Tuesday, December 21, 2021

Catching Up With the Last AHIQ Prompt of the Year

 *Remember! The Christmas Giveaway is still open through December 25th!* All year long I've felt like I'm back in junior high, always the last one to finish up the 5K run. Here I am though, finally running across the finish line! The last AHIQ prompt had to do with symmetry or asymmetry, whichever felt least comfortable to us.

The new baby quilt
So I've been thinking and thinking, wondering, 'Am I actually uncomfortable with either?' And yes, while symmetry comes very natural to me, attempting an asymmetrical design usually comes about as a last resort. Sometimes it happens by accident, other times I'm attempting to fix a problem, or perhaps it's another persons pattern. You can see from some of the finished quilts around here that it does happen, though not as often as the symmetry thing. Patchwork GardenAHIQFlowersRhi's QuiltComfortably QuirkySeedpod Flower, and Glory Be are just a few recent examples of asymmetry happening in my quilts. Most generally though, it's a gently asymmetrical look, nothing terribly modern, bold or overwhelming.

After much contemplation {and even a bit of anxiety}, I eventually had to completely leave off the idea of trying to start a project with the intention of using asymmetry as the ultimate destination. While it felt like a worthy goal, there was just too much going on in our life to set about attempting something 'off balance' and perhaps even a bit chaotic as the seed of the entire design. I need serenity and balance right now!! So I shrugged off the deliberate pursuit and decided to just write about it when and if it happened.

All fabrics from the stash....
This baby quilt {for a great-niece} needed to happen fast if I wanted to send it off with the grandma and avoid shipping costs! Digging through my stash as always, I stumbled upon the peachy pink mouse fabric {background fabric} and decided to base the entire quilt right there. It was cute, girly, and more importantly, needed used up! I gathered all the rest of the fabric together and quickly fleshed out an easy pattern, 4-patch units with alternating background squares. Honestly, this baby quilt came together--design idea to implementation--so quickly. This time I didn't slow down long enough to let doubts get in the way!

So sweet!
The background fabric is where I ran into a dilemma though. Not quite enough mouse fabric. Oh well. And that's when the 'asymmetry' just sort of happened. Why not go with a wildly different color fabric for those seven remaining background squares? It would have been quite simple to find a similar look/color of fabric and let it all blend, but no... So much more interesting to add a blast of energy to the quilt, which the unequal amount of darker fabric accomplishes in a heartbeat. 

After making that particular decision, then I ended up rearranging the pink/yellow 4-patch blocks into a more obvious 'chain' pattern, rather than placing them willy-nilly around the quilt like intended. With those blocks now providing a certain amount of directional 'flow', it made it easy to randomly place the large dark squares within the boundary of the missing background fabric squares. It was a fast, simple quilt to sew together and then machine quilt in a basic crosshatch. Altogether, it took maybe three days start to finish. Yay! All it needs now is a label and we're good to go. Crossing my fingers the new mama likes yellow 'cuz I think it looks super sweet!

Finishing up Ode to Joy, Big Basket #4
This Big Basket #4 project has been floating around the quilt room for a long time. It was started impulsively, late in the day as an addendum to my Big Basket Series. All along I had this vague idea of trying to play with a bit of asymmetry in the final applique touches. However, it seemed problematic to announce it on the blog as part of the AHIQ challenge. What if I boldly asserted that THIS quilt was going to go a little off the rails as per 'perfect' balance {one side of the quilt to the other}, and then the quilt decided it didn't want to cooperate? lol Wouldn't be the first time!

This quilt is having a great time

All along the way, this quilt had a mind of its own. I thought the flowers in the basket were going to be lush looking tulips, but nooooo. They wanted to be spare and more Scandinavian in look, mimicking the print on the darkest blue fabric in the basket. Several times throughout the making of this top, I almost ripped them off and started over. Seriously, they made me nervous. Originally, I attempted to make the basket surround sashing a red fabric, then maybe a blue fabric? Not having it. Had to be the charcoal text print. Which ultimately made for the perfect framing for the heart flower applique, but at the time? Woo! Totally feeling boxed in and a bit limited as per addressing the potential applique block border.
Loving the scrappy, low-key strip additions
One of the absolutes, I thought, was that the log cabin-like strips {puzzle piecing the pear blocks together} were going to have to be mixed greens. You know, in order to make those pear blocks pop? Uh huh. So appalling to see those colors in that position in the quilt. Ughh! So then I started trying to use up all the remnants of light gray fabric that was leftover from the pear backgrounds. I was loving how soft and light hearted it looked while still being scrappy, but what about the overall look to the quilt??? My bold and bright quilt that I previously imagined was turning into a shadow of itself...

The bird is feeling pretty good about things too
Nothing else appeared as a better solution though, so onward progression continued. Might as well go with what seems to be working even if I didn't understand the how and why. When I stumbled on the idea of throwing in those patchwork, scrappy-look cornerstone squares {with the hint of red?}, everything just started making perfect sense. Ahhhh... I could suddenly see where the pear blocks needed to be part of the background symphony, not have a starring role in the overall impact. 

In my opinion, the little square fabric pops of color were needed to gently lead the eye around the edges of the quilt and then back to that fun center again. Well, I was hoping it was going to be a fun looking center! Anyway,.... So very glad that to find that specific bit of fabric and I can tell you that every bit of it was used up! Basically, the initial auditioning was showing that because of the light, light gray fabrics used, if there was absolutely no color at all between all the pear blocks, then everything at the outside border would come off as choppy and disorienting to the eye. And adding darker gray, except in a very few areas, just made everything look dingy and dull. Gotta love finding those unexpectedly good, problem-solving-fabrics in the totes!

Just had to use one darker square in the upper corner
From there, it was easy, peasy to attack the asymmetry idea, in a bold, red, applique sort of way. Those heart-flowers that I had doodled onto my rough draft drawing? Why not try and make them as-is? So many times the doodle is a general representation of a flower etc. and really, anything works. 

This time I studied the drawing and then earnestly tried to replicate that naïve style to the best of my ability. I carefully drew them out on paper in the scale needed, one after another, then trimmed or fussy cut as needed. They were traced and cut out in fabric and after that, placed onto the quilt in appropriate areas. I played and played, trying to get the look just right. Tipped the flowers this way, that way, a little bit of space here, more there and so on. Maybe if I add one more? It took a bit of time, but it was completely worthwhile. So happy to see the heart flowers cheerfully dancing off the edge of the quilt now. Whew! Love it when a plan {hair-brained idea?} starts coming together!

This part makes me smile!
A bird had been drawn onto the rough draft and placed high on the right side of the quilt. It was a bigger bird than what I would normally think was necessary. Though I knew the bird needed to be a bright, solid blue, the template I made looked terrible on that specific side of the quilt. Okay, leave it off. Nope. It definitely needs a bird, but where??? And it all fell into place when I determined that what it really needed was a bird with something in its mouth. Aha. Well, that changes everything! It took a little finagling and yep, wasted bits of cut outs of stems, flowers etc. until the little heart finally, finally made itself known. Hmm... So very sappy.... Sometimes I am just scratching my head at what the quilts finally end up looking like! 

The 'Joy' word was the final wrap up to totally finish things off. I had originally cut it out in a white/gray fabric and while I loved the word on the quilt, the coloring was way too cold. After figuring out the bird, it was simple to see that the same, exact fabric was perfect for the lower part of the basket. I don't know why this quilt needed a word added, but somehow this quilt has renamed itself 'Ode to Joy'. Maybe that's why. Whatever. The quilt needs what it needs! 

Such a good vibe!
So yeah, that's why I've been hiding most of the ongoing progress of this particular quilt. Some of you were gonna love it and some were gonna go 'Meh!', and probably want to hate it. I wanted so badly for this to fall into the AHIQ Symmetry/Asymmetry prompt, that I didn't want to jinx it by letting you get a peek. Sometimes, rarely, the constructive criticism, advice and/or fond comments of affirmation can make me second guess the entire creative flow. Then I have to let things sit and stew until it's all properly sorted out in my brain. Not usually much of an issue, and as you know, I'm generally all about sharing the process. That's what I do! In this case I hesitated simply because this quilt was on the finish-up-before-the-end-of-the-year list and I am resolutely trying to clear the decks!

There is much, much satisfaction in checking this one off the list. It seemed a little tricky at times. My own family is still a little doubtful about how cool this quilt is, but I'm immensely pleased with it. You know how difficult the color green is for me.... and then there is that weird pink background color..... It's got the pear blocks I've been wistfully dreaming about forever.... But I didn't let it end up being a PEAR quilt per se., it's still a BASKET quilt! Just wait till the hand quilting joins in.....*sigh It might just prod me to make yet another big basket quilt for the series. These are just too much fun!


  1. It is such a happy quilt, love the pears.

  2. Your pears are so neat--really pretty. As for symmetry vs. asymmetry --
    I have to really think about either one when I set out to make either one purposively. I seem to fall somewhere in the middle...I made a bargello quilt where I ran out of strips and filled in the right hand side with off set squares..so--half-and-half I guess...it is fascinating how one's mind works...at any rate--I must say that I love your basket quilts...and all the "surrounds" borders you add to them...
    Hugs, Julierose

  3. Super cool. Ecstatically fun! quirky and lighthearted!!!! Love, love, love your quilt!

  4. I love those pear blocks on that quilt - you made them so well. The colors in the baby quilt will suit a baby really well, the brown it in looks great to me. -- have a fun filled Christmas

  5. It is "cool" I love the pears in the border and the hearts are perfect!

  6. I like the way you repeated the rosy center colors in the cores of the pears. Very clever, it brings it all together. This is the kind of quilt that needs it's story on the label so everyone can appreciate it.

  7. So this is where those pear blocks were headed! I love how those "hearty" flowers just dance with abandon right off the edge of the quilt! A super addition to your big basket series.

  8. Audrey deliciosa y tierna tu colcha bebé!!
    Tus apliques son siempre tan magnificos.
    Gracias por compartir.

  9. Of course I like this quilt because it's a basket quilt. You surprised me with where you went with the pears. Such fun!

  10. I’m in the love it camp - the pears bring such freshness to the more traditional basket, and I love how the hearts fallout of the frame

  11. That certainly was not where I expected the Pears to end up. Very charming, as is the baby quilt. On the Basket quilt, my fave thing is the red tulips on the right who ''fell off'' and are having a ball.

  12. Your newest basket quilt is wonderful! Thanks again for sharing your process. May your holidays be merry, peaceful, and safe!

  13. " . . . completely leave off the idea of trying to start a project with the intention of using asymmetry as the ultimate destination. While it felt like a worthy goal . . . I shrugged off the deliberate pursuit and decided to just write about it when and if it happened." AMEN AMEN AMEN - I find that either-or grates on my nerves and makes me freeze up instead of moving me forward. KUDOS to you for listening to that instinct in yourself. And once again your process on the Big Basket Quilt with Pears has led you to a triumphant quilt top. Pays to listen to our muse instead of trying to order her around (grin). Merry Christmas to you and yours!!

  14. As always, another wonderful post filled with so much to contemplate. I love how things fall into place for you re placement, colours, etc. It reminds me of the saying Happy Chance happens to the prepared mind or something like that. I was loving the baby quilt, the basket and then to top it off...pears!!You and your muse are amazing, Audrey. So happy to have you in my blogging world. Merry Christmas!

  15. It was bugging nerdy me so I had to look up that saying...it's Chance favours the prepared mind. Apparently Madame Curie said it.

  16. I love how you just start walking down a path and don't worry if you get diverted along the way. You always seem to end up in an interesting and creative place.

  17. Love it! You have listened to your inner quilt!

  18. Love the baby quilt! And the pear quilt looks so good!!!


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