Monday, December 9, 2019

Needing a Creative Lift

This past weekend was a rare, quiet pocket of time for us. I took full advantage and was able to get this #AHIQFlowers challenge quilt up on the wall. If you look closely, it's obvious that the left side is mostly sewn together while the right side is still in a state of flux. And yes, some of it is pinned well above the design wall. We do what we have to do, don't we?
U&U quilt interpretation for #UHIQFlower challenge
I've been craving a good boost from creativity time, so it felt absolutely wonderful to piddle around on such an oddball, no-pressure sort of project. In the lower right corner there is an empty space where 'the flower' should end up. Normally I've tended to work on one long strip at a time, but at this point in the quilt, I thought it best to look ahead and plan out/balance the colors in advance. For comparison to the inspiration, I posted a pic back in August at the end of this post.

Parts of the design {can we seriously call this quilt 'intentionally designed?'}, are driving me crazy and so I'm ditching those particular areas. Skimming over them or just cleaning them up a bit. It's mostly the areas that look super chaotic and don't even make sense to re-create. It's my quilt so I can do that! It's at a point now where I want to leave it on the wall for a day or two before sewing. There's something that feels out of whack but I'm not sure exactly what needs to change in the mock-up.
Only two more new starts....
Lately I've been thinking longingly about the potential of having, literally, stacks of Christmas quilts, but that would be absolutely absurd, even for a prolific quilter. Right? So instead I decided to just make two--to go along with my other two sorta, kinda Winter/Christmas quilts that get pulled out during the season. It's pretty insane timing and who knows how far I'll actually get. The fabrics for the first one, based on the spotty quilt in the 'Unconventional & Unexpected' book pictured above, having been stacked up and hanging around for well over a year.
Definitely gonna add some green after the blocks are sewn
The problem is, I'm never in the mood to make Christmas quilts until December {if then}, and then there's even more crazy going on than normal. At the same time that these thoughts have been swirling around in my brain, I've also been thinking deep thoughts about those pesky oldish quilting fabrics which seem to want to swallow my stash whole. In an impulsive moment I dug through the green totes and pulled out three different, very tired stacks of green fabrics. They definitely need to be used up or just go away. I am so very weary of seeing some of these float around unused and unloved. For the first pile, I gleefully challenged myself to incorporate them into a Christmas quilt, which, yep! Is very good timing. See? Just have to work the angles and then we can easily convince ourselves any brand new start is a fabulous idea!
Already prewashed and soaked the reds!
But first! I made myself cross something off the list. I do have a tiny bit of discipline in this freewheeling quilty world of mine, believe it or not. The Roman Stripes quilt was started back in September as a result of a problematic stack of fabrics that was giving me troubles getting off the ground. It seemed to demand a complicated quilt pattern, but then could never quite gain any traction. Finally, I used a free Sharon Holland pattern {unfortunately not available any longer}, put out while she was promoting her latest book.
Uh oh, getting a lot of quilt tops on the to-be-quilted list!
I had thought to use it in a baby quilt and then couldn't get her instructions to cooperate with the way that I tend to buy fabric. Oh yeah. Same problem with making the throw quilt. But I didn't let it stop me, just kept cutting fabrics and making sure there were plenty of 'pairings'.
The smaller Roman Stripe quilt
Which led to enough blocks for two quilts! They are both the same length {76 1/2"}, but the first one, above, is only 59" wide while the second one, pictured below with an extra vertical row, is 66 1/2". It's really hard sometimes to make these quick scrappy-look quilts with fatquarters {the most frequent size of fabric I buy}. Instead of agonizing about it or trying to determine which fabrics would work better, I just made more sets and determined to work it out later.
This one is wider
There's something about this 'coins' pattern that really intrigues me. It's all very formal, yet the way that Sharon encouraged a light/dark fabric pairings, it has a wonderful flow to the stripes. I especially like the repetitive stacks of like fabrics with the occasional scrappy 'make-do' element mixed from using smaller pieces of fabrics. See? Nothing wrong with adapting a pattern to fit what you have available!
Loved adding the easy borders to wrap it all up
One thing that I've been wondering about lately is whether strips are pre-cut or free-cut, is there always going to be a certain amount of seams coming lose at the edges or long lengths of the quilt top? I thought it was mostly a free-cut strip issue, but no. Anytime there are lengths sewn and then cut or trimmed later, I'll have to go back here when joining the long rows and re-sew random seams starting to come loose. This is something I had forgotten. It's just part of quilting because even when you back stitch, if the fabric ends up being cut in the middle of the lengths, there goes the reinforcement. Ughh! Oh how it annoys me! But now maybe I won't isolate it to free-cut, improv. sewing and let it hinder me from new starts. There's just something about wonky strip sets that make my heart go pitter patter but I was starting to get a little resentful of the extra time that it takes to clean up those coming-loose seams.
So happy with these fabrics!
I'm not at all sorry to have two of these quilt tops {instead of one} as they should make wonderful comfort type quilts for friends in need of a quick pick-me-up. The colors are just that warm looking, with a cozy and comforting  vibe that should only improv. with quilting texture. So glad I didn't throw these fabrics back in the stash totes! It's good to have a couple comfort quilts out in front of me for once, and not have to be all in a rush one day throwing something together!
Kinda boring to sew together, but great fun seeing the top finished!
Now I'm thinking about making some quick little Barbie quilts for my granddaughter and possibly a doll quilt or two for the nieces. I really, really hate last minute DIY Christmas gifts, but sometimes with quilting, it's just pure fun to sew these little bitties. Especially when there's no expectation whatsoever. I think the first place I'll look is in the orphan block totes. Doesn't that sound fun? lol


  1. I never think about Xmas quilts in advance it seems. I would like to have four on my quilt ladder in the living room for Xmas and I have 2 on that and one on the wall. Recently I found a pre-cut quilt kit that are in shades of green and red but not really Xmasy if you know what I mean - but can be - I might actually get this one done this year? I too have seams sometimes start to come apart but when I finish the top I stay stitch all the way around but sometimes you have to fix a few spots first.

  2. Don't dessert the idea of a 'stack of Christmas quilts' - I have two or three now and I use them year round because I love them so much; I know that there will be more to come. Follow your heart.

  3. Oh I am loving those coin quilts. I am getting to the point I need to do something with a lot of small scraps so some simple ninepatches and some sashing might be my first attempt at something chaotic

  4. Always a treat to visit you Audrey and read about what you are up to. Such a nice variety of quilting ideas. Yes, December seems a trifle late to start a large quilt but it is the inspiration for one. So go with the inspiration, I say.

  5. You certainly took advantage of your 'quiet pocket of time' wow. Tons of inspiration here, thanks for the infusion.
    And your projects are exciting.

  6. It's interesting how we seem to have to justify taking some time just to ponder, explore, or just fiddle around.. Love what you've been cheating. You might feel some holiday inspiration any time. Just wait for it!

  7. The only red and green quilt I have is a summer watermelon quilt although it's the heaviest and warmest of all. And how I learned not to foundation-piece on fabric.
    I should make some myself. If I could just remember to pull the "right" shades. Your small Coin quilts look Christmasy to me. Everything is lovely, in fact. I hope you have some time to work on them in this busy season. I've been in the sewing room today but haven't accomplished much; just moved fabric around.

  8. I love the way these quilt tops turned out. It's random organization somehow. The colors combine to make a very pleasing whole. Your explanation of the process is always interesting. The dilemma about the seam edges of quilt tops coming undone is always frustrating because just when you think you are done - you have to go back and take time to fix the ends. The important thing, I guess, is that it gets done sooner rather than later. No one can ever have too many Christmas quilts.

  9. Exactly! I also only seem to be in the mood to make a Christmas quilt in December. It's always "next" Christmas' quilt but, still. :)

  10. I made three Christmas quilts because I have three grandkids. I'll gift them each one of those someday when they have their own homes. But red and green quilts don't just have to be for Christmas season.

    And you are right...those Roman Stripes certainly look like wonderful comfort quilts. It is nice to have some on hand for gifting.

    And I think you have given me a good idea as to how to use those round pieces I cut out from the back of my appliqued sunflowers.

    Happy Holidays!

  11. Coin quilts are fun to sew and tours are lovely. I dug out a fq bundle of Kate Spain's Flurry recently that feels like it's been in my stash forever. It'll end up being a winter quilt for the spare bed...maybe not this winter but next.


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