Saturday, August 14, 2021

Scratching This Long-Term Project Right Off The List!

I have a finished quilt top to show you today, and no it's not the baby quilt. That has been completely set aside to be used as a potential backing someday. Just couldn't find any joy in it at all and finally decided that I didn't want to spend another minute on it!

The little bitty flower that makes me smile...

This quilt top is quite possibly my longest open ended project to date. I've been working on it for so long that I can't even find the start post any longer. I found a post in 2019 with a mock-up of what it was 'supposed' to look like. It's had many, many ups and downs and quite frankly, I am amazed to find myself with any completed quilt top. This one has been a humdinger of all projects. One that I was probably just too stubborn to give up on!

So happy with the overall look and vibe to this quilt!

In November of 2020, I completely ditched the original idea and started careening off in the direction of a row quilt look. I sort of drew up a rough idea, but just figured there was way too many hours of stitching involved already to throw everything away. Basically, my mindset was that the quilt would sort itself out during the ensuing hand applique or maybe I would die trying. 

Just bold enough to have a spark...

Then, in June of this year I decided the row quilt idea {by itself} was not going to cut it at all. Just not good enough. And that's where I really went off the rails and started making you all feel kinda nervous for what might be happening over here at Quilty Folk.

Where the side pieces DON'T match up...

But too, that's when I finally started feeling a glimmer of excitement about a quilt project that had long ago lost all the spark and energy it ever started with. Drawing, cutting out and starting the stitch all the words together made it feel interesting and worthy. Why not go for it?

A happy quilt

The main problem was that I was super busy and distracted during this summer {as you all know} and my base fabrics for the letters crazy old and boring. You all know that, saw it, and felt horribly sorry for the time and effort I was spending on this unending quilt. It made it terribly difficult to sustain any sort of enthusiasm for the end product and so then of course, there was a boat load of self doubt, loathing and massive recriminations for such a dumb, stupid idea. 'Cuz surely I was deluding myself about how great an idea this old timey quilt look could be starting from where I was starting from? It seriously felt kind of hopeless at times. 

Loving the scrunched look

With nothing better to do and feeling all the effects of the long, smoky, summer doldrums....., I literally MADE myself start plowing through the hand work to complete the stitching on the letters. One letter finished and then another. 'Cuz by then, I just wanted to SEE! Was my idea a total wreck of mixed signals and too much stubborn pride? 

I messed up on which fabric to choose for the 'Together' word and started sweating whether my remaining fabric would be the right look and be able to be properly balanced etc.  Still I forged on, determined to make this project come to an end. Please just let it be done!!

Almost there!

When the letters were FINALLY completed, it was on to the layout, which was already pre-determined minus a few fussy little details. I thought about off setting the melon patch rows with an uneven number, every other row, and then liked perfect repeats better. Okay, 6 it is for every row. That's pretty good except that it vaguely looked like wide open mouths. Yah. Totally ignoring that particular thought! But what about a border? Good, bad, or indifferent idea? If I chose to add a row of the melon patch applique on each side of the quilt I would have to hand stitch one more row, plus? It just looked like TOO MUCH. If you know what I mean. Nah, scratching that idea. But wait!!!!

Didn't even hurt a little bit...

What about half of the applique piece? I know a lot of you are cringing so hard right now, but it was so... easy to draw a line through the middle of the cut-off portions of the melon patch rows and sew a quick seam on either side. Then, just cut the appliqued rows open and then sew them in long rows. {Keep in  mind that I had 3 short melon petal rows leftover from each specific row used in the quilt}. I decided not to worry about whether or not those side borders pieces matched up very well or not. After all, the quilt now has good reasons to be very forgiving of all real and imagined flaws! Right? It says it right on the front! Just a little bit of 'fix-it' hand stitching to re-secure where the hand stitching flaked out during the cutting and sewing then it was all done.

The last bit of inspiration that helped
me get over the hump of great ideas
that had all crashed and burned....

The quilt still didn't seem finished though. Almost, but not quite. I pondered and debated until eventually I went ahead and added a subtle red striped fabric to the top and bottom. Simple, simple. Then.... it sort of sighed and finally, finally let me do a victory dance. All mental of course. I am a very dignified quilter. Ha!

The start of a new project

So yep. It's all done and I couldn't be more excited and happy for my very unique and interesting {to me} quilt. Absolutely nothing like what I started out thinking that I was making, which is probably an excellent thing. The original idea was a little boring anyway. It feels like I'm maybe, sort of starting to get my groove back. We'll see.

One of the few books I've bought in the last several years

In the mean time, there are lots of bits and pieces leftover from the original project idea. Like, 20 background blocks with the center medallion already stitched down? I found an idea in the 'Mixing Quilt Elements' quilt book that I think will go well to perhaps move things along on a brand new project. I cut out and mocked up one of the quarter rings that I will be making to sew onto all those backgrounds. Some day. Totally different colors of course, but a solid idea. Not starting in on it just yet, but I know something needs to happen with at least some of those bits and pieces. It feels good to start wading into some of the older projects languishing around here. You never know, I might stumble onto a baby quilt idea any day now!



17 comments:

  1. Lovely. Intriguing...very you!

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  2. how you come up with these ideas for these very original quilts is beyond me! what an imagination you must have - great job

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  3. It totally works! So unique and harmonious.

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  4. Congratulations on this top - it is quintessentially YOU (and I absolutely love the words and their meaning). Spectacular . . . so proud of you for sticking with it and bringing it to life.

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  5. Love the saying and how it all came together--some pieces just take a lot of marinating...all those letters--just lovely work...really neat and original...hugs, Julierose

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  6. Awesome quilt..."I get it!".. Love how you shared your thought process!

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  7. What a delight! And so unique. I've thought about your melon blocks, even considered making some of my own because I love appliqiueing soft curves. The idea to cut them in half was very brave. Sounds like you've got your enthusiasm back.

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  8. This is wonderful! Some quilts just require agonizing first, but I find that the ones that are failures are easier to work on, because flaws are a feature, not a flaw, so there is freedom on adding more flaws. Your project is very successful!

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  9. You called the base fabrics for your letters old and boring, but to me it's exactly the opposite! They lend a luminescent quality to the whole that entirely makes the quilt! Well done!

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  10. I love your words/ letters quilt [s]! And hat subtle, lol melon patch.

    lizzy

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  11. Yes, I did slightly cringe when you cut the applique pieces in half, but they made a great swag border! It's a great saying.

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  12. Mixing Quilt Elements looks like an inspiring book, thanks for sharing.
    And your design process thoughts are like reading a good mystery novel, first you take us down this path then a surprise comes up and off we go into another direction, wow.
    Very enjoyable thank you.

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  13. What a great flimsey finish! Love it!

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  14. What a beauty! I’ve always liked the phrase you used and felt that those odd greens would make them shine once your added some sashing. What a perfect way to use your melon blocks… and so unexpected.
    As usual, you inspire us all.

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  15. Wonderful quilt!! Congratulations on your determination to not give in Audrey. I can't imagine all the time taken to cut and stitch all the lettering, but it was well worth the effort.
    I bought the book by Kathy hen it first came out and have a few marked down as ones I would like to make, remains to be seen how my good intentions work out.

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  16. Oh my goodness! It turned out really wonderful and I LOL'ed many times when you were explaining your process! I really love the half row of applique!

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  17. You are an inspiration. love how dove in, went for it a knuckled through the tough stuff!!

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