Wednesday, December 4, 2019

This One Ended Up Without a Name on the Label

As always, I get to the end of a quilt and am amazed and humbled at how different a quilt looks with added stitching texture. Blue Plumes was put into the hoop back in October. Notice how much lighter it looks before the hand quilting?
Blue Plumes is finished!
That's because I used a brown/black variegated #12 Perle Cotton in all the blue/white ticking striped fabric areas. The thread is super thin, but eventually, all that darker thread starts making its presence known in a very subtle way. 
It's been a little gloomy, but here's the full quilt
Over three-fourths of the quilt was stitched before I finally was able to sigh a huge sigh of relief. For the longest time, I was absolutely positive that it was being over quilted which always annoys me. Why waste all that time and effort when it doesn't seem to bring the quilt any benefit? While hand quilting is incredibly relaxing, I don't just do it to fill time you know!
A closer look at the details...
This quilt is probably the closest to being a 'monochromatic' color scheme than anything else I've attempted in a very long time. Though the connector squares come off as brown in the pictures, close-up they are a very mixed bag of colors including plenty of blue. To be blunt, it wasn't the most exciting quilt to work on. I enjoyed all the different fabrics {love some of them to pieces}, but wowsers, where's the color?
All crumpled and inviting looking
I do adore how the background fabrics in the Fleur De Lis {or whatever these motifs are} pop so wonderfully now that the hand quilting is finished.*sigh  That was my intention from the very beginning {when piecing the quilt actually}, but it's always a mystery until the whole thing is done. Do you know how many times an attempt at 'glow' goes terribly wrong and ends up reading all mushy looking? This time it worked. Yay!
The binding is basically the color of the floor
Much to my dismay, the quilt demanded the rusty brown fabrics for binding. I have to admit that it was very cool to my frugal loving quilting person to use up some of these older languishing fabrics. Yes it was. But I was also mentally crossing my fingers that using brown wouldn't 'dull' the quilt down to the extreme level of boring. Not that I'm opposed to using that color in quilts, but it's sort of a love/hate relationship these days. 
Not a flashy quilt, but I like it anyway....
I think it used to be a safe color for me to use and was almost always a default decision. When in doubt, use brown. Nowadays, it needs to be very intentional and be used to uplift a quilt. Which of course sounds ludicrous to all you hate-on-brown-quilters out there! But yes, it definitely has its place in quilting and in this case, really was the perfect choice. 

Used in the binding area, brown softens the edges of this quilt without leaving it looking vaguely unfinished, something I'm not a big fan of. Plus it doesn't compete at all with the darker blue border and then inadvertently busy up the sides of the quilt. Which, in my opinion, would be a crying shame. The outside of the quilt isn't all that important here. Our eye needs to be looking at the center of the quilt and wondering what exactly was that quilter thinking anyway? Does anyone really know? lol

Oh hey, did I just make an old fashioned looking quilt? Now that it's completely finished up, I'm thinking it looks sort of yummy. All cozy and warm and very comfy looking. Never satisfied with the name 'Blue Plumes', I decided to leave the name off of the label entirely. Off it goes to celebrate one of my younger sisters 25th wedding anniversary! I think that's it for the anniversary quilts until 2028. Hmm... wonder what I'll be creating then?

Monday, November 25, 2019

Just Hitting the High Notes Then I Gotta Run

Life has been so busy lately, it almost feels like I'm in free fall, no control whatsoever. I know that's not exactly true, but with Thanksgiving right in front of us {and a litany of things going wrong lately}, it's definitely been hard to manage all the things that need attention. Quilting is happening in very random moments of time and blogging is all about the speed reading and smiles.
Joining the rows for Roman Stripe quilt
I'll catch up real quick and then probably disappear for another couple weeks. Whatever little bits of time I have for quilting need to be just for that, not for proofreading my babbling blog posts! Roman stripes, above, is a project that was started back in September. It's a super easy project that concentrates more on the fabrics than on design and will probably turn out just fine, if not the 'fantabulous' that I usually strive for.

I LOVED the fabrics back when first stacking the fabrics together, and honestly, if I would have made the quilt at the same time? I'd be over the moon in love. Now I just feel happy and pleased, but ready to move on to a different quilt. We just never know how quickly our tastes can change do we? Somehow I cut out a lot more pieces than needed for the throw quilt suggested in the pattern and now am committed to making two of them. Oh well! Comfort quilts always seem to find a home around here and it will be good to have a couple ready to go when needed.
Blue Plumes
Blue plumes is currently out of the hoop and the first phase of binding is sewn on. I'm not sure exactly why, but this binding is taking me forever. I've been hoping to get this one completely finished up by Thanksgiving so I can gift it to the intended recipients for an 25th anniversary quilt! Almost there....

My washing machine went kaput this past week and I'm so ready for the situation to be resolved. A part is ordered and we're all crossing our fingers that my 'jack-of-all-trades' husband can fix the current issue cheaply. If not, it's black friday appliance shopping for us! Thanksgiving week company means lots of extra laundry plus I'd really like to wash this quilt after the binding is finished up. Gotta get rid of the blue marking lines and also, what's a quilt without that lovely freshly washed and dried crinkle look?
Autumnal Tulips
It felt really good to get all 30 tulip blocks stitched up to the point of needing leaves. First opportunity to lay them all out, I was busy trying to figure out the rest. The first leaves reminded me of slugs so that was a no-go.  All it took was a quick trim-up though and I felt satisfied with the resulting shapes. After a lot of time dithering, I finally decided to cut out the leaves in the rust, dark browns and also some navy fabrics. These are colors that I absolutely want to include in the quilt and in order to not lose the 'lightness' of the quilt, the sashing needs to be similar in color to the block background. So that's it. The leaves have to be dark. Decision made, time to trace and cut out the pieces!
Freehand applique
Lots of inward panic here with the holidays so quickly approaching. We've had different times of company being here with more to come, and in just a couple weeks there will be a Christmas tree in the house taking up room too. These are things which radically hinder my ability to sandwich and pin quilts, which of course, is a major problem. How can I survive the holiday season without a quilt in my lap Every. Single. Evening! Oh, you thought I was panicking about holiday preparations? haha  A person needs to have their priorities firmly in place!
Next quilt tops for quilting
I've desperately wanted to work on quilt projects 'in progress' but it seemed more expedient to get a couple tops ready for hand quilting. I sewed three {mixed fabric} backings together and then got two quilts pinned and ready for the hoop. That ought to be enough to take me clear though until January! If there's a good chunk of time between now and when the tree arrives, I might even get the third quilt sandwiched and pinned for machine quilting. Pushing my luck there, but it'll be nice to have it ready if somehow there's a window of opportunity.
Gather Ye Rosebuds getting sandwiched and pinned
I ended up choosing this 'Gather Ye Rosebuds' quilt for next-up-in-the-hoop. It's not one that I've been super anxious to work on, but the flowery vine is slightly reminiscent of Christmas Cactus and it's been in the drawers for ages now. Hmm... I can actually see this one becoming a quilt that only comes out during the holidays in years to come. Why didn't I think of that earlier?
Should be a good one for working on during the holidays
We made several trips over to Spokane in the last couple weeks so I took advantage and made a list to stock up on Perle Cotton thread that I might need for the next several quilts. Sew-EZ-Too on Garland street {where I take my Bernina for annual maintenance}, has Finca threads and now, a nice little section of Valdani too! Hey, hey, hey! Look who has less money in the bank account now! lol 
Love quilts with words
For the harder to find Valdani threads {usually the variegated}, I generally shop an Etsy store called 'NeedleCaseGoodies' first. After that, I will browse other Etsy stores and then, failing there, go to larger quilting stores if I'm looking for a specific number/color. And yes, I will use DMC threads or Presencia too--it's all good. I don't feel exceedingly picky, just preferential?
And baskets...
A couple of the quilt stores that I used to pop in occasionally have closed up shop in the past couple years. So disappointing, but it's not like I've been a regular customer myself, living three hours away. The good news is that the new quilt shop on main street, Reardan, Washington is a brand new fave. Check it out if you get a chance! I finally got to pop in an take a look about a week ago and am so happy that I did! Such a fun store. Love the exposed brick look and wow, really lovely fabrics and everything displayed in a wonderfully engaging way. I'm quite determined to dig deep and clear out some oldy moldies in the next year, but it's amazing how much easier it can be with some new lovelies mixed in. Okay, that's it for now. Hope everyone has an amazing Thanksgiving! I'm so looking forward to the family and food. The kids and granddaughters arrive in two days!! Still pinching myself over that term. Granddaughters. I'm not even 50 years old yet! Super sweet though. We're absolutely loving it! As my late father-in-law always used to say, 'If we'd have known how great it was to have grandchildren, we'd have had them first.'*wink

Friday, November 8, 2019

Never Time To Get Bored

It's been a hand work sort of week. There are now 10 out of 30 of the Autumnal tulip blocks with flowers ready for leaves. The shape, size and color of which is totally up in the air. I'm loving the sweet look to these, but wondering why I settled on 30 as the perfect number to make? Might have to ratchet it down to 20 in order to ever properly finish up.
Starting to get an idea of what the Tulip blocks are gonna look like
Still plodding along on the quilting for Blue Plumes. It seemed like it took forever to start seeing the stitching texture come alive in this quilt! Usually it starts presenting within six or more frames and this one has just been being stubborn. I'm very bemused by how the blue/white ticking fabric seems to be darkening {must be the dark brown thread} and the light cream and tan background fabrics look to be popping. There are some things that are impossible to know until we can 'see' it in front of us. Still unsure about how to quilt the darker blue thin border, but am sure something will occur to me. I never do anything majorly complicated, that's for sure.
Looking at the stitching texture on Blue Plumes
Another thing that I've been working on this week is the final touches to my daughters t-shirt quilt. I had told her that I was willing to help her figure out how to put one together, but she had to do the work herself. After dithering over it for most of a year, she finally just decided to have it commissioned. Quite the relief to me as I honestly had no interest in making one myself! When it came back {looking very professional, no complaints there}, we both felt that it needed a proper binding and perhaps a few yarn ties. Because of the addition of sweatshirts in the quilt, I ended up cutting the binding strips 3 1/4" in order to fold them in half and still have enough to fully cover the seam line everywhere. Double folded sweatshirt fabric and double folded fleece can be very thick!
My daughters Glory Days T-Shirt quilt
I only wasted a couple hundred inches of binding cut out in a different fabric, not properly thinking it through! I suppose the binding isn't truly a wasted effort as it will no doubt find a home with another quilt some other day. Still, it is so annoying to have to re-do. Thankfully I hadn't sewn very much onto the quilt before realizing the normal width of binding would never, ever work. 

My daughter also asked me to sew several patches onto the quilt which wasn't difficult except for the slippery backing. The quilt is backed with a nice, quality polar fleece {which feels good}, but managed to slip just enough for a good sized pucker behind one of the patches. Ughh.  Even though I thought it was pinned very well! Thankfully the fleece is black and so the pucker hardly shows, making it unnecessary to rip out and start over.*Whew!  Was not looking forward to digging tiny, same-colored stitches out of a fleece fabric! Oh did I mention the backing fabric was black? As was the binding fabric? As was the thread used to sew said binding down? Uh huh. Complete and total Insanity trying to see well enough to hand sew a neat looking binding.

Finishing up with the details to the t-shirt quilt cleared up the current stack of have-to's in the quilt room. Yay! I ended up spending one entire afternoon rifling through all the simmering stacks of fabric and barely started quilt projects. So much fun. It's been awhile so it felt very overdue too. There were a couple projects that ended up having quilt design ideas swapped, and several fabric stacks saw some new fabric additions incorporated into the mix. That always feels amazing--fine tuning the fabric stacks until they start 'clicking' better!

You know what that means though.... Yep. Gonna be some new quilt projects popping up here any day now! Right now I have good intentions to bring one or two already started projects up to completed quilt top status FIRST, but we'll see. No promises! Some of these fabric stacks are really starting to call out for a little play time of their own.....

Monday, November 4, 2019

This is the Last of the Little Quilts

There are times we would rather be working creatively and yet other things pull at our time and attention. This isn't necessarily wasted time. It just is. We all prioritize and make decisions based on real life events and happenings. No need to apologize!
Another baby quilt finish!
Making baby quilts for friends and family is something that {most often} doesn't feel especially creative. It's fast, fun and sorta fluffy. Boom! The quilt is done and there's a sweet little rush. It's even sorta needful once in awhile, like eating a good piece of chocolate. But the process is neither intense or particularly {deeply} rewarding. I think you know what I mean.
Finding new use for the abandoned blocks...
The way that I make the most of the experience is to simplify things. Severely. It's called managing my expectations. No baby quilt made by me is ever going to mistaken for an 'heirloom quilt'! When I know that from the start, then I can loosen up enough to barely wince at any inevitable mistakes. Like switching the wider 'middle' dark green strip for the more narrow 'side' strips.*sigh  There's always something, right?
Didn't even notice this mistake until after it was quilted!
Though initially I had all sorts of intriguing ideas about ways to set the 9-patch blocks, in the end it came down to what made the most sense {at the time}. Stacking them end to end freed me up from trimming all the blocks down to a set size. Later, after quilting, I can see why it would always be wise to do that no matter the time it takes! As you can see, the quilting shoved the fabric here and there and makes it obvious that the original piecing was just a little bit too easy-breezy. 

These quilts are made fast and simple on purpose though. Very deliberately! Just digging in and trying to work instinctively is a great refresher. It could never happen with a much larger quilt without some serious anxiety hopping on board. What about fabric waste???

For these small quilts, I rather enjoy pawing through the stash, looking for a happy color palette that would be suitable for baby. Better yet is starting with orphan blocks and trying to lift that mood up, into a totally different direction than the original make. Which definitely happened here. Very similar, but still, completely different quilts. Love that! Neither quilt ended up with a particularly polished look and in fact, an experienced quilter might want to slap my hands for not taking proper time. So what. Will baby care?
Two similar light colored fat quarters work for the binding.
Not quite right colored fabric turned over for a backing....
No, and neither will the mother. And it will be used and then eventually washed, and then used and probably washed yet again. Until it's falling apart, though of course we never wish that for any of our quilts. The literally falling apart thing! Enough said. I have zero regrets!

The quilt below is only slightly larger than my average baby quilt-- 45" x 55". Made for a 5 year old nieces birthday, it was the result of said child wondering why she didn't ever get a baby quilt made specially for her. Older brother did and alas, her younger sister did too! Oops!
Why not start out with this? My niece thinks its the front of the quilt!
Little kids don't understand the dynamics of family gifting and how making a baby quilt for Every. Single. Birth. can quickly morph into the hundreds. But yes, I was most definitely beguiled by the wide-eyed questioning sincerity and set out to make a special little quilt. 
Quilters know that this is the 'front' of the quilt....
With this one, I started with the Raggedy Ann quilt backing fabric. It was given to me shortly after one of my aunts died a couple years ago. Sorting through a box of very low quality fabrics resulted in a grand total of three decent finds. So sad to ditch the other remaining fabrics, but I determined to do something special with these if at all possible, and now the day had arrived for at least one of them!
Is the blue floral print too much for the binding?
All the fabrics in the front of the quilt were chosen based directly from colors used in the vintage backing. While searching through the stash totes, I very carefully chose out some very large print fabrics too. Generally, these would be terribly difficult to incorporate into my regular quilting, but as I pointed out earlier, it greatly helps when we start out by 'managing our expectations'. Appealing to a 5 year old wanting a blanky made by A. Audrey absolutely helped to keep the tricky decision making dilemmas down to a very low ebb. You know she's never, ever going to question anything about the design!
It's busy, busy, but oh, so fun looking....
I tried to channel a little bit of Linda from KokaQuilts when finalizing the fabric selection. Reading her blog over the past couple years has tempted me to open up to the possibility of using busy and/or large print fabrics! The first thing that I did was to make two sets of four patch blocks. Next up was fussy cutting the larger print fabrics of which I only had fatquarters {or even less} starting out! I don't know if you can tell or not, but the large pink flower square in the bottom left corner is pieced with three different pieces of the same fabric. What exactly is a quilter supposed to do when the quilt obviously needs another focal point and all worthy fabric has been sadly depleted? Make do!

The sharp yellow fabric is something I've saved back and kept on the do-no-touch list until it feels absolutely ridiculous. What am I saving it for, pray tell? The smaller red and white floral fabric were leftover strips from a prior backing on another quilt. Feels so good to use up the last of it! And the larger polka dot fabric has been deflecting me for years. 'No! Don't use me in this quilt, I'm too loud and bossy!' 

Overall, it went together super fast after I settled on the 6" measurement for the squares. Once that was figured out, then it was full speed ahead. The only real problem was adding on one more row after the base look of the quilt was set. Why I ever thought it could work properly as a square quilt is a question that will haunt me, well..., not at all. It was actually just a little hiccup in forward progress and made me have to come back and finish on a different day, in a slightly different way than originally imagined. A five-year old needs a slightly longer quilt than a baby though she is very petite. The width matters not at all here.
They couldn't be more different....
In the sweetest of sweet coincidences, the birthday of my little niece and the aunt who indirectly gifted me the backing fabric, are the very same. Can you believe the coincidence? I did not remember for some reason as I am terrible about remembering birthday dates. You can be sure this news totally made my day. Perhaps this quilt was meant to be? The momma is pleased too so that is a good thing as well. You just never know about vintage fabrics. There are people out there who will never appreciate them, no matter the sentimentality involved.

So there you go. All three of my latest fast and easy 'baby' quilt makes finished up and/or gifted in the last several days. Every one has been made 100% from the stash and in another wonderful coincidence, all of the backing was recently gifted from a sister-in-law giving away the last bits of her quilting stuff. Life is very, very good when we have hobbies such as this. I've been quilting long enough to start taking it for granted, but I don't. I won't. It means entirely too much....

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Checking Some Things Off the List

The little table runner is totally completed! I'm not sure there is enough hand quilting in the borders, but it's done. Not going to add more at this point.
The fall table runner
Next up in the hoop is Blue Plumes. It's kind of a different quilt for me, but other than admiring a similar shaped element in a shirt one day, the whole project idea is mine. 
Blue Plumes getting sandwiched and pinned
I can't believe this one has been at completed quilt top stage since 2017! Wowsers, does time fly! These funky looking fleur de lis {or whatever they are} were supposed to go with another quilt idea. Didn't work out and you know me, shortly after, another layout idea came along to the rescue. Funny how that happens with us tenacious types!
I think this one is going to be hand quilted
Why waste a perfectly good quilting inspiration? If at first you don't succeed, try, try again! You know how I love a challenge....
Trying to figure out the stitching pattern!
The binding is patiently waiting for me on the Playing With Scale #2 quilt. Honestly, you probably wouldn't believe it, but I've been off having a play with another baby quilt instead! lol
Binding ready for hand stitching!
Yep. I am a great aunt once again! My mom and dad agreed to find room in their suitcase if the quilt gets done in time and so I'm busy, busy. Postage is terribly expensive and I'd be very grateful to avoid having to pay for that plus risk the quilt getting lost in the mail. Best get back to it!

Monday, October 21, 2019

What's on the Wall {and Floor} Today

Sometimes I don't even know where to start, how to walk you through to where my quilting is at this current moment. It's kinda a mess really, but hopefully more of a 'creative' mess than an ugly sort of mess that we'd all probably turn up our noses at. After getting two other projects up to completed quilt top stage, it seemed like a perfect time to dive head first into this U&U interpretation project.
The very beginning of the  Interpretation quilt
This fabric has been all stacked up and ready for play since August, but somehow the 'right time' never came along. It's one of those projects where I'm really excited to see how it works out, but kinda scared too. Interpretation is never as easy as it might seem! Finally the time came where I was ready, the project was ready and hallelujah! There was actually available hours in the day!!
Making things easy
It helps so much to have the fabric pre-selected, especially when the color palette is a bit outside of my normal comfort zone. Wading through all the stash totes for one specific color or shade can be a total time suck too. The pre-sort gives me options, value changes, and limitations too. Okay, here's the best choices. If all else fails, my fall back will definitely be scouring through the stash totes once again, but it would be great if I never have to.

I started everything with the larger floral rectangle, mostly because I was absolutely determined to put that piece of fabric into this specific quilt. It's got an old fashioned charm to it that is important to me as it pertains to 'shaping' the look and feel of the entire quilt. Does that make sense?  The size cut for that rectangle determines every other measurement from here on out. Can you believe that? Better make it right the first time, 'cuz that's almost all there is!
Will this work? Or that? 
Some areas are measured out, others are 'eye-balled'. There's a little bit of free-cutting and a lot of rotary cutting. Everything is cut out and placed based on proportion of what it rests directly next too. A little bit above or below? Wider? Longer? Though I adore the rambling, curvy, rough cut look of the original, it just wasn't going to work for me to work without any boundaries whatsoever. I am absolutely NOT a perfectionist anymore, but my quilts do need to lay flat and mostly square.
Always auditioning
Will it ruin the look and feel of the quilt if things are trimmed and tidied up? I am crossing my fingers it won't. Maybe crossing more than two fingers. I just don't know. That's just something you have to 'see' and that requires a little bit of effort first! I'm hoping the quilt will finish up somewhere in the range of a good sized lap quilt, but who knows. Though I tried to start with a reasonable estimate of 'if this column is 3" then that will make the quilt X amount of inches across', it's still just all guess work. Knowing me, it might need scrappy borders or something later on to finish out a decent size. We'll cross that bridge when we get there.
The first big chunk of the quilt is done now
There was a certain point where I was spending way too much time thinking about how the original improv. piece came to be. Doesn't it look like someone upended their scrap basket and just started sewing? So of course that's exactly what I did! Ditched the current project and started in on yet another. Why not? It was definitely time for a break from the color palette if nothing else! After all the sorting that was done last summer, all the new scrap pieces have been thrown into a smaller basket. The idea being that eventually they too would be sorted and dumped into the 'proper' color totes. Uh huh.
Playing with the scrap bin
I happily spent one whole evening sorting out all the scraps that looked like they might play nicely together. Yes I did. And it was great fun! A few things were sewn together impulsively, but most of the time was spent ironing and sorting into similar size units. I don't have a clue where this project will end up, but it sure was great to imagine. How ironic that this one nights play would never have even taken place except for working on {and needing a break from} the Interpretation quilt! For now it's taking up important real estate on the floor, right where I normally walk through. I am determined not to clean things up until enough work is done on it that it will not be unceremoniously tossed back into the scrap bin basket. There's just something about this project that feels.... interesting? Worthwhile? Important?
All ready for binding!
And then there's the little fall table runner which was fun to sew on initially, but since has not fired me up at all. Last night saw me putting the last bit of hand stitching in and so now, it's ready for binding! Which is good because the gift date is rapidly approaching.
The start of the Autumnal Tulip block applique
And it might not look like much, but all thirty {yes, I said THIRTY} of the tulip block stems are sewn into place now. I keep getting derailed or I'm sure there would be many, many of the tulip flower parts stitched down as well. They are just that simple and straightforward. Oh well. It's all good times, I guess it doesn't really matter what gets the attention so long as my fingers are busy stitching...

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....