Friday, September 23, 2022

Another Good Finish, Much Better Than It Set Out To Be

 I've been buried in the back office lately, working on the paperwork for my husbands business. I'm always determined to better keep up on it. And then I don't. He's not a paperwork guy whatsoever, which makes my job harder. Whenever I try to get everything in order and wrangled onto the computer or into reports etc., it's a frustrating time for both of us. Sometimes I think we'd both be better off if he could just pay someone else to deal with it, but I know we really can't afford it, especially now with the 2022 economy.

A little whacky, but so much fun!
Ughh. Anyone go to buy groceries lately? It's totally freaking me out, how high the prices are these days! Anyway, it feels like there hasn't been quite as much time for quilting lately. I did manage to get the binding sewn onto Chrysalis--all in scrappy reds. I'm always surprised when I use red for binding, but I do adore the look. It totally fits with the vibe of this particular quilt!

Loving all these colors together
This 2nd Roman Stripe quilt went together better than the first one. Of course I'm partial to the applique on it, and I did go ahead and do just a wee, bit more hand quilting on this one too. It really does make a difference!

Turned out very happy looking!
It's a super simple pattern and goes together very quickly. Would be great for a baby quilt I'm sure, will have to keep that in mind. It looks very soft and cozy now that it's washed and properly crumpled, like a good quilt should be! I'm actually very relieved to see this one rise above it's rather blah beginnings.*sigh  Some quilts are just more demanding about making extra time for.
Looks like a good one!
For now it's rolled up and languishing in a little basket in the corner of the living room. Weird I know, but I have a feeling this one is going to be used a lot in our living room!

Ignore the dust behind the basket, it's that time of year!
Speaking of which.... I went a little crazy this past week and sorted through all the plaid flannels that I tend to live in during the late fall and winter months. There was a whole stack of shirts in good condition that felt a little too snug, too short or even in the case of a couple of them, way too wide and boxy. Those extra wide ones were the Walmart ones I think. Just never felt like an attractive or comfortable fit at all. Shouldn't have even bought them, but I fell in love with the colors! And I don't know if anyone else has noticed this issue, but the nice Eddie Bauer button-down shirts that I've bought {for years and years and years} tend to shrink badly anymore. I'm getting very tired of it. I've gained a little weight since 2020, but the shirt shrinkage is very real. For the moment, I'm on a shirt buying hiatus from Eddie Bauer and searching out other brands, mostly second hand. 

De-constructing/ Re-constructing flannel shirts
I sewed up almost 2 inches at the sides of the largest, boxiest shirts and now they feel and look much better. You'll probably think this odd, but I took one nicely-made flannel shirt {rarely worn because the buttons looked like eyeballs} and replaced those buttons with other, plainer looking buttons. Rescued from previous upcycled shirts I'm pretty sure. Amazing how much better I like the shirt already! 

I took one of the 'too-small' shirts and cut some of the bottom half off in order to make a contrasting ruffle to one of 'too-short; flannels {one of my comfy faves}. The 'too-small' one was tailored very well with great, double stitched seams throughout. I thought these details would help to make the ruffle length look better than it might have otherwise. After that was done, it looked like it needed a contrasting pocket too. That was sewn on with the fabric edges exposed so that they will fray and look pretty shabby eventually {just like I want them to}. Overall, I was super happy with the look, though my daughter kind of smirked at my enthusiasm for the 'boho boutique' look. Probably won't do any more like that, but it was kind of fun to try my hand at something new!

Both the red and the green flannel shirts {in the above picture} have had extra flannel sewn into the sides of the shirt--under the arms--kind of a gusset I suppose. One of the flannels used for the addition was another 'too small' cut-up shirt, and the other, just some fabric that rescued from the flannel stash tote. There are at least 4-5 other shirts that I can play with still, but that has definitely took a chunk of my time these past several days. Great for distraction from the bookwork! My sewing is not the absolute best, but it's getting the job done. 

There's something incredibly annoying about wearing too snug-under-the-arms shirts around the house. Just can't handle it! I seem to have lots of hot flashes off and on these days and the unfortunate thing I've noticed is, wearing tops that won't swing and move easily with my everyday motions tend to set me off extremely easily. I have went and changed clothes after wearing them for less than half an hour before! One of my sisters has teased me quite a bit about wearing oversize tops, but what to do?  This was an easy fix, playing with these shirts, and hopefully it will get me through another winter without having to buy much else.
Hand quilting on the border
Still getting a bit of hand quilting in during the late evenings. Went ahead and marked out a rough crosshatch grid on the border of the tulip quilt after all. Just didn't have the inspiration for anything else so why not?

Gonna answer a couple quick questions for the 'Reasons for Quitlmaking' and then close up for the day! 

4. How do your family, friends, and community feel about your quiltmaking and your quilts?

I think my immediate family and probably even my siblings and parents are proud of my quiltmaking efforts. The broader family gets that my quilts are not just cookie cutter replicas of mass marketed patterns, but don't really understand all the reasons why that might be. Which is totally fine. We all have our fascinations! Overall they just seem to enjoy getting to be the recipient of any of my random quilt gifting. They often have a joke at my expense, something to do with 'watch out for your shirts' kind of thing and laughing at my constant prodding to my husband about leaving time in the schedule for quilt store stop offs! Which he does not do very often these days. Somehow we're always leaving too early or too late on the longer trips. Wonder why that is? lol

My daughters and husband have heard me babble on about the creative process {and all of my various challenges} more than they have wanted to through the years. That being said, they are probably the most invested in making sure that I don't ever give away quilts unnecessarily or to anywhere they might possibly be 'under appreciated'! Kind of frustrates me on occasion but it is super sweet of them to feel so possessive. I argue with them on occasion that I am not some exceptional quilter in the whole world-wide scheme of things--they are just looking at me through a very narrow lens! It's wonderful to have carved out a good spot in the cozy, come cuddle-up-with-me quilting niche though. Once in awhile I'll share a sweet blog comment with them and they always seem to appreciate the love and support.

 As to the community? Some people know that I quilt of course, especially after they saw the Fire quilt. It's just not that big a deal around here. The artsy people live up the valley and actually make money off of their interests! Which, to be fair, years ago I was offered a chance to sell quilts in a shop up the valley. Just don't think that's something I'm interested in doing at this time of my life.

5. What are your feelings about quiltmaking compared with other household activities?

Ha! I think we all know the answer to this one. Quiltmaking is vastly more entertaining and interesting than almost anything else around here! I have to work hard not to get frustrated and upset when life throws a curveball at my quilting 'schedule'. Unless the grandkids are visiting. That's a whole 'nother ballgame!

**On a different note. I have gotten a few requests again for making a hand quilting with perle cotton tutorial. At first I just thought 'No! Don't have time for this!' But then, I reluctantly reconsidered. It's something that I have probably gotten more requests for than anything else. Have been writing down some notes and thinking it through. Will make up my mind here in the next couple weeks about whether or not it's something I feel that can be properly or adequately done. Have always hesitated and decided against because I didn't feel like I was the right person to address this subject. Lots of little quirks, just doing it because I love the look and the process. Not the expert!!


  1. Love your Boho shirt idea--I have one like that and it is really comfy to wear...I love your border grid on the tulip quilt--your applique is so lovely...hugs for a good weekend...Julierose

  2. great post...yes a trip to the grocery is the big shop of horrors....i grew up with people who lived thru the depression and they did lots of clothing fixes and makeovers to lengthen the life of items...i myself am a serial mender...i have lots of tshirts that are now way too big for me so i am bit by bit taking them in, shortening etc. they are perfectly good and can't really afford to replace them and really shouldn't...

  3. I LOVE your creativity! Practically everyone can follow a pattern and use someone else's color choices. You have a special talent and you should be proud of using it. Keep up the good work and give your pieces away if it pleases you. Do your daughters want all of them in their spaces? If not then give them away to someone who will appreciate them. I do agree with the girls that they should not go to someone who loves them. Your work is too special to waste them on someone who doesn't.

  4. I live in plaid flannels all fall and winter too. The designers/manufacturers seem to think we all have skinny little arms and don't provide enough diameter of the sleeve opening. I have thought about adding a gusset 4" into the sleeve going down to 6" in the side seam. Also Kohl's shirts/blouses have changed from bust darts to no darts which really affects how the shirts hang.
    I went back to read about your fire quilt, what a masterpiece! I'm glad the one member of the guild was brave and thoughtful enough to tell you about the lady from the other show that would love to display it.

  5. Your Roman stripe quilt #2 is a very happy and cuddly looking quilt. I want to encourage you to do the handquilting with perle cotton tutorial. You quilt with it so beautifully and it adds so much to your unique and wonderful quilts. I would like to give it a try - I'm not sure what is holding me back.

  6. Congratulations on the Roman Stripes finish. Such lovely fabrics. It will make a wonderful cuddle quilt for the family room, especially with some of your signature appliqué on it.
    I’m envious of your plaid shirts. It’s so hot in Houston most of the year that we hardly wear more than a t-shirt. But I certainly know about changing clothes several times through the day. Not sure if it’s menopause or climate change.

    1. Sorry. The comment came as anonymous but it’s Ann at FretNotYourself.

  7. Chrysalis is looking very happy and pleased with herself now she's all finished and washed!! I love your plaid shirts, I was hunting some of these out here in New Zealand during Winter but couldn't find any, perhaps next year, they look extremely comfortable but looks can be deceiving after reading your thoughts about the alterations.

  8. Another great finish Audrey. I feel a "simple" quilt really shows off all the prints and colours so well.

  9. A sweet comfy finish, expecting it will be a family favorite. An off the subject question: what brand is that treadle sewing machine behind the basket of quilts? I don't recall ever seeing one with the cabinet handles in a vertical position. Inquiring minds and all that ...

  10. I’m so glad that you are considering a hand quilting tutorial showing your techniques. I have watched other tutorials. They all use a hoop rather than your square frame. I notice that others that read your blog also use the square frame so I’m interested in finding out if it’s just personal preference or some other reason. I bought a hoop after watching two tutorials on big stitch quilting with Perle cotton. And I’m finding it very difficult to grapple with. I know that it will get better with practice. The quilters who do use the hoop have really beautiful work … it looks completely different to your work. Flatter, neater and less organic if I can put it that way. Both styles are beautiful work that I envy. So I need to try it with a square frame. Not seeing how this works in practice is an obstacle for me. In any event, your work like all other hand quilting work, is unique and it would be wonderful if you felt that you could share it with the plodding, ham-fisted like me! Speaking of ham-fisted - I also find the hoop very unwieldy. I can’t possibly use it on my lap and would have to sit up at a table to do it. Not terribly inclusive with anyone else in the household!

  11. the family all love the quilts but do not understand the long process to make one. When I announced earlier this year that each brother and sister would be getting a quilt over the next several years one brother immediately said he would like a king size - I wasn't taking orders! I was saying each would get one - I will be picking out quilts sharing a few photos to one sibling at a time and they can pick which one they like. I am not doing made to order LOL

  12. These days it's all about comfort. Redoing a bit here and a bit there have brought new life to your flannel shirts. What did you have to loose? Your newest finish does look cozy for snuggling. See who grabs it first.

  13. "I am not some exceptional quilter in the whole world-wide scheme of things"
    Nope. Wrong. I have to disagree. You've learned to listen to your quilts, even if they lead you where you hadn't intended to go. I suspect far too many of us have had "rules" ground into us (grass must be green, sky blue, don't go outside the lines) for years, if not decades. We've forgotten to listen to our inner child that can hear what things say to us. Just as our childhood teddy bears talked to us, your quilts talk to you. I'm very glad you listen to them.

    Nice work on the shirts. I used to live in flannel shirts at home in the colder months, then moved to sweatshirts for some reason.

  14. I love what you've done with your flannel shirts! Oversize flannel shirts are my favorites to wear!!!! Congratulations on your finish too.

    1. From Janie @


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