Thursday, September 2, 2021

One Little Decision at a Time

Lets take a meander through the latest applique work going on around here. For whatever reason, that's what has seemed the most interesting of late. Plus, there are a couple projects that really, really need the attention so they can move on to final quilt top stage!

Positive  Vibes getting the attention

The main project that has been getting my complete and almost total attention is the Positive Thinking one. It's not a super long term project as it's just barely a year old. The clamshell borders ended up being easier than I expected once in the groove of hand sewing.  We won't get into the initial angst and nerves of getting started, but I will say machine sewing two-three stiches at the join of each clamshell helped me out tremendously. Just don't go looking for perfection! The borders lengths were not cut 'exact' as I was quite, quite sure that my measurements would be all over the place, and well.... I was right about that. 

The right side applique templates

That means that I will have to either cut all the clamshells off at the ends of the borders or potentially add a narrow border around the centerpiece of the quilt. Right now my brain just freezes up at the math, but I might try and get that worked up so I can at least make an informed decision. If I do add in the narrow border, it will probably be a cream fabric so as to look like it's part of the centerpiece.

The left side applique templates

What I always did know, is that there needed to be some flower applique to the side of the words. Don't you know those open spaces were meant for applique all long? The shape of the flowers have always been an iris shape in the imaginings of my mind, so that part was easy. Sometimes I grab fabric and start cutting, other times I use the leftover pieces in the applique orphan totes for auditioning and other times, I jump in with the free-style drawn paper shapes that I love to play with.
Auditioning all the wrong fabrics

Most generally, that saves me from ruining lots of pieces of good fabric. Not this time though.*sigh  I worked on the colors and prints of these flowers for almost 2 hours! Then I put it all up and went downstairs for the evening, telling my husband that all my creativity had apparently left me for good. It was all looking and feeling very much like MUSH!

More of those wrong fabrics

The next day I tossed all the lousy looking colors/prints and deliberately went searching for things that might 'pop' more. It was very annoying because in the end, I had to raid a couple marinating project totes for the better colors. Makes me very twitchy when I think those fabric stacks might be losing a very important fabric.

Finally getting it right!

But all for the greater good, right? And my final version here is much, much better than the previous attempts. No doubt about that at all. After cutting, I realized that the floral vase fabric had never been soaked for possible fabric bleeds, so those parts are currently resting in hot water and Dawn dish soap, sure enough, bleeding out a little bit of red/pink dye!

And even more right....

All in all, this quilt is pulling together and projecting a lovely positive vibe. Finally. Those old tired blues are gonna be the death of me though. I just don't know what to do with them to properly wake them up! For the past couple years I've been raiding the stash totes and earnestly trying to deal with some of the older colors that have fallen into utter disfavor. This is my second endeavor with similar looking blues taking over the med-dark blue stash tote. Maybe I'm just biased, but this version of blues, purples, orange, and hot pinks looks a whole lot better to me than the previous attempt! And bonus. I'm using up some older oranges with the blues. That's definitely helping to keep the lid stay on those totes a little bit better--always the real goal.*wink  It's not like I enjoy playing with odd color palettes or anything strange like that...

All starting to come together!

So yeah. There's that. Making good progress here! Also in the works is this other tangent of mine. I'm making pear blocks. Uh huh. There are part of the next border for Big Basket #4, another one of those impulse projects started late last year. I wanted to make a quilt that seems a little bit disconnected with itself, but somehow achieves a common vibe. All the while using up mostly older, less interesting fabrics as a whole. I was really wishing that my green fabrics had more value change-ups than what I'm achieving, but honestly, this is the best that I can do without buying new. Not happening for this particular quilt!

Three sizes of pears for different sized blocks

Okay, prep work accomplished, moving on to something else. I'm not in a huge hurry to get them hand stitched down yet, so I turned my attention to Crazy Daisy. It is one that has received almost zero attention since the original mad dash to get it sorted out and prepped for stitching. I'm thinking that if I can just get five blocks stitched a week?  Can I, can I? There will be more to stitch over the bottom of the flower later, just haven't made up my mind completely about those particular colors. Regardless, I'm tired of it haunting me and making me feel like a slacker! One block down, 24 to go!

A start. That's gotta be worth something!

I also started a brand new project. Ha! I bet you're not even a little bit surprised either! No pattern, just a picture to give me inspiration. One of the things that I did in the weeks immediately after our daughters wedding was to go through each and every simmering fabric stack--all of the dreamy project ideas. During those perusals, it occurred to me that I have an awful lot of good fabric tucked away and 'off limits'. Mostly. Unless there's a desperation search or something! 

Obviously gonna need a trim

So.. I determined that at least a couple of these needed to be initiated soon so as to get the good, yummy fabrics re-circulating back through the stash totes. Where they are currently VERY needed! lol  I spent quite a bit of time here and there trying to match fabric stacks with ideas that seemed logical based on gathered fabric. One stack got completely thrown back into the totes and another two were combined into one. You know how it goes!

Once these {grandma fans?} blocks are cut out, then all the prints, minus the white ones, can be cut loose. I am moving along on the cut-out of these 80 blocks quite slowly, in fits and starts as there's no real rush or intense desire to get right smack in the middle of it. This gold block was the mock-up to see if? how? the construction is going to work out. I'm thinking that I will machine sew the fan tips in an arc, then sew it onto the quarter circle, then, I will hand applique it all to the correct sized background block. At which point it will have to be trimmed down to that block size because I can never do curved piecing without some give and take in the stitching effort! All in good time. It will be great to have these parts ready for machine stitching whenever the handwork gets a bit tedious.

All for me!

And maybe there'll be another one or two similar quilt projects waiting in the wings soon. I do have a LOT of marinating fabric that needs addressed soon or dumped back into the totes for current use. In other news, I celebrated my 51st birthday with a brand new roll of Hobbs batting! Very exciting as I was running much too low for making it through the lean winter months. All of our children went together for the purchase and made this momma extremely happy. Not a boring gift at all no matter what they might think....


  1. Love those final applique pretty!! The pears look have some great projects on the go hugs, Julierose

  2. Your various projects are always so interesting. It's so fun to see the progress on all of them. I love the way the clam shell border accents the words in the middle. Iris' were unexpected and so delightful. I'm curious to see how the Crazy Daisy ends up. Your post brings a smile to my face and energy to start something new - yikes!

  3. A roll of batting would make any quilter happy I bet.

  4. Happy Birthday! And the batting is a wonderful gift.
    I always enjoy your thoughts on new and older projects, it's just like intuitive cooking or surfing.
    You've done the time to learn the basics and now you're surfing the big ones, cooking up the gourmet meals, with a smile on your face.

  5. That roll of batting was an awesome birthday gift! I will need to order another soon - maybe another four quilt left on this one so I will need mine by January. Wonder if Santa can fit one in his sleigh?!!

  6. First of all, Happy Birthday! Funny how a roll of batting can make out day or week or year! Your current projects are all winners. Sometimes I feel like a slacker after reading one of your posts, you simply amaze me! I can only hope next year when I have 45 more hours a week at home (yes, retirement is closing in!) that I will have a few more projects on the table as well. Thanks for the inspiration!!

  7. Love the flowers and vase fabric you ended up with! "off limits" fabric for future projects? I think most quilters have them and sometimes it is good to use that fab anyway in another project.
    A roll of batting is a great gift! Happy Belated birthday!

  8. Your "Positive Thinking" is looking great - I agree with all your decisions! Glad to hear the clamshells are going OK. I'm looking forward to seeing more of your fans. They are a favorite design and I've used them in several of my quilts. A belated happy birthday to you!

  9. I always love reading about your deign thought processes. Really love Pears and The Daisy.
    I could prob send you some greens for Pears, if you'd want some.

  10. My goodness Audrey, I didn't realise you were going to add more of your beautiful applique to Positive Vibes, tremendous and love the border clamshells.I am staggered with the number of stunning projects you're currently working on - delicious green pears and you're going to be busy with the daisies!

  11. I think you just received the perfect birthday gift! I love where Positive Thinking is heading, the vase fabric is perfect with the scallops.

  12. Love the progression of all your projects. Always a joy to read and the eye candy. I'm anxious to see how the pears develop on the basket quilt! Happy Birthday! What a score!

  13. The clamshells liven your words but the flower vases really bring it all together. Colorful and exciting and just like you. Thanks for the suggestion to cut paper samples out first. I, too, hate to cut up fabric “needlessly.” Haha. I cut up so much fabric all the time.
    A few times I’ve pulled fabric without a specific idea but, like you, end up with reserved stacks and little “good stuff” in my stash. Still, it’s a great way to think about color.
    My wheel quilt looks like your fan. What fun to try a more freehand version. That’s a block I want to play with more.

  14. Love the iris that you are adding to your quilt. The applique block, double layered, reminds me of a turkey tail... what are your plans for it?

  15. Wow! Lots happening with you! Love the appliqué flowers and well done with the maths!

  16. What those pears need are some yellowish pears. Adding colors in that range will liven it up no end. I hope you have some yellows, maybe some dark greens/browns. It doesn't need to look good to eat, just good to quilt

  17. Happy Birthday! That roll of batting is a luxurious gift!
    Congrats on sticking with the challenges and getting those clamshells to behave!

  18. That clamshell border is such a clever addition - I really like the vibe of your Positive Thinking! I'm am also intrigued by the idea of a quilt that seems a bit disconnected from itself - that's a thought to conjure with.

  19. What a great birthday present! You showed us several potential uses for that wool batting in just this day's post. Great job!


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