Wednesday, February 22, 2023

Diving Back into the Deep End

It felt like a slow start getting back into some sort of quilting groove. My brain was very foggy and I struggled to focus properly. Looking at my quilting list just caused instant blankness and a general apathy toward all current projects. It was really quite sad.  Finally, I had no choice but to start a brand new project.*wink

Herbs and Berries quilt project
Well, in all honesty, this was sorta, kinda started back in late fall. I've had the stack of fabric forever and even had things narrowed down to a basket quilt idea in terms of design. Sometime during the end of November, I remember cutting out the nine background pieces of fabric, roughing out a couple basket shapes on freezer paper and then putting it up to percolate for just a bit longer. The main thing holding me back was trying to decide which fabric color to use where. 

Anyway.... when I couldn't deal with any of the current projects here in the past couple weeks, I fell on that project like a drowning sailor. I mean, it was so obvious that the baskets needed to be cut out of the darker cranberry red fabrics! Right? And it was a very soothing project to hand stitch on overall. Very easy to pick up or set back down, nothing jarring or too demanding in wanting solutions for further design dilemmas. Perfect project and place to pick for a 'restart'.

Then, much to my surprise, the 'Revised' quilt started popping into my head once again. Hmm... what if I did this, or that? All those holes in the puzzle of how to fit the loud, obnoxious tulips together in a somewhat harmonious way began to slowly make sense. And I found myself getting the blocks finished up to a point where they could be laid out on the design wall floor for further design work. I played and contemplated and just generally enjoyed the feel of healthy creative flow. Ah! Where have you been my old friend? I've missed you so...

The brighter yellow fabric stack
While the sewing machine itself has barely been used of late, I have definitely been in and out of the quilt room. Mostly to pull out stacks of marinating fabric and take a good, long look. Refamiliarizing myself with old ideas and wisps of some sort of concept that may or may not end up being something wonderful. In all my overdue blog reading the past couple weeks, I stumbled upon this little snippet that greatly resonated, 'I have this constant tug, a yearning even, to just dive in and sew without a plan.  There are so many styles I want to explore, so many fabrics I’d like to combine.  I feel a pent up energy trying to break free.' Isn't that just the way it is for so many of us? That was from Hopeful Homemaker, a quilt blogger who I've followed for a couple years now, enjoying her unique outlook about quilting, creativity and life in general.

The mellow yellow fabric stack
As most of you know, for several years now, I've been slowly addressing overflowing stash totes in various colors. Yellow has been the latest and greatest to gain the spotlight. In July of last year, the Adhoc Improv. blog that I follow along even had a timely challenge concerning my over abundant color. But did that help? Nooooo. It simply paralyzed my thinking completely. Because now I was thinking 'improv.' and super creative and interesting etc. etc. I kept trying and trying to get a good group of yellows together, but every time I thought 'this is it!' then, basically nothing would happen with any of the fabrics or ideas or glimmers of greatness. 

Okay, long story made a lot shorter. After being sick for so long and then coming back into the quilting room looking around at everything like a newly hatched bird? I have come to the conclusion that I need to make a very basic, mellow looking yellow and cream quilt. Old fashioned looking and sweet as can be. Ditch the brighter yellows for now and then sort of work up to something that includes a more creative and interesting thought process. This feels like a breakthrough, a keeper of a plan and I'm actually sort of excited about it! And, wouldn't you know it, as soon as I decided on the plan {with the more mellow yellow fabrics that I'm currently crushing on}, and then tucked the brighter fabrics away? I stumbled upon the perfect idea for the improv. challenge. Or at lest the beginnings of the challenge! All you can do is laugh at that point. It's just too funny. 

But I'm still committed to the idea of making the more traditional, older looking quilt first and then diving into the improv. one next. A sequence or series? I really, really like this. Better get crackin-alackin' on getting those blocks cut out though before I lose the spark for the rest!

#AHIQStringTulip quilt in the hoop
I also managed to get enough hand quilting done {on the current quilt in the hoop} to finally reach the outside border. Whew! I was starting to think my get-up-and-go might be gone for good. As you can see, I'm stitching a wide echo stitch over the top of the basket handles. It gave me a bit of anxiety about overall look and vibe, but now that I'm on to the second border, it's looking pretty good to me. Am crossing my fingers that this quilt will be totally hand quilted by the end of February. Just feels so, so crazy that my first finished quilt of the year will probably be accomplished in March. I don't even know how many years it's been since that has happened around here!


  1. Welcome back to quilty blogging! Those tulips, love, love, love! Yellow is one of my favorite colors, so definitely will be interested in what you end up doing with your yellow fabric pulls.

  2. wow I think you were so sick it just really zapped your energy and affected you in that you were just dragging to much from no energy. Glad to see you are getting back into the groove - it sure is no fun being sick and the after effects.

  3. I really love your posts not just for the interesting way you put colours and shapes together, but for your reflections on your process. So glad you are back in the saddle so to speak!

    Looking at your set of bright yellows, I had a momentary flash of mixing them in with a rich purple and some darker acid/olive greens. And circles, lots of circles. Not sure why those colours are calling to me, I might need to go play...

  4. Sorry forgot to include my name above: robina(dot)sanderson(at)gmail(dot)com

  5. Tulips are looking good, and interesting story behind the process.
    The Hopeful Homemaker blog quote is right on, thanks for sharing.
    And great hand quilting progress!

  6. Glad to hear you’re finally feeling better and are, once again, feeling inspired! Yellow is one of my favorite colors - warm and cheery; I look forward to seeing where you go with it. As always, love hearing your thoughts on the process.

  7. So wonderful to have you back Audrey! Your posts are always a delight! X

  8. Loud Obnoxious Tulips, say WHAT??? I just LOVE that quilt, the tulips are just right. I really like how you have made them, some have the bulls eye around the top and others have the 2 different petals on top of the flower, and some are plain, I love them all. My favorite blocks are big, you get a large bed size quilt faster. I love all your work, and seeing the marinating piles. :) Kara

  9. So glad you're back in the sewing room digging through your totes. That's a good sign that your creative juices are flowing again. I like the new Herb and Berry baskets and, if course, those tulips would brighten anyone's garden. Yellow is a lovely color, but I seem to find it hard to work with. Can't wait to see your plan.

  10. Audrey me alegra ver que ya estas recuperando tu salud, ya tienes ganas de costura eso suena muy bueno, preciosos tulipanes , divinas cestas, Cuidate

  11. Very happy tulips! Glad you are getting back into the 'groove' of quilting again... starting a new project is always a great creativity boost! I just love reading about your progress and processes.

  12. Funny how sometimes a project just calls out from a distance and can't be ignored. The baskets look great. Glad you're feeling better and were able to make some progress on the tulip quilt.

  13. Welcome back to your flow - I bet it feels so good to you! Love the idea of " a very basic, mellow looking yellow and cream quilt. Old fashioned looking and sweet as can be" -- looking forward to it! Quiltdivajulie

  14. I'm glad you are feeling better - you aren't hanging about now that you're sewing again,that's for certain. I can't tell you how happy those loud tulips make me and I love the notion of a series of yellow quilts.

  15. What a delightful post. love your little baskets and I'm literrally in love with your tulip quilt!


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