Friday, November 8, 2019

Never Time To Get Bored

It's been a hand work sort of week. There are now 10 out of 30 of the Autumnal tulip blocks with flowers ready for leaves. The shape, size and color of which is totally up in the air. I'm loving the sweet look to these, but wondering why I settled on 30 as the perfect number to make? Might have to ratchet it down to 20 in order to ever properly finish up.
Starting to get an idea of what the Tulip blocks are gonna look like
Still plodding along on the quilting for Blue Plumes. It seemed like it took forever to start seeing the stitching texture come alive in this quilt! Usually it starts presenting within six or more frames and this one has just been being stubborn. I'm very bemused by how the blue/white ticking fabric seems to be darkening {must be the dark brown thread} and the light cream and tan background fabrics look to be popping. There are some things that are impossible to know until we can 'see' it in front of us. Still unsure about how to quilt the darker blue thin border, but am sure something will occur to me. I never do anything majorly complicated, that's for sure.
Looking at the stitching texture on Blue Plumes
Another thing that I've been working on this week is the final touches to my daughters t-shirt quilt. I had told her that I was willing to help her figure out how to put one together, but she had to do the work herself. After dithering over it for most of a year, she finally just decided to have it commissioned. Quite the relief to me as I honestly had no interest in making one myself! When it came back {looking very professional, no complaints there}, we both felt that it needed a proper binding and perhaps a few yarn ties. Because of the addition of sweatshirts in the quilt, I ended up cutting the binding strips 3 1/4" in order to fold them in half and still have enough to fully cover the seam line everywhere. Double folded sweatshirt fabric and double folded fleece can be very thick!
My daughters Glory Days T-Shirt quilt
I only wasted a couple hundred inches of binding cut out in a different fabric, not properly thinking it through! I suppose the binding isn't truly a wasted effort as it will no doubt find a home with another quilt some other day. Still, it is so annoying to have to re-do. Thankfully I hadn't sewn very much onto the quilt before realizing the normal width of binding would never, ever work. 

My daughter also asked me to sew several patches onto the quilt which wasn't difficult except for the slippery backing. The quilt is backed with a nice, quality polar fleece {which feels good}, but managed to slip just enough for a good sized pucker behind one of the patches. Ughh.  Even though I thought it was pinned very well! Thankfully the fleece is black and so the pucker hardly shows, making it unnecessary to rip out and start over.*Whew!  Was not looking forward to digging tiny, same-colored stitches out of a fleece fabric! Oh did I mention the backing fabric was black? As was the binding fabric? As was the thread used to sew said binding down? Uh huh. Complete and total Insanity trying to see well enough to hand sew a neat looking binding.

Finishing up with the details to the t-shirt quilt cleared up the current stack of have-to's in the quilt room. Yay! I ended up spending one entire afternoon rifling through all the simmering stacks of fabric and barely started quilt projects. So much fun. It's been awhile so it felt very overdue too. There were a couple projects that ended up having quilt design ideas swapped, and several fabric stacks saw some new fabric additions incorporated into the mix. That always feels amazing--fine tuning the fabric stacks until they start 'clicking' better!

You know what that means though.... Yep. Gonna be some new quilt projects popping up here any day now! Right now I have good intentions to bring one or two already started projects up to completed quilt top status FIRST, but we'll see. No promises! Some of these fabric stacks are really starting to call out for a little play time of their own.....

Monday, November 4, 2019

This is the Last of the Little Quilts

There are times we would rather be working creatively and yet other things pull at our time and attention. This isn't necessarily wasted time. It just is. We all prioritize and make decisions based on real life events and happenings. No need to apologize!
Another baby quilt finish!
Making baby quilts for friends and family is something that {most often} doesn't feel especially creative. It's fast, fun and sorta fluffy. Boom! The quilt is done and there's a sweet little rush. It's even sorta needful once in awhile, like eating a good piece of chocolate. But the process is neither intense or particularly {deeply} rewarding. I think you know what I mean.
Finding new use for the abandoned blocks...
The way that I make the most of the experience is to simplify things. Severely. It's called managing my expectations. No baby quilt made by me is ever going to mistaken for an 'heirloom quilt'! When I know that from the start, then I can loosen up enough to barely wince at any inevitable mistakes. Like switching the wider 'middle' dark green strip for the more narrow 'side' strips.*sigh  There's always something, right?
Didn't even notice this mistake until after it was quilted!
Though initially I had all sorts of intriguing ideas about ways to set the 9-patch blocks, in the end it came down to what made the most sense {at the time}. Stacking them end to end freed me up from trimming all the blocks down to a set size. Later, after quilting, I can see why it would always be wise to do that no matter the time it takes! As you can see, the quilting shoved the fabric here and there and makes it obvious that the original piecing was just a little bit too easy-breezy. 

These quilts are made fast and simple on purpose though. Very deliberately! Just digging in and trying to work instinctively is a great refresher. It could never happen with a much larger quilt without some serious anxiety hopping on board. What about fabric waste???

For these small quilts, I rather enjoy pawing through the stash, looking for a happy color palette that would be suitable for baby. Better yet is starting with orphan blocks and trying to lift that mood up, into a totally different direction than the original make. Which definitely happened here. Very similar, but still, completely different quilts. Love that! Neither quilt ended up with a particularly polished look and in fact, an experienced quilter might want to slap my hands for not taking proper time. So what. Will baby care?
Two similar light colored fat quarters work for the binding.
Not quite right colored fabric turned over for a backing....
No, and neither will the mother. And it will be used and then eventually washed, and then used and probably washed yet again. Until it's falling apart, though of course we never wish that for any of our quilts. The literally falling apart thing! Enough said. I have zero regrets!

The quilt below is only slightly larger than my average baby quilt-- 45" x 55". Made for a 5 year old nieces birthday, it was the result of said child wondering why she didn't ever get a baby quilt made specially for her. Older brother did and alas, her younger sister did too! Oops!
Why not start out with this? My niece thinks its the front of the quilt!
Little kids don't understand the dynamics of family gifting and how making a baby quilt for Every. Single. Birth. can quickly morph into the hundreds. But yes, I was most definitely beguiled by the wide-eyed questioning sincerity and set out to make a special little quilt. 
Quilters know that this is the 'front' of the quilt....
With this one, I started with the Raggedy Ann quilt backing fabric. It was given to me shortly after one of my aunts died a couple years ago. Sorting through a box of very low quality fabrics resulted in a grand total of three decent finds. So sad to ditch the other remaining fabrics, but I determined to do something special with these if at all possible, and now the day had arrived for at least one of them!
Is the blue floral print too much for the binding?
All the fabrics in the front of the quilt were chosen based directly from colors used in the vintage backing. While searching through the stash totes, I very carefully chose out some very large print fabrics too. Generally, these would be terribly difficult to incorporate into my regular quilting, but as I pointed out earlier, it greatly helps when we start out by 'managing our expectations'. Appealing to a 5 year old wanting a blanky made by A. Audrey absolutely helped to keep the tricky decision making dilemmas down to a very low ebb. You know she's never, ever going to question anything about the design!
It's busy, busy, but oh, so fun looking....
I tried to channel a little bit of Linda from KokaQuilts when finalizing the fabric selection. Reading her blog over the past couple years has tempted me to open up to the possibility of using busy and/or large print fabrics! The first thing that I did was to make two sets of four patch blocks. Next up was fussy cutting the larger print fabrics of which I only had fatquarters {or even less} starting out! I don't know if you can tell or not, but the large pink flower square in the bottom left corner is pieced with three different pieces of the same fabric. What exactly is a quilter supposed to do when the quilt obviously needs another focal point and all worthy fabric has been sadly depleted? Make do!

The sharp yellow fabric is something I've saved back and kept on the do-no-touch list until it feels absolutely ridiculous. What am I saving it for, pray tell? The smaller red and white floral fabric were leftover strips from a prior backing on another quilt. Feels so good to use up the last of it! And the larger polka dot fabric has been deflecting me for years. 'No! Don't use me in this quilt, I'm too loud and bossy!' 

Overall, it went together super fast after I settled on the 6" measurement for the squares. Once that was figured out, then it was full speed ahead. The only real problem was adding on one more row after the base look of the quilt was set. Why I ever thought it could work properly as a square quilt is a question that will haunt me, well..., not at all. It was actually just a little hiccup in forward progress and made me have to come back and finish on a different day, in a slightly different way than originally imagined. A five-year old needs a slightly longer quilt than a baby though she is very petite. The width matters not at all here.
They couldn't be more different....
In the sweetest of sweet coincidences, the birthday of my little niece and the aunt who indirectly gifted me the backing fabric, are the very same. Can you believe the coincidence? I did not remember for some reason as I am terrible about remembering birthday dates. You can be sure this news totally made my day. Perhaps this quilt was meant to be? The momma is pleased too so that is a good thing as well. You just never know about vintage fabrics. There are people out there who will never appreciate them, no matter the sentimentality involved.

So there you go. All three of my latest fast and easy 'baby' quilt makes finished up and/or gifted in the last several days. Every one has been made 100% from the stash and in another wonderful coincidence, all of the backing was recently gifted from a sister-in-law giving away the last bits of her quilting stuff. Life is very, very good when we have hobbies such as this. I've been quilting long enough to start taking it for granted, but I don't. I won't. It means entirely too much....

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Checking Some Things Off the List

The little table runner is totally completed! I'm not sure there is enough hand quilting in the borders, but it's done. Not going to add more at this point.
The fall table runner
Next up in the hoop is Blue Plumes. It's kind of a different quilt for me, but other than admiring a similar shaped element in a shirt one day, the whole project idea is mine. 
Blue Plumes getting sandwiched and pinned
I can't believe this one has been at completed quilt top stage since 2017! Wowsers, does time fly! These funky looking fleur de lis {or whatever they are} were supposed to go with another quilt idea. Didn't work out and you know me, shortly after, another layout idea came along to the rescue. Funny how that happens with us tenacious types!
I think this one is going to be hand quilted
Why waste a perfectly good quilting inspiration? If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! You know how I love a challenge....
Trying to figure out the stitching pattern!
The binding is patiently waiting for me on the Playing With Scale #2 quilt. Honestly, you probably wouldn't believe it, but I've been off having a play with another baby quilt instead! lol
Binding ready for hand stitching!
Yep. I am a great aunt once again! My mom and dad agreed to find room in their suitcase if the quilt gets done in time and so I'm busy, busy. Postage is terribly expensive and I'd be very grateful to avoid having to pay for that plus risk the quilt getting lost in the mail. Best get back to it!

Monday, October 21, 2019

What's on the Wall {and Floor} Today

Sometimes I don't even know where to start, how to walk you through to where my quilting is at this current moment. It's kinda a mess really, but hopefully more of a 'creative' mess than an ugly sort of mess that we'd all probably turn up our noses at. After getting two other projects up to completed quilt top stage, it seemed like a perfect time to dive head first into this U&U interpretation project.
The very beginning of the  Interpretation quilt
This fabric has been all stacked up and ready for play since August, but somehow the 'right time' never came along. It's one of those projects where I'm really excited to see how it works out, but kinda scared too. Interpretation is never as easy as it might seem! Finally the time came where I was ready, the project was ready and hallelujah! There was actually available hours in the day!!
Making things easy
It helps so much to have the fabric pre-selected, especially when the color palette is a bit outside of my normal comfort zone. Wading through all the stash totes for one specific color or shade can be a total time suck too. The pre-sort gives me options, value changes, and limitations too. Okay, here's the best choices. If all else fails, my fall back will definitely be scouring through the stash totes once again, but it would be great if I never have to.

I started everything with the larger floral rectangle, mostly because I was absolutely determined to put that piece of fabric into this specific quilt. It's got an old fashioned charm to it that is important to me as it pertains to 'shaping' the look and feel of the entire quilt. Does that make sense?  The size cut for that rectangle determines every other measurement from here on out. Can you believe that? Better make it right the first time, 'cuz that's almost all there is!
Will this work? Or that? 
Some areas are measured out, others are 'eye-balled'. There's a little bit of free-cutting and a lot of rotary cutting. Everything is cut out and placed based on proportion of what it rests directly next too. A little bit above or below? Wider? Longer? Though I adore the rambling, curvy, rough cut look of the original, it just wasn't going to work for me to work without any boundaries whatsoever. I am absolutely NOT a perfectionist anymore, but my quilts do need to lay flat and mostly square.
Always auditioning
Will it ruin the look and feel of the quilt if things are trimmed and tidied up? I am crossing my fingers it won't. Maybe crossing more than two fingers. I just don't know. That's just something you have to 'see' and that requires a little bit of effort first! I'm hoping the quilt will finish up somewhere in the range of a good sized lap quilt, but who knows. Though I tried to start with a reasonable estimate of 'if this column is 3" then that will make the quilt X amount of inches across', it's still just all guess work. Knowing me, it might need scrappy borders or something later on to finish out a decent size. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.
The first big chunk of the quilt is done now
There was a certain point where I was spending way too much time thinking about how the original improv. piece came to be. Doesn't it look like someone upended their scrap basket and just started sewing? So of course that's exactly what I did! Ditched the current project and started in on yet another. Why not? It was definitely time for a break from the color palette if nothing else! After all the sorting that was done last summer, all the new scrap pieces have been thrown into a smaller basket. The idea being that eventually they too would be sorted and dumped into the 'proper' color totes. Uh huh.
Playing with the scrap bin
I happily spent one whole evening sorting out all the scraps that looked like they might play nicely together. Yes I did. And it was great fun! A few things were sewn together impulsively, but most of the time was spent ironing and sorting into similar size units. I don't have a clue where this project will end up, but it sure was great to imagine. How ironic that this one nights play would never have even taken place except for working on {and needing a break from} the Interpretation quilt! For now it's taking up important real estate on the floor, right where I normally walk through. I am determined not to clean things up until enough work is done on it that it will not be unceremoniously tossed back into the scrap bin basket. There's just something about this project that feels.... interesting? Worthwhile? Important?
All ready for binding!
And then there's the little fall table runner which was fun to sew on initially, but since has not fired me up at all. Last night saw me putting the last bit of hand stitching in and so now, it's ready for binding! Which is good because the gift date is rapidly approaching.
The start of the Autumnal Tulip block applique
And it might not look like much, but all thirty {yes, I said THIRTY} of the tulip block stems are sewn into place now. I keep getting derailed or I'm sure there would be many, many of the tulip flower parts stitched down as well. They are just that simple and straightforward. Oh well. It's all good times, I guess it doesn't really matter what gets the attention so long as my fingers are busy stitching...

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Crossing These Two Off the List!

We had a quiet weekend which was wonderful. Long overdue. I was able to bring two different quilt tops up to completed quilt top status. Yay! Sometimes it feels important to clear off the lists a little in order to create some new head space for creativity!
Patchwork Garden
After getting the applique work finished on gangly flower baskets, I wiffle, waffled around about the border. A three strip border made up of equal widths {as per the original pattern}, isn't always a favorite of mine. After much pondering, it became obvious the quilt needed something there on the borders. Nothing I was conjuring up seemed any better.
A completed quilt top!
Don't you just love those kinds of solutions? 'Well, it's better than nothing...'. Yeah. But actually, it really is in this case. I had a problem coming up with a good blue or green or even blue/green, but eventually settled on the one pictured. I thought to use a good lavender or violet but the quilt wasn't having anything to do with those possibilities.
A few changes to the pattern
This particular blue fabric has a darker blue print design that echoed nicely with the dark blue baskets. Because it came off as fairly moody, the white text print combined with the bold coral/red ended up being the best pick {from the stash} to complete the trio of border strips. Yes, it's very sharp and sparky looking, not at all what I started out thinking the border should be. In fact, the entire quilt all but vibrates now that all the parts and pieces are in one place!

The one thing that I really liked about this border pattern was that the inside strip was made up of offset side strips. Since this coral/red fabric is so very bold, I was careful to make sure that it in particular, ended in an appropriate area of the quilt. Didn't want it to compete unduly with the pretty applique flowers and so easily switched which side of the quilt ended up with the longer red strip.

As you know, I'm very fond of text fabrics and so was very happy to find a good place to use this one. I know it's super popular and will date my quilt like no other could, but hey, when it works, there's no sense fighting! And it was on sale the weekend of the quilt show earlier this year. I always have to buy a little something to bring home, you know, like a souvenir.*wink
The blue border fabric has some of that darker blue in it too
Overall I am very pleased with the outcome of the Patchwork Garden quilt effort. It definitely ended up with a slightly different feel than the prim vibe to the original pattern, which is perfectly okay to me! It's still cozy and country, a little charming, even when made up in a significant departure from original color choice. That's the hallmark of a good design in my book. Good bones make for a good quilt!

Did you catch that about the 'souvenir' thing? hehe The things we tell ourselves when we're trying to justify buying fabric! The second quilt top finished up is the Bullseye Medallion quilt. Though the black and the green/blue borders were a little bit hard to figure out, the red border went swimmingly. So well, in fact, that I couldn't wait to tinker around with the yellow border!
Bullseye Medallion quilt
I really didn't set out to finish this particular quilt top over the weekend, but once started, it just wouldn't let go. It helped so much to have large chunks of time with no interruptions. Just me and the husband rattling around in the house. Bliss! Ha! That's my absolute favorite part when the kids are gone. So much more quiet time. I mean, it's only for a weekend usually or maybe a week so enjoy it, right? But my man, it doesn't take long before he has to have the music playing, wanting to fill up the entire house.
Busy corner with a little touch of applique
Anyway, the yellow border took more time to cut out and sew together than it did to puzzle together. I waited a full twenty-four hours and then started attacking the {next} black border. My big empty floor space adjacent to the quilt room? Yeah, well.. ,the husband took that over sometime over the weekend. 'Sorting' stuff. I can see that I'm gonna have to dial back my expectations about that as well.
When a quilt is done, it's DONE. What can you do but listen!
The plan was to have a black border and then finish up the whole quilt with a final darker blue border. After the initial layout for the black border {sadly uninspiring}, I went ahead and laid out the blue fabrics in a potential mock-up last border. Ughh. Just awful. For awhile I even considered making the black border a very thin sashing-look border as it didn't seem to make any sort of meaningful impact on the quilt. And the blue was so wrong, it almost hurt. But that seemed like cheating. Doing the default thing without half trying.
So happy with all the different fabric prints used!
What is it that the men always like to say? 'Drop back ten yards and punt?'' Sometimes our plans just aren't going to work out and then it's time to make something else happen. Instead of giving up on the 5" border round idea, I decided to try combining the black and blue border into one. If the black was sucking up all the joy, maybe it just needed a lift. Thankfully, it didn't take any time whatsoever to see the immediate change in the quilt.
The wider 'different fabric' break in the red border is
one that actually acts as a spark in better lighting
It's really amazing sometimes to see how well a quilt can react to certain fabric/color additions. Or subtractions even. Whew! Scared me for a minute there. I thought the quilt was going to go from being bright and spunky to a defeated fit of melancholy! Trying to work fat quarter lengths into longer and longer border pieces was kind of tricky, but somehow it all came together. There are a couple lengths that are carefully pieced to make the length a smidge longer and not be super obvious about it. Other places I deliberately joined right into a different print fabric even though I had more of the same fabric if needed.

One of the challenges of using these shorter lengths is the choppiness of the piecing look. If you're not careful it all just starts looking blocky. I used a trick that I discovered while making my Big Tipsy Basket quilt--break up the shorter lengths with thin contrasting strips. Funny how making the breaks in border lengths more obvious can actually create a better flow overall! 

There were two places where I didn't get the look quite right and had to go back with the seam ripper and insert a different width fabric break, both wider and more narrow depending on the area. In the case of the the blue fabric breaks on the outside border, you can see on the left side of the quilt where I ended up chopping the busy blue print apart and sliding a strip of the gray in-between. I really liked the {necessary} energy of that specific blue fabric, but it wasn't showing up very well attached to the end of the blue striped fabric. Inserting a calm space in between helped that {kinda magical} fabric work harder.

There are applique additions in two different border areas of the quilt. The first is the basket handles on the red border and the second spot is the far top left corner where I stitched a not-quite-perfect gray circle cut from a homespun plaid. Both times it felt really, really satisfying to take a moment and do some hand stitching on the quilt--something not quite as 'rigid' looking as machine piecing tends to be. I'm not sure why that satisfaction was so deeply felt, but I'm not gonna question it. Maybe make a note for future quilting? The quilt looks {and feels} like a 'me' quilt now and that's really all that matters. So that's it! No more borders. The quilt said it was done and I can't see any reason to argue....

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Here We Go Again

It was way past time for the Bullseye Medallion to get another border. I've been itching to get the red border on as the fabric just feels yummy. Only waiting for available floor space to properly lay things out and take a 'whole' quilt look!
The red border to Bullseye Medallion
My son {who has had the adjacent space next to the quilting room} finally moved out just last week. It only took him a month after he started talking about it and so I've been so {im}patiently waiting on him. Not that I wanted him to move out especially, but because I have been longing to have a clothes-free floor to lay out quilts. He is still eating dinner with us most nights during the week so this isn't something to be terribly upset about. He's just living a block away!
Trying to plan things out in the usual space...
Awhile back while digging through the applique-parts-and-pieces totes I happened to stumble across these leftover basket handles from a much older quilt. They seemed like a lovely element to try and add into this particular project. So very glad to find them and put them to good use. You know how I am with the orphaned and abandoned bits!
Always a piecing or applique unit to each round
For whatever reason, it was absolutely no trouble at all this time, to keep to the stated goal of having each border finish out at 5". Usually there is an internal debate that happens while I rebel against 'ridiculous' constraints. Ha  Might actually be the quilt that stays within the self-determined boundaries!
Love that the focus is on fabric
I'd say that I was finding my groove with the simple piecing efforts and primary focus being on the fabric and color rounds. Then I started in on the yellow border. Hmm... This one looks like it's gonna be a little bit harder. That's what I get for feeling like I had it all figured out. The quilt is currently 55 1/2" with three borders left {yellow included} to go. Adding all those borders will make it approx. 85" finished. However tempting it is to stop at the red border {and call it good}, 55 inches really isn't a good size for me. Plus, when have I ever backed down from an interesting quilting challenge?
So determined to use this old yellow plaid!
Next up in the hoop is the Playing With Scale #2 quilt. I guess technically, this one shouldn't even be in the running for getting finished quite yet. I like to work on the oldest quilts and then move forward, but as usual, that order does and can get changed around according to the slightest of whims.
Playing With Scale #2 getting sandwiched and pinned
This quilt is small, colorful and more importantly, requires zero marking. Sometimes that's really all that counts when making the decision about which one to favor!
A lot of spiky bits
I can see already that this one is going to go really fast. Every time I hand quilt a quilt top with strippy units it makes me fall in love all over again. There's just something very sweet about the old time 'utility' look to improv. strip piecing. Must do more!
Such a joy to see this one in the hoop!
All quilts should look like this after quilting. Why didn't I learn how to make quilts like this 20 years ago? I could have oodles of them by now.....

Friday, October 4, 2019

A New Fall Project and The Completed Tidbits Quilt

Someone used the word 'Autumnal' the other day and I thought it was a beautiful word. Fall is my absolute favorite season in a place where we definitely have four full seasons! Anyway, long story short, the word has attached itself to the brand new start around here. Meet 'Autumnal Tulips', pictured below!
The start of a new project
This project was inspired by a lot of things, though no doubt primarily by this post. It somehow gave rise to feeling of longing to make yet another tulip quilt, because really, can you ever have too many of them? The kicker was a cream blouse I pulled out of the fall/winter clothes tote. Lots of these lovely fallish colors on it and everything just sort of clicked into place later in the week. Autumnal. I must make something Autumnal. The season just sort of demands it, right?
Tidbits is finished!
On another note.... as you can see, Tidbits is a finished quilt. Totally and completely! The hand quilting went so quickly on this one. The little bit of pre-marking {outside rings on the hills} really helped speed things along. Later, while in the hoop, how hard is it to freehand mark and stitch a couple frames every evening?
So hard to get a good full sized quilt pic around here...
This quilt was started as a result of not wanting to throw away the itty bitty cut-out pieces {the small appliqued hills}. Originally they went directly into the trash. It was only after the fact that I looked at them and thought, 'Seriously? Surely I can do something good with those!'

Did you make the connection from this older quilt to the current one? Yep, the seeds from one quilt so often influence the beginnings of another. I'm not nearly as good at cleaning up the leftovers and cast-offs as Julie is, but some of the most interesting quilts can come from the leftover bits. From the very impulsive beginnings, this particular quilt expanded into something much larger. Of course it did! So typical. The default setting seems to be 'bed quilt' size around here, though I do try and listen to when the quilt decides that it is plenty large enough, thank you very much!
Looks very snuggable
There's just something about this quilt that has never quite made sense. It's not perfectly designed, graceful or even exceptionally beautiful. But it has always felt very endearing to me. Charming in a subtle, hard to define way.
The quilting makes me so happy on this one!
It might be because I'm a huge fan of the log cabin block design, which is what the border add-ons are all about. They almost always seem like a cozy element in most older quilts. Who cares if this particular experiment sort of got out of hand! Then, the folksy hand quilted hills, the quiet color palette and a little bit of simple applique? Love it, love it, love it. Unabashedly my kind of quilt, though I'd never deliberately plan to make a quilt such as this one. Oh the beauty of playing with the abandoned parts and pieces! Things just happen. You never really know where you might end up, and that's the most exciting part of the process if you are brave enough to take the opportunity!
Started from little pieces that would usually go in the trash!
There are a lot of fabrics in this quilt that I suppose you would call 'taupe'. They are neither gray nor brown, but somewhere in between. While these colors are attractive to me, they haven't always been easy to include into just any old quilt project. When at times the quilt came off as a bit drab or unexciting, all I had to do was fold it up to gain a different perspective.

After the quilt top sat in the drawers for a good long while, I took it out one day to look at. Something seemed missing, and so being me, I added the appliqued flowers on the corners. I kept the shape simple though the fabrics were very carefully chosen to add just a little more touch of a blue. Oh how I dithered over them. Take them off? Leave them on? Why did I sew two on in the white fabric and two in the dark blue? How ridiculous is that! In the end, they were left as is and now, I'm very happy to see them holding down the corners of the quilt. If I could change anything, it would be to remove the much larger green applique units at the bottom of the quilt. They are whimsical, but a bit weird. I think that I was 'playing with scale', but now they seem unnecessary.

When it came time to choose the binding fabric, nothing made sense except to add more green. The quilt simply refused to play nice with any other color. When I couldn't decide between lighter greens or the dark? Well...., might as well include all the colors in the running and make it scrappy! What surprised me was how much more I liked the quilt after that little pop of color arrived on the scene. It's been a long time since I've seen the effects of adding a perfect color of binding to a quilt. And for whatever reason, this binding feels perfect. Maybe I need to try harder? Or maybe this was just one of those rare quilts where it matters more.
Loving that binding!
I've always suspected that the main reason this quilt ended up being the size that it is {82" x 87" before washing}, was because it was so very much fun to finally find a place for many of these odd colored fabrics. While quilting this one, those same fabrics whispered sweet thoughts to me and felt very 'right'. When you're buying random colored {for you} fabrics through the years, and haven't yet found a good project for them? Don't despair. Their time is coming! It might be a couple years, but there IS a quilt coming up that will soak up all those shades and tones and thank you very nicely indeed for it!
Easy to stitch the applique onto the striped fabric...
This quilt might present as a little bit more modern than others made by me, but it actually kind of defies being lumped into a single, specific category. It's just too scrappy and make-do'ish to not come off as 'utility' too! That feels good. Interesting quilts are the best, those that practically dare you to put them into a box and leave them there.
Very simple backing choices
Gonna link up to The Peacock Party once again. Wendy is showing off a beautiful, bright new quilt there this week. I could never do what she does with Kaffe fabric, but it's wonderful to have a look and be inspired!