Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Never Enough Time

How about a good long catch up post? First off, the HST Medallion quilt has been front and center for well over a week. I made the determination that nothing was going to get between this project and the sewing machine until all the small hst rows were sewn on. Two hundred breaks later for hand work or changing out the laundry or whatever else I could invent and....
More progress on HST Medallion!
Here we are, finally, at hst row #10. Woohoo! That's three more row sets added onto this quilt since the last time I posted any progress! I was pretty sure if I didn't do all three of them, one right after the other, this quilt would just die a slow death. It took days longer than I expected. It's all just so very tedious. Made me want to pull my hair out sometimes. Scream. Run away. What is it about excessive repetition?
10 rows finished
I mean, look at how innocuous these hst's are. So simple and unassuming. Ugghh... Who's idea was this anyway? The last round brought the total count up to just over 1300 hsts. Which is a lot. But honestly, it feels like about 5000! All that's left now are the last two rounds {if I follow thru}, which are larger. That should help, larger is good.

The last light pink border was a calculated risk. I totally know you've been eyeballing that one and wondering....  Audrey? Hmm.. What?  I'm still using fabric from the stash and thought maybe a 'disappearing' border would be interesting in the big picture of things. Taking a look at what fabric was left helped to make the final decision. If the quilt would have stopped off at that round, then yeah, it would have been a huge mistake. So far I'm perfectly okay with the look. It's not like I do polished looking quilts. Gotta have some quirks!

So...  accuracy? I'm within an inch or less of where its supposed to be, no matter if I measure directly through the center or along any particular side. That's pretty impressive {for me} considering how many, many, many seams there are. Sometimes I pay more attention to accuracy than others, but seriously, who has the time? Mostly I fudge if its close and the black single fabric sashing rows tidy things up before the next round. The saving grace has been that my cutting efforts have been more precise and careful. Daylight hours only!
Doesn't look like much
Lots of hand work to choose from when I'm fleeing the quilt room. I've really been enjoying do some hand stitching on my Dried Flowers {squirrel} project. The colors are particularly soothing right now--spot on for early fall.  At this point I'm stalled on what kind of leaves to add on though. Maybe I'll just have to do some of both!
Auditioning leaf shapes...
The project below is one that was started from leftover quarter circle pieces cut out from the back of a long ago quilt. It's been keeping me company as well. Instead of some complicated piecing thing that would be driving me bonkers, I decided to do an applique version of a simple New York Beauty block. After all the chunky spikes are sewn down, then I will probably stitch on an arc of gold fabric, over the bottom part of the spikes and covering the edges of the curve. These colors still make me very happy, which I find interesting as I've been playing with this particular color palette off and on for years now.
Getting started on a pile of 64 blocks total
And then there is the Off On a Tangent quilt. All the hand work is finished up and yep!, I made a mistake that always makes me feel a little twitchy. All the letters are in green fabrics that blend well with the quilt, but do not show up very emphatically when all is said and done.
Got the hand stitching done
Much too late to take them off now and start over and I don't want to anyway. They look just fine up close so that is that. Don't know why I keep making this same mistake after all this time. If you're gonna go to the trouble of adding words, for goodness sakes, do them in a color that has some impact!
It's not the best color, but it'll probably do
I guess I was thinking of serenity and peaceful feeling vibes? This quilt has already jumped to the head of the line for sandwiching and quilting. Very fast turn around for me, but this quilt is determined to go live with someone else.
Ughh... Sandwiching and pinning
In fact, I already machine quilted {stitched in the ditch} thru the inside of the quilt. Now that Basket Love, shown below, is out of the hoop, I can do some quick, big stitch quilting around the borders and move it on down the line. Oh how I wish that every quilt was as easy and rewarding to stitch as the quilt below. I adore hand quilting on string quilts! I'm sure it would get boring though if that's all that ever passed thru the hoop.
Ready for binding work!
Because the HST Medallion quilt took so long to work through sewing on the rows, I totally blinked on getting to the AHIQ work this month. That kind of annoys me 'cuz I love the improv. stuff, but there will be time for that later. Right now, things are happening that are a bit beyond my control. My sewing machine is scheduled to go in for a maintenance {in order to keep up with the warranty}, and that totally rearranged my priorities as well. The only machine quilting I do these days is on that particular machine 'cuz it has a bigger harp! Quick, what needs done before I have to do without! The quilt store where I drop the sewing machine off is three hours away so that means I'll be using a back-up machine for quite awhile, maybe even a month.*sigh  Not going to tackle big quilt work on the smaller machine.

I managed to arrange the initial drop off with the same timing as taking my kids to the airport and also an Apple store appointment. My phone desperately needs a new battery and apparently we can't do that without their help. If Bloglovin' gets any slower, the phone will be in total meltdown. Or maybe I will? Anyway, when you live out in the boondocks, these sorts of trips take some strategic planning. There is usually shopping involved. Things like that.

**Per the question asked after my last post, referring to the days when I said I would never, ever hand quilt? Well, that was 20-25 years ago, when I first started quilting. A lot has changed since then, including the fact that I don't have littles hanging on to my ankles and demanding every second of my attention. Also, I don't like doing machine quilting. Really, really don't care for it at all and in fact, when I attempt anything close to free-motion, it feels like the top of my head is going to come off. I push myself learn a lot of techniques and things that feel important to further expand my ability to make unique and personal looking quilts. Someday that may come to lessons in free motion quilting, but for now, hand quilting is as essential to me as air, both in the doing and the seeing. Quite simply, it's now part of my quilting voice, regardless of the time it may take... What elements of this craft are important to you and your quilting?


  1. I L O V E those chunky spikes--really nice and great colors--
    I canNOT believe how many hst's you made--amazing!! that would send me to the funny farm for sure...but it is a beautiful piece...good thing, right?
    hugs, julierose

  2. I would have guessed 5,000 half square triangles! A bunch no matter the count. And done well.

  3. Wonderful! I love those flowers and stems...and never realized that you are supposed to cut away the backs of well as all your other projects. You accomplish so much with your avaiable inspiration!

  4. Your HST Medallion quilt is impressive and you're a braver soul than I am to take on such a monumental challenge. But my favorite is Off On a Tangent, both for the colors and the meaningful words. Have you considered outlining the letters in some way, maybe embroidery or piping for example? I did that once by hand-stitching a chain stitch with 6 strands of floss around the shapes. The texture created a far better effect than it ever would have had if I'd gotten the contrast right at the start.

  5. Oh my, your HST medallion is outstanding! what size will it end up? Your Dried Flowers project looks good ~ personally I love the rounded leaves, which I think fill the space better & give balance to the size of the flower head. You are one driven woman!

  6. I am absolutely bonkers for your HST Medallion quilt !!

  7. I'm impressed ... and I really love your medaillion quilt

  8. Woo-hoo! Way to go on the HST medallion! Love the Dried Flowers, too. As always - I am inspired by your twists and turns!

  9. Love the hst medallion quilt. I am planning something similar with all my leftover hst from doing some quilts with stitch and flip corners. I cannot throw those corners away so I sew another seam before I cut them off. The hst are small so my quilt will be small. I like how the cornerstones draw the eye out on your.

  10. Love, love, love everything about this post, the words, photos and quilts in progress. Thank you for posting. Made my rainy day brighter!


  11. I'm a hand quilter too. There's some nice machine quilting out there but I don't want to do it. It's just too hard. I want the rhythm of hand stitching. AND I want the texture of hand quilting. Love the chunky NY beauty blocks. There's a lot of whimsy in those blocks. The Medallion Quilt is going to become a treasure.

  12. Wow you’ve been busy!! That HST quilt is truly amazing - soooo many triangles, it’s a wonder you haven’t gone insane! I too cannot free motion machine quilt and hate doing it so I don’t and I love hand quilting too - just need to make more time for it. Go girl - you are amazing!

  13. Your hst medallion is Awesome with a capital A. Glad you've stuck with it. You've got some great things going on. Do the things you love.

  14. Yikes, that hst quilt is absolutely amazing! But, I can't keep my eyes off the "Dried Flowers"! Another fabulous design that makes my heart sing. And, I am so glad you love hand quilting as your hand quilted quilts have such wonderful texture. I love hand quilting as I feel it keeps me sane. You don't want to hear me trying to shove a large quilt through my sewing machine!

  15. The problem with a long post is the many ideas are almost too much for the comment section. First: I love the HSTs and think the light pink rows create necessary breaks in the width. I'm not sure it would look as good without them. Congrats on staying close to the "true" measurement. I can see your hand here.
    Second: The wavy leaves on Dried Flowers intrigue me so much. They look shaded even though I'm sure they are plain paper at this time. I can't decide whether using them all the time would look better than mixing it up but know whatever way you go will be fabulous.
    Third: Like Anne above, I'd shade the words with paint or thread. Either on the edge of the letters or possible right outside.
    Fourth: I quilted by hand years ago but once I switched to machine, there was no going back. Now my fingers bother me if I do much handwork so I'll probably never get into it again. Too bad because I love your quilts.

  16. Wow! Wow! Wow!
    You are on a roll.
    Way to go!

  17. amazing hst medallion!
    fun flower project with great colors.

  18. Wow that's a lot of HSTs! And then you show so many other beautiful projects as well! I hadn't thought about the maintenance for the warranty. If mine had it, I must have missed a maintenance or two by now. I didn't know! As for the letters that are hard to read, could you highlight them somehow, maybe with dark stitching around them, or using a fabric marker to help them stand out?

  19. Thank heaven for the dark rounds in between! I'd go mad staying within those measurements. I love reality posts like this because I know I'm following the right people. Quilting is not always a rosy finish up each week, and quilters make long term commitments to get big projects finished. That said, congratulations on just getting through the HST rounds, and don't procrastinate finishing this one up. It will be a beauty.

  20. The HSTs are completely mad and completely wonderful, all at the same time. I like the pink row in there, it mixes things up just enough, so you have to stop and look properly instead of assuming you know what comes next, if that makes sense.

  21. Totally in love with your Dried Flowers. Do the leaves whichever makes you happy -- I'm sure it will be a wonderful quilt!!!

    I used to hand quilt everything. Then I had surgery for trigger finger and "fine" quilting now hurts my finger. Since then I've quilted a few pieces using #8 or #12 threads and really loved the process again. Love touching my quilts for as long as possible! I've watched your quilts get even more beautiful with your quilting and know that I've gone in the right direction too. Thank you!

    However, I still do machine quilting on my domestic machine. I love the freedom of free-motion but totally understand how it is not for everyone. Keep posting, Audra ... we all love how you put into words what we are also feeling! ��

  22. Impressed, so your pain and suffering was all worth it! I am getting ready to sew close to 900 hourglass blocks together hope I am as accurate.

  23. I love the green lettering as it causes us to zoom in a take a closer look.
    The HST quilt is AMAZING! So over the top!!

  24. You have a lot of quilts in progress, Audrey, and all so fun and interesting. I think the rounded leaves speak your name.... I think Off on a Tangent is a beautiful quilt. I like the arrangement of colors in the triangle/square blocks. No worries about the green not standing out so much. It will invite whoever sees the quilt to look a little more closely -- and enjoy that much more!

  25. love the quilt and just have to laugh at your last paragraph of machine quilting - I keep telling myself I need to do at least a couple with the machine as my fingers will wear out but I really do not like it and it stresses me out, no enjoyment what so ever from it!! it might take a little longer to hand quilt but from what I see on some blogs by time some get the machine quilting done and the binding on the quilt I am half way done hand quilting one - it really doesn't take that long if you stick with it

  26. I love your HST Medallion! So many HSTs but so effective, well done. And I too, love reading about all the projects you have underway, in various stages, making takes time and its keeping it real for all of us. As for quilting, well I find fmq on the machine very challenging, and finding the time to hand quilt is tricky but I love adding in some big stitch hand quilting to give that handmade look to my quilts.

  27. And what a catch up post!!!!! In love with your HST Medallion and your Dried Flowers are a treat for the eyes, Ill be interested to see which leaf shape you go with. You have two other beauties going on here to add to the mix = a busy lady!

  28. Wo just awesome, wonderful great to just look at the pictures.


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