Saturday, September 21, 2019

Sometimes You Just Have to Give In

First of all, thank you to QuiltGranma and Tricia for leaving the occasional wonderful comment, even though I have no way of responding back to you personally! It's always good to know when something here resonates. If anyone ever comments and doesn't receive a personal email back, then it's a good bet that I can't properly link to your email address. Yahoo addresses are treated the worst by Blogger. Can always leave the address in this form 'audkateaster at gmail dot com' if you're worried about spam.
Orphan blocks
I've been thinking lately that it would be good idea to have a couple comfort type quilt tops all pieced and ready to go. Thinking. Not doing. So what do you know? Right in the middle of some chain piecing the other day, I started wondering about some old courthouse step blocks. These and the house blocks had been culled from some mid 2000's project that had been totally abandoned. All the other components had been thrown away. Yes. They were actually that bad!
Trying to puzzle it out
After putting the courthouse blocks up on the wall, then of course I had to dig out the house blocks and see if they might help the quilt along. Uh huh. Looking good. And then, Eureka! I found the 'Est. 1991' block that was always intended to go with the house blocks. 1991 is the year my husband and I got married and the house blocks represent 7 out of the first 8 houses that we lived in. {It seemed like a good idea at the time!}

At the point that this particular project was finally abandoned, we had lived in 10 different homes total and I had gotten very bored with the entire concept. You know how it goes sometimes. Good idea but maybe bad color palette, too complex of a idea or just altogether too cheesy for words? {Yeah, there was a play on words with this quilt that got thrown out along with the terrible applique vines....}
A little trimming and a couple small fabric additions later
Anyway, back to the comfort quilt idea. This quilt went together lickety-split and in no time at all, I had found the perfect border fabric to wrap it all up. It's a red and white pinstripe fabric with very old school style flowers on it, something I've tried to use so very many times. Definitely charming and and kind of sweet, but actually very hard to use as it always seems to look pink and/or dull no matter what it rests next to. 
Old fabric to the rescue on the borders...
Standing back and celebrating my triumph in sewing a comfort quilt together so quickly, I realized something that had totally escaped my mind. How in the world can I give a quilt to someone {anyone} that says 'Est. 1991' on it? How personal is that? No-one would ever know what the house blocks represented to me unless I told them so that's fine, but the year is another thing altogether. The only other couple I know personally who were married in the same year as us, have been divorced longer than they were married. Wow. Good one Audrey.
Trying to get serious about sewing Shimmer
So back to the chain piecing I went. 'Shimmer' has been a difficult quilt to want to work on. Though Diane mentions the fact that these blocks could be sewn together without pins, it's not working out like that for me. The seams nest together very well, but I'm still using three pins per total strip length. Just to cut down on the seams that slip around and want to misbehave. You'll be shocked to know that I'm ignoring the seam ripper and letting more than a few points sort of wink and nod at joining up properly. We're all happier that way.
So many rows to sew together!
Originally I had a grand love thing going on for this selection of fabrics and then of course I ran low when cutting. Had to throw in a few less wonderful matches and thought 'It'll be fine, it always is'. Sewing the blocks together gave me more than a few moments of anxiety as the reality of limited choice started hitting home. I'm so used to making individual blocks and mixing and blending scrappy fabrics at will. These strip cut units severely lock down the fabric combinations and as you can see, there are all kinds of things going on that would not be my 'best choice'. I would never willingly make up a 'scrappy' block with two or more of the same exact fabric pieces residing so closely together. There are chunks of similar value fabrics nesting cozily together in areas {lines} where the values should be much more fluid. Aghh!!
Hhmm... There is actually a pattern emerging after all...
It feels easier to jump in and out of the project, than try to get it done in one big gulp. I have a feeling that it's not quite as bad as I fear, but it is definitely not what I'd call working in my comfort zone. And to clarify, I did relax just a tad after I got enough of the blocks done to put a handful on the wall, stand back and really take a good hard look. Hhmm... Maybe the mushy lavender purples will hold the line after all. We shall see. Fingers crossed!
A very quick comfort quilt
Okay, yeah. So now you know why I'm falling down rabbit holes and chasing squirrels. Might be a teeny, tiny bit of avoidance? Another strange quilt that uh, developed? lately is the purple/green comfort quilt. It just happened. All in a big rush of easy, no deep thoughts allowed. It was glorious. 

No really, what happened is this. I opened up one of the green totes to search for something and this odd colored paisley fabric got in the way. Again! I'm so very tired of this fabric! When it's in the brown tote, it looks green. When it's in the green tote, it looks brown. It was bought years and years ago because I greatly admired it {why?} and somehow it's been a bit of regret ever since. It's always in the way. So why not get rid of it? Well, that doesn't really happen much around here. It becomes a challenge. Maybe it can be used here, or there? Or maybe nowhere

The fabric that started it all
I know some of you have fabrics exactly like this. This cannot be an uncommon insanity! Anyway, I challenged myself to make a quick, comfort style sort of quilt with it or toss it and be done with it forever. So I did. Here's the quilt. It's not fabulous, stunning or even incredible. That weird green/brown paisley fabric is totally used up though! Yay! Be gone annoying fabric! Yay again! Now I'm contemplating putting these silly words on it just because I can't seem to help myself. The thinking is that it might make someone like the quilt a little better? Ha! That would be amusing. Use the fabric up and then be afraid to give the quilt away? Someone will like it. Just have to find the right person!
Applique words or no?
And well...., the squirrel thing has kind of been contagious. Next up is an attempt at a baby quilt. Which I was NOT going to make for the latest family babies. But you know.... Babies are really cute! These blocks were acquired at a quilt guild yard sale for 50 cents. Such a steal. I rarely buy childish fabrics and thought these might come in handy some day. How prescient, right?
Little baby blocks
The fabric pull is always the best part. We know that. I happily hemmed and hawed my way through all the obvious color choices and finally ended up with this little stack. The quilt top is already well on its way to completion because baby quilts are just fun like that. Even when working with this really different color palette! I love how small baby quilts are and how nobody ever expects a them to light the creative world on fire. Sweet, fun, cute are the very low bar to shoot for.
The fabric pull
When the top is officially sewn together and the light is better, I'll try to get some decent pictures of it. Right now it's in panels and simmering overnight in case something desperately needs changing out. There are numerous really good projects that I am right in the middle of. Some that need serious contemplation and all sorts of tricky decisions made. Others just need a stack of fabric cut out or some chain piecing time. As always, there is even hand work patiently waiting in the shadows. I am longing to properly attack some of these projects. But what do I do? Go shopping in the orphan totes and tired fabric bins for 'challenges'. Sometimes you just have to give in and get it out of your system. Yes, really.
Granddaughter love
Here's a recent pic of my adorable grand-daughters. They have packed up and moved away with their mommy and daddy to another state. We are very sad about that {though we admire their reasons} and will probably have to up our traveling game.*sigh  This is just way too much cuteness to do without on a regular basis!


  1. Wee your courthouse and houses are just wonderful!
    Good luck with shimmer it's coming along well.
    what cute grandkids!

  2. Keep the EST. 1991 quilt and gift it to one of your grandchildren. Or ..... put it in a box for your children to find some time in the future, or in a box with someone's name on it for a future gift! Of course with a note explaining the process!
    I would be thrilled with that kind of gift from a family member!

  3. You are always so full of quilty enthusiasm. It's contagious. The house quilt is a cute one and the EST. 1991 is a clever accent. I have some brown/green fabric and you're right, it never really goes with anything. Sorry your grandchildren have moved. I hope they aren't clear across the country so you can visit them often.

  4. The house quilt definitely needs to go to one of your grandchildren someday, with the personal info on the label. I sure know what you mean about falling into rabbit holes while chasing squirrels, been doing quite a bit of that lately too, and trying to use up some of those "what was I thinking" fabrics. Not sure whether I thrive or make myself crazier in the process. Those grandgirls are just so huggably sweet, I hope they didn't move too far away.

  5. I'm thrilled to see you are considering - and making - comfort quilts. My thought is to make something you love, but it doesn't always turn out that way. But then kismet kicks in and the right quilt magically goes to the right person at the right time. Yours are wonderful, and unique, and will ultimately find the right home.

  6. Oh, that quilt needs to stay at your house to keep you and hubby warm! I don't think it's cheesy at all. What cute grandgrand kids. Mine youngest grandkids are 2000 miles too far away too! Thankfully technology helps but it isn't the same as being there.

  7. I think we are on the same page again. I'm busy using up some of my old fabrics and making lots of baby quilts. The plan is to have a small stash of them but I bet DH finds ways to use them up as quickly as I can make them.
    I would have bought that brown/green paisley, too. While I don't have that one I have a bunch of other fabrics of questionable taste in my stash. That sounds sort of like rodents of unusual size from Princess Bride. Ha.
    Go visit your granddaughters frequently. They are too cute to stay home and miss.

  8. I wouldn't mind being given a quilt with a random date on it - you can think of it as adding a touch of mystery. I think it's fabrics like that paisley that keep things interesting and a bit unpredictable. Your grand-kids are just lovely; I hope you manage to get enough visits to prevent withdrawal symptoms.

  9. Sometimes we need those squirrels to remind us of what we truly enjoy most in the studio -- and I agree that we all set the bar too high for ourselves. Quilting (per Gwen Marston and others) is supposed to be FUN - not stressful. Hugs to you!

  10. Oh what a lot of comfort quilt fun. I'm comfort quilting there along with you because I need to get it out of my system too.

    I'm fortunate in that my grandkids all live close by. They sure do grow up fast!

  11. The Orphans got Houses! Love it! It would be a wonderful cuddle quilt for YOU this winter! AS an anniversary present to that guy you are STILL married to!

  12. I enjoy your posts so much! I love seeing the 'in progress' observations and options. As for adding the words, I say YES but that means you have to add a house block as well, doesn't it? Maybe I should mind my own business. LOL I think the shimmer blocks are working because your backgruond (light) fabrics are really giving the scraps some room to breathe. Also, make lots of strip set before actually arranging them and it will give you more options. That's what I did anyway, to prevent repeats near each other. And yes, even the non-bias observer must admit those grand girls are adorable! I bet they are so much fun. Time to start a travel project for those road trips. LOL

  13. Such a sweet pic of your grandaughters... I do hope you can manage a trip soon, they grow up so quickly. Loved reading all about your projects & plans.

  14. Love your 1991 orphan quilt! Its charming as all heck!!
    So many lovely projects here, but those kids steal the show!! XOXO

  15. I'm another fan of your Orphan block quilt, love the colours you've used and the date addition. Hope you're able to see those sweet grandchildren pretty soon.


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