Friday, February 22, 2019

I Love Applique. The Round-up Post You Didn't Know You Were Waiting For

Just kidding. You can skip the reading and just skim the pictures. It's no secret that I love applique. If it even comes close to a time where all the applique projects are finished up, then you can be sure that I'm quite, quite busy in the quilt room trying to get yet another one prepped and ready to go! This time of year it is especially nice be doing hand work while enjoying the gorgeous afternoon lighting, a direct result of all the gorgeous snow on the hills and mountains around us.
Just a little ways downriver from where we live....
I can't take credit for that fantastic picture above, but that, my dear friends is often our winter wonderland this time of year. Isn't it beautiful? Though I'm starting to get weary of winter, it's hard to be upset by our views. You can see more of my sisters very talented photography over here if you like, she's really got the skills. In the meantime, I humbly asked to borrow her photo as mine are not proving to be very exciting. Ha! Not telling you anything you didn't already know!
Dried Flowers progress
I went ahead and attacked Dried Flowers {which looks way better than the photo might indicate}, getting the string columns all figured out and attached to the flower blocks. There ended up being a little more of the blue/greens included than I originally thought would be necessary. Still, I'm fairly happy with the results, especially the old time look of the scrappy lighter strips. It took me a couple days to {cut and} sew the large slab blocks together and as always, I was perturbed by all the excess. No matter. I simply drew up a simple baby quilt to use up all the leftover narrow string columns. It just hurts to throw away that much fabric!
An applique addition
Now that the three largest parts of the quilt are sewn together, then it was time to address the horizontal applique strips. I've been envisioning these in my head for quite awhile and was puzzling over how to put it all together. For now, I'm only planning on sewing two of these and placing them between those larger sewn units.When the hand work is finished, they will be stitched onto darker strips and then, possibly? extended into the outer border by a smidge. Still working out the details of that.

I'm pretty sure the original applique design was sparked by a piece of fabric somewhere along the line, but at this point I'm not sure if it was in a quilt or maybe even a shirt that I've worn. It was something that sparked an interest because of the repeating pattern, not because of the specifics of the flowers or leaves. Those elements were drawn and redrawn freehand, until I ended up with something that I feel will work and blend well with the rest of the quilt. Amazing how frustrating it can be to draw simple leaves and/or flowers sometimes! Pretty much the only thing that you can be sure of is when the drawing looks terrible and when the shapes aren't right! Perseverance though, and eventually you end up with something you're originally shooting for. More or less....
Antique Crows before
Speaking of which... Sometimes you just can't get it right no matter how you try! I previously failed to mention that the two bird templates used in this Antique Crow quilt were directly from Cheri Payne Saffiote's 'Wednesday's Best' pattern book. After drawing several different bird fails, I went looking for the person who did the best primitive-look birds ever. She was an incredible Folk Art/Primitive quilt inspiration and always will be. Wouldn't want to deny her any well deserved credit!

Already folded up and put away in the drawers, that quilt just kept nagging at me. Every time I looked at the pics from the last post, the missing leaves on the largest flowers bugged me. Okay, fine. FINE. Have it your way!! And now the largest flowers have their leaves and all is well again. The main reason I left them off in the first place was because all that green felt 'too bright'. Well, now it has more of it and suddenly, it looks more 'right'. Go figure. 
Antique Crows after
Another one of the applique projects lurking in the background is the Melon Patch blocks. They've been around now for a couple years. There are 20 blocks with four stacks of four petals per block. The other day I grabbed the third layer of petals and assigned them to appropriately matching/blending top petals. This means that I am almost ready to start stitching on them. Some day. Do not lose hope. Eventually this forever, slow, mind-numbingly tedious quilt will be seen to be making progress once again. It's really too late to back out now.
Melon Patch petals
And that quilt might be the main reason I have not started on the quilt below, even though I have have fabric picked out and the photo bookmarked for approximately three years.*sigh  One of my aunts {since deceased} bought me this book years and years ago. The Oak Leaf quilt was my favorite quilt in the entire book and I've been quite determined to sew it together one day. Well.... I've recently decided that those particular fabrics stacked up together and simply languishing in a tote {for three years} makes me a little queasy. I could be doing something good with them! There has got to be an answer somewhere for how to accomplish this without marking and cutting out the oak leaves.... and then leaving them languishing in the applique bag for another three to five years.*sigh again

You see my dilemma? I really feel that I want to make this quilt as it will be a lovely reminder of one of my favorite aunts; however, it's also clear that my get-up-and-go is not going anywhere very fast these days. At least as it pertains to this project. So the latest solution I have stumbled upon is to take out the entire center of the quilt and maybe do a centerpiece of sorts. Keep it basic, but intriguing enough so that it will hold my interest, then only sew two rows of those leaf blocks. It might sound crazy to you, but knocking the number of applique blocks down to 40 from 49, sounds a bit more manageable to me. We'll see. This is still in the contemplation stage for sure. I might even do an every other oak leaf block thus cutting the applique down even further! Do I really need more medallion quilts? Sure, why not? And speaking of medallions....
Oak Leaves quilt pondering
When a person loves applique like I do, it's easy to see possibilities everywhere. Do you remember the large cut-out circle from another applique project I posted about back in January?  Well, the other evening when I was hand quilting, this flower shape on the background fabric specifically caught my eye. It's there inside the bottom basket handle, partially cut off if you want to take a look. So my mind starts spinning and I'm thinking about how cool that would look in a quilt. My mind goes to repeating blocks and all those sorts of traditional settings and then, bam! I'm suddenly wondering about taking that large circle cut-out and somehow turning it into one of these gorgeous {similar look} flowers!
Improv. Postage Stamp Basket in the hoop
Can I? Should I? Dare I? Oooh, I just live for these sorts of connections! Once the inspiration was sparked, then I just couldn't hardly wait to get started. But of course, my quilt room is through my sons bedroom and it was late, late in the evening and how rude would that be....  So I had to patiently wait until the next day just to see. And yep! It's going to be a big 'ol seedpod flower for sure. After about 2 hours of drawing and cutting and drawing and cutting, it got to this place.*whew  Those leaves, the proportions of everything.... You certainly didn't expect it to be a walk in the park, now did you?
Seedpod Flower Quilt start
And that's exactly how it works in my crazy, wonderful quilting journey. One thing leads to another and another and then yet another. Lots of work and just 'putting in the time to make things happen', intermixed with wild, fun moments of lightbulb-like inspiration. These squirrel quilts...  So restorative and beneficial to our creative selves when the right one comes along. Too bad we didn't know in advance which ones were most important to pay attention to! Linking up with Wendy's Peacock Party!

21 comments:

  1. What a treat to walk through your quilting space and see all the projects in progress. Each one grabs me and becomes my favorite until I glimpse the next one. I hope you don't need much sleep so you can finish all these lovelies soon.

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  2. The seedpod flower is genius. It's going to be tedious to applique but so worth it. You're right, those extra leaves add just the right touch. Beautiful landscape - my brother sent me a picture of his drive to work this morning with similar snow on the mountains. Only problem is that he works in Las Vegas. . .

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  3. The two large flowers definitely needed leaves - looking beautiful! I love your start with the Seedpod Flower Quilt and I'm looking forward to see more.

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  4. Oh boy, this was a fun walk through your quilt piles and it's probably only the tip of the iceberg. Thanks! Great Friday night excursion

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  5. Thanks so much for sharing this.. a little photo shoot, a glimpse of your progress, and your thoughts about each WiP. Loving your 'seedpod' start, very creative!

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  6. What a lovely read! I thought I was addicted to applique but I'm not so sure now :) I love the Antique Crows, and can't wait to see more of your seedpod flower quilt. How exciting to read of your inspiration and see the result of it. It looks as if you live in a wonderful area! Thank you so much for sharing!

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  7. As far as I'm concerned I can't have too much of either your process or your applique so it was lovely to share this walk through your current projects and see where your mind is taking you next. The seedpod is fantastic!

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  8. Oh I love the seed pod flower, and I am so in awe how you come up with lovely ideas again and again.

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  9. Such a lovely collection Audrey, and thanks for sharing your process; I've learnt a lot!

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  10. Fun to see your works in progress. As to the oak leaf inspiration, use it as that to honor your aunt. You could just make FOUR blocks and put one in each corner of something. You will always know they were for her.

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  11. I love your Winter Wonderland picture. I love Winter with lots of snow, no ice, please. Your dried flower project looks great. Will you give the crows some feet? They look like they need feet and legs. I would stitch them all the way down to the stem of the flower. But that's just me. Love, love, love your seedpod flower design. Looking forward to see all your beautiful projects grow. ;^)

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  12. What a fun journey through your applique projects, both new and ongoing. I'm especially taken with the seed pod flower idea, along with those luscious blue-greens of the dried flower quilt! Beautiful scenery in your area, your sister's photos of old barns reminds me so much of central and eastern Oregon.

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  13. Oh I love that seed pod! what a wonderful idea that one is. How you come up with the some of the ideas you have is beyond me and as always I love your applique

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  14. I absolutely LOVE your seed pod quilt start! I may have to try something similar! I also love how you added the leaves to the large flowers on the crow quilt. I agree, looks perfect! Always inspired by your work!
    mbbaker35@yahoo.com

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  15. A whole post about applique :0) I love it! The seed pod is totally worth all that drawing pain. It's going to be fantastic! I also love the dried flowers blocks and where that quilt is heading.

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  16. Well, you certainly caught and held my attention. I too love applique and those Dried Flowers are gorgeous. Of course, everything you make is, but those seed pod blocks are going to be amazing. Love reading about your process! Happy Stitching!

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  17. I truly enjoy following your quilting journey! It's funny where our inspiration comes from. I'm glad you didn't forget your idea before your son woke up. Those seed pod flowers are great!

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  18. I love reading the twists and turns of your journey, should I do this or should I do that. It's a great reminder to me. Love the seed pod flower.

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  19. It's always a pleasure to visit and see what you are doing.

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  20. One day I'll tackle applique, but not just yet - I've got too many other things I want to do first. Your applique is lovely. Thank you for linking up with the Peacock Party.

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