Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Diving Into the Hand Quilting

Spring has been hectic around here. Nothing unusual about that. I've been finding great pleasure in opening up my hand quilting bag late in the evenings to stitch on this sweet quilt. Ooh, there is always a big exhale and then instant bliss.
Next up in the hoop
It was started as a response to one of our challenges over at Adhoc. Improv. Quilts. This challenge was 'Playing With Scale'. I started with a {freehand applique} floral centerpiece and made that background with coins or string sets. Then I moved to the border around that and decided to go ahead with the string look, but make these in a chunkier look/style.
Always a little applique
Since I was working with a stack of fabrics that had mostly been languishing in the stash totes for years, I decided to throw caution to the wind and make even more string sets. This time I went skinnier, but longer. This used up a boat load of old fabrics, but as usual, I ended up having to dig even deeper in the totes and come up with some fabrics to help ease the blending.
Sandwiching and Pinning
I made a conscious decision to try and use up every strip, thus the blocks with multi-color strip sets. Somewhere along the way I grew dissatisfied with the overall look and determined that it also needed the additional piano key borders, those horizontal, chunky pink and black/brown rows. Kaja is the one who helped me to realize that the bottom portion of the quilt would look better with two piano key rows rather than just one. I thank her for that as it really bring the whole quilt together for me.
Playing With Scale
There's definitely a utility style look and feel to this quilt. Kind of a plain Jane, I-used-up-all-the-ugly-fabrics feeling. Which, yeah, means they aren't all exactly ugly. Even after all these years, most of them still appeal. There's just something about florals! But maybe not as much as they did when I first bought them. You know how that goes. I'm loving, simply LOVING adding in the hand quilting stitches to this one. Does that surprise you? It makes me so very happy--almost beyond explaining.I pull this quilt out and my heart does a little happy dance every. single. time.  Something about utility style quilts and a soft color palette apparently combine to bring a lot of peace.
Third layer of petals for Melon Patch pieces
Last weekend we ended up making a quick trip down to Oregon to visit relatives. Kind of a last minute thing as we determined to attend the funeral of our daughter-in-laws grandmother on Monday and it seemed like a good time to visit an ailing uncle etc. at the same time. Such a good time visiting with the family over the holiday! We stayed up late every evening laughing and telling the stories of our life. Somehow it also ended up that we got to help out with our granddaughters at the funeral as our daughter-in-law was singing with her sisters and cousins. That was a sad occasion of course, but holding the baby and taking care of big sister made it kind of sweet too.

I took my hand work {of course} but only ended up sewing 9 out of 80 petals. This is the third layer and after that will be one more. I try not to think about how much sewing this really is, but just take it as it comes. It's the current 'forever' project and has been in the works since February of 2018. Wowsers, it feels like I've been working on it for much, much longer than that....


  1. When I see our quilts I wonder why I ever donate any of my fabric. Yes, they are older but what a great job you did. Small variations in strip width and value make a huge difference in this quilt.
    I love the way you use black and white. It seems as if the white is not as stark as some. Prints? A bit of tone? They always set off your work but blend with the values you use.
    No wonder you enjoy snuggling under this as you quilt it.

  2. Love the texture forming on this delightful scrappy quilt. Hand quilting is what relaxes me at night too.

  3. Utility quilts do have a special something that just spells comfort.

  4. This is a serious therapy quilt, IMO. I like the repetitive stitching you can do with these string blocks. Nothing so dangerous you can allow your mind to wander wherever it needs to go, and you start to worry it is ending when it nears the finish point. I’m living vicariously through your hand quilting right now. It’s so lovely, and wish I had some too. 🥰

  5. I just love scrappy "make-do" quilts with an easy no-marking hand quilting. So very relaxing to just sit and quilt and not worry about fancy designs. It will be a favorite with your family (and you) I suspect.

  6. Whatever you post I like! How do you do that???? This is such a fun quilt.

  7. I've missed you! Good to hear from you again, and I love your colors of pink and green in that quilt... my favorite combination... till I see a black and red quilt, that is! So different yet so striking!

  8. I know exactly what you mean about exhale, then bliss!


I love getting comments and always try to respond via email. If you aren't getting replies back from me, try leaving your email address within the comment. Due to Blogger changes, I've heard that some people aren't able to leave comments here at all. In that case, you can always email me at audkateaster at gmail dot com if you'd like and I'll respond from there. Thanks so much for visiting!