Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Enjoying the Hand Work

It's been a very productive couple of days here lately. Always good to take advantage as it won't last forever! The hand quilting on Tidbits is coming right along. I cut out a cardboard template in the shape of the outer 'hill' and then marked the entire quilt. One hill fits just inside my frame with a little to spare {yes, I totally planned that}. All the inside hills are marked completely freehand, frame by frame, once I get to them.
Tidbits in the hoop
As always, starting out with the freehand stitching is a little bit nerve-wracking. It usually takes me a couple rows {or three or four} before I can totally relax and feel good about the look. Side by side comparison never looks quite as good as the whole enchilada. That's the hard part to freehand hand quilting that nobody ever wants to tells you! You just have to listen to your gut instinct and move forward regardless of the screeching naysayers trying to stomp out all of the fun. I've never had to rip out all the finished stitching, not even one time. That gives me courage to try again on yet another quilt. I tremendously enjoy the wonky freehand look though, you may not!
Patchwork Garden
I've also been plugging through the hand work on Patchwork Garden. These pictures don't do the quilt justice, but it's been a joy to have this one in my lap. Loving these colors! The picture above is at the point where I am supposed to be done. Uh huh. Then I laid the quilt out to peruse everything and just wasn't quite feeling it.
How about some more baskets?
Hmm... what if I add just a couple more baskets? While rummaging through the stash totes I discovered a fabric that I've always wondered why it even came home with me. Never been able to use it because it's just so busy compared to what I usually use. It really seemed like serendipity in regards to this quilt though! Could it be any more perfect? 

In the second pic {above} you can see where I cut out three baskets in that particular fabric and then put them at the base of those lanky looking flowers. I also cut one more smaller basket in a dark teal to stick up there in the top right corner. I'm seriously considering adding a tiny dark coral flower in that basket as well. It just seems needful somehow? We'll see. It would have to be a very small flower.
Trying to decide
Is the quilt getting too jumbled looking and chaotic? None of the latest additions have been stitched down yet as I'm still pondering. There was just something unfinished looking in the first perusal of the quilt top. It haunted me a little. Finally I decided that while I adored the pattern, all the flowers needed to be in a basket or none of them did. Does that make sense?

As you can see, I made several other changes to the original pattern. Only one bird, no stars at all {they looked terrible in any color and fabric I tried} and lots of extra little baskets. It's pretty much impossible for me to properly follow a pattern, so I don't even try anymore!

Next up, I have no idea what will happen with the border or if there will even be a border. All the good fabric options in this quilt are about tapped out already and it's just gonna take some more time simmering for a solution to pop to the surface. Nothing wrong with that.
Referencing the pattern
I wanted to show you the flowers in one of the larger baskets. The inner fabric on the flower was driving me crazy, how it was competing with the pretty coral fabric. So I flipped it over and muted the boldness of fabric. Works wonderfully every time! As you can see, the fabric stem got twisted just a little when it was stitched down. Not paying enough attention! It's something that annoys me {I can do better!}, but not enough to rip out and redo. Once the quilt is finished and washed and dried, it's something that I'll never notice again. What about you. Is this something you'd have to fix?
Close up of applique
This is the baby quilt I've been working on. As you can see, those square-in-a-square blocks were the starting point. They aren't fabulous, but it gave me something to easily build on. Baby quilts are so small, sometimes I muddle around wasting time doodling through a hundred ideas. I sewed them together with a dark blue fabric and then that length became the official 'quilt length'.
Sewing the strip units together
Everything else progressed from there. Most of the strip rows were sewn from repeat cuts of the longest length of a fatquarter. I tried to piece the lengths so that it wasn't immediately evident that they've been pieced, but also, didn't stress if/when the print didn't match up perfectly.
Auditioning the extra blue and also the green fabrics
There wasn't enough of the darker blue fabric on the left side, just a little shy of having the right length. On impulse, I grabbed the last little bit of the darker blue print used between the blocks. Just slapped it up on the wall over the top of the solid blue and then of course, loved the make-do look. Nothing to do, but try to recreate it! Now it's my favorite part of the whole quilt.
A completed quilt top
This quilt went together really fast. The main goal was to end up with a definitely 'boyish' quilt and this seems to work. In fact, it almost looks like a sports quilt if you didn't know better! All the fabrics came straight out of the stash totes and only two of them have been in the totes for less than a year. The totes even coughed up a complimentary backing fabric so we're good there too!
Sandwiching the quilt
I don't intend to start keeping track of the total yardage being used, but I am trying to make a more concerted effort to move the older fabric along. I'd love to incorporate some old orangey fabric into use as the binding fabric, but somehow don't think that will happen. There's an older 80-90's calico print in blue that might be just the thing. Would totally make my day to move that particular piece along!


  1. You are having a great adventure here! Fearless design is the best.
    Super quilting too.
    It looks like the Jan Patek book is inspiring.
    Thanks for sharing.

  2. Fun to watch your progress. The pot fabric is just perfect and the flowers deserve to each have a pot. The baby quilt turned out quirky and great at the same time.

  3. Bravo! Bravo! Moving along on the quilts and using up stash. Nothing better!!

  4. Hi Audrey, I had a busy day out doing chores..we have to eat, :), and just now got a chance to sit with tea and get caught up on your posts. A wonderful read as always. I appreciate every sentiment that you express. You have a fan in me that's for sure. Meanwhile, I have a bunch of orphan blocks but I just can't seem to figure out anything whole to join them with. Who knows maybe one of these days... I'm trying to not look too hard at these beautiful pots and baskets...favourite motifs for me. But I will note the pattern...

  5. I have to agree that the flowers needed to be potted. It seems to balance the design and weight those lovely flowers. Great job!

  6. There's always so much to peruse in your posts, Audrey. Your hand quilted arches look very neat. I agree with you that quilting usually looks awful after the first few rows but improves as we fill it in.
    And those flowers! I think they are morning glories (which I know wouldn't last in a basket but the centers are delightful. It makes me want to applique. Ha. Good luck figuring out a border... or not.
    What a clever idea for a boy's baby quilt. Mixing some extra blocks with strips makes a great improv. And love the colors and the different prints you've added. Filling in with a print when you ran out of solid is perfect.

  7. All three quilts are really cool! I like the mountain quilting in tidbits and that Jane Patek pattern is fabulous! And your improv is interesting as always! A great unconventional quilt for a baby! cheers!

  8. Love both of these quilts and how you are putting them together.

  9. Great idea to reverse the flower fabric to get a softer version. No, that twisted stem wouldn't warrant taking it out. I rarely unpick or change something once it's sewn down - I guess I'm the opposite of a perfectionist, ha ha. The border question will work out. I love how you make a pattern your own, and enjoy the long organic process of designing a quilt as you go.

  10. I'm happy to see you have managed a few good sewing days and wow, you have got a lot done. I like the freehand quilting, though you are right about it feeling better once the first few hoops are out of the way. It seems like the perfect way to work on this particular quilt too. As for those 'busy' baskets, I love them!


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