Thursday, September 8, 2022

A Whole Lotta Yellow

 It's been a struggle to make time for this post. The days have finally started getting cooler around here and it feels like I've just sorta collapsed into an end-of-summer fugue state. Don't wanna do much of anything!

Looking very cozy
We had dinner with some friends the other night and during conversation, I complimented Jessica on her beautiful, intensely detailed tapestry type print she had hanging on the wall. She is a wonderful, successful artist with many followers on social media. Super talented! Anyway, long story short, she said that the tapestry was one of her favorites, but she hadn't sold very many. Most people seemed to prefer another version in the series. Then the conversation riffed from there into how true it is that so many of the things that we personally make and LOVE end up not being someone else's favorites. How ironic in fact, that a lot of times the vast majority seem to prefer something we're not even feeling oodles of love for! I mean, we don't hate it. It's just not in our 'top 10' so to speak.

Love Apples is a true-blue completion!
We ended that conversation agreeing that it's a very good thing to mostly make for ourselves. That way we can continually shore up that feeling of satisfaction and personal validation at the close of a project. Be inspired enough to keep on making the good things that resonate with our inner spirit. Don't you just love conversations like that with people who get you? Who speak much the same language even though our formats might be different?
The Love Apple Blocks
And that's how I realized another thing besides summer fatigue was holding me back from writing this post. This latest quilt really isn't destined to be a favorite with very many people. It's sort of an odd color palette and the structure/layout is a little too formal for the quirky blocks. Maybe. I rather enjoy the sense of not knowing for sure! 

This one started on a whim, me hoping to use up some peachy pink border discards and wanting to dive into a long-marinating stack of fabric. It's also got a whole lotta yellow in it. Which might just turn certain people off. Technically, probably not more than the amount of pink or gray used in the quilt? It's just that yellow has a way of shining very bright and bold in whatever spot it's used in.

Loving this texture
Oh well! You know me. I've been bird dogging the color yellow ever since I ran out of interest in pursuing the oldie moldy greens {and after that, the color orange which somehow didn't inspire much of anything}. It's a surprisingly hard color to play with. So bright and sunny, you'd think it would be easy breezy, but it can quickly look fake or hard in quilts. I don't usually love combining it with black or gray. Hmmm... Still pondering. This is probably my best effort yet, though I do intend to keep working with the color from many as many different angles as I can imagine. 

In an interesting twist, the free-style Baptist fan stitching looks especially great here. Don't you agree that the yellow and white checks here just soak up the comfy vibe from the repeat stitched arcs?  Will have to remember this for future quilting endeavors. Don't bother getting too fussy with the stitching when it comes to yellow...

The free-hand Baptist fan look
So...., you're probably not surprised to hear that this stash tote has been extremely full for a long time now. I buy the fabric {or have it donated to me} and then only tend to use little bits and pieces. It's a wonderful, warm and cheery spark in quilts, but alas, a little bit usually goes a very long ways. 

The problem is, there's a lot and I'm tired of the lid not wanting to close properly. I've been seriously trying to work toward winnowing down the sheer amount without throwing anything away. Again and again, I make a quilt and then toss a thick stack of yellow fabric right back into the totes.*sigh  I've been putting it on the backs of quilts and that helps a bit. Truly. Must do something about this fabric that is starting to get so stale-dated that it's starting to get on my nerves!

The first go-round, before borders
I don't know if you can tell from the pictures, but the shades in this quilt top are more along the lines of 'cheddar'. Deeper, richer, orangish shades of yellow. Which I love! Might be my most favorite version of yellow, this cheddar thing. At this point {with the layout in above picture}, I could have probably said 'Ta-da! It's a finish' and gladly moved on. This quilt though.... it just kept nagging at me for a border. For more attention. Something simple, right? You're not really just gonna slap some blocks together and waltz away?

It's too big for a proper picture!
Right....  See how well I'll sleep after that happens! As most of you know, I have a penchant for half square triangles, especially in quilts. Or borders in quilts. Thinking along the lines of KISS, I cut up pretty much all that was left of the blue fabrics from the original stack, added a cut-up plaid shirt and rummaged around for complimentary yellows and just pretty much went with the flow. Some of these were cheddar shades and others, more of a yellow gold or gold brown. Whatever it takes as long as it blended well.

Had to change out the cornerstones in the center
Then, after I had the border idea starting to take shape, I remembered to double check my measurements. Yeah. About that. That's when I had to make a judgment call on whether or not to severely chop into the last hst unit on each vertical border? Or perhaps add another small strip of 'coping' border before sewing on the hst border.

Lillabelle is a completed quilt top!
I fell down on the side of adding a coping border, choosing a very late 90's strippy floral print. Easy enough to fussy cut it to meet the correct measurements and hopefully see it 'disappear' into the overall scheme of things. I should mention here that it was 'close' to correct measurements. Since I wasn't intending to trim down all those hst's, ha! I knew there could be a certain amount of 'fudging' that probably needed to happen anyway. Just didn't want to lose three-fourths of a  5 1/2" hst on this particular quilt! And don't ask me why it's okay on some quilts and not others 'cuz I really don't know....

With the coping borders added to top and bottom of the quilt, I went ahead and sewed on the hst borders to the vertical sides of the quilt too. Measurements for the top and bottom hst repeats looked good, so no additional coping borders needed. Woohoo! Moving on!

While I was auditioning the hst borders for the top and bottom {something I often do for the sake of good color transition from light blue hsts to darker hsts etc.}, I reluctantly decided that the cream cornerstone squares in the very center of the quilt needed to go. I'm not sure if it made a huge difference to the look of the quilt, but having those blue squares inserted instead of the cream just makes me much, much happier. It's the little things. Hey! It only took an hour or so to seamrip out and change over. 'Cuz of course I ended up sewing part of the quilt right into the new seams.*groan.... 

A small, almost hidden coping strip
Hst borders successfully figured out, I was left with one last question. Was it done now? Well no, the quilt wanted more yellow. Can you believe that? Personally, I thought we were parked a little too close to the corner of 'overdone' and 'tacky' and you know how that goes. Nobody will ever want the quilt except for grandma with the bad eyesight. 

That stash tote though!! Might as well take advantage of this opportunity. And so it happened. A scrappy pieced 3 1/2" addition of more yellow to the outside border of the quilt, making it 85 1/2" x 97 1/2". I do think that it served to emphasize the old fashioned vibe of the entire quilt somehow. Could it have actually toned things down? I know, I know. That doesn't even make sense. How could adding MORE of the overblown, in-your-face yellow simultaneously give off a softer, more delicate energy? Go figure. There are some things that I will never understand and that's perfectly okay. I'm still learning and that's the most fun of all!

Enjoying this look!
More questions for the quilt history:

6. When do you normally quilt? Time of day, year?
Such an interesting question. I am not a morning person on any day of the year, so the quilting process that takes place in the quilt room is more likely to be late afternoons {depending on my schedule}. Or, if that doesn't work out, my best, most efficient quilting time is immediately after dinner. Hand quilting takes place at about 9:00 - 11:30 pm while I'm curled up in the corner of the couch, winding down from the day. Perhaps, if I'm lucky, for several hours in late afternoon and evenings on most Sundays. I obviously quilt all year long, but like most quilters, more intensely during the fall and winter months. 

7. Do you belong to a quilters' guild or club? If so, for how long? What groups?
Nope, never belonged to a quilters' guild, for many, varied reasons. Either I was comfortable with the quilting group I had, or I intimidated by the {thought of a} guild, or it met during a bad time for our schedule, or they didn't have a style that I enjoyed, or whatever. I'm not actively opposed to the idea. The groups that I belonged to were always groups from our church--just us gals getting together with a shared interest during some of the winter months. I'm a bit of an introvert in my own way and this was probably more of a comfort thing than anything else.

Currently {and since prior to 2017}, I am part of an online group I love called AHIQ:Adhoc Improvisational Utility Quilting. It involves loosely structured, group challenge projects headed by Ann from Texas and California and Kaja from the United Kingdom. We've slowed down a lot since inception, but I still find it immensely valuable to my creativity as a whole.

8. Do you know others who quilt in your community or parish?
Years ago I would chat with a lady quilter or two in our community. Usually when we bumped into each other at a quilt show or at the fair. Most of the ones that I knew were about 20+ years older than me with a very different style. 

There has been several quilter friends in our church throughout the years, but the numbers have thinned considerably in the last decade or so. I have found myself seriously dialing down my outwardly expressed enthusiasm for the craft in an effort to not come off as strangely obsessed and/or fixated. Uggh. So exhausting talking about quilting with people who don't care the slightest about the creative journey of it all! {Which makes me sound very snotty.} I have had a  tiny bit of interest in doing the quilt meetings again this winter so that might happen again. Am trying to wrap my brain around a way to make it interesting for all involved, including me, as it does take quite a lot of my time!


  1. I quilt almost every evening between 8-10 PM it relaxes me and it is a good way to end the day - I get in machine work here and there throughout the day if I feel like it and hand piecing & EPP on the porch in the evening or while the news is on. I tried a group several times, one was a guild and the other a small group, I didn't feel like I belonged as I was the only one that did hand work - well occasionally someone else would try it but quickly change over to machine - they didn't get me and I didn't get them and I left both times. I still know a few from the groups but really have lost touch with them and barely ever run into any of them while shopping or whatever and none of them have ever given me a call - I must admit to being an introvert and I do not make friends easily so a lot of might be my fault - I'm ok by myself and it probably shows.
    Love the quilts - love the yellow!!

  2. I meant to say - EPP and hand piecing in the morning on the porch or while the news is on in the evening.

  3. I just love the Love Apples quilt. All those fabrics together feel so comfortable to me. I think when we create, we have to listen to that inner voice that tells us when we need to keep adding and when we are finished. Not all quilters are that way….and truly it’s not an easy way to be nor does it make for “quick” quilts. I yearn to whip up a quick baby quilt or two for friends’ new grandchildren, but I just haven’t been able to do it.

  4. I don’t know why I came through as “anonymous”…this is Sally Warren. (My blog is Pond Hollow Quilts)

  5. Another amazing quilt adventure! HSTs make great borders, I agree.
    And checking measurements is one of those things that's wonderful if you remember, if you forget it sneaks up and bites your backside.

  6. I love Love Apples! The yellow is perfect, it adds a touch of sunlight to the quilt. I used to belong to a guild but decided during covid to not attend anymore when it resumed. I had one member ask me if I knew everything there was to know about quilting? No, I don't but I so enjoyed staying home during isolating and doing my own thing that I want to keep on that way. Happy stitching!

  7. Both featured quilts are wonderful, IMHO! I happen to LOVE yellow and all it’s variations from gold to cheddar and I use it a lot in my quilts. It really gives them a warm, golden glow😊. The baptist fan quilting on the Love Apple quilt is just right. I enjoyed reading your process for the second quilt. I agree it needed a border and the blue HST’s are another “just right” choice!!

  8. Audrey Me encanta todo en tu colcha amor de manzanas, mi hora de costura es entre las 18 y las 22 horas siempre a mano, soy muy lenta, saludos

  9. What I wouldn't give to have your creativity, Audrey. I love reading your explanations of choices, etc. Always interesting to me. I like that you aren't matchy matchy and allow a little wonkiness to come into play with your quiltmaking. Of course your finishes look amazing!

  10. I think the blue cornerstones really perked up the quilt. I happen to love yellow but the quilt top was a touch anemic looking before you added the blue squares. Now it is joyful.
    I so get you about talking to people who don't understand what we do with our lives. I was dragged to outings with "social" wives that I had nothing in common with and began to think there was something wrong with me. I now embrace who I am and eliminate any gatherings that would be stressful. I'm definitely an introvert.

  11. First I must say that yellow/cheddar/gold is my favorite color family! So, I'm in love with your Lillabelle top! It has such a late summer/early fall glow, like the light we see just before sunset at this time of year. It's going to be one of my new favorites of your quilts for sure. Love apples is a beauty too, and the added yellows really do highlight everything good about this quilt.

  12. I'm pleased you added the blue HSTs into the border and the cornerstones, they make a huge difference and go beautifully with the cheddary yellow. I was with a group of six quilters for many, many years, nothing structured but just meeting each week on a Wednesday morning enjoying chatting, quilting and taking hoe made morning tea! We had wonderful times. Life changes things, house moves, losses due to deaths. I was also a member at one time of a major Guild with 500 members, not for me! I am very much an introvert, hate large groups but love meeting up with a friend or two who love fabric and quilting as much as I do.

  13. Both quilts are delightful Audrey! Lots of yummy texture on your 'love apples' quilt. I've always wanted to go OTT with yellow, as I do love that cheddar look in many vintage quilts. I've always got in the back of my mind though, a saying that someone said years ago.. "a little yellow goes a lon-o-og way!" And... I did join a local quilt guild years ago when I was younger, but it seemed very clicky and after a few times I didn't go back. These days, as my "style" has developed, I feel more confident & enjoy sharing and love all the inspiration that's out there, so it's more about blogging & IG for me. I did recently go to an all-day local workshop and was very {pleasantly} surprised that others there knew who I was! Oh, and those blue cornerstones on "Lillabelle" were an inspirational addition, you are an expert at creating harmony!

  14. IMHO, Love Apple is a gorgeous quilt. The fact that the blue from the "apple" is repeated in the quilt, same for the yellow and the pink, makes everything very cohesive. I'm a little bias on this as I love yellow but I don't thing there's too much of it. Paired with the white, the yellow is quite "calm" to me. I know, I know, when something isn't our favourite it tends to jump at us like a sore thumb. But not in this one, not to me. The yellow quilt is also fabulous. Changing the cornerstones to blue was quite a chore but so worth it. Again, it makes everything cohesive. Love it. Bravo on both of these quilts. ;^)

  15. Changing the cornerstones was a good call. It wasn't bad before but it really adds a lot.
    You said; " I have found myself seriously dialing down my outwardly expressed enthusiasm for the craft in an effort to not come off as strangely obsessed and/or fixated."
    I have found that so true lately. I try not to talk about quilting when my family gathers. If they ask me what I'm working on, I just casually say a few words when I would like to get out whatever it is and tell them every little detail. I'm also running out of people to make quilts for. That makes me sad. Yellow has become a favorite color to use in my quilts but a little goes a long way sometimes. Lovely lovely work.

  16. Audrey, I love it when you post about your thought processes, very inspiring! Love all the yellow! I really like yellow as a colour, but agree it is hard to find a place for it in my quilts. Maybe that will be my next self challenge. Xxx

  17. I think the blue cornerstones were exactly the right choice. I love the yellow in this quilt. I have a penchant for orange which will feature quite a lot in the quilt I am working on now.

  18. I liked the light center squares before you added the blue HSTs and then they really needed to be changed. Good call, Audrey. Yellow has never been my favorite color but I guess I'm becoming that grandma who loves it. Just don't have any in my stash... which means I get to do some shopping. Haven you noticed this quilt could fulfill the latest AHIQ prompt?

  19. Yellow is a wonderful color, but I do have a harder time working it into things. For me, cheddar is much easier to work with. Anyway, I hope your yellow tote is emptier. Both of your quilts are delightful, as usual. Your creativity shine in both.

  20. The love apple quilt looks beautiful and I like the quilt with all the yellow.

  21. You did a great job balancing the yellow in the quilt...well done! It is solving these design issues as you go that makes quilting so fun and perpetually engaging. Just as an aside, my fave quilt shop owner told me that yellows are the hardest colour to find in collections, so she buys ANY yellow she sees at the wholesale market. I was on the hunt for yellows and she had a really nice assortment. The second most rare colour in collections she finds is purple! Hmmmm...yellow and purple....


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