Wednesday, August 17, 2022

Another Completed Tulip Quilt!

Here we are, more than halfway through August and I've barely finished my 8th quilt this year! Just not getting as much done this year. You'll probably have a hard time believing this, but I have went almost two weeks now without any hand quilting. Can you sense how itchy my fingers are getting? It was totally worthwhile as we got to see a lot of family, but wowsers. It's always so lovely to come back home!

Glory Be is finished!
It's been a long time since my husband and I have managed to get away together, so we were grateful for the opportunity. Clear up to leaving time though, I was working on this list of quilting things that I didn't want to leaving hanging. You know how it is when you get back. Usually a little hard to jump right back into the rhythm again! Thankfully I had finished up Glory Be just before leaving, but never managed to get it washed and well crumpled like I prefer for pictures. 

So simple yet so interesting!
This quilt was started in early 2020, back when I still thought the world was somewhat sane. lol  Anyway, the project went a little sideways when I somehow messed up the hourglass units intended for the sashing strips. It all came together in spite of the initial challenges and now it's become one of my many favorite quilts. {Is it okay to have stacks of favorites?} 

Keeping the hand quilting very basic as usual....
I adore the unconventional, asymmetrical layout and also, the charm of the oldy moldy star fabric used in the red tulip block backgrounds. How could a fabric be so stale dated, and yet, work so very, very well in the right quilt? Details like this always encourage me to keep on trying!
Looking across
As per usual, the hand quilting is not absolutely marked-on-fabric perfection. I sort of eye-balled the marking lines over the tops of the tulips and here's what you get! Some of the grid work in the sashing looks good and some of it is a bit wonky. Which actually makes it look pretty great to me, so yeah. That does appear to be a 'me' thing these days! 

I was smiling pretty big at the finish of this quilt, it's just so cozy looking. If you've been following me since the beginning of my blogging years, you'll know that 'red, white & blue' quilts used to be kind of a default position for me. I've made several of them through the years though there usually isn't a speck of white in them. More of a cream, tan or brown, and now in this one, a gray-beige? Here's a few of the older ones if you'd like to see. And one more?

Love this block!
In other news, I received an amazing e-mail the other day. Completely made my day! Deborah from Brooklyn NY said that her church hosts a {youth} vacation bible school every summer. Last year {with help} she hosted a workshop using my Autumnal Tulips template. The kids were able to create their own blocks honoring a beloved, long-time member, friend and church gardener. This is the quilt she was able to put together using those blocks! Isn't it fantastic? It sounds like the unveiling was a beautiful event for everyone, and I'm so happy for these kids and their experience! Quilts are incredibly heartwarming and all the more so when you understand the effort and feeling involved in the making. Loving all these happy smiles!

So sweet!
On our vacation, we went to a family wedding where we spent a long weekend having good visits with almost all of my siblings and their children. So many littles! The family just keeps growing and growing! After that, we were able to head north and stay five nights with our oldest son and DIL, plus our youngest son lives in the area as well. We couldn't get enough of our grandkids! Here's a picture of grandpa letting the older girls sit on the excavator for a few minutes before he got back to work. 

While we were there, he dug out a large portion at the front of our sons property. The next time we go visit, the guys intend to build a retaining wall, compact the ground and then lay in gravel for a RV spot and other parking. The rain down there just creates problems and they have pine needles falling all over their driveway too. Makes everything horribly slippery in the winter. While I took a bag of hand applique to keep my hands busy, grandpa was busy working with much bigger and louder equipment. Funny how even a working vacation can be such a good mental break for people of our age and stage in life!

Grandkids are the best!
And now we're on to question #3 in the Quilting History. Here goes!

3. Were there special people or circumstances that encouraged you to begin to quilt? How did you learn to quilt? Who taught you to piece and to quilt? Did you have one special person you learned from, or were there others who influenced your quiltmaking? Where did they learn to quilt? Who else quilted in your family?

As mentioned in the previous question, the circumstances that really encouraged me to pursue quilting was when a group of women in our church started meeting in the winters for quilting. My mom ended up being the ring leader of that when she initiated the first meeting. Basically, everyone took turns talking about their personal knowledge & skills {or lack of} and then we all discussed what was wanted out of the meetings. 

The first year found us making basic exchange blocks for each other in preferred sizes and colors. The next year or two we added in optional blocks for each meeting with an anonymous vote, and then winner-takes-all challenge. At every meeting we would bring books and magazines to share. It was very informal and more 'information gathering' than anything else. Lots and lots of opinions offered! Oh my. We argued and debated 1/4" seams, the benefits of tearing fabric on the grainline, the proper way to put binding on a quilt, plus color matching and every other thing you could think of. If/when someone learned something new about quilting {had taken a class or learned from a book}, they would usually organize a tutorial. Sometimes it was super helpful and other times, it felt like the quilting police were busy establishing the RULES. In this way, we taught each other and ourselves to quilt! Whatever and however we learned, it was new skills and/or tips to add to our quilting toolbox.

During this time, my husband and I moved away to Redmond, Oregon. I was starting to branch out a little and get more adventuresome. The library had become my best friend and I was pretty much inhaling everything I could learn about layouts and setting individually sewn blocks together. How to deal with blocks that ended up being 1/2" smaller than others and how to successfully sew colors together that clashed. It was a area rich in quilting influences, quilt stores and an awesome outdoor quilt show in the summertime. 

One of moms discarded projects that I rescued
During the few short years in Oregon, I desperately missed our winter quilting meetings but didn't have the confidence to join a local quilting guild. In an effort to keep learning, I begged all my family for abandoned quilt projects to experiment with and slowly started challenging myself to learn new important-to-me skills on my own--like applique and hand quilting.

 The applique I painstakingly learned on my own--all different methods, mostly from book and pattern instructions. It was absolutely trial and error and I hated most of the methods. Ughh. So frustrating! Finally I settled on a favorite. That, funnily enough, from a quilt shop owner just telling me tips and tricks for plain old needle-turn applique! She was a little impatient with endless questions but honestly, the very best help. Very matter of fact. She thought it was easy and absolutely nothing to be scared of. Buck up. That sort of thing. I still think of her fondly.

The first person to teach me about hand quilting was a cousin, doing me a big favor. She worked in a quilt store and considered herself to be quite artsy! She was very precise in her instruction though she seemed very doubtful of my ability to ever flourish in the craft. Kudos to her though, she was very patient in teaching me how to get started and properly tie off my threads etc. I don't necessarily do things the way that she taught me, but hey! She got me started! 

Another friend {a mother figure} had learned from her aunts, mother and sisters in quilting-bee style gatherings. She was not super perfect as to her stitching length {which I adored}, but preferred feather patterns etc. and was more comfortable quilting from a huge floor frame. Mostly she just talked about quilting and her finishes were few and far between. Because my husband and I visited with her often, I consider her a big influence in encouraging me to keep trying with the hand quilting. Don't worry about it being perfect. Enjoy the outcome. Hand quilting is slow but it's so rewarding etc., etc.. Looking back, I honestly think she would have had more fun with a wholecloth quilt, she was that disinterested in anything but the hand stitching!

A mystery quilt with terrible looking trees
The person who probably made the most impact on my future hand quilting efforts was a friend in our church who had learned the basics from her mom. She pretty much forced me to help hand quilt on the church raffle quilt though I frantically assured her I had barely started learning. No matter. Everyone was helping and that was that. Everyone's stitching was to be gratefully received and at the end of my miserable week of stitching and ripping out, stitching and ripping out, I could finally see and feel real progress.*sigh  So painful. I kinda hated her during that moment of my life--for her bossiness, pushiness and general lack of compassion towards my quilting insecurities, but later on.... Yeah. I could totally see the real value of what she did for me! The funny thing was, she ended up years later with a professional quilting machine she adores and I am the one still with a hoop in my lap!

A Round Robin quilt. I made the 4 center blocks
and added the outside green scalloped border
When I moved back to Washington, the attendance at the winter quilting meetings had dwindled quite a bit. Mom had moved on to a project a year sort of theme, in similar-but-different outcomes. She intentionally set out to 'teach' something new with every project and we found ourselves making mystery quilts, round robin quilts, and whatever else she conjured up. I helped proofread the instructions she would type up and walk through the intent of the new projects in advance of the first meetings. We were an eclectic group of women with many different approaches to our quilting, but the camaraderie was a beautiful thing that I quite frankly treasured. This went on till about 2011 when finally, there just wasn't enough interest to continue. 

My grandma quilted, though I was too young to learn anything but the love of quilts from her. All of my sisters started out quilting, but now it's just me and mom and as you know, mom had a years-long hiatus. I started this blog in 2010 in an effort to have people to chat with about our shared love of quilting. People who are genuinely interested in quilting and not those whom you can obviously see their eyes glazing over in deep boredom! Lots and lots of influences and challenges from other Internet connected quilters through the years, the fun never stops!


15 comments:

  1. Thank you for sharing your experience with groups and what inspired/pushed you to develop different skills. I am too am mostly self-taught and have played with joining a local group but have always chickened out. I was first drawn to quilting by glorious hand applique quilts in the 90s but always felt more at home actually piecing. I've started branching into adding some applique either as a focal point or as border, mostly inspired by your blog. Thanks again, Robina.

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  2. OMG, love that Tulip Quilt! The red is perfect, looks like MODA "Grunge" fabric. I always thrill to your folk art style! I too love RWB quilts so enjoyed your "look backs". Glad you had a chance to travel and enjoy some family time. Your quilts are a testament to all the early influences in your quilty life, rounded out and topped off with your personal style. Love it all every time I get to visit! Keep doing what you do!!

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  3. Thanks for this lovely post to start my day!! I love your newly completed tulip quilt; the fabric choices are excellent. I think my favorite is that interesting “stripy clam shell fabric, though I like the dotted one you highlighted too 😊. Your hand quilting on this is really good! It’s awesome that a group including kids made up one of your designs- what an honor. I’m enjoying reading the chapters of your quilting life- so many different ways we quilters ended up with this passion!

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  4. I love the tulip quilt and love that the group in NYC made the quilt as a group in memory of a friend, how nice to do that for someone they had lost and send you a photo. I love hearing of your learning and loving hand quilting. I wish I had a family member that I could have done that with but it was just me and my books and watching Alex Anderson on HGTV LOL - that was a long time ago. The love of hand quilting, hand piecing and needle turn applique continues to this day with no one else in my family the least interested in learning or talking about it. I tried all the different kinds of applique but the only one that I really like is needle turn - it is so simple once you understand how to do it which really isn't hard at all.

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  5. Another lovely finish! The handquilting just makes this one sing :0) The Vacation Bible school quilt is absolutely marvellous! I LOVE that story. The quilt is beautiful! Glad you had a good holiday.

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  6. Of course we have to have many favorites among our finished quilts, otherwise what would be the purpose! I adore the way your quilting curves around those tulip petals and everything melds into a fabulous whole. And what a beautiful surprise to see all those young faces who worked on your autumnal quilt pattern. I hope there's a future quilter among the group to carry on the tradition. So good that you and your hubby were able to get some time to spend with family and make new memories for those sweet granddaughters.

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  7. It was fun to read about your quilting journey. I loved it.

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  8. Congratulations and beautiful hand quilting!

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    Replies
    1. From Janie @ crazyvictoriana.blogspot.com

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  9. You are certainly the queen of tulip quilts! This is another fantastic one. I like how you used a couple of tulip blocks for the side setting triangles. I'm not sure I would have been able to cut into those tulips to do that.

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  10. Oh, Audrey - you've done it again (which is a really GOOD thing). Another amazing tulip quilt - I adore the asymmetrical setting and how you used the older fabric and made it look so much like you went out and chose it just for this project. And what you are doing with the "about you" question series is making me want to do the same. I've pulled and printed the list . . . (Quiltdivajulie)

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  11. I love the Tulip quilt!! Also, I am loving the history! It's neat to see the how different your style is now! Love, Rhi

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  12. What a lovely finish - it would be one of my favourites too (and yes, of course you can have lots of favourites - quilts, kids, it's the same principle). If it's any consolation I am only piecing my third quilt of the year, so you seem quite productive to me.

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  13. One more stunning quilt from you full of charachter and lovliness xoxox

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