Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Slow, Plodding Progress on the 6in6 in 2018

I only have one applique project on the go at the moment and for some reason I am very resistant to working on it. This past weekend I finally got it out and stitched five more petals. Since there are 80 in all, this didn't even make a dent. But it did serve to remind me of why I started it in the first place--the colors are just yummy...
Melon Patch quilt
You can see that I tend to grab whatever thread that will best match the fabric, regardless of brand. While there are most definitely superior threads that glide through fabric 'like silk', matching color is important too. {For those that want to know, DMC machine embroidery thread is still my absolute fave for hand work. The problem is, local supply is extremely limited!}

Another project which continually gets shoved off at the least provocation is my Solids Color Challenge quilt. As my measurements were way off for the last border addition, I thought to add an in-between border solution. Do you remember the HaHa quilt over at nifty quilts? Such a fabulous quilt. I'm using that as the inspiration to create one row of HaHa blocks. While the original quilt had more somber beginnings, my blocks are a good poke at my seeming inability to get math right lately. I'm hoping the gray background fabrics will serve as a good transition between the center and more colorful triangle border that comes after. Trust me to be the one to work completely backwards!
Another border for the Solids Challenge quilt
This overlarge basket was the third in a series of what was vaguely intended to be four large basket quilts. The first one was Gather Ye Rosebuds and the second one was Woven Basket. This one ended up being just a little larger than I expected it to be. And the chances of there being a fourth largish basket? Probably not happening anymore as I am getting increasingly tired of this series, but we'll see. Stranger things have happened around here!
Auditioning a border for Another Big Basket
 All the border ideas I came up with ended up with a potential freakishly large quilt. You know--in order for everything to be 'in proportion'.  I briefly toyed with the idea of not adding anything to it and finishing it as a wall hanging for my bedroom. Hmm... Not exactly the colors I want to hang on my bedroom wall for the next 20 years. So finally, I did some creative brainstorming with that process that most of us call throwing fabric on the floor next to the quilt. It's a very simplistic way of attacking the problem, but sometimes has surprisingly good results. When you've drawn up a hundred ideas and thrown them all away because they don't 'look right', it often helps to engage a different part of the brain.
A finished quilt top!
Once I got the basic idea/look solidified for the border piecing, then I spent an hour and a half trying to figure out how to add more applique. Of course I did. {Because I can never seem to leave well enough alone.} Eventually I reached the point of complete exasperation and realized that it was all just a little too much. Off came all the applique parts and pieces and when the border was finally sewn on, it proved out to be the very best solution of all. Yes! Simple and sweet was exactly what was needed for my ginormous tipsy basket with the odd side handles. Sometimes we just don't know when to quit until we hit our head against the brick wall enough times to finally wake up.
Sunburst finally moving forward again!
And yes, here's the next quilt to go into the hoop. I have a couple bindings needing attention on others, but can't leave that hoop empty for long! Sunburst was started back in 2014 but didn't reach finished quilt top status until spring of 2016. It was the first quilt that I had ever done with such a large centerpiece sewn completely of applique parts and pieces.
Sunburst in the hoop
As per usual, that much applique earnestly compels me to take the extra time to hand stitch the quilt top. To honor and respect the effort, hehe.... So in the hoop it went, finally reaching the top of the queue. After thinking through many stitching options, I am once again going with a freehand style of Baptist Fan quilting--trying to keep the curves approx. an inch or slightly more apart. I want it to have a 'background' look and feel {thus the black perle cotton}, but also an airiness to it when all the stitching is completed on the quilt {why I'm keeping the curves spread farther apart than usual}.

At this point I am almost finished stitching two rows across the bottom of the quilt, but my oh my, has it been a panicky, nerve-wracking start. Working freehand always feels hairy-scary starting out and I second, third and fourth guessed myself. Now, here at the end of the second row, it's starting to feel like it might, just might be the look that I intended in the first place. 

Of course I'm still drawing the lines prior to stitching {all in a freehand, eyeball-it sort of manner}, but once I get more comfortable and into a good rhythm, then I won't need to mark quite as much. Freehand stitching is not for everyone, but all the quirkiness that results from this sort of quilting still totally melts my heart and makes me feel true sisterhood to quilters from long years ago. Linking up with 6and6in2018. It has been slow, plodding progress, but I've made things happen on three different projects and even crossed of them right off the list! Woohoo!


  1. Wow! Great progress on so many projects! I love what you decided with the basket quilt. Perfect!

  2. "Sometimes we just don't know when to quit until we hit our head against the brick wall enough times to finally wake up." -- oh how totally and entirely TRUE! Terrific post -- glad you resolved the border for the basket without losing your sanity completely (grin).

  3. I have always loved your attitude when in comes to your work. It helps to know that others don't know whne to stop or sometimes just hit a brick wall. Those math errors can take one for a loop! I agree about the not so perfect it really adds so much charm.

  4. Your big basket quilt just speaks to me, I love it. Not that I don't love the others, just this one hits me. What size perle cotton are you using on your Baptist fans? And needle? I've got a top that is just begging to be hand-quilted and I'd like to give it a go. I just love what you do!

    1. I've been using Fon's & Porter's Utility needles for quite awhile now. They are large but work well with the Perle Cotton, just don't expect to do much of the 'rocking' motion! For this quilt I'm using #12 Valadani thread tho I love using #8 as well and actually don't have a problem using both in the same quilt if that's what I have in the right colors!

  5. Enjoy spending time with you and wish you and yours a healthy and safe holiday. Sunburst is so lovely. Blessings. Oh, I just bought a large Baptist Fan stencil and am eagerly awaiting the use of it.

  6. Seeing the petals makes me want to see the quilt they are going to become. I've considered making a "HAHA" quilt. You can't look at one without smiling. Don't worry about the math-it all comes together eventually. I bet it feels good to have the basket quilt decisions made and done. Sometimes it feels overwhelming to audition fabrics and then make a final decision. Enjoy your hand quilting. I spent the better part of the afternoon in my cool basement with needle in hand, quilting. It is so satsifying.

  7. So many good things in this post, though it's hard to believe you are down to one applique project! You found a great solution for your big basket: just what it needed.

  8. You are so prolific! The petals are beautiful!

  9. You are making great progress. Let me know if you run out of your fav DMC embroidery thread. It's my favorite too and have quite a bit that I'd love to share with you.


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