Thursday, September 12, 2019

Nothing Very Inspiring

Where to start? I don't seem to do very well with being over-scheduled and/or missing out on having good chunks of time for my own pursuits. In fact, it really messes with my creativity which we all know is of absolute importance in the general scheme of things. Right?
Patchwork Garden applique prep
After fiddling around in the quilting room here and there, mostly wasting time, I finally was able to buckle down and get the applique prepped for Patchwork Garden. This quilt has been quite the roller coaster ride of loving it and then hating it. You know how some projects seem to have the highs and lows primarily intended to keep us on our toes and second guessing every other decision. 'Ha, ha. You only thought navy blue was the absolute perfect color for ALL the baskets.' And many other self defeating thoughts that can lead to hair pulling and a dreaded feeling of malaise.
Replacing some of the fabric
The lovely tiny-print floral fabric that I just had to put into the quilt has turned into an eyesore. It is way too yellowed looking in contrast to the other whiter background fabrics. After wincing at it one too many times, I decided to take some of it out. Make it less obvious. Not having a lot of extra of the background fabrics {or actually anything else that might work well} created another dilemma. Do I buy? Turn fabric over and use the back of something? I did all the problem solving, decided to piece and make-do, and then happily found justification to add the stripey larger floral print in two separate places. 
Trying to figure out the best placement for the new fabric
When you throw a much loved fabric out at the start of a project and then later find reason to add it back in? Yass!!  Lets just say that it felt really good...  The seam ripping didn't even faze me at that point! As a reward, I started a new project, 'Roman Stripes'. The fabrics had been simmering together for over three years and were really starting to annoy me. I wanted to throw it all back in the fabric totes but just could not make myself take that particular step.
Roman Stripe, the new project
I love and adore this blend of fabrics, but.....every time I thought to start the project {a forever type applique project}, something held me back. Finally, in thoughtful, contemplative sort of reasoning, I ditched the slow approach and went at it from a totally different angle. If I love the fabric, how about making the quilt all about that and forget the fancy hand stitching details? You all know what comes next. Of course you do. NOW the fast and easy seems boring and so I have shelved the entire project until a later day when I am almost craving the tedium of chain piecing. Because that's a real thing.
Starting to see progress already
Being so very busy tends to make my brain feel sluggish and awkward. Hand quilting is the very best antidote, even if the quilt that's being stitched on is not terribly exciting to any of us. It's very important in my day to day survival of all things life, and so I tend to jump into the next quilt up for the hoop with reckless abandon. {I'll have to throw up a post for the finished Make Beautiful Things here in a couple days so you can see the extremes to which I swing, hand quilting-wise.} Not sure that's a good idea to go from such a bright, happy quilt to such a dullard, but well...., what can I say? Things happen.
Coins and Baskets getting sandwiched and pinned
It's mostly because here is a LIST that keeps up a steady drum beat in the background of all conscious and probably, subconscious decision making. Coins and Baskets was next up on the list of Have-Too's and my brain was just too fuzzy to fight it. I started out with machine stitching in-the-ditch style to stabilize the quilt and make the successive hand quilting a breeze.
A little stitch-in-the-ditch work
Then into the hoop it went and wowsers! While the colors weren't making the endorphins sit up and smile, hand quilting the pieced coin sections definitely made everything feel much, much better. Repetitive hand stitching and minor amount of marking? Total walk in the park. Which just goes to show that even the subconscious knows what its doing at least some of the time!
In the hoop for maximum enjoyment
I hand quilted all the baskets, coin sections and then was quickly moving on to the top and bottom borders when.... ta-da!  I had a late night brain wave. What if? Oh yeah. What if I took this really unexciting quilt and added some sweet little 'Count your blessings' words onto the quilt?
Trying to cut out the perfect letters
Having decided the quilt was destined to go live with a friend of mine, it all made perfect sense.*sigh  Even sleeping on the idea and revisiting it in the morning didn't diminish the 'Oh this is such a great idea' balloon taking up real-estate right above my head.  No pressure for myself at all. None whatsoever. Just needs to be done by this weekend!
Ready to trace the letters onto fabric
Want a piece of advice? Don't applique words to your quilt after it has been sandwiched and MOSTLY quilted. Really bad idea. I tell myself that every single time that  I've ever done it and the fact that I've done it more than once tells you an awful lot about me. The time to applique is before the sandwiching and quilting, and anyone who thinks otherwise is a blooming idiot. So sad. I'm not even sure it makes the quilt look better 'cuz this one is design challenged as well. It's just that, once the idea presented, it wouldn't leave. It felt right. Like I would be denying the quilt the very most important thing it needed in order to be loved. So it got done in spite of a very intense feeling of resentment. Do I dare admit to liking the quilt better now? After all that work has been accomplished and that cramping feeling in my hands has faded away?
Time to finish up the binding!
So yeah. That's my brain waves on stress, over-scheduled days, exhaustion, inward pressure and the importance of having a good dialogue with my very own quilts. I'm not crazy, my quilts are. Or my quilts make me crazy. Or I'm crazy about my quilts. Something. I'm sure I'll figure it out some day.

Having that out of the way makes room in the hoop for something that I'm lots happier to look at every single evening. Even though it will end up being gifted too and there's sort of, kind of a deadline here as well. Nothing hard and fast though. It could take clear up to Thanksgiving to work this quilt through the hoop and that would totally be fine.
Loving having Tidbits is in the hoop
Plus, it's unlikely that I'll be able to generate an excuse to add applique to this one. It probably already has too much of that, and in fact, is another one of those clunky design efforts. At this house, not every quilt is going to end up amazing, but hopefully it will end up 'finished'. That's a good thing. Finished is better than perfect! Too, this one has a wonderful 'feel good' sort of vibe while in the hoop. {I'm loving these serene looking fabrics!} Hopefully its the sort of vibe that will translate well into good times snuggling and sleeping. Gotta get our priorities straight!


  1. I think the appliqued words are sweet, and if they really should be there, you are doing the right thing:). I too have machine quilted in the ditch to stabilize a quilt, and then hand quilted it. Part of me doesn't like to combine techniques but why not? It's so nice to hand quilt on something already so well stabilized and that doesn't need its basting threads or pins anymore.

  2. Love your sharing of the design process :-) and the doubting.

    I'm handquilting or boro-stitching a quilt and doubting the whole time, if it was the right decision ;-)

  3. As always, your posts are an entire quilt show. Light prints are difficult for me for the same reason. It’s tough to see (and remember) how important those tint variations are. I need to work on mine more.
    Love the flowers. And the words. And the Coins.
    It’s a treat to know where each quilt is going as it’s being made. And so much better to know they will be used and loved, offer comfort and hugs.

  4. Beautiful quilts as always. Love seeing the quilting stitches and knowing the peace it brings you which will be followed by the comfort & warmth for some lucky person. Great job on all these quilts, each unique and beautiful!

  5. Those bits of time you've had look to be very profitably spent! Please say you'll show us a finished photo of Count your Blessings so we can see the completed applique! Always amazing to see how much you've accomplished between posts.

  6. Great post! I enjoy seeing your fabrics and reading about your thoughts and process. You allow that creative inspiration 'thing' to bounce around, what a ride that can be! And your 'quilt dialogues' are fabulous!
    Good title for a mystery novel I think.
    Tons of inspiration going on here, thank you.

  7. I am not a gardener. What would you call those flowers in the first piece you show? Anyhow, I like what I see.

  8. I don't always like to admit it,but I'm a better everything (wife, mother, worker, friend) if I manage to hold onto my sewing time. As for adding applique after quilting, there's a song I like with the line "I learn the hard way, if I learn at all". Glad to know I'm not the only one that repeats my mistakes.

  9. Welcome back. I know how I feel when I haven't had much me time. Glad you're able to get back to some creating time.

  10. Title is a misnomer, this blog was VERY inspiring! Great ideas, great inspiration!

  11. I like the use of the striped floral on your Patchwork Garden quilt. It add just the right touch. I've almost finished up a quilt in my frames and the next quilt in the queue isn't one of my favorites. It's a nice enough quilt top, we just haven't bonded. I need to whip up some enthusiasm for working on it though because it will be a Christmas present. Lettering always makes things look better but I had to laugh about your applique on an already quilted piece. That's the hard way to applique - ha!


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