Friday, September 16, 2022

Finished Quilt Tops Always Feel Good

It's been a good week. I wrapped up two more quilt tops and dropped the number of open-ended projects down to three! Yessss.... That means I can start some new ones now without any guilt whatsoever!

A little bit moody with the gray-text backgrounds
This quilt top was started in the 2021-22 winter. I got motivated to trace the wedge segments and then they just sat for a very long time. Finally in July, the sewing started happening. Some quilt projects progress very slowly, sit for awhile, progress slowly and then seem to come together all in a rush. This is one of those kinds, but it always surprises me when the end comes together so quickly!

Not the strictly traditional layout
Last Saturday found me doing the auditioning for layout and let me tell you, it took hours. I couldn't believe how unsatisfied I was with the overall look to this quilt! Though I adore almost every Grandma's Fan quilt that I've ever seen, for some reason this was the actual impetuous for starting on my own. I know, I know. So modern looking with all the white backgrounds! 
Too much?
It seemed like a great use for my text print fabrics, and also some of those brighter fabrics that I often find so hard to use. Altogether these particular blocks just hit me as very 'bland' and fairly underwhelming though. Cue the disappointment. I kept leaving the room and coming back to fiddle with blocks until something made me decide to turn a couple of the blocks into partial or even full circles. Hmm... Now we're talking!
Looking across
Not at all what I was hoping for initially, but definitely much more interesting than anything I'd seen before while attempting this layout. I like the whimsy of only having some of the blocks joined into circles so then of course that took awhile longer to figure all the details out. Where in the quilt? Which colors? Bold impact? Or a softer, fade-away look, where, if you didn't look closely, you might miss the fact that something else was happening in the quilt? So many questions!

A partial circle on the side of the quilt
Eventually I sorted it all out and then it was only a matter of getting the rows sewn together and finally, the quilt top as a whole. It's a super sweet looking quilt and right now, I'm leaning hard toward no borders ever. Or applique. We'll see. I'm not very good about sticking to those sorts of decisions! It was hard to sew the last bits of the quilt together because I was enjoying seeing it draped over the totes as I walked into the quilt room. Every quilt room should have something special to draw you inward, right?

Welcome home, it says!
Next up in the quilt hoop is the 4-Block Tulip Medallion, a finished quilt top since April of last year. Clearly, I'm in a yellow state of mind right now, so don't mind me while I positively wallow in it.

Next up in the hoop!
This is already a wonderful quilt to have in my lap in the evenings. So soft and warm with lots of good cuddle vibes. Why is it then, that I'm already trying to figure out who this quilt is destined to go to? Ha! Sometimes it feels like I have to justify all the reasons why a quilt might end up being mine, all mine....

A sweet, simple feel to this one
After lots of pondering, I'm probably going to mark some sort of cross-hatch for the outside border stitching. Just don't think I want to echo stitch on top of all the flowers {or just outside of them} and then have all that empty space left to fill up. Still thinking and thinking. Definitely don't want to do anything very fussy.

Stitching in the hoop

The other completed quilt top is one that I thought for sure was totally done back in May of 2021. So hard to believe that it's been hanging around for that long! It was an AHIQ Challenge that almost threw me. I'm still convinced that the color palette itself has been behind every difficult decision in the entire quilt!
Ooh, loving that darker blue border finish!
Needless to say, at some point this year, I determined that this finished quilt top was actually NOT finished at all, and instead, was stomping its petulant little feet wanting a border. Anyone following me for any length of time knows this is not the first time this has happened, nor will it probably be the last.

So much better now!
And now that the little basket handle appliqued border has been stitched down and added to the rest of the quilt? It's perfectly obvious something was lacking before. I mean, can you believe the difference in overall look and vibe to this thing? So much more rich and cozy looking now! Something interesting to think about--it took approximately two hours to hand stitch down each border, and then of course, it all needed sewn on by machine when attaching to the center part of the quilt. Would that have been worthwhile to you? And that's not even counting the applique prep time. Am I crazy or smart?*wink

Kind of a lacy-look border!
So next up for the ongoing quilt questions is a set of questions pertaining to 'Reasons for Quiltmaking'. The first three have a lot of the same answers, so I'm going to answer them all in a jumble.

1. Why do you quilt? What does quilting give you?
2. Why do you spend so much time on such a craft?
3. Why do you enjoy quilting? What do you like most about it?

I quilt because I adore the look and feel of quilts and I love the process. Might even be obsessed with the process in fact! There's just something so good and heartwarming about using our minds and our hands to think about and/or work with color and textiles. It's simultaneously relaxing, therapeutic, stimulating and comforting all at the same time. 

There's a puzzle to be figured out. The time and effort it takes our minds to work this out, can shut out all but the worst of the world has to offer. So that's a relief and balm to the soul. When our minds get finished sorting out the various and assorted details involved in making a set look or design, then there's a rush of satisfaction and all those happy endorphins to thoroughly enjoy.

People say that it takes on average, 10,000 hours of experience to master a skill. Whether that's true or not, there's nothing to take lightly about the journey of getting to a stage of proficiency in our chosen craft. Within those hours is a roller coaster of highs and lows--learning to trust in the core of ourselves and have a confidence in the things that we want to express through the makings of our hands. There's a great pride in being able to finally produce an outcome that resonates to the very depths of our being. When I randomly stumble upon one of my more favorite quilts {that I've personally made}, there's this leap to my heart. 'Is that one of mine? Oh, I know that quilt!' And of course I'm already smiling before the recognition even truly hits!

The journey {and joy} of creativity keeps me going, day after day and year after year. I can't wait to find out what happens next! In all the years that I've spent quilting, I would have never dreamed that I could make the kinds of quilts that I do now. Mostly because I couldn't envision where the passion would take me. It boggles my mind that my voice could so clearly be reflected back in so many of the quilts that I've made. How wonderfully real and warm and cozy that voice would be. It makes me want to cry because I'm such a reserved person. How is it that my quilts are not?

When I hand quilt, it quiets my mind and soothes my being. It sorts out the tangled mess in my brain. I've said it before so many times, but it's still true. Quilting makes me a better person. When I give a quilt away, it feels like I'm offering comfort, a hug, or perhaps a little ray of sunshine. And yes, we can buy or give other things to people to help them in their time of need. A quilt just feels extra special. Especially if it's made with heart and soul and not just out of feelings of expectation.

So that's why I quilt. Because I can and also, because I can't not make quilts. 


  1. Yay on that fan quilt top! I absolutely love the full fans! Really adds pizzazz!
    The handle border is really terrific- takes it up a notch.

  2. I love the lay out for the fan quilt

  3. Totally LOVE the layout of your Grandma's Fan quilt. Genius. It looks so modern. Congrats on completing your two quilt tops! ~~Kathy S.

  4. Looking so good! I have to tell you that your blog is the only thing keeping me from dumping bloglovin. I enjoy seeing your makes!!

  5. oh yes!!! that border is totally awesome and perfect! very very nice

  6. I love how you have some complete circles in the quilt, some half and 3/4's it really adds charm and I have found I like using newsprint or tiny print fabric so much now for my backgrounds that I rarely use a solid anymore.
    I find that I am just plain a happier person if I am quilting and creating - when I go on vacation the main thing I miss is whatever projects that I had to leave at home and always take a travel bag with me to work on at least a little bit. It is like I am happiest if I am creating - when visiting my sister and brother later this month will have a week total visiting them at their homes and know I will barely be able to work on anything as none of them are "artists" and do not understand the need for a proper side table and light!! But then we will be busy most of the time sightseeing and talking so maybe I won't miss it and will have that time to create while we are traveling

  7. Bravo on GRandma's Fan quilt. You have definitively made your mark on this one. So different than any other I've seen and I love it! Kudos on being true to who you are. ;^)

  8. Fans, tulips and little basket handle border, all so lovely!! Congratulations on finishing..for me the most difficult part is deciding on the binding and then actually getting it D O N E !!;000
    hugs, Julierose

  9. Congratulations on your finishes! I especially like the blue string tulip top.
    Blues are beautiful!

  10. Love seeing that beautiful tulip medallion again! I totally agree with and share all your answers to those questions. Quilt making is a challenge, a balm, and a joy!

  11. I love all of your quilts. I’m struggling with hand quilting. I wonder if you would consider doing a vid of your process? The ones that you made for the strip improv were great! For example, why do you use a square frame instead of a round hoop? Also, do you quilt using only 3 sides of it rather than all four sides? How do you move from one spot to another? And do you load up several needles with thread moving from one spot to another? I’m finding it easier with practice on not using a hoop at all but I don’t think I could cope with holding all that fabrics on a large quilt. I’d like to hand quilt my latest top as it is so geometric, not your style at all, and I think it would break it up if you see what I mean. Just afraid to make a start!

  12. I love how you have played with the fan/wedge shapes, it adds a "modern" element, and keep things interacting and flowing all over the quilt. And I'm enjoying reading your thoughts about quilting, thanks for sharing. I must add, the "who is going to recieve this quilt?" has been playing on my mind for a while now...I often start something with no other reason than just to faff about with colour or try out a new-to-me design.

  13. What I love most about the grandmother's fan top is its ability to draw your eyes in, first the complete circle near the center bottom invites you to explore further, then the second circle, then the eye begins to hunt for more subtleties. A winner, as is the 4 block tulip quilt that you should definitely keep for yourself!

  14. Oh, three gorgeous and oh so different quilt tops! I would not have picked out that Fan as one of yours! No need to justify keeping a quilt as your own! Four block tulip (I thought Carolina Lily at first glance) is part of your tulip series of quilts so definitely a keeper! And the basket handle border definitely says "you" but I thought it looked rich and cozy before that border (you know I rarely add borders). Keep on making!

  15. When I look at the second two quilts I'm pretty sure the Fan will end up with borders. Just sayin'. They are all lovely. I especially like the Medallion because I love four-block quilts and I made a similar sashing years ago (still in the UFO bin) and I'm a sucker for tulips and baskets. Just so you know who to call if you get tired of it. Definitely a keeper! Congratulations, Audrey.

  16. Every time I say I like this quilt the "Best" you pull out another one and prove me wrong because it now becomes my favorite. . . I LOVE the transformation of the string tulip top. LOVE LOVE LOVE. Your posts are always delightful (and thought provoking) - thanks for sharing yourself and your quilts with all of us!! (Quiltdivajulie)

  17. The grandma fan quilt looks gorgeous, it is so fresh and bright, I love it.


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