that it's a great way to play with proportion when you're dealing with improv. Make it too wide and cut it down. Make it too narrow and cry about lost fabric opportunities. I've done it both ways and this was the right choice for this particular quilt. Once I could 'see' how wide exactly the border needed to be, then I went about chopping off part of the previous cream floral sashing strips to better fit with my patchwork and.... otherwise making things fit well all the way around. It's always a work in progress and sometimes it's more seamless than others. No pun intended!

The applique demo blocks
THE SECOND VERSION OF BBII: As you know, the first centerpiece for BBII ended up being a bit darker and heavy looking than I intended, even with the Sujata improv. pieced blocks. That propelled me to have another go at this part of the QAL, just to see if it might be possible to do something radically different with the same exact stack of fabric. There's just no stopping my curiosity sometimes! And that's why I ended up with the light colored, large X block for the 2nd centerpiece. I'm calling them BBII-A {see above} and BBII-B {see below}. 

WORKING THROUGH MY OWN APPLIQUE BORDER FOR BBII:  No, the previous border was not an 'applique' border. It was a pieced border with applique that inexplicably jumped on board. Totally different approach. So, for my 2nd version of BBII, I had a bit of a blank page to work with. Just a very simple, largish X block and nothing else there to help generate ideas. Hmmm...After carefully dividing up the potential fabrics for each version of BBII, then I started playing, all the while considering the overall vibe that I hoped to build on for this particular version.

The larger border background for my BBII--B
Keeping in mind the concept of trying to make this BBII-B quilt lighter and yes, quieter and maybe even softer looking? I had purposefully divvyed up the fabric pull to try and dictate just that sort of outcome. Yes, we can sometimes influence the outcome! Some fabrics might end up overlapping the two quilts here or there, but hopefully {crossing my fingers!}, it's the way the fabrics are placed that will make all the difference in the final look and feel.

All the applique pinned to the quilt, ready for stitching
I also hoped to generously expand out from the centerpiece. To try and make a much larger quilt area, especially before getting into the details of the second and last border. The easiest way was to just place chunks of fabric around the center until the overall blending {and flow} of fabric and color seemed almost organic. Which took several hours. Does it look like it did? Hopefully not! I was having too much fun to care! Though I mentally imagined sewing large patchwork blocks around, perhaps sewing a traditional-look border, it never completely fit with my feelings that this quilt needed a lot less formality and structure. I wanted blending and maybe some surprises in the joining up of fabrics. Purposeful, but not obviously so. Definitely more of a vintage utilitarian look than what was done in BBII-A.

As the play continued, over a series of several evenings, it became obvious that there needed to be a coping border around the X block center too. There was just no positive way to puzzle piece the larger border right up against the centerpiece background fabric without it looking somewhat awkward. That led me to experiment with introducing some darker fabrics for the coping border, and also think about intermixing a little directional fabrics for better energy. Piece by piece I finally got the layout for each figured out, and then it was just a matter of cutting individual fabrics to the proper measurements. Sewing it all together was interesting as once again, I put myself in the position of needing to do a little partial-piece sewing.*ughh... Totally worthwhile when I look at how it ended up, though! Really liking this quilt better than BBII-A at this point!

In a total surprise, the quilt decided that it didn't want repeat bramble motifs all around after all. I guess all that 9-patch sewing from BBII-A affected my thought process more than immediately realized. Next thing I knew, the larger, simple 4-patch blocks were making an appearance and taking over the 'applique' border. Clearly, I don't do 'either/or' very well these days! Don't you love how the lighter, almost white squares help to further lighten the entire appearance of the quilt? I'm just shaking my head how amazing that fabric choice is. One chunky bramble applique motif though and the quilt decided that was enough. Leave me alone. Still have to hand sew all the 4-patches and the berry bramble applique down, but this should go together lickety-split. I like it so much. Really hitting the sweet spot of cozy right now.

IN CLOSING: It just goes to show you that the Improv. method of making quilts is full of ups and downs, little detours and unexpected outcomes. Because our mind simply can't conjure up all the wonderful possibilities waiting in store for the adventurous quilter! When we let our instincts and curiosity lead the way, our improv. quilts become ever more personal and true. Remember, we're making a quilt that has never been made before! It's okay to take the time we need and give plenty of space for simmering ideas. If that's what is needed. Otherwise, do push on. {We will often feel a stubborn hesitancy when it's absolutely vital to take a considering pause.} In a totally unsurprising twist of fate, these quilts we are making will become distinctly ours in a way other people can begin to look at and immediately recognize. That's a Quilty Folk quilt or a Blue Elephants Stitches quilt or whomever it is that is doing the work. YOU. So much fun for all of us to see it happening!
So take these very open-ended prompts and let your feelings and instincts guide the way. Go be you doing your thing with the fabric. With the elements. With the gotta-get-this-prompt-done so I can get to the other side if that's what it takes. Whatever! However! In the DOING, you will find your way, I promise.

Next phase of the quilt will probably be posted sometime in September. That's what I'm shooting for but... yeah. We have two weddings to attend, plus another trip to Oklahoma and also, a mini vacay to Canada if it works out. All the distractions and busyness! Again, this next border will have an applique vine tutorial for anyone interested in learning the easy way to get all that figured out. No special tools required!

Wednesday, July 10, 2024

Good Vibes Getting to Finished Quilt Top Stage!

What a summer. I really need to quit having any expectations and just learn to go with the flow. Had to have my computer worked on last week and for some reason our internet is moving slower than molasses the last while too. We're supposed to have fiber optic in our area of town some day in the future. Knowing this county? It's still gonna be a few years.*sigh

Coronacrazy progress
We've been having a heat wave, but there's still hand quilting in the evening as long as the air conditioner keeps working. I was finally getting into a groove with Coronacrazy {all that stitching over applique gets a little tiresome}, when the baby quilt decided it was high time to be first in line. Well, or me deciding to quit procrastinating? 

Baby quilt in the hoop
I usually don't have two quilts in the hoop at the same time, but my grandson is three months old today! So crazy how slowly things have been progressing this year in the quilt room. Just can't seem to get back in the normal rhythm at all. I'm blaming it all on my husband! He has a funny way of constantly disrupting my schedule. It's not always for a long length of time, but once I get distracted from a specific goal....
Good Vibes is a finished quilt top!
I previously stated expectations for the next Bramble Blooms prompt. Was hoping to have a post up by the end of June or first of July, but yeah. It's not happening. It's coming along, I promise! Just needed to clear a couple things off the list so my brain can relax and figure out how to write the next post.

Loving these colors
One of the few things on the list was this Good Vibes quilt. It's part of the Circle Game series that I've been doing for quite awhile. I take the cut out circles from behind one quilt and try to use them to jumpstart yet another quilt. 
There's just something about tulips
This particular quilt also somehow morphed into a chance to try my hand at making 'awkward' looking tulips once again. The first quilt with something similar was Spring Forward, an olderquilt that has lived in our living room ever since being finished. It's a sweet, whimsical quilt that always makes me smile, so why not go that route again?
Very cozy
There's definitely something about working with these very large circles that intrigue me. They also sort of make me feel half crazed because they are just too big. I mean. How many different ways can you re-imagine these things in a quilt? But you know me, try, try again until it's not fun anymore! When it gets to be tedious, then I'll probably quit. Maybe. Sometimes the challenge just seems to spur me on!
So awkward looking!
I had the idea for the little cross blocks at the top and bottom of the quilt almost from the start, but wasn't sure how they look color-wise etc. After seeing the appliqued border tulips start to come into play, then it got a lot easier. The brown was the obvious choice, especially with the peachy background color. I'm really liking the simplicity, especially when paired with the up/down placement that helps turn the corner into a happier vibe. It clearly brings a little extra energy when you deliberately choose not to place them exactly side by side. Really easy thing to do, but ahem! It helps tremendously to measure properly before cutting all the little extra pieces.

 I'm still sort of laughing at the brownish peach background fabric behind the tulips though. Don't know if you noticed, but that fabric is definitely different than the background at the top and bottom border of the quilt. It has got to be one of the most unlovable fabrics of all time. Someone gave it to me years ago and I've never found a quilt at all receptive to using it until now. In fact, I was pretty sure it would pull the entire vibe of a quilt down if I did use it! So thrilling to finally find an excellent use for it and see it making magic with the rest of the quilt. Yay! How does that happen? Oh, I just adore working with different color palettes and seeing various colors and tones sort of wake up and start smiling. Isn't working with color the very best thing about quilting? 
Binding prep always feels good
I won't tell you how many mistakes that I made bring this particular quilt top together. How the border math did NOT work and I had to puzzle piece too much of it together. Somehow we have managed to come out the other side now and I am super happy with the quilt top as a whole. Am really looking forward to seeing it with the quilting texture some day! 

Don't know if this makes sense to any of you fellow quilters, but I am now in a much, much better mental space to tackle the writing {and organization} for the next Bramble Blooms post! It really helps me to work on several different projects {all at the same time} for some reason. Always has! When I just try and focus in on one thing, then my brain starts feeling super sluggish. I only have one more thing on the list before moving on, and that would be fully completing the baby quilt. Another couple days and hopefully that quilt should be totally wrapped up! Then we'll see about the next phase of BBII....

Monday, June 24, 2024

A New Basket Quilt

If life wasn't busy enough, I took 10 days and went to my daughters in Oklahoma. She had almost all of the days planned and then of course, there's a granddaughter there! Um., yeah. Quilting took the back seat in a hurry!

All the baskets are done

I took two applique projects with me and managed to work only one of them. This is the new 'Folksy Trees and Baskets' quilt that was started from cut-outs from a previous quilt. You know me and my proclivity to start brand new quilts from the cut-outs and leftovers from previous quilts. Just can't seem to help myself! 

Good times!

Anyway, I'm back home now. Bags are unpacked and I'm catching up on laundry etc. etc.. I wanted to get one more applique project wrapped up before diving full speed into BB2 but we'll see. I'm definitely running out of time on my self imposed deadline! 

Tuesday, June 11, 2024

Sporadic Quilting These Days

Just gonna catch up for a minute and then disappear for a couple more weeks. I can't seem to keep up with everything going on lately, so if it seems like I've been checked out for awhile, that's probably why. I'm not at total overwhelm, but close.*Ugghh  What has happened to my life? Plentiful quilting time seems like such a luxury these days!

Another border for Peace Always
I did get all the little baskets appliqued and sewn onto the 'Peace Always' medallion quilt. Started way back when and moving forward very slowly! It's such a bright, happy quilt so far and the yellow backgrounds to the baskets just make everything pop. Love it so much already! Crossing my fingers the next border surround won't dampen this quilts enthusiasm.

ready for some handwork
'A Tisket, A Tasket' is ready for hand sewing the binding on. I've already mentally prepared to give this as a wedding present and now we know the wedding will be this fall. Lots of time to get the binding taken care....

Baby quilt on the design 'floor'
I am sooo behind on everything these days. Finally, finally got started on my grandsons baby quilt. Was wanting to keep it very simple, but as always, I try to work in the mommas preferred colors. My DIL is probably the only person in the world that I will make an effort to do that. It's so much harder for me to start somewhere besides a stack of fabric that is calling my name. I still have to sew the rows together and then add on the last two borders, but much progress has been made by this past weekend. I'm thinking it will end up with some machine quilting and then a bit of hand quilting to cozy it up.

playing with fussy cut applique ideas
On a whim, I cut up a piece of fabric my mother gave me this past winter. Lots of lovely flowers that were making me wonder what they might look like fussy cut and appliqued onto a pieced background. Hmm... what about 'Old Fashioned'? Such a simple quilt, I'm sure it would appreciate a little extra time and attention. Still haven't settled on exactly how I'll approach the layout, but it will definitely need some interesting leaves and lots of stems cut out and sewn down!

Next up in the hoop!
Next up in the hoop is Coronacrazy. It's been at the top of the hand quilting list for well over a year and I've just been finding one excuse after another to avoid doing it. Finally got it sandwiched and pinned, all snugged into the hoop. Hope it turns out well! I'm thinking about putting it into the NCW Quilt show this summer. Haven't went since 2019, so it might be time. We'll see. I love putting my quilts into shows where I can see them hang, but always feel a little bad that I'm not part of the guild. Oh well. It's too far away and their meeting times would never work for me and my commitments. Just easier to pay the fee per quilt and hope they don't turn me away!

Am trying to work on the next prompt for Bramble Blooms too. Will hopefully have something up and present by the end of June or perhaps the first week or so in July! So far, I'm not finding it difficult to work with those older fabrics. It just feels like I need a lot more time with the pondering....


Friday, May 17, 2024

Bramble Blooms QAL--2nd Quilt in the Series

Here we are, starting in on Bramble Blooms II already! We began working on the first quilt in the series last October, so as predicted, it's been a fairly laid-back QAL. If you're still working on your BBI, that's okay, you can still jump in with the rest of us, we don't mind! In the first Bramble Blooms, we lined up all of our elements, or in 'creative speak', planted a few seeds. Now we'll take those freshly planted seeds, shake them up a bit and explore some options for making a variation. As Andrea Balosky says so well in 'Transitions, Unlocking the Creative Quilter Within'; "Working in a series is the best way to exercise creativity; each project is an extension and complement of the other." Hopefully, along the way, something personal and wonderfully unique will start to blossom!

BBII Fabric pull
The first thing I suggest you do, is to gather your second fabric pull together. Hopefully using copious amounts of your older, languishing stash fabrics! Many of you made three fabric pulls initially, so you might already have this done. My BBII fabric stack color palette is very, very similar to the fabric pulled for BBI, something done very intentionally. In fact, I grabbed a couple leftover fabrics from the previous fabric stack and inserted them directly into this 2nd round, no problem. If you recall, I started this entire QAL with the feeling of, 'Wowsers, there is sooo much of this stale-dated {and similar colored} fabric hanging around in my stash totes! What am I ever going to do with it?' You, of course, can choose any color palette you like, no matter what your first efforts included. 

Something I've discovered through the years, when I'm totally out of wanna-be-great ideas, is this: a self imposed challenge can totally kickstart brand new thinking. It starts by breaking us free of our normal habits and gives us permission to forget about imagining the totality of the final result. Isn't that where the pressure usually starts? Making it about a challenge totally changes the goalposts. All we have to do is meet the challenge, we don't even necessarily have to be 'in the mood' to get started.

A lot of times a quilt series comes about because there are many more ideas than can fit into one quilt. In this case, there have been very few ideas, or why wouldn't the fabric have already been used up many years prior? With the Bramble Blooms QAL, we are attempting to prod our creativity awake. Within a guided Improv. setting, we are using all the artificial restrictions necessary to trick our brains into thinking 'This is easy, all I have to do is this one thing.' And then one thing after another, we have literally made a quilt top. Right? All out of previously overlooked, ignored and/or neglected fabrics. And it feels good, even if it might not be the most amazing thing ever made. 

I mean, maybe it is! I've seen some fantastic quilt tops over here. Definitely already picked up on a couple great ideas to keep in reserve!
Just start
Sometimes though, we just can't quite engage. That's when we have to purposefully activate our curiosity, however clumsy the attempt. By making this challenge a combination of series work, using less-than-precious fabrics, structuring the whole endeavor with a medallion layout, and leaving room for improv. opportunities, it somehow makes it all the more playful in my opinion. Series work gives us real opportunity to turn the page and start over. "See? That was just our first attempt!" Using older fabrics? We can hack into it and be less fearful about making some huge, catastrophic mistake plus, it often endues a quilt with a humble, comfy vibe. Then there's the medallion quilt layout--not everyone's favorite, but it's quite easily broken down into phases of starting and stopping.*whew! Sometimes it helps to back off and take a moment to breathe. 

And last, is the Improv. aspect--making things up as we go along. We love it and hate it. No doubt about it, the unpredictability of finished outcome is extremely difficult for many traditional quilt lovers. That's because we want our efforts to be worthwhile and not be a waste of time, money or resources. It isn't! Whatever the final outcome, we at least made it to quilt top stage with Bramble Blooms I. At this point, whether we realize it or not, most of us have unwittingly planted lots of little seeds for our own creativity. Just waiting for a chance to come into existence! Let's take our simple piecing and/or applique motifs, reframe them, and see what happens next, shall we?

The first prompt is to make a totally different style of centerpiece than the previous BBI quilt start. This one will be focusing on the pieced look rather than the applique.  Refer to your own BBI quilt and choose out one of the pieced elements to make a centerpiece for this second quilt in the series. My suggestion is to use the {corner of the border} quarter triangle blocks from the first border. If you included those. 

Whatever you choose for this pieced block, make sure it's an element with solid connections to your first quilt top in the series. You can make these blocks in the exact style and size as before, or change everything up, including the method or style by which you made them. Can make your centerpiece with as little as one block or as many as makes a decent sized centerpiece! Sashing is completely optional. The colors in this new centerpiece do not have to mimic the colors in the previous attempt at all.

Chunky improv. blocks
As previously stated, I have deliberately chosen to stay in a similar color palette throughout the duration of the QAL. Overall, I'm intending to mix the colors up, back and forth, from centerpiece to centerpiece, border to border so all the quilts don't end up reading exactly the same. For this centerpiece, I started with mostly medium to dark colored fabrics and cut 12 improv. blocks ala Sujata Shah in 'Cultural Fusions' book. This is a stack method with free cutting. Needless to say, I got distracted, and cut the first set of blocks with the 'x' quite a bit wider than intended. Oops! 

1st Centerpiece
It shouldn't have been a big deal, I do love the chunky x block shape. The problem presented itself when I tried to lay them side by side without any sashing dividers. Yah. It looked like total mush! After playing around with the blocks for several days, I finally settled on the very light, cream colored, wide sashing strips as the solution. I so did not want to ditch these blocks! This cream floral is a tiny bit busy for the look I was aiming for, but I've been wanting to make use of it for years and years. It's quite lovely in person, but always seemed supremely unwilling to work in any other quilt I've attempted. Just finding a spot for it in this oddly large {at this point} centerpiece feels like a win! There's also part of a special fat quarter used; my mom brought it back from a visit to Georgia over 15 years ago. Just for me. Gotta love that!

2nd Centerpiece
Both of those 'wins' helped me feel better about the centerpiece as a whole, but it's definitely not what I set out to do. Nope. So weirdly proportioned to comfortably settle into centerpiece position. Whatever, I am not a quitter! haha
In an atypically extreme reaction, I set about to make a very simplistic block as my 2nd BBI centerpiece attempt. Only one. I've decided after much reflection, to have two BBII quilts on the go. One with too much centerpiece and the other with only the minimum required. That's actually why my fabric pull is so oddly arranged in case you were wondering! I've been playing with the stack, trying to think which fabrics should go into each of the BBII quilts or which might even overlap? Hopefully There's enough fabric to see it all through! 

Don't forget that this is a guided Improv. QAL. All of the prompts are just that--prompts. Not rules and regulations. If your creativity sends you off in a different direction, by all means, please follow the mojo! Once again, this is intended to be a Medallion style quilt. If it helps to anticipate the bare bones of where we're headed, it will have two more borders--as before--give or take any coping borders. The first border will probably be piecing with possible applique. The second border will definitely ask for applique and also have some guidance for making a freestyle bias vine. If you don't want to include any applique, that's unequivocally your choice. I don't hardly know how to make a quilt without it,*sigh but I do get it! Also, it seems crazy to have to say, but... just because you joined in with the first quilt, doesn't mean there's any obligation to make all three in the series. Make 1, 2 or 3 or none. It's all good. Seriously. I'm doing this anyway!

We never know when or how a spark might flare to life when it comes to exercises in creativity. It's perfectly reasonable to feel like we're soldiering through, just making the minimum effort. Then, at the oddest moment, something tugs at our conscious minds and demands attention. The quilt gets a little bossy. That's our instincts and intuition trying to speak up! Remember those seeds of creativity? It probably won't happen much at the start of a simple pieced centerpiece, but afterwards? What we do next will be about reacting to what came before. Series are about connections. Let's see what blossoms and takes shape with BBII! Will probably try to come back with the 1st border prompt by the end of June or first part of July. 

p.s. I'd totally promise that this quilt will look even better than BBI, but series are kinda odd ducks that way. Sometimes the last quilt is absolutely the best, sometimes it's the first, and other times it's one in the middle. We just never know. The one thing that I'm confident in, is the more we make space for creativity, the better our odds get at ending up with an incredible quilt. None of the effort is ever wasted though. We carry our experiences with us into future projects and you know what? That feels priceless.

Thursday, May 9, 2024

Grandma's Fans is Complete!

 The brand new quilt finish is 'Grandma's Fans'!  This was started in 2021 sometime after my daughters wedding. Just felt like getting a couple of the fabric stacks moving and grooving.

Grandma's Fans Quilt is finishedd!
Didn't get the top together until September of 2022, but that's not really an extra long time for projects around here. You're probably thinking 'Wow! There's no applique in it.' but actually there is. All the wedges and quarter circle are machine sewn together, but then, well... I simply had to hand sew them to the background squares.

Doesn't really look like a quilt my grandma would have made
Just something that I prefer to do most of the time. Gotta have a couple hand applique projects in the works at all times. Might break out in hives otherwise! Plus, precision and circles are not my strong suit at all. 

Loving this hand quilting texture!
I've always really loved the fan quilts, such a lovely, classic design. Just never thought I'd make one in these lighter, brighter colors! The final inspiration {after soaking up many ideas for 'fan' quilts through the years, was this quilt. It's not very often that I make a quilt that so closely mirrors the inspiration but for some reason I fell in love with this particular quilt. 

Still happy about the change-up in fans presentation
I did change up the colors slightly and also, turned some of the fans, changing the look incrementally. My quilt just wasn't happy with all the fans pointing in the same direction! 

Love the text fabric backgrounds in mine sooo much. There's something about text fabrics that always make me smile and this design helped show them off a bit. Obviously, I didn't go off of a pattern, but made it up on my own. Always have to do things my way, don't I? It's going to be extremely hard to get rid of this quilt when the time comes. It's already earmarked for one of the nephew weddings someday! Probably. Maybe. Unless I change my mind....

Definitely a cuddly sort of quilt!
Mostly I'm just thrilled to have another quilt finish. Things are moving so slowly around here lately {in regards to quilting} that I wonder if I'm even a quilter? Ha. Nope. Not wondering at all. It's still my thing!

The background isn't stark white 'cuz of the text
Must be. Since I dream of quilts and see quilt patterns and ideas practically everywhere I go. And yes, I still have a notebook by my bed where I can doodle a quick quilt idea just before nodding off at night.*sigh

A happy looking circle of fans!
The hand quilting has picked up a little of late. 'A Tisket, A Tasket' quilt is the newest one in the hoop. It's got a very easygoing, cottage country sort of charm. I stitched in-the-ditch between all the blocks and now I'm coming back and doing some hand quilting with Perle Cotton thread. Always seems to makes the whole quilt perk up! The colors are very different from the prior quilt in the hoop, which isn't always a bad thing. Helps keep things interesting!

In the hoop
And the little baskets below are the current hand applique project finally finding its way to needle and thread. Got about half of them done now with the slightly larger {taller} baskets left to stitch. It's so lovely to sit and do hand applique. I know many of you detest the neede-turn application, but if everything is prepped and ready to go, I just love it. So satisfying! It's rather like painting a picture in fabric to my mind.

Baskets for 'Peace Always' quilt

That's it for now. Every now and then I pull out a stack of marinating fabric and fiddle around with it, trying to conjure up some good quilting mojo. Sometimes I go upstairs to my quilt room and try to soak it all in before I have to scurry and get back to whatever needs my attention more. It's been great seeing all the BBI quilt tops together--how very, very different they are! Have you seen how many there are now? Loving the creative response to the QAL prompts and how original everyone has been. Hopefully it hasn't been a waste of anyone's time. We only have so many quilts we can make in our lifetime, right?

Monday, April 29, 2024

Bramble Blooms I Link Party is Now Open!

You've all seen the results for my Bramble Blooms I quilt, but here it is again. It's time for the link party! Hopefully you have a completed top to share with us, but if not, go ahead and share whatever progress that you have made. There is no shame that some projects just take their own sweet time!

Bramble Blooms I quilt top finish

I have been swallowed up in family things lately and so haven't had much time to bounce around to all of the blogs and check out newly completed BBI quilt tops. Am so looking forward to seeing all the creativity in one place! Believe me when I say that I have been absolutely staggered by the personal, creative responses to following along with my little exercise in using up older quilt fabrics. Hopefully there has been something of value learned along the way. It's really hard to guess exactly what 'everybody knows already'. When and if to just go ahead and pass along a little tip or trick that works for me and the way that I personally approach quilting. Has it been too much? 

With this quilt top finish, we will have an excellent frame of reference for moving forward with the second quilt in the series. If some of you are still up for that? I have started the very beginnings of my own BBII and hope to post more about that in a couple weeks. Need time to organize the pertinent info needed for everyone attempting to make their own version! Crossing my fingers there will be ample opportunity to get through all the details by then. If life continues the way it has the past several months, it might actually be June before BBII makes its appearance. Uggh.  I am so out of patience with lack of quilting time. 

Okay, enough complaining. Let's see what you have to share with us! I know a couple of you actually have a total quilt finish to show off....

This party will be open through May 14, 2024 for all the slower bloomers to have a chance to share too.  And another thing, I set the Linky Party up so that if there happen to be any Bramble Blooms QAL followers out there without a blog or Instagram to post to, they can just add a picture here of their quilt top. We'd love to see your work as well! Please do add a link if you have one though--that would be all of you QAL'ers listed over at the side bar! 

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter