Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Crossing These Two Off the List!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

Here We Go Again

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

Friday, October 4, 2019

A New Fall Project and The Completed Tidbits Quilt

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

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

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

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

Monday, September 30, 2019

The Fun Never Ends Around Here

Time to get back to the Ormes Inspired quilt! You can read about the original inspiration in the link. I've been puttering around with it here and there and finally got the last of the boxed-in leaves stitched down. So glad I went with reverse applique as it made for a very stable base for these very curvy leaves.
Loving these applique scissors
This summer I had an online order that needed just a little bit more for cheaper shipping. These little Olpha applique scissors were the best impulse buy I've made in a long time. They have been working beautifully for cutting the funky looking leaves and also for making the little snips necessary to help ease the stitching.

The only leaf that isn't reverse appliqued is the one with tan background fabric up in the right corner. That was a pieced woven print and so I cut the white leaf {same exact fabric as the larger background} and then appliqued it down on top of the background like I normally would. After that it was a simple matter to sew the rectangle shape to the larger white background of the 'whole' quilt. It just made sense not to try and cut through pieced seams on a woven print that would fray easily. Peace of mind is worth taking the extra steps.
The base of Ormes Inspired is ready to go!
I'm still not sure if all the placement is exactly where it needs to be, but the base of this quilt is set now. Not taking anything out unless it's just gonna get in the way of something later on. Next up is some of the other larger pieces that will be underneath some of the smaller applique bits that will be coming along soon. First things first! I went ahead and attempted to draw the elephant, mentally scratching my head the entire time. I'm actually going to put an elephant on one of my quilts? Okay, fine. It's gonna be black pinstripes then. This elephant is going to have to have character! lol  

To make matters worse, that particular fabric was just almost enough for another project that has been marinating for months now. Perfect for it! And now I've raided way too much for the other project to even get off the ground. But you know how it is. The quilt that is being made right now is the Ormes Inspired one. Can't worry about the quilt that may or may not even be made at a later date!
Proof that I'm losing my mind
The baby boy quilt is all finished except for the label. That will be stitched on before gifting, no worries there! This quilt has a different look than what you probably are used to seeing around here, but I'm fairly pleased with it regardless. I went ahead and machine quilted the entire thing in straight stitches {using orange thread}, some in-the-ditch, some that had to be marked. The only hand quilting on this quilt is in the blocks row and also just a little bit around that make-do blue print fabric addition. Any and every excuse to add just a little bit of perle cotton!
The latest baby quilt
I'm not very good at machine quilting and so always try to stick to the basics. My go-to thread is Aurifil because I rarely ever have trouble with that particular brand and the least bit of trouble would probably convince me that I'm done machine quilting forever.  I'm a total chicken-heart when it comes to machine quilting!  As you can see, I did have enough of the old blue calico print for the binding. I am actually pretty stoked about how well it looks! How's that for moving a 20 plus year old fabric down the road!
Looking at the binding
The backing fabric is just a wee bit too bright for my tastes, but nothing out of pocket right now means it's the perfect fabric. Baby quilts are supposed to be bright and fun anyway. Right?
Front and back of the baby quilt
I seem to be knee deep in projects that will be going to other people right now. There is a little gift exchange coming up early November that convinced me of the need to make a small table runner. Or wall hanging? It could totally work either way. Hand made items are not mandatory at all, but it just seems like the right thing to do for my person.
A quick little runner
The gift recipient is a very traditional gal and so I went looking in the stash totes for prints reflecting those vibes. I thought to make an autumn look runner, but then somehow ended up with the gold, vibrant orange, blue and red combo. The pattern that I am loosely following is 'Rebeccas Baskets' by Jo Morton. It's one of those gifts where the pattern really isn't what it's all about  but of course I saw the little baskets and got all excited.  It was in the December 2003 edition of American Patchwork and Quilting magazine. The original pattern calls for 8 baskets I think, but narrowed down to 3 it starts looking very doable as a fast and quick project.
Trimming the small hsts for accuracy
I was shocked at how small the little hsts were, but they sewed up with plenty of room to trim down to proper size. That's helpful around here as my hsts rarely end up straight and true. If you're wondering what the white specks are? Those are the rogue flowers in the blue and red print fabric I chose to use for the basket handles. The tan floral fabric is absolutely gorgeous in proper lighting, but not something that I ever use anymore. Pairing it with the solid blue just seemed boring and so...yep,  I had to try and find something to punch things up a bit. Just can't seem to help myself! Probably not the best choice, but it makes me smile 'cuz it's different and a tiny bit unexpected. It makes you look closer! Still pondering the sashing and outside border fabric and then that's that. On to the quilt sandwich and plenty of time to finish up before our gift exchange!
Little baskets
I did finally make some decisions about the Seedpod quilt and even started cutting out some fabric for it. My husband derailed me on the night that I was making serious inroads on the cutting, and since, my elbow has been bothering me. Nothing to do with him, just me being stupid and carrying too many groceries into the house all at one time. It's the same elbow that I got tendinitis in years ago, and so best to slow down and give it a rest for a couple days. Gonna still hand quilt though if at all possible. Can't possibly give up that!

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Enjoying the Hand Work

It's been a very productive couple of days here lately. Always good to take advantage as it won't last forever! The hand quilting on Tidbits is coming right along. I cut out a cardboard template in the shape of the outer 'hill' and then marked the entire quilt. One hill fits just inside my frame with a little to spare {yes, I totally planned that}. All the inside hills are marked completely freehand, frame by frame, once I get to them.
Tidbits in the hoop
As always, starting out with the freehand stitching is a little bit nerve-wracking. It usually takes me a couple rows {or three or four} before I can totally relax and feel good about the look. Side by side comparison never looks quite as good as the whole enchilada. That's the hard part to freehand hand quilting that nobody ever wants to tells you! You just have to listen to your gut instinct and move forward regardless of the screeching naysayers trying to stomp out all of the fun. I've never had to rip out all the finished stitching, not even one time. That gives me courage to try again on yet another quilt. I tremendously enjoy the wonky freehand look though, you may not!
Patchwork Garden
I've also been plugging through the hand work on Patchwork Garden. These pictures don't do the quilt justice, but it's been a joy to have this one in my lap. Loving these colors! The picture above is at the point where I am supposed to be done. Uh huh. Then I laid the quilt out to peruse everything and just wasn't quite feeling it.
How about some more baskets?
Hmm... what if I add just a couple more baskets? While rummaging through the stash totes I discovered a fabric that I've always wondered why it even came home with me. Never been able to use it because it's just so busy compared to what I usually use. It really seemed like serendipity in regards to this quilt though! Could it be any more perfect? 

In the second pic {above} you can see where I cut out three baskets in that particular fabric and then put them at the base of those lanky looking flowers. I also cut one more smaller basket in a dark teal to stick up there in the top right corner. I'm seriously considering adding a tiny dark coral flower in that basket as well. It just seems needful somehow? We'll see. It would have to be a very small flower.
Trying to decide
Is the quilt getting too jumbled looking and chaotic? None of the latest additions have been stitched down yet as I'm still pondering. There was just something unfinished looking in the first perusal of the quilt top. It haunted me a little. Finally I decided that while I adored the pattern, all the flowers needed to be in a basket or none of them did. Does that make sense?

As you can see, I made several other changes to the original pattern. Only one bird, no stars at all {they looked terrible in any color and fabric I tried} and lots of extra little baskets. It's pretty much impossible for me to properly follow a pattern, so I don't even try anymore!

Next up, I have no idea what will happen with the border or if there will even be a border. All the good fabric options in this quilt are about tapped out already and it's just gonna take some more time simmering for a solution to pop to the surface. Nothing wrong with that.
Referencing the pattern
I wanted to show you the flowers in one of the larger baskets. The inner fabric on the flower was driving me crazy, how it was competing with the pretty coral fabric. So I flipped it over and muted the boldness of fabric. Works wonderfully every time! As you can see, the fabric stem got twisted just a little when it was stitched down. Not paying enough attention! It's something that annoys me {I can do better!}, but not enough to rip out and redo. Once the quilt is finished and washed and dried, it's something that I'll never notice again. What about you. Is this something you'd have to fix?
Close up of applique
This is the baby quilt I've been working on. As you can see, those square-in-a-square blocks were the starting point. They aren't fabulous, but it gave me something to easily build on. Baby quilts are so small, sometimes I muddle around wasting time doodling through a hundred ideas. I sewed them together with a dark blue fabric and then that length became the official 'quilt length'.
Sewing the strip units together
Everything else progressed from there. Most of the strip rows were sewn from repeat cuts of the longest length of a fatquarter. I tried to piece the lengths so that it wasn't immediately evident that they've been pieced, but also, didn't stress if/when the print didn't match up perfectly.
Auditioning the extra blue and also the green fabrics
There wasn't enough of the darker blue fabric on the left side, just a little shy of having the right length. On impulse, I grabbed the last little bit of the darker blue print used between the blocks. Just slapped it up on the wall over the top of the solid blue and then of course, loved the make-do look. Nothing to do, but try to recreate it! Now it's my favorite part of the whole quilt.
A completed quilt top
This quilt went together really fast. The main goal was to end up with a definitely 'boyish' quilt and this seems to work. In fact, it almost looks like a sports quilt if you didn't know better! All the fabrics came straight out of the stash totes and only two of them have been in the totes for less than a year. The totes even coughed up a complimentary backing fabric so we're good there too!
Sandwiching the quilt
I don't intend to start keeping track of the total yardage being used, but I am trying to make a more concerted effort to move the older fabric along. I'd love to incorporate some old orangey fabric into use as the binding fabric, but somehow don't think that will happen. There's an older 80-90's calico print in blue that might be just the thing. Would totally make my day to move that particular piece along!

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Sometimes You Just Have to Give In

First of all, thank you to QuiltGranma and Tricia for leaving the occasional wonderful comment, even though I have no way of responding back to you personally! It's always good to know when something here resonates. If anyone ever comments and doesn't receive a personal email back, then it's a good bet that I can't properly link to your email address. Yahoo addresses are treated the worst by Blogger. Can always leave the address in this form 'audkateaster at gmail dot com' if you're worried about spam.
Orphan blocks
I've been thinking lately that it would be good idea to have a couple comfort type quilt tops all pieced and ready to go. Thinking. Not doing. So what do you know? Right in the middle of some chain piecing the other day, I started wondering about some old courthouse step blocks. These and the house blocks had been culled from some mid 2000's project that had been totally abandoned. All the other components had been thrown away. Yes. They were actually that bad!
Trying to puzzle it out
After putting the courthouse blocks up on the wall, then of course I had to dig out the house blocks and see if they might help the quilt along. Uh huh. Looking good. And then, Eureka! I found the 'Est. 1991' block that was always intended to go with the house blocks. 1991 is the year my husband and I got married and the house blocks represent 7 out of the first 8 houses that we lived in. {It seemed like a good idea at the time!}

At the point that this particular project was finally abandoned, we had lived in 10 different homes total and I had gotten very bored with the entire concept. You know how it goes sometimes. Good idea but maybe bad color palette, too complex of a idea or just altogether too cheesy for words? {Yeah, there was a play on words with this quilt that got thrown out along with the terrible applique vines....}
A little trimming and a couple small fabric additions later
Anyway, back to the comfort quilt idea. This quilt went together lickety-split and in no time at all, I had found the perfect border fabric to wrap it all up. It's a red and white pinstripe fabric with very old school style flowers on it, something I've tried to use so very many times. Definitely charming and and kind of sweet, but actually very hard to use as it always seems to look pink and/or dull no matter what it rests next to. 
Old fabric to the rescue on the borders...
Standing back and celebrating my triumph in sewing a comfort quilt together so quickly, I realized something that had totally escaped my mind. How in the world can I give a quilt to someone {anyone} that says 'Est. 1991' on it? How personal is that? No-one would ever know what the house blocks represented to me unless I told them so that's fine, but the year is another thing altogether. The only other couple I know personally who were married in the same year as us, have been divorced longer than they were married. Wow. Good one Audrey.
Trying to get serious about sewing Shimmer
So back to the chain piecing I went. 'Shimmer' has been a difficult quilt to want to work on. Though Diane mentions the fact that these blocks could be sewn together without pins, it's not working out like that for me. The seams nest together very well, but I'm still using three pins per total strip length. Just to cut down on the seams that slip around and want to misbehave. You'll be shocked to know that I'm ignoring the seam ripper and letting more than a few points sort of wink and nod at joining up properly. We're all happier that way.
So many rows to sew together!
Originally I had a grand love thing going on for this selection of fabrics and then of course I ran low when cutting. Had to throw in a few less wonderful matches and thought 'It'll be fine, it always is'. Sewing the blocks together gave me more than a few moments of anxiety as the reality of limited choice started hitting home. I'm so used to making individual blocks and mixing and blending scrappy fabrics at will. These strip cut units severely lock down the fabric combinations and as you can see, there are all kinds of things going on that would not be my 'best choice'. I would never willingly make up a 'scrappy' block with two or more of the same exact fabric pieces residing so closely together. There are chunks of similar value fabrics nesting cozily together in areas {lines} where the values should be much more fluid. Aghh!!
Hhmm... There is actually a pattern emerging after all...
It feels easier to jump in and out of the project, than try to get it done in one big gulp. I have a feeling that it's not quite as bad as I fear, but it is definitely not what I'd call working in my comfort zone. And to clarify, I did relax just a tad after I got enough of the blocks done to put a handful on the wall, stand back and really take a good hard look. Hhmm... Maybe the mushy lavender purples will hold the line after all. We shall see. Fingers crossed!
A very quick comfort quilt
Okay, yeah. So now you know why I'm falling down rabbit holes and chasing squirrels. Might be a teeny, tiny bit of avoidance? Another strange quilt that uh, developed? lately is the purple/green comfort quilt. It just happened. All in a big rush of easy, no deep thoughts allowed. It was glorious. 

No really, what happened is this. I opened up one of the green totes to search for something and this odd colored paisley fabric got in the way. Again! I'm so very tired of this fabric! When it's in the brown tote, it looks green. When it's in the green tote, it looks brown. It was bought years and years ago because I greatly admired it {why?} and somehow it's been a bit of regret ever since. It's always in the way. So why not get rid of it? Well, that doesn't really happen much around here. It becomes a challenge. Maybe it can be used here, or there? Or maybe nowhere

The fabric that started it all
I know some of you have fabrics exactly like this. This cannot be an uncommon insanity! Anyway, I challenged myself to make a quick, comfort style sort of quilt with it or toss it and be done with it forever. So I did. Here's the quilt. It's not fabulous, stunning or even incredible. That weird green/brown paisley fabric is totally used up though! Yay! Be gone annoying fabric! Yay again! Now I'm contemplating putting these silly words on it just because I can't seem to help myself. The thinking is that it might make someone like the quilt a little better? Ha! That would be amusing. Use the fabric up and then be afraid to give the quilt away? Someone will like it. Just have to find the right person!
Applique words or no?
And well...., the squirrel thing has kind of been contagious. Next up is an attempt at a baby quilt. Which I was NOT going to make for the latest family babies. But you know.... Babies are really cute! These blocks were acquired at a quilt guild yard sale for 50 cents. Such a steal. I rarely buy childish fabrics and thought these might come in handy some day. How prescient, right?
Little baby blocks
The fabric pull is always the best part. We know that. I happily hemmed and hawed my way through all the obvious color choices and finally ended up with this little stack. The quilt top is already well on its way to completion because baby quilts are just fun like that. Even when working with this really different color palette! I love how small baby quilts are and how nobody ever expects a them to light the creative world on fire. Sweet, fun, cute are the very low bar to shoot for.
The fabric pull
When the top is officially sewn together and the light is better, I'll try to get some decent pictures of it. Right now it's in panels and simmering overnight in case something desperately needs changing out. There are numerous really good projects that I am right in the middle of. Some that need serious contemplation and all sorts of tricky decisions made. Others just need a stack of fabric cut out or some chain piecing time. As always, there is even hand work patiently waiting in the shadows. I am longing to properly attack some of these projects. But what do I do? Go shopping in the orphan totes and tired fabric bins for 'challenges'. Sometimes you just have to give in and get it out of your system. Yes, really.
Granddaughter love
Here's a recent pic of my adorable grand-daughters. They have packed up and moved away with their mommy and daddy to another state. We are very sad about that {though we admire their reasons} and will probably have to up our traveling game.*sigh  This is just way too much cuteness to do without on a regular basis!