Thursday, May 6, 2021

Finally Getting Started on The January AHIQ Prompt

I'm super late getting started on the most recent AHIQ prompt, the String Tulip QAL. I've had all sorts of ideas but did not want to jump in before getting finished up {at at least somewhere positive} with the previous two prompts. 

A new project

The funny thing was, by the time I had given myself permission to start cutting, there was nothing more interesting than simply seeing the outline come together. Yep, no strings at all in the outer blocks, it's all just 'representative' as per shape and effect.

Blocks on the wall

Mostly, I was fascinated with playing with the very different-to-me color palette. So intriguing to see these blues, orange, pinks and reds come together in a background of sorts! You can see that I completely lost the point of what the actual challenge was. Oh well. I'm a little out of step with lots of things these days!

A very make-do look that doesn't work

When I came to the part where a decision was needed for the background of the centerpiece, I was stumped. Until I threw this strange cornflower blue on the wall. Hmm.. Why do I like it so much? Whatever. Everything else looked ridiculous, and I don't plan on going out to buy brand new.

Too distracting...

I've had this fabric around for at least 15 years and never thought it looked particularly inspiring. So interesting to see it eventually find purpose here in this random project! Can anyone tell me why it's in three long rectangles though? Must have been used as a border or perhaps backing fabric at some point to be cut so oddly.

Possible but probably not the best

I played and played with other blues, trying to figure out how to make-do, make it large enough to work in that specific area. Then I finally sewed the outside blocks together, thus giving me the exact length needed for the inside measurements. Uh huh. I actually have enough of the blue with a little bit of extra piecing effort. Too bad I didn't know that beforehand!

Looking at a potential tulip idea

So yeah, all that effort with the darker blue working into a utility make-do look was totally pointless. But that's kind of the story of my life of late, lots of busy work that ultimately turns out to be a waste of energy in some areas. I just can't stay properly focused with so many different things going on here at the home front.  I did get a better idea of how to do the tulips for the centerpiece, but that's a story for another day. And I haven't been back to the quilt room since, so who knows? They might or might not have strings. Call me a miserable failure for this particular prompt. Sometimes it really doesn't pay to delay overly long!

Granddaughters are the best

In the case you were wondering where I've been for the past couple weeks, look no further than these two adorable munchkins! Having them come visit and stay for well over a week has been the highlight of our year so far. Quilting can wait. It'll still be here tomorrow...

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Hand Quilting Time

It seems to be all that I can do to work in a just a little bit of hand quilting time lately. Life is just busy, busy for us right now! My brain is missing the relaxation of hand work so much, but what do you do?

Sweet Hospitality in the hoop

I couldn't decide how to stitch the pineapple quilt until one day it occurred to me to try the freehand 'hills' look again. Really takes the pressure off to do something amazing with it, but as usual, I was on pins and needles until finishing up the third or fourth rows across. Ahhh... now I can finally see it....

Lil' Baby Boy quilt

Finally got the binding on the little baby quilt that I threw in the hoop shortly after finishing up the HST Medallion quilt. Just had hankering to do straight line stitching, but absolutely no desire to start a wholecloth quilting adventure this year!

Changes color in different lighting

This was a little quilt that I put together about two years ago and then ended up gifting another instead. I had tried to applique an extra panda onto the corner of the center square and then, ripped it all off in disgust.*meh  Boy quilts can be hard.
Loving the texture on this one....

The entire pattern idea came from this beautiful quilt, though of course I had to cutesy it up with the print fabrics. The quilt itself didn't need hand quilting, but I DID, so that's all that matters. Yeah, you guessed it, I fell in love all over again and think it's the sweetest boys quilt ever! There's just something about homespun fabrics {the two blue background fabrics} that work so well with hand quilting. Will have to see how the year shakes out, but as of right now, I'm already on track to make at least two baby quilts this year. Next one will have to be a girls quilt. I think. Maybe I should wait until after the babies are born to be sure? Nah. There's always another baby eventually in this big 'ol family of ours. Not like it's gonna go to waste!

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Extra Time Just to Get it Right

Do you remember the Big Kiss quilt? Over the winter I decided that it probably needed more attention and pulled it out of the finished quilt top drawers for further scrutiny. {Or maybe it wouldn't quit haunting me?} After much pondering, I finally decided to go for it. The applique that I decided on has been prepped and waiting for quite awhile, just patiently waiting their turn in the queue!

Big Kiss quilt top is finished! 

It's kind of a bold looking border, but very simple in terms of hand work. Then of course,  I made it more complicated by deciding to put a little crown on the top of the center flowers {for the pomegrante effect}, and then later, eight leaves on each border instead of four. Just can't leave well enough alone!

Close-up of the border work

I did something that rarely happens around here, with the fussy cut flowers on the ends of the vines. There was only a fat quarter of that particular fabric, so there wasn't a lot of cutting options to choose from. Some of the flowers look better than the others! It seemed like they needed to be cut out larger, but that wasn't possible either.

Fussy cut flowers

In the end, I just made that specific fabric work {regardless of its limitations} because it really looked to be the best option for the overall look I was aiming for! In the case of the flower below, I actually pieced four different pieces of fabric together from that same fat quarter. Super obvious up close, but not at all noticeable from a distance. Whatever. It works, right?

Very pieced flower

Though the border fabric looks quite black in some of these pics, the previous color is probably closest to reality, more of a dark gray. That charcoal-ish gray really makes the colors pop and lift up the entire quilt. On another note, I knew there was a bit of bias stretch in this quilt and wowsers! Adding the borders made that even more obvious. As I was sewing, that is. 

The Whole quilt

I carefully measured and pinned so that I didn't make things worse and in fact, it looks quite a bit better overall. Crossing my fingers that the hand quilting {which will happen later on} will ease out the worst of the rumples. It usually does! 

 So glad that I went with my instincts and tapered the vines down in a slight curve instead of keeping them in that straight line that I originally intended. Looks loads better this way! The only thing that I seriously regret at this point, is that I wish the little pomegranate crowns would have been pushed down further behind the flower. Oh well. What's done is done! The quilt top definitely has a cozier, more personal vibe than it did before and really, that's all that matters. We are all very happy campers now and this top is going straight back into quilt top drawers for a good long nap....

Loving the brighter colors!

Moving on to a different project, here's a few pics of the 1991 quilt that somehow snuck into the hand quilting line-up. It was never, ever my intention to hand quilt this one, but since the HST Medallion has been finished up, I've been gravitating to really basic hand quilting efforts.

An old project

Sometimes it doesn't even matter what is in the hoop, it just matters that the stitching can be done with a minimal amount of thinking, marking and effort! Call me crazy, but I just adore hand stitching through strips and log cabin type quilts are an easy pick-me-up.

30 years married in June!

This is such an oldy moldy quilt start, I almost don't even like the color palette anymore. Most of the blocks are from the early 2000's and all the house blocks were finished up by 2007. They represent the first seven homes my husband and I lived in after we were married, one of those 'good idea quilts' that never really gained enough traction to flourish.

Very soft colors

At some point, I did a Marie Kondo thing to the quilt room and purposefully got rid of many of the parts. This top is what happened when I decided to make a few comfort quilts from various orphan blocks here in the quilt room. Whether or not this ends up being given away though, remains to be seen. This quilt finish would have positively delighted me even ten years ago. Today, I'm working on much more exciting things, though of course, I'm happy to bring it to a proper finish.

Interesting to see it without the words...

Speaking of which .... Here's Coronacrazy, back for another day in the sun! It's trimmed down now, with a strong looking sashing added on. I loved the look of the edges before the sashing was sewn on, but alas, there's no way to finish up a quilt without adding fabric onto the sides, be it sashing, border or even a binding!

Working on the border

As per usual these days, I had to make-do the border, as most of the yardage I have is in too small of a piece for the entire surround. That's okay though, as the look is very appealing to me in it's rough form. Add a little bit of applique over the top, and I'm practically swooning!

All prepped and ready for hand work

See? There's always a silver lining if you care to look for it! I ended up using a striped green fabric for the vine and what you see in the previous picture is where I determined to sew it onto the border. All prepped and ready to go! One large applique flower is cut out and ready for hand work too. It had to be figured out before moving forward as the vine will be tucked underneath at both sides of the flower. 

The vine will actually only be sewn down within a couple inches of each border length {for now} as several parts of it will need to 'flow' from one border to the next. A little bit of extra time and effort trying to get this all figured out 'prior' to sewing the borders onto the centerpiece, but very worthwhile in the long run. Though it might not be obvious to the casual reader, I do actually expend quite a bit of effort trying to sew as much of the applique onto smaller pieces of the quilt, rather than try and work with a whole big quilt! If I wasn't such a make-it-up-as-I-go sort of quilter, things would probably go along much more smoothly. Hmm... maybe not. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2021

It's a Wrap!

Last week found me taking pictures in anticipation of another blog post and then life just got way too crazy. Still running very behind with household chores, errands, bookwork etc., so I'm doing this as quickly as possible.

Wing and a Prayer is done!

Wing and a Prayer is now completely finished up, including being washed and achieving that wonderfully crinkle goodness! Don't know why, but it's suddenly in the 'favorites' group!

Scraps a few plus a few orphan geese

Not exactly springlike, but still, very bright and cheery! This improv. quilt was a great project, start to finish. I look at it now and wonder, why don't I do this more often?

Lots of good color

And yes, it was challenging, in its own way. All the best ones are. The fact that this one ended up being so cozy looking {in spite of the black fabric use} makes me very happy. Scrapbin quilts need to make the scraps look irresistible. That's just their sneaky super power.

Hand quilting for the texture...

Finally got the Positive Thinking words all wrangled into a quilt top too. Once I found the time, it wasn't nearly as daunting as I supposed it would be. And despite anything you might think looking at the pic, it does actually lay fairly flat.

'Center' of Positive Thinking quilt

So, so happy with the pinstripe fabric used for the background. It's subtle, sure. But wowsers, up close? It's just makes me sigh with pleasure! I'm a little stuck from the overwhelming This-Is-The-Message look to the quilt, but there are a few ideas competing for the next step.

Had to use every scrap of the backing fabric in order
to properly float the words...

Next up will probably be an applique border of some sort. Color us all SHOCKED! Still pondering the messy details of what that might entail. And well, it might take awhile to unwind all the strings. Don't want to ruin the vibe of this particular quilt just because I'm in la la land with oodles of applique ideas right now!

A completed quilt top!

Speaking of which.... The 4-Block Tulip Basket Medallion quilt top is all finished up now! Yay!! Love it! Lots and lots of hand stitching time involved in making this happen of course. Never you fear, there's much more of this stuff on the list these days!

Making it up as I go along

So glad I kept the applique motif relatively simple. The curve of the flowers are very basic and I didn't bother to make deep, sharp cuts down into the flowers. Did you notice that every flower {other than the matching  3 tulips shapes in the center} are different? That was just too much fun trying to make the borders have a more organic and 'flowing' look than what I would more generally do. It's something that interests me more and more as time goes on and quilt projects tend to proliferate. 

A few more leaves than I intended, but 
gotta do what the quilt demands

And those smooth lines! Keeps the hand stitching part down to a much more doable time frame with very naive and simple shapes happening. Not an accident my friends....  And those corner 'wheels'? Leftover blue wedges to the rescue! Just had to fiddle around a bit to figure out how to get the specific look that I wanted. Or not! There's a bit less of the quarter circle thing that I was shooting for, but same impact and yeah, who's complaining?  I adore how easily they give a bit of interest to the corners of the quilt..

Had to applique a few of the flowers
on after the borders were sewn onto the center

The most complicated part of the applique was the addition of the year. I totally admit to dithering back and forth with that idea. Yes, no, maybe so.... I LOVE seeing a year on certain kinds of quilts, but we all know this won't be a complete and total quilt finish until at least 2022 and it will probably be closer to 2023. Which might annoy me when reading 2021 on the quilt? Or it might remind me that 2021 was right after we survived '20.... 

Too much yellow?

This quilt is basically the manifestation of a feeling that there are just some projects that don't need to be given up on. This speficic quilt idea has been haunting my quilt room for a LOT of years! Maybe it really is worthy of whatever time it takes?

Inspiration never gets too old for use...

My kids are united in thinking it's sort of a 'meh' quilt because it has a lot of yellow and looks kind of oldish. In my mind, it's soft and sweet with a bit of old fashioned charm. Like antique quilt sort of charm? Who knows, that's definitely all in the eye of the beholder. They did NOT hurt my feelers the least little bit. The pattern page pictured above is the original inspiration for the quilt, though of course I took many, many liberties with the pattern. Including changing the way the tulips themselves were pieced. Picture me shrugging. My way was easier! 

Thursday, March 25, 2021

So Much Fun to Finish up a Forever Project!

Well, all good things must come to an end. The HST Medallion quilt is completely finished up! All 102 inches! One of those projects started sort of by impulse, but not really. I'd looked and looked and LOOKED at a picture of an antique quilt, wistfully thinking about how cool it would be to own one.

HST Medallion is done!!!!

Then one day, it just happened. I found myself putting together the centerpiece of a four year long project! It happened in fits and starts of course. Things this complicated always do around here. 

A lot going on with this one...

How in the world could I possibly make myself work on one quilt and one quilt only? Yeah. Not happening. I folded HST Medallion in half and laid it where I normally take the quilty pictures. Just so you could see the scope of how large this one is. She's a big 'ol beauty! When I moved the table out of the way {with the help of one of my daughters}, and tried to take a picture of the entire thing? It was basically a fail. It really needs to be hung up on a line and a pic. taken from a good distance. The light wasn't very friendly in that area of the room either. C'est la vie.

Trying to get a picture of the full quilt

I'd say that I don't know what possessed me to make this particular quilt, but that wouldn't be true. For some rather peculiar reason, I'm happiest when there is one forever type quilt project lurking about in the quilt room, be it all piecing, or all applique, or even a mix of the two. Call me crazy. It's almost definitely gonna be happening again some day!

All hand quilted

For one thing, I don't like feeling inadequate or incapable of making any sort of quilt that I put my mind to. Even terribly difficult quilts can be accomplished one little baby step at a time! Another thing that has occurred to me is that I might possibly relish? having an {almost} impossible task so that everything else seems quite doable by comparison. So silly, but it works.

The lighter blue hsts are facing the opposite
direction, on purpose....

You'd be amazed at how much I've accomplished through the years avoiding these super challenging quilts of mine! Or maybe you wouldn't. I've been pretty transparent about my love/hate relationship with the taking-forever, entirely too tedious, horribly intimidating quilt projects that crop up every four or five years.
My favorite view of a quilt

This quilt wasn't the most complex in the world, but it does have an awful lot of half square triangles in it. And precision sewing is not exactly my forte! If you look closely, there's just a little tiny bit of wave happening on the outside border in a couple places.*sigh  I haven't washed the quilt either, like I love to do. Though I love the crinkly look, I'm terrified some of the blue fabric might have a bleeding issue. Once it's washed up some day in the future, I'm pretty sure that slight waving issue will be less obvious, but for now we're all good. Totally content to wait!

Three impossible tasks that somehow 
made it to a finish!

Not that I'm ashamed of the issue at all. This quilt is way beyond what I ever hoped to accomplish back in my early days of quilting! If you'd have told me 20 years ago that I'd be making any one of the three stacked quilts {in the previous photo}? I'd have laughed in total disbelief!

For a quick trip down memory lane, I pulled the two other {very labor intensive} quilts that seemed to take forever and a day. I mean, there are lots of time consuming quilts around here, but these are the grand poobah's of sheer grit and determination getting me through! All three quilts are ones that I most definitely despaired over at different times and had to really push myself to get in another hour or two of work done here and there. Just to say that I hadn't given up on them! And I've got a sneaky suspicion that Melon Patch might be trying to join the list. But that's a story for another day.

You can read about the Pickle Dish quilt here and Worry Baskets here. All three quilts take me right back to a certain day years and years ago in a small town grocery store, impulsively buying a quilt magazine. I was completely mesmerized by a specific quilt in it, though I didn't have a single clue how to get started on making my own. And no, I never did make that particular quilt! It took a lot of years, many ups and downs, trial and error, learning, learning, learning, but now? I darn well will make whatever quilt I put my mind to. And you can guarantee, they'll be a whole lot better than anything pictured in that long ago quilt magazine.... 

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Still Attacking the UFO list

Well, I finally did it. After ignoring this project forever and continually finding any excuse possible to run away, it's on the design wall. Cracking myself up over the 'willingly' part of this saying!

AHIQ Positive Thinking project

All the words are pieced into their own blocks and now I'm trying to puzzle the background fabric into place. Amazingly enough, I decided to use a subtle stripe for that. Oh my, am I a glutton for punishment or what? Will see where it goes from here. I'm quite, quite determined to at least get this part finished before starting on the next prompt. Will worry about borders and such later on or move on immediately if the mojo starts working better. Otherwise, I'm settling happily into my corner of the couch and doing lots of hand applique or hand quilting. Much more soothing, I can tell you that!

On another note, I have been trying to add quilting blogs to my Feedly reader. Very slow process as I have to add most of them by typing in the entire address. Bloglovin' had been giving me fits for weeks {back in January} until finally I uninstalled it and then tried to re-install. Oops! My I-phone doesn't support the Bloglovin' reader app anymore! So frustrating. Been missing all the random blogs I love to lurk on so Feedly it is. Still not 100% thrilled with the way the feed works, but I suppose it will do till till I find something better. Bloglovin' definitely had its issues, but I really enjoyed the look and navigation of the feed.

Friday, March 12, 2021

It Doesn't Feel Like Much

Got a busy weekend ahead so I wanted to throw some progress pics at you before things spiral out of control. It doesn't feel like much, but every bit of prep is another step forward! First up is the HST Medallion quilt, all quilted, first phase of binding sewn on and ready for the hand work. Woohoo! I didn't get it out of the hoop by the end of February like I hoped, but let me tell you, my fingers were burning up trying to finish things up!

HST Medallion ready for binding stitching

Next up in the hoop is the Scrapbin Improv. quilt, otherwise known as Wing and a Prayer. It's exactly what the name implies, a lot of scrappy scraps coming together in an earnest appeal for it to mesh and look right.

Wing and a Prayer

It most definitely appeals to me! And it's exactly what I need in the hoop right now. Having so much fun stitching on this quilt after the monstrosity that took up the past six weeks or so!

Loving having this one in the hoop!

Once I put my mind to it, the last border of Rhi's dress quilt came together relatively quickly. Simple, minimal and understated was what I was thinking, and of course, using up as much of the sunflower fabric as possible. 

The last border

I tried to add in several other small cut-off bits of the floral fabric, but it just made things look really busy. The bright floral yellow on the bottom was extremely hard to cut into. Been saving that for something special for a very long time. Then I thought, if my daughters quilt isn't special, what is? I am loving the black and white drawing-like motifs in this sunflower fabric though. Isn't it gorgeous? There's just something about it that melts me!

Such a good idea to rescue this fabric!

The backing is already cut out and sewn together for when I'm ready to sandwich the quilt. Probably gonna happen sometime in May? Have to take a short break first and focus on some other finishes though! These Melon Patch petals {below} have been sewn into four rows now, all ready for the next phase of the quilt. This quilt just keeps changing its mind about what it wants and now I'm leaning quite heavily towards making it a wordy quilt, intermixed between the petal rows. Been looking at available fabrics and pondering deep thoughts. So ready to move this quilt off the current UFO list, but ahem! So many appliqued pieces, it's somehow morphed into three quilts by now. I know. All will be explained in due time....

Figured out that I only need 4 borders, not 5!!

So easy to get going on the applique prep for 4-block Tulip Medallion. I've only been thinking about it for years! This quilt is starting to feel like an old and very comfy friend. Everything that I do to it just settles in like it was always meant to be. Wish they were all that easy, but then I suppose things would get terribly boring!
Getting these borders ready for the flowers

And then there is the squirrel quilt. I don't know what there is about this particular quilt, but I just can't seem to stay away. It's not even the right colors for the season, nothing springy about this on at all!

How bout some more tulips?

I've played with some quick drawings and doodles for potential ideas for this one, and occasionally I've even drew in a bit of applique. I mean, we're talking about me and my specific brain waves. Applique might possibly be part of how I'm hardwired? Anyway, always, without fail, I toss those ideas and go back to the idea of a medallion quilt in increasingly larger sizes of hst units. NO APPLIQUE. And then this happened. Seriously. Do I look like I need more applique projects waiting on me right about now?