Friday, August 9, 2019

Some Quilts Are Easier Than Others

Big Tipsy Basket was a very fun quilt to hand quilt. Unfortunately they aren't all so easy. I had to mark the many echoing lines around the outside of the basket and of course the double lines inside the basket too. Totally eyeballing whatever I could get away with, because marking is a pain. I really, really hate marking. Yuck.  But the thing is, you do all of that, get it done, firmly behind you, and then the rest can be free sailing.
Big Tipsy Basket is finished!
Well, as free sailing as slow hand quilting ever is! So relaxing though. Can you tell that I thoroughly enjoy hand quilting? Especially when using Perle Cotton thread, which is all I use anymore. I'm possibly an addict. There's just something about that instant texture that still speaks volumes to my utility quilt loving soul! I've even started wondering about getting rid of all the usual Gutterman etc. hand quilting thread around here. It hasn't been used in several years now and thread does start getting old. Would anyone be interested in doing a trade of sorts?
#3 in the Big Basket Series
I do agonize a little when starting with a new quilt in the hoop. Wonder what in the world I can do to help make it all look better. This basket quilt had so much of the background fabric showing that it almost intimidated me. But like always, I picked a selection of complimentary thread colors, stuck the quilt in the hoop and just started stitching. {You can't let fear of the unknown paralyze you into inertia or you'll never have any quilts to show off.} If it didn't look good, then I took it all out and started over with a different thread color or maybe even a different stitching pattern. Whatever it takes. Nobody wants to spend eons hand quilting only to dislike it later!
Looking at the texture
Getting started is often the hardest part. So many decisions to make and me? I feel pretty inadequate because most of what I end up doing is just easy peasy stuff. None of those gorgeous feathers and entwined cable motifs around here! I mean, not that I really, truly want that for my quilts or it would probably be happening. But there is a little teensy part of me that sometimes tries to insist that those harder, more complex quilting patterns should probably be the default position. Right? Aren't we the funniest creatures! Building up this imaginary pressure in our heads because of what? Still scratching my head here.... 

After finishing up one or two hoop fulls of quilt though, making all those thread color and stitching design decisions, the rest is a breeze. Seriously, after settling into how the stitching is actually going to proceed, all those little doubts and concerns just melt away and I'm good to go. Maybe that's why I'm still here, quilting away. Those ideas pop up from time to time and I give them a little consideration. Of course I do, 'cuz I'm human! Then I take a good long look at MY quilt and just swat the 'should-do'ems' away. Poof! just like dandelion seeds. This is me, doing my thing, thank you very much. And I couldn't be happier with the end result! Don't listen to the haters, even if they're only in your own head.*wink
Still happy with the border solution
Next up in the hoop is the Make Beautiful Things quilt. It's pretty bright and obviously, has lots of attitude to boot. First off, I pinned it so that there could be some machine stitching in the ditch. Now it's in the hoop for very important hand quilting details. Ha! Not going to be a fast quilt. Nevertheless, I am enjoying the opportunity to take a closer look. And yeah... contemplating the next wordy quilt idea that may or may not be in the works.... 
Make Beautiful Things next up in the hoop
These rising sun blocks do have a few puckers that, after the hand stitching is completed, are proving much more difficult to see. Oh yeah. Totally what I was hoping would happen! The worst thing about stitching on this quilt is that all the blocks are about the same size as the hoop. So what is the problem? Basically there is a choice to be made. Go ahead and center each large block in the hoop and then take off a clamp on the side that I am stitching on, so as not to keep running into the edge of the hoop with the needle. OR, I can keep taking the quilt in and out of the hoop, so as to perfectly center about a fourth of each block at a time. Ughh.  Guess which one I'm doing? Yep. Centering the entire block and removing clamps as they get in my way. A little harder on my hands in certain areas, sure, but I definitely don't have an unlimited amount of patience! Once I get to the longer wordy rows and the borders, the entire dynamic changes and it should be business as usual.
Lots of area to figure out how to add in stitching
After writing that little bit the other day about 'labeling all my quilts once a year', I had a little pang of conscious. Did that really happen last year? Um, no, probably not. Only the quilt show ones and like always, the ones that are given away. So... I reluctantly decided to go through every stack and even the displays of quilts throughout the entire house. Just to check. Surely there weren't that many unlabeled quilts? 
A wonderful pile of guilt
About that.... This stack doesn't even represent the quilts that may have been given 'unlabeled' to my own kids. They're supposed to be checking and getting right back to me, darn it all anyway. This is a time-expired offer! How does this happen? On a good note, I was able to select four more quilts for the giving away pile {though two will have to wait until after the quilt show} and that helps me to feel better about continuing to keep making quilts. Though I fully intend to hoard the lions share, I wouldn't want anyone to start feeling, perhaps, suffocated? by all the mountains of quilts developing in our humble abode. Linking up to Wendy's Peacock Party.


  1. I use only perle cotton now, using it on my legos and just love the texture emerging...Your big basket is so gorgeous...I have been trying other things and finding that I really DO have to do "my own thing". It's supposed to be fun--not a constant worry and frustration...hugs, julierose

  2. I like to use crochet cotton too with most hand quilting. I admire your lovely hand quilting. I only commit to smaller quilts now but when I first started quilting I only hand quilted as it was a matter of finances.
    I think I would have a similar pile of lovely guilt too.

  3. I have changed on thread too - I remember when it used to be YLI hand quilting thread in plain white! now it is Aurifil #12 in all colors I haven't gotten Perle cotton as much

  4. Your quilting process is amazing. I like how you verbalize everything we all feel. Besides keeping making beautiful quilt, keep speaking the language that make us all feel right with the world. Great job!

  5. Another excellent post -- so much truth in it. LOVE the wordy quilt you are working on now. It speaks directly to me.

  6. love your style... and the #3 basket quilt :-)

  7. I never know what to do with those wide open spaces either. Well, I know but worry too much about it. Yours looks wonderful finished. Congratulations.
    I sign my name with machine quilting on the bottom right of my quilts as I'm quilting. I'd never get around to labels and if it's art, why not sign like an artist? For a while my mother made them for me until her hand writing got too shaky.

  8. Wonderful post. I do have some quilts that aren't labeled yet. thanks for the reminder. ;^)

  9. Great humor, good reminder to not take myself so serious.
    I tend to come at quilting from kind of an art perspective. I'm more into the appreciation of color, texture, contrast, or exciting embellishments. When I hear or read about quilters who get all uptight about 'matching' seams or gasp! color, I just don't relate to that.
    But reading about process adventures and enjoying the journey, yes to that!
    Beautiful basket and hand quilting, thanks for sharing.

  10. I'm going to have to try pearl cotton, it gives such nice texture. I usually use DMC size 12 and it glides through the layers very nicely. Those two stacks of quilts look wonderful to me. I gave away three quilts a few weeks ago. I decided that if there was a disaster here I didn't want all my quilts to be lost. I'm trying to figure out who else I can give some to. And, then there's the ones that will never leave my residence because they feed my inner artist somehow.

  11. Great quilting on this one Audrey - the quilt usually tells you what it needs and you were obviously listening. I have yet to try Perle cotton for my hand quilting but it sounds like fun. Something else for that TO DO list!

  12. The basket quilt is so gorgeous!! I think I need to check out the perle cotton for quilting. I'll do a blog search here to see the details. Maybe what I'm thinking about is the very large size for wool applique and embroidery.
    Get those labels made girlfriend!!

  13. Love your tipsy basket! I agree about marking a necessary evil. I have tried to doing the old fashion double lines but always feel they don't look right. How far apart do you stitch the two lines?

  14. Great quilting. Just make those labels the last step. 😁

  15. I too love the basket quilt. When I first started making quilts I also started making bleached muslin labels for each one: Freezer paper heart shape with permanent marker lines on it so when ironed to back of muslin I can see the lines through. Micron Pigma Pen to print label by hand, cut out the shape and hand baste around edges and pull snug. Press to keep shape and set the writing. Hand applique to back corner of quilt. Quilt is NOT finished till label is on. Before I write on the muslin I do a practice of what I want on the quilt in a small notebook. I keep that notebook and can tell you who for and when each one was done. How else will I know?

  16. Such a wonderful read here Audrey. Tipsy Basket is a delight and your next one up the word quilt is perfect for us quilters. I have been collecting Perle cotton but only used a little so far, I'm going to try and use it more for my hand quilting.

  17. The big basket quilt is amazing! I just love it, and the quote quilt is one that really caught my attention when you first shared it. I'm looking forward to seeing it completed as well. As far as guilt over the lack of labels, maybe you should just order those custom pre-printed labels to save time? I know they don't give all the information, but it's better than nothing. There's just not enough time in the day for guilt my friend!

  18. Catching up now with your posts, cos sometimes life just gets so busy & crazy. So love the texture of the stitches in your Big Tipsy basket, it looks amazing!


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