Thursday, August 15, 2019

Another Saga of Similar But Different Quilts

I don't always know when walking into the quilt room, exactly which project will be seeing some forward progress. Bullseye Medallion is one that usually gets the side eye and then unfortunately, a serious lack of interest. Some quilts demand so much from us that it's easier to avoid dealing with them altogether. Or at least until their moodiness is firmly under control.
Bullseye Medallion quilt gets another border!
Lately I found myself expending the absolute minimum amount of effort required {to gain some ground} on another project and then, wallah! the Bullseye Medallion suddenly looked quite attractive. Funny how that happens. As this project has had built in expectations from the very start, I'm always working at it from a set of controlled factors. These constraints are entirely self manufactured and could even possibly be changed at a moments notice. Ha! The fact that it even has any 'built-in perimeters' {possibly} makes me more stubborn than ever about working on it. If there are any hard and fast rules around here, it's that 'Quilting Rules are Made to be Broken'. Right?

Nevertheless, at the moment, the control factors are thus: Each border is to be 5" finished, sewn together in similar color family fabrics {very broad interpretation there}, and also include some form of pieced sewing elements--though not for the entire border surround. It would be nice if every border introduced a new pieced element, but don't think that part is set in concrete. We shall see. It was pretty touch and go as to whether or not I was going to break the 5" rule even this early in the project. Those Ohio Stars were not cooperating!
Adding a few little Ohio Stars
In a nutshell, I'm trying to focus on the fabric with this particular quilt. Since this is the second border, I'm still muddling along and it feels very pie in the sky as to whether or not the end results will be wonderfully exciting. As per usual when working this way, I like to get the main part of the quilt on the floor {or wall} and then start throwing fabrics around. Does this one look good? Hmm... what about that one? Can I get away with this? Ahh.. yes, definitely that piece needs to stay. And so on and so forth....
Playing with the layout and auditioning fabrics
Often, I have to walk away for a few hours or a day. Perhaps two. Then I can come back with relatively fresh eyes. At that point I can either sweep it all up and start from scratch, move a couple pieces around, exchange fabrics out. Whatever seems to make sense. All options are on the table! Once I have a clear plan for how it needs to look, then its time to puzzle out the cutting and sewing it together. And then it's back into the tote for another day and yet another round, next potential stack of fabrics grouped together in a gallon ziploc bag. Medallion quilts are really one of my favorite ways to work and I never completely tire of them, self-induced rules notwithstanding....
Putting it away until next time
So yeah, the quilt below is the one tat seemed to take an enormous amount of energy just to get this rinky-dink little border decided on. And I'm still a little indecisive about the ultimate benefits of making every border side the same exact fabric, much less the same exact color. I won't be surprised if some unsewing happens eventually, but for some reason, it felt important to get to HERE, even if it might be wrong. 'Wrong' can be fixed later. Limbo land is just another excuse for procrastination.
Seedpod Flower 
This old quilt pictured below is the inspiration pic for the rest of the quilt. That part that is only being imagined in my head so far! I have searched high and low for ideas to complete the Seedpod Flower and finally decided on something fairly scrappy and informal. Wow. What a shock.
Inspiration pic
The centerpiece flower will probably be offset in this particular quilt, with rows of these square-in-a-square blocks surrounding it. I want to make the blocks all the same size {so no improv. cutting and sewing}, but will then add the alternate rectangle pieces of fabric in random widths.
Gathering fabrics
The original fabric pull kept nagging at me, though part of me thought it pretty fantastic. Finally a couple of days ago, I went and dug through the stash totes and found quite a few darker tones to properly flesh out the values. Wincing a little here, but you can probably see that brown has even found its way back into the quilt. Which shouldn't be a huge problem as it's in the centerpiece too! Not that I don't love brown, but there was something about this fabric mix that felt a bit joyful. Wouldn't want to dumb that down in my zeal to expand the fabric/color range.

It might feel that these quilts are very similar in style right now, but I think you'll find them to be very different in the end. It's true that I often play with several quilt projects in very similar color palettes--all at the same time. It happens over and over. But remember, the Seedpod Flower only came about because of the abandoned bits from the Bullseye Medallion in the first place!  Yep, a never-ending cycle! It's a compulsion that doesn't trouble me and I don't even bother to question it anymore. Who cares? The quilts love telling me what to do and obviously, I'm just along for the ride.*wink

Linking to Wendy's Peacock Party.

Friday, August 9, 2019

Some Quilts Are Easier Than Others

Big Tipsy Basket was a very fun quilt to hand quilt. Unfortunately they aren't all so easy. I had to mark the many echoing lines around the outside of the basket and of course the double lines inside the basket too. Totally eyeballing whatever I could get away with, because marking is a pain. I really, really hate marking. Yuck.  But the thing is, you do all of that, get it done, firmly behind you, and then the rest can be free sailing.
Big Tipsy Basket is finished!
Well, as free sailing as slow hand quilting ever is! So relaxing though. Can you tell that I thoroughly enjoy hand quilting? Especially when using Perle Cotton thread, which is all I use anymore. I'm possibly an addict. There's just something about that instant texture that still speaks volumes to my utility quilt loving soul! I've even started wondering about getting rid of all the usual Gutterman etc. hand quilting thread around here. It hasn't been used in several years now and thread does start getting old. Would anyone be interested in doing a trade of sorts?
#3 in the Big Basket Series
I do agonize a little when starting with a new quilt in the hoop. Wonder what in the world I can do to help make it all look better. This basket quilt had so much of the background fabric showing that it almost intimidated me. But like always, I picked a selection of complimentary thread colors, stuck the quilt in the hoop and just started stitching. {You can't let fear of the unknown paralyze you into inertia or you'll never have any quilts to show off.} If it didn't look good, then I took it all out and started over with a different thread color or maybe even a different stitching pattern. Whatever it takes. Nobody wants to spend eons hand quilting only to dislike it later!
Looking at the texture
Getting started is often the hardest part. So many decisions to make and me? I feel pretty inadequate because most of what I end up doing is just easy peasy stuff. None of those gorgeous feathers and entwined cable motifs around here! I mean, not that I really, truly want that for my quilts or it would probably be happening. But there is a little teensy part of me that sometimes tries to insist that those harder, more complex quilting patterns should probably be the default position. Right? Aren't we the funniest creatures! Building up this imaginary pressure in our heads because of what? Still scratching my head here.... 

After finishing up one or two hoop fulls of quilt though, making all those thread color and stitching design decisions, the rest is a breeze. Seriously, after settling into how the stitching is actually going to proceed, all those little doubts and concerns just melt away and I'm good to go. Maybe that's why I'm still here, quilting away. Those ideas pop up from time to time and I give them a little consideration. Of course I do, 'cuz I'm human! Then I take a good long look at MY quilt and just swat the 'should-do'ems' away. Poof! just like dandelion seeds. This is me, doing my thing, thank you very much. And I couldn't be happier with the end result! Don't listen to the haters, even if they're only in your own head.*wink
Still happy with the border solution
Next up in the hoop is the Make Beautiful Things quilt. It's pretty bright and obviously, has lots of attitude to boot. First off, I pinned it so that there could be some machine stitching in the ditch. Now it's in the hoop for very important hand quilting details. Ha! Not going to be a fast quilt. Nevertheless, I am enjoying the opportunity to take a closer look. And yeah... contemplating the next wordy quilt idea that may or may not be in the works.... 
Make Beautiful Things next up in the hoop
These rising sun blocks do have a few puckers that, after the hand stitching is completed, are proving much more difficult to see. Oh yeah. Totally what I was hoping would happen! The worst thing about stitching on this quilt is that all the blocks are about the same size as the hoop. So what is the problem? Basically there is a choice to be made. Go ahead and center each large block in the hoop and then take off a clamp on the side that I am stitching on, so as not to keep running into the edge of the hoop with the needle. OR, I can keep taking the quilt in and out of the hoop, so as to perfectly center about a fourth of each block at a time. Ughh.  Guess which one I'm doing? Yep. Centering the entire block and removing clamps as they get in my way. A little harder on my hands in certain areas, sure, but I definitely don't have an unlimited amount of patience! Once I get to the longer wordy rows and the borders, the entire dynamic changes and it should be business as usual.
Lots of area to figure out how to add in stitching
After writing that little bit the other day about 'labeling all my quilts once a year', I had a little pang of conscious. Did that really happen last year? Um, no, probably not. Only the quilt show ones and like always, the ones that are given away. So... I reluctantly decided to go through every stack and even the displays of quilts throughout the entire house. Just to check. Surely there weren't that many unlabeled quilts? 
A wonderful pile of guilt
About that.... This stack doesn't even represent the quilts that may have been given 'unlabeled' to my own kids. They're supposed to be checking and getting right back to me, darn it all anyway. This is a time-expired offer! How does this happen? On a good note, I was able to select four more quilts for the giving away pile {though two will have to wait until after the quilt show} and that helps me to feel better about continuing to keep making quilts. Though I fully intend to hoard the lions share, I wouldn't want anyone to start feeling, perhaps, suffocated? by all the mountains of quilts developing in our humble abode. Linking up to Wendy's Peacock Party.

Monday, August 5, 2019

Start With the Foundation and Then I'll Work My Way Into the Details

I finally dove into applique prep like I've been threatening to do for weeks now. The brand new project, inspired by the fabulously creative Jane Ormes, was a dig-deep-and-see-how-seriously-you-want-to-do-this type of project. Jane had responded very kindly to my request, to try and interpret one of her prints into a quilt, which honestly kind of shocked me.
Freezer paper templates ready to go
I figured it would be an 'Absolutely Not! How about a restraining order?', but no, she was very, very nice about it and even thanked me for asking! This particular print, 'Elephantjunglematissetypething!' might seem like an odd choice, but I'm so in love with the leaves and flowers. Wonderfully whimsical. It feels like something that would continually result in feel-good endorphins while working through the stitching. Ha! Not at the start though. I spent almost 3 hours just on drawing the leaves. Erasing and drawing and erasing some more. They will not be exact, but I wanted the vibe to be very, very similar. 
Still wondering if I have what it takes to include the elephant!
Once again I don't intend to go out and buy any fabric but will try and make-do from the stash totes. Luckily I had a piece of white fabric that seemed plenty large enough. Unbelievably, it still worked when I had to throw all of my painstaking measurements out the window and start over. Yep. Just had to piece every iota of the yardage together and try to make it as large as possible. Yikes! Now my stomach is feeling a bit queasy as I never, ever intended for the background to be 68".*sigh  Plus, there's a seam right through the middle-ish of the quilt. After spending that much time on the leaves, I knew there would be no going back and trying to re-draw them in a smaller size. And, I love, love, love the larger size. They just look amazing already!
Getting started with placement for reverse applique
Many of you are probably squirming just from looking at all the rumpled fabric, but this is the wrong blog to be coming to for immaculate quilting projects or stunningly arranged quilt pictures.I slog away at the details and iron when I have to. Take pictures only when it seems necessary to keep up with the blog.

The background above? I was in a hurry and pushed for time. Ended up sewing the two large pieces of yardage together without measuring, cutting and pinning. Just sewed them together and then... just sat and looked at the rippled seam. Gag. Ughh. Agghh! How does that even happen after 20+ years of sewing? So out came the seam ripper and of course a little pity party. {Again, how badly do I want to make this quilt?} So yes, it does and will lay flat. NOW. But go ahead and judge me if it makes you feel better.*wink
All the rows are ready for initial applique stitching
The baskets are all ready to go for the Patchwork Garden quilt too. They are all some shade of navy and though this isn't the best picture, I am enthralled with the color palette thus far. A couple of the baskets are folded down at the top as everything possible will be appliqued into place per row before starting to join a couple rows. Step by step is how it goes and as always, I will be adding more of the applique details as each phase progresses. So very difficult to do hand work on a large background. Which is exactly why the previous quilt is a bit of a problem even before getting started!
Failed flower block #1
Another project that has been seeing a little bit of attention is the AHIQflowers invitational. I had this flower applique quilt in mind that for some reason made me think that all the flowers could be machine pieced. After playing around with several ideas, using scraps from the scrap bin, I ditched all the potential flowers. I don't want to spend a hundred hours making something 'not quite good enough'.
Failed flower block #2
I give up. The only look that will truly make me happy is if they are all appliqued. Do I really need another major applique project right now?  Plus, none of it seemed very improv.-y to me which feels strange knowing that the AHIQ is usually all about improv.  What really interests me right now is recreating old utility style quilts.
Failed flower block #3
So I just chucked all the previous play, ideas and assumptions and went straight to my favorite book 'Unconventional and Unexpected' by Roderick Kiracofe. What say? Anything there to make me start thinking about flowers in an intriguing way?
The new stack of fabric! Kind of a weird blue
for me to be working with....
Oh yeah. The quilt below, which is just a jumbled up mix of shapes and cast-off fabrics jumped right out at me. See the lemoyne star shape in the far right bottom corner? That's gonna be my flower right there, some how, some way. The entire quilt will be a huge improv. puzzle of sorts and that easily, the decision was made!
Unconventional and Unexpected quilt
I have friends who definitely don't understand my desire to recreate weird, scrap bin style, utility quilts. They might even worry about me a little. It's perfectly okay. Us quilters know good and well that the time to make a quilt is the time when it lights all of our fuses on fire. Not tomorrow or the next day. Does anyone understand the entirety of how inspiration works? There's a lot of books out there, but nothing definitive.
Closer look at the future flower inspiration
What I do know is this, whatever we make today, undeniably informs what we make tomorrow. In the process of [happily} following our muse, we can make something very personally compelling and then that can and will usually help generate enthusiasm for whatever the next project might be. See how this works? We don't have to understand all the whys and wherefores. We just have to make sure that the logical side of our brain doesn't succeed in drowning out our muse and stifling new growth. 

This quilt won't be an exact duplicate either. Close perhaps. Is an exact replica even possible? And more importantly, what are the benefits to stressing ourselves out attempting to? Mostly I just intend to eyeball things {skip the math} and try to make a single row before moving on the next. At most I hope to create a quilt that gives off the same kind of spunky 'I am good enough', 'I am not ashamed of being humble', or 'I am worthy' vibe. Wish me luck!

Thursday, August 1, 2019

The String Blocks Are A Quilt Top Now!

Did anyone else have an almost two day shutout with Bloglovin'? It looked like their feed wasn't picking up any posts for a very long time. Though I'm annoyed that my most recent post won't be in the blog history, the worst thing is missing new posts from other quilters. Hopefully I can find missing ones and catch up later.
String Blocks
My son was gone for about five days and so of course I took the opportunity to use his bedroom floor. Trying to settle on the layout for the strings quilt definitely took more room than my small design wall had to offer. Not that it actually took five days to make a decision, but so many distractions kept popping up, it did somehow take about four days to sew the rows together. And why not leave the blocks on the floor if they weren't bothering anyone?
Love a good scrap-bin quilt....
There wasn't a lot to choose from {in the stash totes} for the alternate blocks, something I knew all along. Way before this quilt top came together, I had come to the unhappy realization that a large enough piece of fabric {in the appropriate color}, wasn't going to magically materialize in my quilting room. A couple weeks ago, when shopping for binding fabric for Vintage Lily, I also kept an eye out for possibilities for this strings quilt. Because the blocks were so busy, I wanted to keep the background very simple--keep the focus on the energy of the subtle string movement.
A text print inner border
It was an odd choice of a quilt shop {rarely find anything I can't live without}, but the location was convenient at the time and I thought, 'Why not?' Though I wasn't looking specifically for a gray fabric, this Basic Gray tone on tone fabric really seemed to hit all the high notes. I love that it reads as a solid, but up close, there is a gorgeous, turquoise blue texture overlaid across the gray. The final choices seemed to be between a deep, dark, rich blue 'barely-there-print' and this gray 'almost solid'. The quilt store was minutes away from closing and the choice had to be made quickly. Honestly, I was {mentally} crossing my fingers all the way home! I just had this feeling and whew! What a relief to know that my instincts were right on the mark.
Another view
I bought just enough to add a small outer border as my thoughts were to kind of  'float' the string blocks in the background. Then later, when the rows were all sewn together and I could see the final look emerging, it just seemed a little drab. Maybe add a small inner, sashing type border? Off to the stash totes I went, ending up in the black totes after a very brief look at other colors. Nothing seemed to spark any joy until I saw the small cut of black and white text print. It was the remainder of what was originally bought for a border on the Fire quilt and so all that was left was cut on the length of the grain.
And another....
Unfortunately, it was only 7 1/3" wide. Wanting my thin inner border to be a minimum of 1" wide after seam allowance, my heart sank. Just not quite enough for the 5 strips I needed. I looked and looked for other options and thought about mixing up fabrics with similar look prints, something I usually do without any problems whatsoever. Nothing made me happy. Nothing seemed good enough. It's funny, you'd think that having made these blocks from the scrap bin, everything else could have been scrapped together and the make-do look would have done its usual thing. We would have fell in love and lived happily ever after, right? No! I had IDEAS. There was an EXPECTATION. Finally, I measured again, pondered and then cut 5 strips all at about a scant shy of 1 1/2".*sigh  So easy. Why didn't I think of that in the first place?
There's nothing quite like a true scrappy mix of fabrics
So very, very happy with that decision as the text print ends up looking vaguely like a striped fabric in the direction it was cut. Overall it seems to add a little extra spark or attitude to the quilt that mixing several different fabrics would have detracted from. I am absolutely delighted to see it work out. No need to worry why there are so very many pictures! Do you {like me}, admire how the string blocks 'list' here and there and are not perfect little soldiers? Roberta Horton in 'Plaids and Strips' would have said that they are 'casually off-grain'. Oh yes. Gloriously so!
Finished string quilt top
In making the blocks, I started with one string in the center-ish of the paper square and worked to one side and then rotated the block and worked the other side till the paper was covered. Since it was foundation piecing, then technically, I started with a 'pair' of strips. But that pair was always placed just so, in hopeful anticipation that the one on the bottom would be ground zero so to speak. And rarely, rarely are any of my strips a perfect width. They are scraps. Abandoned bits and pieces of whatever has been discarded from the cuttings. So yeah, bias for days.... Thus the foundation pieced efforts for this specific project! You can see it more clearly below, the back side of the quilt where all those lovely papers will have to be removed some day in the future.*ughh
The paper that needs to be taken off
The wonderful quilt below, was my original inspiration for these particular string blocks. You can see where I got my persnickety ideas of how the blocks, and then later the quilt, needed to look! True, I had a very hard time wanting to sew the blocks, but always knew if I could just suck it up and keep going, the quilt was going to be very worthwhile. Antique quilts are the very best form of inspiration, can't hardly get enough. Speaking of that, have you seen Julie's latest quilt? So incredible, you really should go have a look. I swear, she sends me down more squirrel trails than anyone!
Antique quilt inspiration
Something else finally got addressed this last few days too. All the large sets of strips have finally been cut down into the smaller strip units for Shimmer. It hasn't seen any love since February probably!
Cutting, cutting, cutting
It will no doubt still be awhile before I start sewing the units together, but now they are ready for that day when the urge to chain piece becomes irresistible. This project apparently got stuffed into a tote and then mostly forgot about. Shortly after finishing all the cutting, my ruler broke in half. Seriously! Just a fluke thing. Initially dismayed, I felt better about it when thinking back to how long it's been around. 18 years! Wowsers! That's a pretty good investment, considering how much use it gets on a regular basis!
Units for Shimmer quilt
Still working on finishing Big Tipsy Basket for the quilt show and now I feel a lot better about finding time to get some applique prep work in. It's nice to have the 'in-progress' quilt list whittled down to about 5 before I blow it all up and get it back up to the 9 or 10 that seems to be the norm {at least around here!}. What with the AHIQ Floral Challenge and a couple other potential projects taking up lots of head space, there's always plenty of quilt ideas ready and willing to jump on board.... Linking up with Lori's StringAlong. Thank you Lori! Don't think I would have pushed through this specific challenge without the QAL to prod me into action.

Monday, July 29, 2019

Vintage Lily is A Lovely Finish

Here we go with another good finish! Vintage Lily is all wrapped up except for the label and I only do those once a year. Make a nice big stack and just attack them all at once! A little surprising, but there's just something about this quilt that makes me feel a little bit possessive of it.
Vintage Lily is a completion!
My oldest daughter has already been making noises about taking off with this one and I'm like, 'No, this is MY quilt, back off already!' Which is so funny because I know good and well how as time goes by, there will be others that I like just a wee bit better. Isn't that how it works? Always assuming that I keep quilting of course!
Loving the different red values
This quilt was made with one of Sujata Shah's free-pieced block formula's from her 'Cultural Fusion' book. I took the square-in-a-square block and cut the corners smaller so as to have the look of a snowball block instead. The thing about making the snowballs with this method, is that all the blocks will have the same four fabric corner triangles instead of mixing them up per block. With this quilt, it probably helps tone down any extra busyness, so I don't mind at all.
Lily centerpiece
I did try to orient some of the conversation print blocks 'right side up', but didn't get too obsessive about it. There is one of the larger tulip print blocks in the far left corner {don't think I caught any pics of it tho} that does drive me a little crazy. Yep, my perfectionist traits still pop up even though I've been trying to stomp them out for years and years now. At least in regards to quilting. Ha!
Looking across the quilt
I second guessed adding in the few black blocks but thought the quilt needed the depth. Antique quilt often have an unexpected color that for whatever reason seems to emphasize the main color scheme. You might not even 'see' the random color when first looking at the quilt, but upon studying it, think, 'Hmm... that's an interesting color addition!'. Though this particular mix of colors is not the traditional red, white and blue, it does tend to read that way at a quick glance and the black, in my opinion, keeps the quilt from looking shallow.

Can quilts actually look shallow? They can definitely look uninteresting or one dimensional. I always look for a combination of ideas/elements that will draw someone into {or over} to my quilt. Something that makes them want to take a deeper, longer look than they otherwise would be inclined to. See, it's a compliment even if non-quilters say things like, 'Hey, she's really obsessed about quilting, but you know, her quilts do look pretty cool'. As for quilters, I will never mind things like, 'Her stuff really isn't my style, but I like her quilts regardless.' Interest is interest is interest, right? The best comments are the sincerely given 'I love it, looks amazing etc.,' but we gotta be realistic. Not everyone is as fascinated by quilting as we are!
The side of the quilt
I'm very happy with the way the edges of the quilt look. Cutting all those snowball blocks in half at the edge of the quilt was a very good decision. There's just something about this quilt that still makes me question the proportions. Could it have used another row at the bottom of the quilt to elongate the quilt and give it a slightly better feel? I did play around with that idea and could never 100% decide that it was a better choice. Ended up accidentally sewing extra rows onto the sides of the quilt, knowing for sure that was a bad move immediately after viewing it! Chopping off the sides {to scale?}, was the best that I could come up with other than adding on a border, and that just didn't seem necessary. Though I love and adore borders, not every quilt actually needs one and I'm so relieved to have gained the maturity to finally recognize that particularly important insight.*wink
Loving this one so much!
Just because I'm me and it's fruit season. Had to brag about our first real taste of fresh peaches for the summer! My sister texted me yesterday evening with a cryptic line of  'have some peaches, biscuits and whip'. Okay. Not a huge fan of biscuits with fresh fruit, but this was my sister who has been known to make some amazing desserts. Mouth watering, drool worthy desserts barely being mentioned and off we went hoping to get there before it was all demolished.
How many times can I 'Like' it? lol
I stole this picture off of her later Instagram post just to tease you a little. The biscuits were some kind of dessert biscuit, loaded with real butter and chopped pecans. The peaches were very fresh, the taste so rich and flavorful, it was actually a bit mind boggling! Everyone knows that the first crops in our area aren't usually the best of the best, but wowsers! So yummy! The whip was her famous, sorta-secret recipe for whipped cream that includes a little bit of yogurt mixed in, and well...., lets just say the entire concoction was a huge hit! Yay for peach season! 'Course now I'm thinking about fresh peach cobbler. You'd never know I have been earnestly striving to NOT gain weight this whole year! Yikes! Don't know how I'm ever gonna survive this years fruit harvest without some ridiculous backsliding.

Monday, July 22, 2019

Trying to Work in One More Finish This Month

Monday, Monday.... Boy, was it ever. But lets talk about positive things. All the petals for this specific layer of the Melon Patch quilt are done. Yay! The next layer is already cut out and ready to go for the very next time I decide to resume working on this particular quilt again. That's a good thing.
80 petals later!! It's on to the next layer...
Though I would absolutely love to dive right into another good applique quilt, I have been reserving {most} of my recent energies for finishing up. Still going strong on the hand quilting for the Big Tipsy Basket quilt. It's moving along so well that I went ahead and decided to include it as one of the entries for the quilt show. This means that I have until August 11th to finish up the hand quilting, bind the quilt, label it and get it properly washed up. I know, I know. Many of you would never, ever wash a quilt prior to entering it into a quilt show. I do. That's so much a part of the look and voice of my quilts. How could I do anything different?
Stitching the outside of the basket in my
fave, free-form echo quilting style
People often make comments about how 'soft' my quilts look, or how comfy or heartwarming or cozy the vibe is. Things like that. Well, they are hand quilted and then immediately washed, which means that the 'natural crinkle thing' happens right off. If it makes them look slightly less professional or not quite as serious as other entries, then that's perfectly okay. I'm really not in it for the ribbons. Wowers. Not at all. Don't need that kind of stress!
Considering how to stitch the inside area between
the basket handles
I honestly just love the chance to come around a corner and unexpectedly see one of my quilts hanging. Oh the delight! Be able to see some of the details from a greater distance. Or take in the entire impact, in a single glance. I don't have that opportunity here at home! Plus the bonus of perhaps inspiring another quilter in some small way, really feels like giving back. {Not that I'd probably ever know either way!} Quilt shows have often been responsible for inspiring and sparking great ideas during my long quilting journey. This same quilt show in 2017 sparked an idea for a quilt that I'm actually entering into the show just this year! These are only a few of the reasons that make it worthwhile to attempt to squash down enough nerves and second guessing to go ahead and fill out the entry forms.
Quilt show entry forms
Seeing quilts online is awesome, {we are a lucky generation in that!}, but nothing beats seeing them in person, being able to take in all the lovely texture and nuances.*sigh  The risk of course, is the obvious. Once in a blue moon there will be a bad experience and honestly, every year I'm a little punchy and wondering if this is the year of the Very bad, No good, quilt show Mojo. Not that I ever took any more quilts back to where I previously entered them every year. NCW is the much larger regional show, approximately 60 miles away and where I have taken quilts in 2015, 2017 and also 2018. Still a non-member to the guild though I probably would join if the meetings were more convenient. In the meantime, I'm just happy they are friendly to accept non-member quilts and have enough volume of works to support an annual quilt show, year after year.

I found out that I do get to stay in town quilt show weekend and pick up my quilts after the event. Though I had a couple of wonderful offers of help in picking quilts up, I'm a bit relieved to be able to bring them home myself. While it seems crazy, I hate to bother any of my friends for what is basically a selfish endeavor.

On another note, did I mention that just three days ago this month, my blog turned 9 years old! The posts are definitely stretched a little further apart these days, but hopefully the overall quality of the blog has improved since the beginning. My youngest son says that I am a dinosaur for still blogging, but I don't think he quite understands the on-line quilting world.

Many thanks to all who follow along for the quilty ramblings! Thank you, Thank you to whomever, where-ever you may be! So crazy, but I've had over 1,200,000 page views just on this blog and now, over 400 followers thru Blogger. Over 900 followers on the Bloglovin' app, which doesn't always show up on the Blogger stats but who cares? There are regular followers from all over the United States, countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, the U.K., Ireland, France, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Finland, Switzerland, Austria, Spain, Germany, Indonesia, Japan, South Africa, and even someone from Iran on occasion. These can't all be bots! Many of these people have never even commented a single time, but come back to read yet another post on yet another day. Or maybe they just skim through the pics and move on! Life seems just a little bit sweeter for being able to share my passion with like-minded friends....

Monday, July 15, 2019

It Doesn't Look Like Much, But I'm Making Progress

Next up in the hoop is the Big Tipsy Basket quilt. I don't think it was really supposed to be next in line, but I'm playing around with the idea of putting this one into the regional quilt show. It's all been sort of up in the air as we have an older friend getting married that particular weekend near Portland, Oregon.  
Big Tipsy Basket
Quilts are supposed to be picked up directly after the end of the quilt show and I've been having trouble lining up someone to collect my 'potential' entries. Still working on that minor detail. There's a still a slim chance that we'll just skip the entire weekend away, as my husbands work has been piling up on him and so many of our weekends are being booked up. So will I? Finish this quilt in time? Yes, no, maybe so. It should quilt up quickly, but on the other hand I'm not one for added pressures in life so we'll see. In the meantime, I'm just enjoying the almost mindlessness to the echo stitching and subconsciously pondering many of life's complexities. We think as adults we should have complete and utter control over our lives, but wowsers. Just not the way it usually is!
Getting sandwiched and pinned
It was nice to get the hand quilting finished up on Vintage Flowers though. It feels like I've been working on that one forever! The binding has since been machine stitched into place and it's now just waiting for the hand work time. I don't dread hand stitching the binding like some people, just need to find the opportune moment and be 'in the mood'. Hand stitching binding doesn't take days and weeks to do as I can be pretty fast with plying my needle. I don't know how others manage, but my machine finished binding always looked terribly sloppy and would have to be redone anyway. Why bother wasting that time?
Vintage Lily
Speaking of time. Melon Patch {below} has been co-opting a ton of my time lately. Ughh! So tired of stitching these innocuous looking petals! Out of 20 sets of 4 petals, it's down to just 3 sets left to stitch. The main problem is that it takes approximately an hour from start to finish to stitch one set of petals, so do the math. There are three hours left until this particular phase is completed! And I've told myself, NO more applique projects until getting this part done. No real surprise that anything and everything else gets in the way. I've read books, made apricot jam, drove to Home Depot with my husband, played with my granddaughters, took walks with my daughter, wrote a quilty blog post...
Always more petals to stitch
Too, all the nine-patch blocks for Patchwork Garden quilt have been finished up and now are sewn into the horizontal rows. I'm not sewing those rows together until I stitch as much of the applique possible so...., yeah......*sigh  Not happening until I get going on the previous project. Cuz I mean it! Bummer. This one looks like more fun, right? I've been gathering the potential fabric together for the applique though, so it's not like I've been sitting around twiddling my thumbs here.
Patchwork Garden progress
There's even another 'all applique'  that I've been eyeballing lately too. {not that I'm counting the stacks of fabric marinating on the counter tops at all....} It's a print that I saw online and already contacted the designer to ask permission to try and recreate in fabric. Ahem! Yes. It's been gathering steam behind the scenes so to speak, fabric being gathered and contemplated in great, serious detail. Hhmm... Maybe if I get enough interesting applique projects out ahead of  me then the carrot and stick approach might actually start working?