Thursday, June 23, 2022

I'd Say There's Never Too Much Applique, But of Course That's Not True!

I started on these flower blocks a couple months ago. Didn't get very far, very fast as I was really supposed to be finishing up other applique blocks. I might get spread thin with all the quilting projects, but I don't like a lot of opened ended applique. Just stresses me out.

Starting on the next round of applique
Anyway, right about the time that I was doing the prep work for these blocks, LeAnn over at Nifty Quilts posted her new tulip quilt. As I was looking at it, the style of flowers and the general layout really jumped out at me. Just too funny! I don't have the book 'Georgia Quilts' where she got her original inspiration, but I have looked at that quilt many times before. Pinterest? One of my other old quilt books? Not sure, but looky, looky, my doodling for this 'Flower Power' quilt obviously comes from the same exact inspiration! LeAnn's quilt is exciting and fresh, such a joy to look at. I'm a big fan of her work in case you couldn't tell!

Unlike her, I'm starting with mostly upcycled shirts for the backgrounds of my flowers, then digging in the stash for everything else. There is a piece of floral that I intend to use for the border or perhaps the inside strip sashing bits. We'll see. I do lots of pondering and turning things over and over in my head before even getting to the auditioning stage. Thus far, I am loving working with these bright pops of color. Simple applique plus bright, happy colors and it feels like an instant mood lifter! p.s. Don't be dismayed, there will be leaves attached at some point....

The loosey goosey notes & ideas
Sooo... this Ring Around project was the applique project getting in the way of Flower Power. Lots and lots and lots of time involved in the hand stitching and with 20 blocks? It can get a little boring at times. I piled the blocks up in an obvious spot in the quilt room just to help keep me motivated.

Looks so much better like this than hiding inside a tote...
Then there came the day when I had all the blocks done and tada! four rows sewn together too! Still not feeling especially pushed to plow through all the work to bring it to a quilt top, but eventually it all came together.

Waiting for a little more sewing time
During the original auditioning, I fiddled around with the sashing fabric {and even the cornerstones} probably more than I should of. It just didn't seem right that the quilt needed something so unassuming. There's a point sometimes where you wonder if your heart just isn't in it at that particular time of auditioning and then you realize.... This quilt really doesn't want something with a big, clever statement in that exact spot of the quilt. Ooookay. Message received!

The off-bacgrounds help make it interesting
In the end, to get the result needed, I actually flipped the sashing fabric over and used the backside. Uh huh. You can do that. I loved the nuanced stripey look to the fabric, but it needed to be toned down and let the applique blocks do their thing. The wonderful thing about the backside of the fabric {besides fading completely away} is the fact that it comes across more blue than green in those super subtle striped bits. With that, now the quilt has a lovely glow that somehow helps ease the aggressive bite to some of those rings. 

What is it about the color coral with blue?
Originally, I figured the cornerstones would need to be a black fabric, but that looked absolutely hideous. Coral and gray were also a non starter, and then I was left with some form of green or blue. Thankfully I had a couple pieces of teal fabric that fit the bill. The print was a little iffy on some of the pieces that I auditioned, but eventually I found the two fabrics that made the quilt do a little nod of appreciation. Yes, it could have been been one fabric instead of two, but I didn't have enough of the piece that ended up in the middle of the quilt. And that was the favorite, hands down. Had to be used somewhere! Which, interestingly enough, also helped add to the cozy glow of the quilt. Funny how sometimes all our little choices add up to something we don't even realize is building!

The second quilt in the Melon Patch series
It feels really good to finally get the abandoned background blocks from Melon Patch into something that helps make those center medallions shine. That sweet plaid fabric was from one of my youngest sons shirts that he wore quite a bit. One that I loved on him. Didn't want to just toss it away! There was a quilt in the book 'Mixing Quilt Elements' by Kathy Doughty that served as the impetuous for moving forward with these backgrounds, and though this quilt isn't exactly the same, many elements are very similar! Instead of her wedge templates, I cut my own from an acrylic template bought at JoAnns. Much easier and also, the wedges were a better size for these specific blocks.

Doesn't appear to need a border
Overall, I am very pleased with the look and feel to this low-key, but bursting with character, quilt top. At first I tried very hard to get the wedge quarter rings to match up exactly, but then I just gave it up completely. What am I doing? Why even bother? The sashing space helps transition  the 'Ring Around' effect tremendously and I'm certainly not someone to squawk if it's not perfectly perfect. Yeah. Not. Very. Important. At. All.

Original fabric pull
Another thing that I've done this week is something that happens pretty much all year long. It happens when I'm in the mood. When I'm stalling. When I'm down in the dumps about pretty much anything. When I can't get the motor started to put in the real effort and work of quilting. Whenever. You know how it is. You pull a couple stacks of marinating fabric stacks and attempt to fine tune. Let your subconscious  do its thing and just try to stay out of the way.

Adding a bit of spark
In the first picture is a stack of fabrics all chosen with the intention of trying to use up some of those bitter, brick reds that feel so very hard to get used up. Funnily enough, I actually liked the original stack almost enough to get started on a brand new quilt project during the winter. Then I dithered, second guessed, felt queasy in my gut and thought, 'no.... there's something not quite right about the blend'. I've approached it at least twice since then and had zero luck changing things up. It seemed content to be stuck.

Filling in the details
Earlier this week I pulled the stack out again and immediately decided that it needed some of those lighter blue/greens. Hmmm... could it be because I was just knee deep in those precise colors finishing up a quilt top? Hum, hum, humming along, I quickly added the salmon pink upcycled shirt {recently acquired from a thrifting excursion}. Perfection! Then it was obvious that there needed to be more of those super light pinks for a better transition. 

Maybe a tiny bit more depth with the green
And then some yellow gold hopped on for a ride. Not just any yellow mind you, but the exact perfect shade. So important to have a tiny bit of spark! And then it was a step back to peruse the effect. Hop on a chair and look down at the fabric on the counter. Hmm... Yep. Needs just a little bit more of the darkish shades of greens for impact. 

So yeah, that's pretty much how I work with the fabric stacks. As I'd said before, they rarely come out of the stash totes ready and raring to go directly into a new project. A little bit of fiddling here and there over several months {or a year} until finally, a day comes when the combination seems wholly complete. A big oops that I didn't use to recognize in my fabric gathering, is the tendency to dull things down and go for the soft, overly muted look. And then rush it directly into a quilt! The colors this happens with most often is usually a lot of the same colors that I wear. I don't even think to deeply about it in the moment! Quilt-making requires a bit more finesse though. Thankfully, I've learned to take the time {however much that is} to get things right. This stack seems good now. Belated it may be, but finally starting to see some cozy vibes happening! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Such a Good Finish!

 The HaHa quilt is totally finished up! So hard to believe after all these years that everything is done {except for a label}. It's been such a long time coming!

The HaHa Quilt is done!!!
As most of you know, I've always been just a little bit doubtful about the addition of the outside triangle border. Did it need it or not? I thought the added color would help make the center 'pop' better and give the entire quilt a bit more of a solid feeling. Then later I just wanted to rip it off because something about it didn't sit exactly right.

Looking so much better than I ever dreamed
Once again, I am tremendously relieved to see that yes, this design decision was meant to be. Every time I wavered or questioned, I ended up leaving it 'cuz what was going to replace it? With the hand quilting doing that lovely texture thing, it all suddenly makes perfect sense!*sigh  Did you notice the scallop hand quilting in the center area? First time I've ever done this motif and though I adore the look there in that spot, I'm very glad that I didn't end up stitching scallops over the entire quilt. Which I definitely considered doing for five or ten minutes. Hmm... No. Not today. So tempting and yet, it just didn't quite resonate with me at the time.

Loving the scalloped stitching texture
The color in the pictures is a little weird. The contrast between the creamy white fabric and the grayed down cream sections is very hard to get a proper representation of. And yes, I know it's not everyone's preference to blend all these shades of creams and whites into one quilt, but I personally love the juxtaposition. Looks so, so good close up and in person. No regrets there at all!

We'll all just laugh together...
I still have to laugh at the idea that the 'Ha Ha' portions of a quilt were due to me totally and completely miscalculating the measurements of the outside border. Obviously by a lot! Now I can say with absolute conviction--That was the very best mistake ever made around here!

So glad that I stuck it out with this project!
At this time that this quilt was started, zeroing in on solid colored fabrics and using lots of  'white' fabrics seemed very challenging to me. Lots of decisions felt excruciatingly difficult in terms of trying to 'see' through to the [imagined} end result. 

Testing out the look in the guest room
I wanted a quilt that gave off a whimsical vibe. Something cozy, not in the least bit cold or contemporary looking. The very last decision made, using the large, old fashioned red/white gingham fabric for binding? That almost seems like serendipity. One of those moth ball smelling fabrics given to me by my aunt last year. You know I would have never in a million years thought to go looking for that exact fabric, and yet it works wonderfully in that position. This turned out to be such a sweet, happy looking quilt. So thankful to see it finished up at at last!

The perfect binding
And 'Seedpod Flower' is next up in the hoop. I've been anxiously awaiting the time that I could spend with this beauty in my lap.

The new quilt in the hoop!
There's just something about the mixture of colors that makes this little heart of mine feel mushy and sentimental. Maybe it reminds me of colors that my grandmother used in her quilting? I did manage to slip one tiny fabric of hers into the quilt so there's that....

Scrappy, scrappy
It's been the usual CRazy around here so it took a couple nights to hand quilt the centerpiece of this quilt. Nothing flashy or extra special, just some basic big stitch diagonal lines and a little bit of echo quilting here and there. Next up will be the same, same, same throughout the rest of the quilt so mostly having to figure out colors of thread.

Just getting started with the hand quilting
All of my sisters have been in town this week, so yep, the six of us have been up to all kinds of trouble! Just kidding. Some hiking {not me}, celebrating moms birthday, thrifting, eating out, lots and lots of visiting. The thrifting stuff is right up my alley of course, and now I'm continually looking for shirts to repurpose for use in quilting. 

Adding some shirts to the fabric stash!
I try to leave the out-of-town family plenty of time to visit the parents on their own and not crowd in every moment of the visit. It's difficult not to want to be in on all the fun, but mom and dad are getting older and need some time for those good visits which only tend to happen during the quieter moments. 

So proud of her!
On a different note, mom had recently finished the machine quilting on her Improv. quilt and I had assured her that I could put the binding on for her. Just like I always did in prior years. Can you believe this is the very first quilt that my mom has completely finished since their house burned down in a fire back in 2014? She has definitely started several quilts in the ensuing years, but something changed after that event and she became very insecure about her quilting, often forgetting many of the things she knew about the process. She had difficulties with her new sewing machine. Her vision would get bad at the times she wasn't feeling good, which was often. Or her design wall too small to bother with. Long story short, we believe she has been dealing with Alzheimers for many years now, no doubt set off by that trauma. 

She was extremely excited to take part in the Improv. meetings I held earlier this year. Crazy happy to have a plan of attack. Often trying to jump ahead with the project even though she had zero experience with this method! Early on I determined that if it was remotely possibly, we were going to make sure that mom ended up with a true blue finish at the end of this effort. And so it happened. Just take a look at her proud smile! Lots and lots of hand holding and seam ripper sessions. Me trying to give suggestions and/or talk her out of something she was determined to do. Sometimes mom got mad at me or ridiculously irritated with 'Improv.', blaming all the mistakes on the method, her machine or 'the thread'. Other times she went ahead with the way she wanted to do something and then I had to come in and help her out of a bind. 

I am positively blown away by how much this quilt looks like a 'mom' quilt {colors etc. she would have used years ago} but still holds true with the improv. formula everyone used. Her memory might be a little tricky these days, but she remembers more than she knows that she knows. This was a very sweet moment, her getting to hold and peruse a quilt that was made by HER. She gets all the credit. Then she got to show it off when her daughters came to town. How perfect is that?

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Working It Out

I can almost feel myself start settling in to the regular routine of normal quilting habits. Almost. Why does it take me so long these days to adjust back to the usual ebb and flow of things? Probably has to do with the state of the world around us. All the uncertainty wears on us in so many different ways. So nice to burrow down into our cozy little world at home and soak up the good things.

Orphan Annie working itself into a quilt top
It took me several tries to finally settle on the sashing details for 'Orphan Annie'. I knew the colors needed to be somewhere in the darker blue/green ranges, but the design and piecing of it {or not} simply eluded me. 

Loving the mixed up, pieced backgrounds
Once I made the determination to use this Ikat fabric, then it all just sort of fell into place. At first it didn't look like there was nearly enough fabric left for sashing purposes, but I resolutely kept whittling away at the proposed width of the strips thinking 'this has to work!' Eventually the numbers gave me the right answer and yay! I could start cutting.

When first auditioning the strips, I laid them willy nilly as to where the black stripe bits ended up. Soon it became one of those questions of 'what if?' and then I was busily rearranging them to make a secondary pattern in the quilt. It's nothing super obvious or in your face. Just something to make me smile when zooming in. Look! There really are more interesting details buried here and there!
All the tulips just a little bit different...
When stitching the cut-out tulip shapes, it was difficult at times not to try and trim some of them to a more pleasing shape. Now I'm glad to see the subtle differences and yes, imperfections in the quilt. Makes for a more homespun, utility-like look. Which of course I love and adore and think is the very best thing for all quilts worldwide. Ahem. Not that you'd ever hear me say horrid things about your perfectly perfect quilts...

Some of the green background fabrics are from the late 90's and early 2000's. I caught one fabric with little bugs on it that I'm sure made it into a baby quilt for a friends son. Uh, hello? Isn't he graduating from high school this year? 

Alas, Orphan Annie isn't quite done yet, though the quilt is trying to tell me that YES, it is!*stomp, stomp  Right now the measurements are around 46 x 57 inches or something and that just doesn't do it for me. So impractical. Borders will have to be added on, period. End of story.

A Tisket-A Tasket a completed top!
Now, A Tisket-A Tasket is a quilt top that is finished up, totally completed until the sandwiching pinning phase. After adding this last larger hst border {red plaid fabric from one of my dads old shirts}, I'm calling it good. Doesn't feel like there's anything of benefit to add on at this particular stage and I definitely can't add on more of the lighter yellows that I so, very much wanted to use. Back in the stash totes they went. Oh well. Another quilt, another day, right?
Corners of the blue border looks better now
Some of you might not love the addition of more gold in the outer surround, but actually, I am fairly pleased with how it 'pops' the blue in the previous border. With the later addition of a binding, it should all come together fairly gracefully. You know how little borders at the outside of a quilt sometimes get drowned out? I do want this one to sing!

Looking cozy, just like I like 'em!
I had to take out the hsts at the corners of the blue and red hst border after adding on the outside border. Too much confusion. The solid blue squares better help to transition from one border to the next. Which, speaking of that blue fabric. Ughh. It is such a lame fabric, I almost can't believe that I'm using it! But you know me. Always trying to use up the old fabrics and this one was the very best color from all that I had to choose from. I am constantly amazed at how hard the most unexpected fabrics can work for a quilt if we just give them a chance!

By issue of working with so many older, uninspiring fabrics, I am definitely learning new things all of the time. The biggest takeaway is not to take any fabric for granted. Ever. Be willing to take the strangest chances with fabric prints and blends of colors. Sooo much more focus on color, tone and shades. Here's a goodie....Paying more attention to the amounts of each color as to the current quilt. Some colors just look amazingly better in mismatched pairings. Go figure. 

And that's such an easy thing to do, changing the quantities and percentages. A tweak here or there and wallah!, things start smiling and having fun. The conversation has begun! It's like I'm constantly on this roller coaster of  'Anyone can clearly see that this is the most uninspiring stack of fabric in the whole world!' Why bother? Then there's the other extreme. That's where my instincts are practically shouting at me to stop taking the lazy view and endeavor to look for the hidden potential. That's the leap of faith that often feels stupid, hard {time consuming?} or pointless, but that actually causes THE change.

There's another issue that crops up occasionally. I've discovered how much better an entire stack of marinating fabrics can look if you can just find that one, super yummy looking fabric that pulls it all together. So silly, but occasionally it's like the difference between turning a light switch on or off. I'm not even kidding. No matter how cohesive the fabrics and colors look together and you know it should work, it just doesn't. Not really. There ends up being this boring quality that permeates everything and it's incredibly hard to overcome. Seriously, it's almost painful. I work and work and work and all I'm doing is spreading the boredom around to fit into a larger surface. If perhaps this magical piece of fabric can be found??? {whether it be a print, special color etc.}, it's utterly fascinating how the whole quilt will suddenly start to feel charming, interesting and maybe even a little bit intriguing. You sly little bugger! Now how precisely did that happen? And I really, really don't understand the why exactly, but hmm... so much more willing to try and duplicate the experience in the next quilt, because I can SEE and FEEL the results!

Looking at the gingham for a potential binding

I'm truly enjoying this stage of my quilt journey. Can you tell? Yeah, it's different, but I'm wholly throwing myself into trying to make really good stuff from fabric that I used to would have gladly passed over. Maybe even backed up the car and run over again. I was {still am} a proponent of buying fabric that we LOVE. It's important to have a good foundation of fabric that speaks to us. But what if we don't have the money in our budget to do that anymore? Or what if we're trying to be more thoughtful about our fabric consumption? Or maybe we're always ready and willing to take unwanted fabric off of a former quilters hands? All of those things are me today and I'm okay with that. 

This journey of intentionally digging deep into the totes and making do is not always easy. It doesn't always, evermore without fail, feel fun and exciting. On the other hand, I want {need} to keep quilting and learning. This way is deliberate, it can often feel slow. Sometimes I start with pieces that don't make sense or feel astonishingly uninteresting. Like, can fabric/blocks/piecing truly be soooo unappealing as to be hopeless? We wonder. I puzzle over that and try to imagine what it would take to light them on fire. Is it even possible? The design becomes less of the end goal and more of a side effect. This adventure has definitely taken a detour in the last couple years and instead of burning out with it, I feel like I'm just barely getting started. And that's where my excitement lies these days. Maybe I'm crazy, but it feels like my quilting voice is getting distilled and refined into something that feels even more authentic than before. Not in every single effort of course. But overall. Hey, I don't know about you, but I'm just gonna roll with it....

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Moving Slowly in the Month of May

I'm just sort of plugging along because that's what I do. Rain or shine, quilting seems to make up a little tiny bit of my day. All the scallops are quilted into the mid portion of this quilt. It was so simple and easy to do, I just sort of wallowed in it and didn't really rush at all.

Ah Ha quilt in the hoop
Now I've moved into the 'ah ha' section and that's going well too. Mostly I'm just having trouble actually getting the quilt into my lap these days. So many things are interfering with hand quilting time that I just wanna scream. Once the hoop is in my lap and the needle is doing its thing, we're all good. A completion should be coming along in a month or two at this rate.*sigh

Ring Around applique blocks
There are 20 'Ring Around' blocks to do in all and as of this moment, I've completed 7 of them. I purposely chose the off colored background blocks to stitch first and so then of course, I had to second guess what in the world I was thinking. Now I'm starting to see an overall pattern emerge and well, it's a bit stronger and bolder than expected. Hmmm...  The background with the center medallion pieces have been done since 2018 so it's more than time to do something with them. Especially since they were kicked out of the original project. Oh well. I'm not feeling panicked or anything, just sort of bemused. Definitely not unpicking anything at this point!

The back of the 'guy' quilt
When things get especially busy and/or stressful here at the home front {and boy howdy, have the troubles been piling up lately}, my creativity seems to go into a serious hibernation mode. One way of coaxing it out is to dive into open ended projects that are mostly about chain piecing.

Very little truly wonky looking strips
I started this particular project back in March when I was knee deep in improv. strips. Oh hey! Why not start another one! The idea was to make a quilt geared toward the masculine with my youngest son as the potential beneficiary. 

A little bit of interest going on
I'd been thinking about this for quite awhile and basically what I wanted to do was to make a very simple quilt with a compass like motif and the letters NW near it. 

Loving the addition of the old blue gingham
and red/blue shirting fabric
Simple, basic and something my outdoorsy, hiking loving son would appreciate. All made with the oldy moldie fabrics at the bottom of the stash bins though, which obviously complicated things. There was just not enough good greens to go with the true 'outdoors look' route. Gah. Okay, Just gotta 'make do' as usual, and that is why the quilt ended up being rust, blue, red and cream. Some day I am going to clear out the big 'ol pile of rust colored fabric, I promise you!

Figuring out the applique on the front
Anyway, long story short, I jumped into the BACK of the quilt first--ending up with the improv. strippy rows. Just sewing, sewing, sewing. That is not the front as you might have assumed, but the back of the quilt. And now I have the measurements for the front of the quilt and where to start thinking about how/where to begin. 

Confession time: I went and bought a chunk of the blue striped fabric for the largest piece of the background. Yep. It felt necessary in order for the applique to make sense. I'm starting with the plaid, slightly off-perfect compass and the red NW letters and then.... well, who knows what will happen next. There are still quite a few of the improv. strips leftover from the back so some of them might end up finding a home on the front as well. Everything and nothing is on the table for this project. So far it's not exactly thrilling me, but overall the look is comfy and comfy is good. If it resonates with my son then that's the real win. Not gonna spend too much time overthinking this one, that's for sure!

p.s. I might, maybe, thinking about still, putting one more wider cream/red strip on the far left side of the quilt. Just 'cuz it's looking a little too balanced for me. Might be good to shake it up a little bit? Even if it is the back..... lol

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Popping In For a Quick Update!

 May has always been a busy month for us, but this year I made it worse. For reasons that totally made sense at the time, I scheduled a week long trip (leaving the end of April) to visit my oldest daughter in Oklahoma.

Loving the colors!
With everything that needed done before leaving, I had little to no time to post my latest quilt finish, AHIQ Hourglass. Plus it needed washed up so the crinkly goodness could shine!
I think this one is a winner
After I got back home, then there was all the laundry for me and of course, my husband who still needed work clothes etc. etc. Can you believe that he also managed to clean out his work truck and find about 10 sweatshirts that needed washing? 

Still liking the pieced sashing look
I took a couple hand work projects with me on my visit, but honestly, we were just too busy chatting for quilting to take priority. My daughter has a new house in a new town. Barely been married for less than a year. She's a Washingtonian transplant to the midwest. Trying to figure out how to budget in an exploding economy. Sooo much to talk about. And we loved every minute of it!

A tiny bit of a fabric bleed but not enough to ruin it
It's terribly hard to live so far away from our children. I mostly hate it. But... it's wonderful to see them living their best life in spite of the very real homesickness that comes along with the distance. One of the hardest thing to do as a parent is to teach our children how to get by without us.

Will probably have to keep this one!
Now I'm home, after a brutal midnight flight and then the additional 3 hours driving home. There's been non-stop busyness ever since 'cuz, ahem! my husband really doesn't love trying to get along without me! lol  Our big camping trip is coming up at the end of May so now I'm trying to organize and prepare for that. Will try to post more quilting stuff in the weeks ahead, but who knows? I don't seem to be nearly as good at multi-tasking as I used to be.

Having oodles of fun with my Mothers Day money
One of the highlights of my trip was 'The Quilting Studio and Fabric Mercantile' in Tulsa Oklahoma. Ahhh... I was like a kid in a candy store. It's been so long since I've bought any new fabric! Such a lucky pick when I was determined to only hit one store. The only thing I didn't like was the fact that they kept pushing quilt kits at me. Hmm... How to answer without sounding rude? My daughter and I settled with 'I kinda do my own thing'.*wink

Last night saw me finally getting in a few minutes at the sewing machine and of course I'm back with the hand quilting in the evenings. Who knew a quilting callous could disappear so quickly! 

Thursday, April 21, 2022

It Feels Good To Be Making Progress On Something

I actually managed to get quite a bit done in spite of the fact that we had a busy, busy Easter weekend! I went ahead and added a very small coping border between the main part of A-Tisket-A-Tasket and the red hst border. 

A-Tisket-A-Tasket getting a border or two
I'm pretty sure there will only be one more border, of much larger red and gold hst units. It's all cut out and ready for sewing, just need to find the time. Super happy with how it's turning out though. That lighter yellow/gold just made everything shine! So weird because I had dismissed the idea earlier thinking that color would fade into the bottom part of the baskets too much and totally ruin the look. 

It's the whole kit and kaboodle. 61" square
I also managed to keep working on Country Stars. It was sooo tempting to put it up for a good long sleep, but I was not too sure that it might never see the light of day again once that happened. And I do want to get it finished up and gifted sometime this year!

It doesn't look like much, but it makes the quilt look better
I took the larger leaves in the middle of the applique and cut into them again. This time making into flowers with a red bud. It's all so much better now. Then I went ahead with the little stacks of berries, mixing up the colors. Red didn't look right and neither did pink, so I combined the two. It's still not a fabulous top, but overall I'm satisfied. Especially after all the applique was finished up {I thought} and on a whim, decided to sew the darker brown cross circle over the center compass block. 

It's applique and that's important sometimes, to
some people...
It just finished it off in a way that I can quit stressing about now. And I'm sure our friend will love all the little details eventually. It's really not easy to work on a quilt where the connection was never really there in the first place. But I did it. Got all the hand work done and dusted. Now I just need to take a deep breath and find time here this coming summer to get it sandwiched and pinned, ready for quilting!

Getting ready to hand sew the binding
Got all the hand quilting finished up on the AHIQ Hourglass quilt. Would have been done sooner, but the backing fabric was a heavier, tighter weave than I normally work with, something my aunt gave me awhile back. I love all the freebies, but occasionally it's nice to use something that wants to work better with a needle!

Almost ready for the hoop!
Next quilt in the hoop is the HaHa quilt. So crazy, it's been almost four years since this has been a completed quilt top! This one has been such a very long time getting in the hoop. It took over two years to even make quilt top stage. Some quilt tops are just plodders I guess. I don't know what to say except that I've just had very mixed feelings about this quilt from the beginning.

I really do like these words on the quilt
Love it and I well, worry about it. It's been too solid fabric-ish, too white, too many disparate elements, too much, too much. And I had zero ideas about how to hand quilt it until a couple months ago.

The ric-rac borders around the blocks are still a fave too
When I suddenly thought about stitching scallops over the center part. Huh. Maybe that will be the thing to make sort of 'make sense'. I went with the cardboard, make-it-yourself template since the plastic template sheets are so expensive these days. Didn't want to ruin a whole sheet experimenting. Anyway... It's not gonna be perfect and you're gonna see where I adjust, adjust, adjust the design. 

Home-made template for the win
Which might actually make me like it better. There's just something about it not being absolutely perfect that sorta calms me down and puts a smile on my face. Onward ho!

These girls.....
And here's a recent picture of our granddaughters. We had an enormous amount of fun getting to spend Easter weekend with them. I mean, we are The Easters, so it's always been a special holiday.*wink  Loving how chunky little Ellie is getting and how chill she was with us even though it's been months since we've got to squeeze on her. Like my father-in-law always said, if we'd have known how much fun grandkids were, we would have been sure to have them first.....