Thursday, August 4, 2022

Flower Power is a Completed Quilt Top!

One of the things that I was determined to accomplish in the past week, was to get to completed quilt top stage with 'Flower Power'. There was an idea or two from the initial scribblings, but in the end, as usual, the quilt made all the decisions.

Improv. strip sets
First up, there needed to be some space between at least some of the applique blocks. It was easy to decide on some easy, breezy improv. strip rows. As you can see, I made short little stacks of sewn together, free cut strips. Not too off kilter, but just enough to give a bit of character.

The reason you cut strips longer than needed
The wonkiness can usually be increased or decreased depending on how the strip set is lined up for cutting. For these rows, I decided to let it be a subtle thing. In determining the colors for those rows, I have to say, it was mostly about percentages. Less than 10% of the darker blue and darker pink/reds and lots and lots of the very light pinks and blue/white shirting stripe. I wanted a very light, airy feel to that part of the quilt in order to help make the moody blues look richer, and hopefully, *fingers crossed!, make the tulips pop even more. Mission accomplished!

Not quite done it says.....
The entire color palette was based off of the floral fabric pictured below. Here I was auditioning the fabrics for a possible outer border. Such a bad idea. Uggh! The quilt practically screamed in agony. It was so sad. I seriously longed for a scrappy sawtooth border before adding the floral 'cuz it just seemed meant to be, but yeah. Sometimes you just have to move on.

This is not a good look
There was not going to be any floral anywhere and the sawtooth border idea flamed out quickly too. Name a single color that might possibly work well in the pieced border position without seriously challenging the tulips preeminence? Uh huh. I couldn't do it either.

Keeping the borders intersting
So there you have it. Super simple border addition or nothing at all. You know me, the gotta-love-a-good-border-gal. I had to do something! In the final ruminations, I impulsively started cutting up all the leftover blue fabric pieces. Anything that was 4 1/2" wide or better was cut and eventually joined into long pieces for the outer border. 

Feels good to use up the scraps
I like the subtle detail in piecing of the blue solids verses the one dark striped shirting. Just makes it a little bit more interesting than if it was cut and sewn on out of a single yardage. And I basically used up all of the leftover shirting too! Score!

Love the look of the improv. strips
In fact, there was a total of three upcycled shirting fabrics used in this quilt, which felt kind of awesome. The darkest stripe had to be soaked for close to three days prior to cutting anything out as it bled and bled and bled. Gotta watch out for that with the darker hues!

Looking cozy
In the end, this quilt ended up looking similar, but different, to the original inspiration. My border {almost not a border} makes the tulips float a little. It gives them space to breathe and feel comfy. I love how Flower Power definitely also looks like a sibling to LeAnn's lovely quilt. So sweet! We each took elements of the original to make up our own version, while striving to keep a lot of the first quilts joy and charm intact. Obviously, the strings in my quilt are in the sashing rows rather than the tulips, but the scrappy vibe still remains true. And no, we didn't come up with this idea together. We just both happen to have a great love for antique/vintage quilts and often use these as a jump start for our own projects.

Flower Power quilt top is finished!
53 1/2" x 68 1/2"
Another item checked off the list is the Lillabelle applique blocks. Only nine blocks total, so it didn't really take an enormous amount of time. Very happy to have them moved on to the next phase though, 'cuz I really am soaking up the yummy color palette on this one!

All ready for the next step!
Next up for a quilt top finish is the Roman Stripe quilt after the spontaneous applique renovations. I have been feeling so very blah about this top. No ambition whatsoever to get it in the hoop and bring it to a true blue finish. Now that this applique has jumped on, all of a sudden I'm thinking it might could be next in line?

Looking so much happier!
What? The applique is over the top, silly and really kind of awkwardly primitive looking. Still, it fills my heart with gladness and makes me smile just looking at it. Will others feel the same? Who knows. The important thing is, I feel lots better about getting it to a finish someday and potentially gifting it. Yay! 'Chrysalis' is starting to come into it's own!
Chrysalis applique detail
The current quilt in the hoop is actually Love Apples. I know. It's only been in the drawers for a year or so! I just wanted needed something virtually decision-free in regards to the hand quilting. This definitely does the trick. Free-style Baptist fans are such a good over-all texture to any quilt that won't necessarily soak up detailed, fussy looking quilting stitches. 

Latest quilt in the hoop
This is one of those quilts started in an attempt to use up something abandoned by another quilt. In this case, it was the peachy pink scrappy rows that didn't have a home any longer. Many of you would have probably dumped them entirely, but I just didn't feel right about that. Too many good fabrics involved! Before the hoop, the overall effect is a fairly gawky looking quilt, but wow! Look at how quickly things change with the Baptist Fans emerging. Now, all of a sudden, it's looking like it could be one of your best friends snuggled up for a good coze!

Love Apples getting sandwiched and pinned
Okay, on to those Individual Quilting History questions I'm trying to answer with every post this summer.

2. At what age did you begin to learn to sew? Do you remember at what age you began to piece? When did you learn to quilt? How old were you when you made your first quilt? Why did you learn at this particular time? Were there any special difficulties?

I learned to sew from my mother somewhere around the age of 10, perhaps younger. For sure, I learned to sew on buttons etc. before she ever introduced me to the sewing machine work. By the time I was a teenager, I could competently sew my own dresses etc. It was mostly due to her endless patience in answering my questions and always encouraging me to try every more complicated patterns! As explained in the previous question, I first started quilting when I was in my early 20's. The absolute first quilt was a baby coverlet and the very first, full sized real quilt, a rail fence style quilt. Then I promptly returned to making very simple baby coverlets.

I didn't truly learn to 'piece' until later on. In the late 90's, when I was 28 years old, a few ladies that I spent time with asked for pieced blocks for a wedding quilt. That effort mostly baffled and frustrated me, as I was still using scissors to cut things out. It did lead to making a couple small children sized quilts, mostly with big squares of denim, corduroy and/or flannel!  Then, when I was 29, there was a group of ladies in our church who started gathering to swap quilt blocks and/or make 'challenge' blocks in the winter months. 

Home Sweet Home
My mother promptly bought me a rotary cutter and rotary mat for Christmas. Woohoo!! Quilt piecing horizons were flung wide open! Except that I was a fraidy cat and kept all piecing efforts very basic for the longest time. So dumb. Squares and rectangles for me, thank you very much! 

The quilt in the picture above, was probably the fourth full sized quilt I had ever finished. This was 2001 when I was 31 years old. It was the first time for making the effort to piece blocks to join in with any swap or challenge blocks that I had won. And.... this was my first real attempt at making blocks that included triangle shapes. Well, I had to use a triangle shape to make my Home Sweet Home challenge block didn't I? And then, notice the house blocks in the borders? Yep! I was inspired to add little town houses and cottages along the edges of the quilt. Uh huh. The border stuff happened early on too. 

This is also when I started seriously dabbling in my love for applique. Playing with different techniques. Along with the little stars and heart block, every single house 'challenge' block has a little applique addition {or two} done by yours truly. Some people had already added a bit of applique, but I didn't let that stop me from adding more where I thought needed! I had to do it on the down-low too, 'cuz some of those gals would have been offended. My thinking was, 'The blocks are mine now. I can do with them what I want!'

I'm super glad that this quilt is still hanging around as it ended up being a showcase for everything that was being learned up to this point. Making and swapping blocks with others definitely pushed me to learn good coping strategies in regards to ending up with equal sized blocks. Also, it quickly pushed me into learning how to make individual block colors play nice with all the other tricky colors in a group setting. Getting those blocks wrangled into an interesting looking quilt pushed and shoved me to get the whole finished-quilt thing properly figured out.*whew!  No more sewing three sides of a quilt and turning it inside out and putting ties in to hold things down! How to make things lay flat and square. What batting to use. How to make and sew on binding! Things like that. Good times!


  1. The free cut strips totally make Flower Power! I love it! I hope it doesn’t linger too long in the drawer - it’s begging for some handquilting to finish it off.

  2. I think I started to learn to sew around age 10, I know when I took Home Ec when I was in high school and I had already been sewing for awhile. Back then it was clothing that I made or remodeled from larger items that could be cut down to size - like an old pleated skirt - there is a lot of fabric in those things!! I made my first quilt in 1974 I think and it looked horrible - it consisted of embroidery blocks for the top and big patch work of this and that fabric for the back. I didn't know how to quilt and I tied it then later I quilted it but I still didn't know what I was doing with it and knots were every where. I made my first quilt in 1988 that turned out. Never took a class - I guess it would have been helpful LOL

  3. I got sewing lessons when i was 13 at our local fabric store; the owner was a neighbor of ours and my cousin Jeannette and I spent the summer that year learning the ins and outs of making clothes. I made a summer dress as I recall and actually wore the thing!!:0))
    I next sewed for my two children and when they got to be teens I began to quilt after a friend induced me to go to a local Quilt Show --I was totally smitten--the rest is history--I was around 28 yrs old...ah youth!!
    So quilting over 50 yrs now... Thanks for the history..
    I love the addition to roman Stripe--so "YOU" hugs, Julierose
    Sew on....;)))

  4. OMG! I love them of course.... You always pull it off. The tulips are my fave today!!

  5. I like the tulips too, great progress report!

  6. I'm loving Flower Power's additions of the strip sets and the dark border finishes it off perfectly. The strip sets especially compliment the tulips without overpowering them.

  7. Flower Power is luscious!! Perfect name for this top. The beautiful applique on Roman Stripe is definitely not over the top Audrey, it looks happily settled there! I'm happy to see that Love Apples is now being quilted.

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  9. You've had a lot of stitching going on. Those casual strips between the applique flowers let the flowers shine just like in the 60's.

  10. You have some very exciting projects happening. Love your tulips.

  11. Great border treatment on your tulips quilt.

  12. Those scrappy blue borders look great on that quilt. A perfect finish! All of your quilts are always so beautiful and so intriguing. I just love your style, and it is nice to know the history of how you acquired it.

  13. Red flowers are my favorites. Your lusciously, fat tulips make my heart sing. Clever idea to put the strips in the sashing and to pay attention to the overall value. Thanks for the reminder to soak my darks. I got into big trouble with some red recently and still shudder over it.

  14. Another wonderful "read" for me this morning Audrey. Beautiful quilting as always with your fabulous eye for fabric matching, etc. I also enjoyed reading about your journey and how you found your way to making blocks, etc. yours with your unique and beautiful touches.

  15. The love apple quilt looks gorgeous. And I like the tulips

  16. Oh my, Flower Power is speaking to me! Those are some of my favorite colors and I've loved that inspiration antique quilt for a long time. I learned to sew in 4-H and wish I had kept some of those projects just to look back on. My first quilt, a baby coverlet, was made in 1980. I still have it and have many questions about why I didn't use batting?!? I simply can't remember.

  17. Such a great post, Audrey. I am enjoying your answers to the quilting questions a lot. I also want to say that I love the way you describe making your colour choices and why you are trying to get from a particular group of fabrics. I find it consistently thought-provoking.


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