Saturday, September 11, 2021

Making Time in the Week For the Post is Sometimes the Hardest Part

Well here it is, another go at a baby quilt. After the last disastrous effort, I focused more intensely on gathering a cohesive grouping of fabrics. Something happy and cozy looking and at least a little bit girlish. As the days went by, fabrics were pulled out and other, better fabrics included until the stack had the right vibe.

Blocks for the baby quilt

Since that's where things went wrong last time, I calculated this step to be the most helpful overall. You would think that I {of all people} would never take a good color palette for granted, but hey. We all have our moments! Eventually I reached a spot in my latest hand work frenzy where it became obvious that there needed to be some machine quilting time. For equilibrium. And mixing things up. Okay! Good time to get serious about moving on with the baby quilt! And yeah, it's the strangest thing, but somehow I had lost my confidence with making these quilts for the littles. Everything that I imagined and conjured up just seemed so overblown and complex for the ultimate purpose. 

Starting to consider the fabric in the setting

Finally I managed to get ahold of myself and made the decision to start with a very simple courthouse step {or brick?} block. Just keeping it very basic and see where it leads us. Everything was free cut even though I occasionally used a ruler to avoid the wavy 'hand cut' effect. As you can see I used groups of color for each segment of the blocks, rarely using a repeat. After all the blocks were completed, then I trimmed the width only to the exact same size. 

Making it all work

That gave me a starting place to determine what to do next. As I worked through a period of about three different sessions, I found that it was a simple matter to just 'go with the flow'. First I joined blocks into the longer rows. If I saw that the peachy pink fabrics looked fine in the adjoining areas, then I didn't even bother to try out another option. Decision made, cut the fabric and move along!

Trying to make sure the blocks aren't' an exact
line-up in placement horizontally

As I was working along on this baby quilt, there was also progress being made each evening with the hand quilting on the Patina quilt. The more that I looked at the backing fabric there, the more that I realized some of it needed to go directly into the baby quilt. The green flowers [especially} on the pink print just seemed so perfect for breathing room between the blocks! 

Patina with the binding sewn on by machine,
waiting patiently for the hand stitching time to finish up

Thankfully, I wasn't too far out on the stitching. The push to finish wasn't some herculean task, but just a dedicated effort to make the best use of regular handquilting time. Wallah! It was a finish! And then it was an easy matter to trim all the extras from the backing into long sashing pieces, sewing sections together wherever needed. Yes, some of the trimmings were cut on the horizontal view of the printed fabric and others on the vertical. Does it matter? Altogether, the print worked to pull the blocks into a soft, unified whole. See how it comes off as a great background, helping make those stronger-look blocks 'pop'? Mission accomplished.

Baby quilt top all sewn together, ready for sandwiching 

Even the lighter {fill-in} sections of the lighter peach fabric used at the top and bottom of the quilt were re-used from the backing trim-offs since I often use 2 or 3 fabrics to make up a back. How fun to use up the backing pieces so readily! Really makes my frugal, use-it-up quilter soul want to high five someone.*wink  The only thing that I'm not 100 percent satisfied with, is the very far left sashing strip--its just a little 'off print' and showing lots of solid pink. Overall though, I think this effort can be considered a success. And it restores just a tiny bit of my baby-quilt-making confidence! Will probably try to wait and do the quilting at the same time as the next one in line. It's already late. What difference does another couple weeks make?

Half the Crazy Daisy blocks ready for next phase
of hand stitching

The primary applique project worked on in the last week or so has been Crazy Daisy. It's not a show stopper and in fact, at this stage in the game, it still looks a little sad. I kinda knew that, but it wasn't until a friend stopped by the other day and asked me what I was working on that it really hit home. When I showed her one of the blocks, she had this look. You know the one. It was pretty evident she was trying to figure out how to say something positive and polite, but didn't quite know what to say.... Oh well. You and I both know my quilts are never finished until the binding is put on!

I kept avoiding these blocks until one evening it occurred to me that truly, what I was doing was sabotaging available hand work time. I would take the hand stitching bag into the living room and place it by the couch. Then, you know... I'd have to go check the laundry, pick up in the kitchen, go water the flower pots, etc. etc. until there might be 20-30 minutes left to actually DO something. 
Looking closer at the flower detail and
potential sashing fabric

When that realization finally broke through my consciousness, things got serious. I hate wasting time. My goal was 5 blocks a week and I was waaaay behind. So then I really put my head down until now there are 13 blocks out of 25 ready for the next phase. Whew! So exhausting. But now I can happily do some hand work on the Positive Thinking quilt without any guilt whatsoever. Until next week, which uh... starts tomorrow? Unless I count it as being 3 blocks ahead? Hmmm...

Whatever. There was serious progress made to the point where I could put enough blocks up on the wall to do a quick audition for the side-setting triangle fabric. {The way the flowers are being sewn onto the blcoks pretty much pre-determines the final layout.} Uh huh. This is where it occurred to me that this quilt wasn't going to be happy without sashing. The vague idea I had about just slapping these blocks together and getting a top done lickety-split pretty much crashed and burned. Why do some quilts have to be so demanding? The only fabric/color that made any sense at all is a Tula Pink stripe that was only lacking about 20" from being enough. Of course! You're all going to be shocked, but yes, I ultimately caved and just ordered it online from an Etsy shop. Enough waffling about. When you know, you know.

It turned out that I was also able to get an excellent feel for what needed to happen at the bottom of the flowers too. At least that part was straightforward and almost exactly as imagined! It will most definitely be more of those sharp citrussy greens with a narrow band of the brown/green to help emphasize that it's actually a 'flower'. Super happy about that as I've been wanting to use more of those lately. I'm going to use about 6 of the different greens from the stash, but only that single brown for the narrow arch. That particular print has a lovely, subtle green included which just makes my heart do a little pitter patter of happiness. Love how the quick free-cut arch is so imperfect looking and will probably use it exactly 'as-is' for the final plastic template.

Patchwork Garden ready for the hoop!

Next up for the quilt in the hoop is Patchwork Garden, top all finished up sometime in 2019. All summer long, I was looking forward to getting this one in the hoop and finally, here it is! I totally forgot about taking pictures while it was being sandwiched, so this is 'it', in all its rumpled glory, pinned and ready to go. Things are not always perfectly camera ready around here in case you hadn't already figured that out. I wonder why? 

Alas, the first night of stitching was just wrong. So wrong. I had to pull out all of the stitches and start completely over. The colors, the patterns. Meh! As of last night, I'm finally starting to find the proper groove and rhythm. Always so good to be falling into the sheer enjoyment of being able to sit and happily stitch! 

It's kind of an different color palette for me, not one I've played with much before. Still, I'm having a ball being reintroduced to some favorite fabrics and remembering the many decisions made while putting the top together. I think that's one of the best things about hand quilting, having plenty of time to enjoy the very last moments with a quilt. Unless it's an ugly or unsatisfactory make, then it gets pretty wearisome to have to keep coming back to the hoop!


  1. Another exciting adventure of ups and downs and puzzles! And mustn't forget successes.
    I like the design choices and color combos you choose, thanks for sharing tons of inspiration.

  2. Amazing quilts on the go, so is your story behind the scene. "J.P. Singer the creative process is a series of crieses"

  3. such a variety of quilts once again - you make progress on a lot of quilts!!

  4. Love your quilts! Don't see how you get so much done!!!

  5. As usual, you have been very productive (and I totally agree that making time for the posts is often a challenge). Great baby quilt! Lots of good ideas in it and in your Patchwork Garden for me to keep in mind when I get to assembling my Wonky Baskets.

  6. Oh, Audrey - I do love reading through your posts - so much of what you mention resonates with me and my process. Sabotaging yourself? What? That NEVER (HA HA HA) happens here . . . thank you for making the time to share yourself and your work/play with us!

  7. I hear you about finding the time to write a post, it doesn't get any easier after retirement either. That said, you've created a wonderful baby quilt, so sweetly feminine yet easily could transition to a 'tween quilt if it were large enough. Patchwork Garden looks like it will be fun to do some creative hand quilting. Enjoy!

  8. You've had a lot of quilts to work on to get in the groove. Thank you for finding the time to share your ups and downs.

  9. They are all beautiful. The pink sashings on your Courthouse Steps makes that quilt. Isn't it funny how much thinking goes into a little baby quilt?
    And the sashing again helps the Daisies. Great use of color and value.
    You almost make me wish I could hand sew still. It just makes my fingers ache though so I will stick with machine work.

  10. I read one of your posts and feel like I want to write an essay in response - so many beautiful things, so many interesting points to respond to . In short; baby quilt just lovely; sashings perfect; Crazy Daisy will come good, they always do. Some quilts just are demanding. We have to love them anyway.

  11. I marvel how you put things together and I love that you share the process of your journey. You are such an inspiration. Thank You Susan

  12. I don' remember a disastrous baby quilt? The previous one was lovely.

    I adore Crazy Daisies, tho much as I enjoy needleturn applique , all those innie loops and petals might defeat me. I do love it.

    Here is a link for an unusual folky flower quilt I am loving right now. Not the same but the feeling?




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