Friday, November 13, 2020

Gonna Bore You With Too Many Pictures of a Baby Quilt

Time just keeps slipping away! It took me forever to get down to business with the baby quilt. Mostly because I just couldn't decide on a design/pattern/idea. Baby quilts can occasionally be so easy to throw together, we often wonder why we don't make more? Other times, it's like pulling teeth to simply bring anything into proper focus just to get started!
The baby Bear Paw quilt

I finally settled on a very easy-peasy block called the 'Bear Paw'. Sewn up in 6" blocks, it allows for a nice little chunk of fabric to shine through all the busyness of mixed fabric prints! So many times, {more and more as the years roll on}, I'm clear over in left field trying to use up the oldie moldy fabrics and I don't even think about what the new mama might like!

With this quilt, I was hoping to convey little boy vibes and also, a slightly urban, modern touch. If there would have been any large print text fabric, you can bet that I would have found a way to work that into the quilt too! But no, it wasn't to be. The great thing about this quilt was that I actually found a way to challenge myself with using up some older, slightly off-color blues, while somehow still avoiding the 'tired fabrics' demeanor that some quilts seem take on so easily! Yay! Definitely something to smile about!

Trimming
Life seems especially stressful lately, and as you all know, I've almost always got something that is worrying the corners of my mind. Chain piecing the little hsts for a low-pressure baby quilt was strangely soothing, though as usual, they didn't quite turn out exactly square! Oh well. This method is fast and easy, but it's never been super good to me as far as precision goes. After each block was sewn I kind of, sort of squared the completed blocks to an even size and called it good. 

Looking at it on the wall after lots of 
auditioning efforts!

Most of the time I don't end up making extra blocks on purpose, but this time I ended up cutting out several more of the lightest blue blocks and also, on impulse, cutting out two extra blocks with the red for background instead of having all the red in the 'paw' position {as per my initial quilt guidelines!}. That's because there was only a very little bit of that particular red available to use and it seemed so perfect for this quilt. Why leave it out? Plus... the brightest blue batik used in that same block was the very last of a small chunk of fabric from, ahem! twenty years ago! Crazy, huh? At first I thought it much too bright for the quilt, but in retrospect, can't imagine the quilt without it.

Inspiration for the baby quilt

Once again, this is a quilt inspired from, {but not exactly sewn up according to}, a quilt pattern saved in one of my Inspiration Binders. This pattern is from the October 2001 American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. Some patterns are just classics, aren't they? After whiffle waffling about and not coming up with anything better, I just decided to quit fighting and see what could happen, trying to make bear paws in these particular colors. There are just some things that my mind refuses to 'see' and no matter how I tried, could not imagine the outcome of these fabrics and colors in any design rendition whatsoever. Besides, what was there to lose?

The full quilt

Though I didn't originally intend to put the outside border on the quilt, one of my daughters basically told me that it did, in fact need one. After finding the dark blue solid fabric and seeing how it emphasized the bright, sparky bear paws, I had to concede. The quilt was probably too small at 36" x 42" before the border addition anyway!

A fun looking binding

One of the best things about making a baby quilt is the ability to repeat the same fabric used in different color ways and not even cringe. Normally, I'd never, ever in a million years, use the red with blue polka dots and the blue with red polka dots in the very same quilt! And then, look! I even used one of those fabrics again for the binding! In most of my quilting efforts, I'd think that was much too cheesy and lame looking and go earnestly hunting for something similar but very, very different! This time I sort of rolled my eyes and thought it mostly sweet...

Loving the red background in the block

Overall, it's just a simple little baby quilt. I know that! But the reality is, that I'm really, tremendously happy with it. It works. Even the scrounged-from-the-stash, 'birds at the coast' backing fabric doesn't make me lose a beat. I started with a small stack of fabric that intrigued me and then did my best to make them look interesting all together. Not a single fabric was bought brand new and in fact, I used up a couple very old {to me} fabrics and even part of an older, upcycled mens shirt {the yellow/black check}. That feels very good. Even the batting was pieced from off-cuts of other larger quilts!

All the Love Apple blocks done

I quilted between the blocks with my go-to, stitch-in-the-ditch thing and then moved on to, very reluctantly! to a bit of hand quilting. I had hoped to have it sandwiched and pinned, plus quilted all in the same day, but no... My conscious {and the very persnickety quilt} just would NOT let me be. Apparently, I must get out the perle cotton and make a stab at giving it a bit more character. Of course, it looks so much better now with the little bit of texture, but really? Will baby even care? lol

And yes, it's slow going, but I'm also making a little tiny bit of headway on some of my endless applique projects here of late. As of earlier in the week, all the Love Apple blocks are now completed and ready for input into a larger quilt plan. Love them so much! Crossing my fingers that I can do justice to them. 

Currently in the hand work bag, is the much neglected impulse project that was started back in August of this year. After that, it will probably be the Melon Patch blocks which have been languishing since about March? They are starting to get quite angry at me so best to think about giving them some attention!


Saturday, October 31, 2020

A String Quilt Finish and Some Fabric Love

I can't believe it's already Halloween! What a year this has been. Tonight we've only had one family trick-or-treating. Between the Covid thing and the city trunk-or-treats, there's just not very many kids out doing the rounds.

String quilt

I wanted to show the latest quilt finish around here before getting buried in next weeks busyness. This was a string quilt started from Lori's December 2018 Stringalong. 
The full view

All the strings were pulled directly from the scrapbin and of course, I couldn't resist the charm of ensuring most were sewn in a slightly wonky fashion. It's such an old fashioned utility look, why not take advantage of the wonderful energy it creates?  I know you're going to be shocked when I admit to already wanting to make yet another one. If only foundation piecing wasn't so annoying at the tear-the-paper-off stage!
Love the off-grain, wonky strings

The quilt is hand quilted with Perle cotton thread across every string and then in a basic grid otherwise. I worried that there wasn't enough hand quilting to give good texture, but after it was washed up, decided there was plenty. I have a suspicion that this quilt would only look better with more hand stitching, but who has that kind of time?
So much fun to hand quilt these bits of fabric!

In fact, the latest {current} quilt in the hoop just cost me two or three extra days as I discovered a big 'oops' in thread color last night. At first I thought to ignore it, but then remembered that the wrong thread used was the very last ball in that particular color. Uggh. So yeah. Last night was spent unpicking the previous nights hand quilting. Normally I would just wing it and figure out something else when I got to the end of whatever ball of thread ran short. On this one, I really, really needed a specific color for emphasizing the applique. Or at least I thought it was needed. Whatever. The end result is wasted time and effort and now, starting over. Yippee skippee.
An unexpected addition to the stash

This week was a good one in that I finally, finally got all of the paperwork caught up in the home office! This is a huge deal for me. I hate being so far behind! It was kind of crazy, 'cuz I was feeling almost hysterical with giddiness and pure relief and then, the very next day, just sort of deflated down to feeling sort of numb. After poking around in the quilt room for a bit, I went ahead and started in on the baby quilt that I was contemplating last week. Didn't get very far at all when I received a phone call about picking up some fabric that someone close to me had recently asked about. They were getting rid of all of their quilting fabric, was I interested? Umm... How about a resounding YES!

There were four kitchen bags full {or mostly full} and surprisingly, I ended up keeping about three fourths of it! Honestly, though I love going through it, I don't think I've ever kept close to half of anything people have ever sent my way! The newest fabric was maybe 5 years old and most are about 8-12 years old with a few pieces slightly older. Since this was someone's entire stash, it was fascinating to see that there were only 4 pieces of purple, a very tiny stack of red and mostly light blues versus the deeper shades. Lots and lots of pink, greens, soft yellows and browns plus a bit of mellow oranges, muted blacks and creams, not white. One of the best parts is that I found enough yardage for backing for 6 of my quilt tops and most of what I need for a 7th top too! Maybe not perfect, but very, very nice for the price! Overall, there was a good lot of fabric that I knew would slip quite seamlessly into my stash. Most of you know that this is the sort of thing that I thrive on, getting the opportunity to use all these challenging, interesting bits that perhaps I never would have even thought to buy for myself!

As some of you know, after doing the Marie Kondo quilt room thing a year or two ago, I determined to keep my stash to the current amount of totes {maximum}. Basically it was a personal goal of trying to dig deep into the stash and get more creative. Plus, I was running out of room. Currently I have 9 large totes {18-20 gal ea.} and 6 med {10 gal.} totes. Not that all the totes are completely full, but that should be enough fabric, right? Riiiighhhttt.....  

So yeah. I've been doing really well--until a couple days ago! I've not been buying a lot of extra fabric with the result that, more and more, the lids are fitting on all the totes much, much better these days.*sigh After a couple days of sorting and washing all the new-to-me fabrics, I had zero choice but to sort through my own totes. Zero! There is simply no more room in the quilting areas for more totes! And no matter how much my husband tempted me with getting a couple new ones, I decided to just try and hold the line. Time to sort through my own fabric stash and see what and where the new stuff could be easily added in.

In the end, what made the most sense was to simply reorganize how I stash each and every color. And in order to do that, I basically had to dump the totes one by one and start over. For instance, there used to be a large tote for dark blue fabrics and a medium tote for med-light blue fabrics. Now I have the med-dark blue fabrics in the large tote and only the very light blue fabrics in the smaller tote, all because I seem to have a preponderance of light blue fabrics. Now, instead of one large tote of all my browns,  I now have a large tote for med-dark brown fabrics and then another large tote for light brown fabrics PLUS what used to be considered the darker cream fabrics and also, what I suppose would be called tan? Those used to be included in the yellow tote. It's all very confusing, except really, it's not. The whole purpose was to make room for all the newish fabric that I super, duper wanted to keep.

I did toss a few pieces here and there of my current stash, just to make proper room and ensure that the lids will still properly stay on and keep all the bright sunlight out. No cheating there, even though I almost let one medium tote of light pink fabrics spill completely over. It was so hard to figure out what to get rid of! And obviously, I made sure to remove all the larger backing fabrics first! No reason why they can't be stored with the specific quilt tops they are destined to be matched up with in the future.  

Now I just need to get rid of one fullish kitchen garbage bag of random discarded fabrics. Really great way to wrap up the roller-coaster week though. Couldn't have planned anything better! I will admit to sending a text and offering to hand quilt one of this gals quilt tops too. Just as a way of saying 'Thanks, this was so much fun'! Crossing my fingers next week will include plenty of time to get caught up on my blog reading. I've been having to stay off the computer a little bit more in order to not lose precious time everywhere else...

Saturday, October 24, 2020

Checking In to Say I'm Alive and Kicking

There's a new quilt in the hoop. Something easy and lighthearted. Possibly a little bit fallish too! It makes me very happy to have this in my lap late in the evening. Good vibes!
Dried Flowers

Of course I'm hand quilting it. Most of you know that machine quilting is definitely not my forte!
Getting sandwiched and pinned

I have a fond spot for this particular quilt. All the improv. strings make my heart sing. Plus using up the abandoned bits for the flowers was just pure fun. I'm probably overstating the case, but can you tell that this quilt makes me smile?
Looking at the applique

Then there's this Four-Block Tulip quilt on the wall. The color in the picture is not quite right but I confess that it still has an old fashioned vibe. Honestly, I'm loving that! Looking forward to putting a wide scrappy yellow border on next. Got to have a good background for more applique! And yes, I deliberately chopped the corners off of the square-in-a-square cornerstones....
4-Block Tulip Medallion on the wall!

I've also been staring at this small pile of fabric. Need to make a baby quilt and these just appeal so much! Pretty much every spare brain cell is dead though. Not coming up with any good ideas!

The fabric stack is marinating

Somehow in the busyness of life, we found time to take a family picture. Don't have our oldest son and his wife {and grandkids} in it, but we were super happy with the fall tones. And it was all very impulsive one day {after church} when we somehow realized that our clothing matched very well. Hopefully I can get organized enough to get this on some Christmas cards here in a couple weeks.
Family is everything
And yes, I have most definitely gained some Coronavirus weight this year. My youngest daughter and I have been getting some walks in on a regular basis lately, trying to improve our mental health and hopeful get me {a little tiny bit} closer to a healthier weight. 

Pumpkin bread

But you know how it is. Fall is in the air and doesn't that mean it's time for pumpkin bread? I'm just not gonna stress too much about it. There's enough of that going on in life! We actually had snow yesterday though it didn't stick here in town. Thank goodness! I'm so not ready for winter! On a good note, I'm thinking that one more week in the home office and then that particular backlog will be finished up and out of my hair. Yay! Is my creativity completely dried up and blown away by now? You don't even know how very, very sick of paperwork I am....

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

A Peachy Finish

So I finally got Peachy Cameo quilt hand quilted and bound! Lots and lots of distractions this past month and unfortunately, hand quilting did not always make the priority list. It turned out to be such a pleasant quilt, almost restful looking! Turns out that I adore strong blues paired with orangey reds and peach. Who knew?
Peachy Cameo is finished!

The original intent was to use loads and loads of the peach solid fabric, but somehow it only ended up with one wide border. Not terribly unhappy with that outcome as the quilt ended up with a nice peachy glow regardless. Something to remember. A little bit can sometimes go a very long ways! The fabric behind the blue circle-ish blocks is a darker peachy brown colored fabric. It was something that had languished in the stash totes for at least 10 years and finally found a wonderful home in this experimental palette. I love how the darker shade grounds the quilt just a little bit more than the lighter shades would have.

 A look at the full quilt

Every time I finish up another medallion sort of quilt, it seems that I'm raring to go on yet another. I definitely don't want all of my quilts to read this way, but hey! Medallion quilts can be sort of addictive!

Centerpiece

I don't usually put eyes on the birds in my quilts, but this one insisted. This centerpiece is not especially intricate or fabulous, but I am super happy with the overall sweetness. And the background fabric for the centerpiece makes my heart go pitter patter. Too bad I only had a fat quarter of that particular fabric!

Looking across the quilt

I think it's safe to say that many of us who have quilted for years and years often get in our little 'ruts'. We have preferences and go-to background color choices and it's easy to stay in our safe little comfort zones with very little thought. With this quilt, I was determined to step away from the cream background look that I continually turn to. Then of course, I ended up working cream into the quilt anyway, first in the very center of the quilt and then later, at the outside border. Just can't seem to help myself! I felt like the quilt needed the lighter color at the outside especially, just to continue with the soft, open look that had been developing. There's something about the way the borders almost seem to 'flow' through one another that is very intriguing to me.

Border work

This entire quilt is my own design. Like usual, in the initial planning stages, I drew up a rough draft {quilt doodle}, just basic ideas for the borders and a general plan of attack. I love starting with a scribbled-on-paper feeling of what I think/want the quilt to look like. The details are not super important at that point. It's more about getting the intended vibe drawn out in picture form before being totally forgotten and swept away in the detritus of life. You have to remember that I often take several years from the very first seed of inspiration to final quilt completion. Not to mention, there are usually many other quilts in the works at the very same time!

Overall I think this quilt was successful in maintaining most of that original intended vibe. The only thing that I wish had turned out differently, would be the green vine applique. It should have been more rounded {or bowl shaped} on the bottoms of the vine. There were several factors involved in that decision, including having to increase the vertical width of the border or potentially losing the amount of tulips and berries that could be added in. Maybe even having to make the tulips smaller? Knowing that the side borders were going to be altogether different kept me more focused on 'proportion' than maybe I should have been.

Bottom corner details

As usual, I started this quilt with a stack of long-simmering fabrics. The colors used in the centerpiece were vitally important in setting the tone of the entire quilt. I've found that if you get that part wrong, there are certain colors in that gorgeous stack of fabric that will never, ever play nicely together. Always so disappointing to have to abandon perfectly lovely pieces of fabric that originally seem destined for good use together. But it does happen. And sometimes it even hurts.

With a medallion quilt, I make notes of which color combination to try and use in each proceeding border, trying to tie back into the centerpiece of course. This is something that I audition several times throughout the making of the quilt top. If I use a lot of blues in this border, then what works best moving forward to the next round? 

Sometimes you find that a coping border will be needed and then there's the challenge of finding a fabric that doesn't read too glaringly 'off' or ends up being distracting. It's important that coping borders fill a minor role and don't take away from more complex border work done before or after.  I hit the jackpot with this very light blue fabric. For whatever reason, that soft, simple fabric ended up emphasizing my centerpiece, which was an awesome result! 

For those of you who were wondering, the light blue coping border was needed in order to have the next pieced border fit together properly.  Though it doesn't usually bother me, I didn't want anything chopped off in this quilt. And well..., it has to be said. I rarely plan ahead for perfect measurements at the exact moment of starting a quilt! Maybe I should? Hmm...  Most of you know very well by now, that my preferred method is simply 'eyeballing' things. If something looks good to my eye {or appeals to my gut instinct}, then it's a go. Everything after just has to be made to adjust and fit in. It's the human touch look that I'm after. Absolute perfection is just sooo boring!

So even with the original scribbled quilt plan, I never truly know what my quilts will look like until they are 100% completed. The entire project becomes a huge make-do effort as one decision informs the next one. That's the way that my personal creativity works best. Meeting the challenge of getting a quilt top to 'work' at each particular phase, whether that includes color, fabric, measurement issues or perhaps even needing to add in a new design element. The best quilts keep me on my toes throughout, cause me to think outside the box for solutions and often end up with something that surprises.

In this quilt, the 'surprise' is the multi-colored fabric that was used for the scalloped border. Deliberately cutting that fabric in a specific direction gives it a subtle striped look that just makes me smile. I would have thought that fabric entirely too busy for use as a scalloped border, but no! Turns out it was the perfect choice {color-wise} for that particular border and then it was just a matter of figuring out how to use it best. How could I not use it when the colors were so very spot on? We all know how difficult it is to find these pieces of fabrics when the moment is at hand. 

Okay, enough babbling. Time to quit avoiding the to-do list around here! It's good to have another 2020 finish wrapped up and behind me. 

 

Saturday, October 3, 2020

The Applique Ideas That Never Seem to End

I've been home for a few days now and have thoroughly enjoyed some quality time to sit and quilt. Quietly. Peacefully. Getting to go to the Oregon coast for a couple days apparently reinvigorated something deep within me. We don't always realize how badly a little 'time out of time' vacation is needed until the moment that we're breathing it in. Until the moment we walk back through the door of our home and are so very glad to be HOME.
Love Apples progress

The main project that I worked on while away from home was the 'Love Apples' quilt. I couldn't believe it when I looked back and realized that this quilt has been in the works since May. My oh my, how time slips away! Such a happy project. I knew I would love doing the stitching on this one! With a little more time spent on it after returning home, all the stems are stitched now on the 21 background squares. One block is completely finished up just so I could see how it was all going to look. And then I was abruptly done with that project for the present. Funny how that happens. 

Thankfully I hadn't cut out all the leaves as I determined that the size of my template needed to be one seam allowance larger. That's something that happens altogether too often around here, so I've learned to expect it and actually, even to look for it. The smallest pile of lemon shaped parts is the cut-outs from behind the larger, layered pieces that make up the Love Apple flowers. No clue what will happen with those little bits yet, but I'm sure they'll be happy enough to rest in the orphan applique totes until further notice.

Coronacrazy

And speaking of orphaned applique bits.... After being home for a little bit, I decided the project that I most wanted to work on was Coronacrazy. Kind of surprising as it's been awhile and honestly, at times, I was feeling a bit down with the entire idea. Another whole applique quilt? Whose idea was this anyway? The quilt start is approx. 42" x 47", so lots bigger than is naturally comfortable for hand applique work. It's crazy. {Thus the name.} Lets just call it a Covid-19 mush brain quilt and every quilter {everywhere} totally gets it. All I know is that it totally made sense at the time.

Looking at the 'hills' that still need to be stitched down

All previous angst aside, this week I have slowly been plodding forward. Improbably, feeling really good about this quilt too! What I'm showing you here represents hours and hours of stitching effort so I guess you could say that I've fully and unabashedly recommitted to finishing this quilt. I mean, not right this very minute, but eventually--as free time and mojo permits. 

Finally, last night I succeeded in reaching the point of getting all this initial flower applique stitched down. All the stems that tuck under the hills are fixed in place. Yes! Of course, there's still the upper side of the arches to stitch down and then next up I will address where and what leaves will be needed. After that, there will be the question of which other orphaned floral pieces will go on and yada yada yada. It's a phase by phase sort of quilt and I totally expect answers to manifest as each area become more and more defined. At some point I fully intend to think about a border. Or two. But that's in the future. Plenty of time for that when we get there!

As far as answers go, for instance, there was an area on the right side of the quilt where the hills looked pretty ragged as they practically dove off the side of the quilt. You can see this more clearly from the August auditioning work. It's something that I've considered here and there. Hmm.., does it look sloppy? Rushed? Crazy? lol  Could it be cleaned up without destroying the integrity of the folksy look that I was initially striving for? These and other random thoughts swirled around in the deep recesses of my mind on occasion.

As I was laying the quilt on the floor the other night {to better admire the whole effect of the finished applique stitching}, suddenly my brain engaged and I immediately knew what to do. Lightbulb time! It was so simple and yet, if I hadn't been steadily working on the quilt over a period of several days, my subconscious wouldn't have had that quiet time to dwell on and seek for answers. 'Cuz you have to know that I wasn't even positive that it needed changed. It was more like a little niggle of irritation, not a clarion call to action! Whatever. I am loads happier with the look now. The quilt already seems to have oodles more potential to turn out well, right? It's okay. I think so and that's really all that matters.
The new start

And lest you think that I am losing my awesome abilities to impulsively start a brand new project, never fear. The squirrels are here. Oh yes. One of the marinating stacks of fabric is now well on its way to becoming yet another applique project. As if I don't have enough! Just blocks for right now in blue like the ocean. Wow. Just wow. So shocking! I'm calling this one 'Crazy Daisy'. Nope, not a tulip in sight fo this particular quilt. Just a ruffle-y look flower that will probably end up on with the blocks on point but yeah, we'll see about that. I don't even care. It's hand work. Fabric. Color. Peace.

I'm gearing up for yet another stressful month, albeit from a slightly healthier place. Lots of challenges facing us during this season that I'm not looking forward to at all, but that I know are unavoidable. Yay. 

Julie said something the other day that really resonated. I probably need to cut myself some slack too. She said her stash was soul soothing and I definitely feel that way about mine as well. What a great place to start. It's okay to dive in and start something new from pieces of what we already love or maybe even just stack up the fabrics and dream. Dreaming is good, even if it never goes anywhere tangible in the immediate future. {But I'm betting it will!}  Without getting too deep in the weeds, I just love how her observations matched up with several of the things that I've observed or experienced lately as well. It's good to have quilty friends. Enough babbling though. I've got approximately one day left of my gloriously people free home.*wink  Something that rarely ever happens around here....

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

Next Up

Our skies are blue again and that makes us very happy. Life was very slow for awhile, but sometime here at the end of summer it has gotten extremely busy. It's been long enough, a lot of the family is starting to come into town to see the parents again. Though we have to wear masks going into all the stores, our bubble just keeps getting bigger and bigger. Time for the government to take a big step back and let us be responsible for our own safety once again. Most of the people we know don't intend to live this way forever.
Binding all ready for hand work

It felt amazing to put the last few stitches in the Peachy Cameo quilt last night. Then, this morning, I got up early to put the binding on. Wowsers, the light was so pretty! I'm not generally a morning person, so this was an unusual thing, getting to fully experience the beauty of a quietly beautiful new day.
String quilt ready for the hoop!

I decided to put the string quilt in the hoop next. Not the quilt top at the top of the list, but it was the one that could be sandwiched and quilted in quick window of time late last week. And it feels right. I'm loving the idea of getting my hands on this particular quilt once again!
Love the energy to this one...

Also, I think it will be very therapeutic to hand quilt as the decisions will be minimal. Just pick up the needle and go. Stitch, stitch, stitch....
Lots more of these to sew!

I also managed to squeeze in a couple hours last week with the hourglass units that ended up being abandoned from another project. They aren't the prettiest things, but I enjoyed the mindless chain piecing so much. Was very sad when life got in the way and my time had to be redirected elsewhere. 

We're all packed up and about ready to leave for a week or possibly more time? away from home. Husband finally got the job stuff figured out after many delays {story of our lives}, and now it's time to go take care of the job away from home. There will be people here in our home so don't think I'm announcing an empty house to the world. Hoping to squeeze in a fast trip to the Oregon coast during the time away too. We'll see. Got my handwork bag all prepped and ready to go. Of course! Thankfully I checked it again last night because I had managed to forget the 'proper' color thread for an applique project. Hmm... I wonder if that was a sneaky way to go visit a quilt store? It's so crazy. When I think back throughout the year, I can only think of maybe three times I've actually been inside of a quilt store. How sad is that? 


 

Saturday, September 12, 2020

Hanging In There

We're mostly doing fine, just feeling headachy and stressed. Very thankful that so many of the people we know and love have been able to return already to an intact home. Today though, the fires are a few miles away and across the Columbia river. Much closer than we can possibly be happy about. No evacuation notices for our little town just yet, but it could come. Uggh. I've got a file box of important papers ready just in case, but nothing else. We're just tired. Weary. Sick that this particular fire was started intentionally. Some people have mental health problems, that's all I'm gonna say.
4-Block Tulip Medallion

In an impulsive move, I decided that there really should be something hanging up on that little design wall of mine. There needs to be something to look at and consider whenever I come into the quilt room. Something that doesn't take me having to pull it out of a tote just to look at. Decisions are hard right now. Even the silliest of ones.

All the pieces were cut using a small template
called a 'Mini Dresden' I picked up at Walmart

So  out came the 4-block Tulip quilt project. You know, the boring blocks? I'm making these pieced sashing strips to frame them. All the blues were cut strictly from the scrap bin totes and so the straight of the grain isn't always exact. I'll deal with the foibles of that later. Eight more sets to go and then I'll have to figure out the inner strip color and all the cornerstones. Probably gonna be applique there. I mean, why not?
Trying not to man handle them too much!
I've also been plodding through the steps to bring the T blocks to completed quilt top phase. This isn't a particularly inspiring quilt top, but all of it has come directly from the stash totes or a cut-up plaid shirt or two. It's kept me busy in a totally non-pressure way. 

Vintage T quilt top is completed!

In this quilt I focused on 'old tired oranges' and found some success with using up some languishing bits. Like I said in a previous post, the color palette was found in one of my favorites of my dads well-used plaid shirts. I'm pleased to say that another of his cast-off plaid shirts has also found its way into this very quilt. I've had it for a very, very long time and never found a good use for it until now. Seems rather fitting. And yes, he's still alive. Mom and dad both are, though getting more fragile with every year it seems. Much better to make this sort of quilt now than later when I would cry buckets, right?

Loving this green fabric so much...
I changed out the fabric on the plus block below three different times. Or was it four? Don't know why I even bothered as eventually this quilt will probably be used as a comfort quilt. Or not. There is that sentimental attachment after all! Some of the smaller orange rectangles are pieced as are the longer orange strips. It's all make-do and somehow sort of sweetly old fashioned. I don't love it, but I'm happy with the simplicity and {un}pretentiousness of it all.
It may not be special, but it's keeping me busy...

One evening I couldn't settle and finally went scrounging for a new fabric pull to cheer myself up. Funny how melancholy it looks with only blues, greens and blacks being represented, ha ha. Not so cheery after all unless you're a quilter. Then you probably understand.  Guess it will be a moody Judy sort of quilt if/when I ever cut into the fabric and give it a go!

I also have given the quilt room another good tidying up in the past week. Had a lot of fun opening up all the smaller totes of fabric stacks and also gave all the simmering stacks on the counters a good long look. Nothing went promptly back into the stash totes, so I'd say there's still some potential there in each and every one. In fact, my heart actually did the little 'pitter-patter' thing just imagining a couple of these worked into a quilt design. Couldn't quite bring myself to actually cut into anything this week, but ideas are slowly bubbling up in the back of my conscious. I can feel it happening.
A new stack of fabric to think about...

Finally found a window to watch an episode of 'The Quilt Show' featuring Sujata Shah and Freddy Moran. You can find the link over at The Root Connection though time is running out to access it for free. Am so glad I took the time to watch this as both quilters are long time faves of mine. Really made me aware {once again},  of how much I NEED a source of creativity in my life! Especially right now. Wowsers. Some nights it's all I can do to pick up the hand quilting hoop and stitch part of a hoop. The thing is, no matter how difficult it seems to be to get started, I always, always feel so much better afterward. Crossing my fingers this publishes properly as our Internet has been very erratic this past week. So there you go, another post from Debbie Downer desperately trying to keep her chin up. Things could be much, much worse and we're thankful they're not. One day at a time!