Saturday, April 8, 2023

Is this Not the Best Quilt?

Well, I'm definitely going to blow up this post with waaay too many pictures of Ormes Inspired! It's totally finished now, a true blue finish. And wowsers, it looks so much better with the hand quilting! Why does it always, always surprise me to see the difference between a flat looking quilt top and one with yummy texture from stitching? You'd think I'd learn by now.

Ormes Inspired is done!
But you know me, always a roller coaster of emotions from the start of making these beauties, clear up till the final showing! Once again, I want to thank Jane Ormes {a wonderfully talented artist in the UK} for her generosity in agreeing to let me sew up an interpretation of one of her prints, titled 'Welcome to my jungle'. {She certainly took a tremendous risk not knowing me in the slightest!} This was started in 2019 and took approximately a year to bring to quilt top stage. Probably wouldn't have come together even that quickly if not for the pandemic lock downs and all the time in the world for hand applique. Ughh, don't remind me.

Seriously wishing I had some quilt holder-uppers today
While I considered the quilt top finished, my mind just wouldn't leave it completely alone. Nag, nag, nag. Months later, in January of 2021, the missing piece occurred to me out of the blue. I mean, it was SO obvious! Everything sort of clicked into place and finally, finally, the design problem from the addition of a border treatment got to be resolved in a satisfactory manner.*Whew!

Loving the look of the stitching
Why are some quilts so tricky? But you know, it was totally of my own making, all the hullabaloo with the border. I was the one who took a perfectly good design and decided it wasn't quite right for a bed quilt 'as is'. Oh yes, got a lot of feedback about that, which was super interesting when points resonated and also difficult when they didn't at all. And maybe, subconsciously, it was all about attempting to make the quilt a little more mine. Because I've NEVER done that before! hehe  Whatever. It somehow ended up being one of the coolest quilts that I have ever put together! 

So much fun in the details!
I will confess to having a bout or two of insomnia over how in the world to do the hand quilting. Part of me very badly wanted to echo stitch inside everyone of the applique motifs and then perhaps do a subtle cross-hatch etc. stitching across the entire background. Possibly little bit of the antique vibe? The quilt mostly laughed and jeered at that idea and told me it felt massively underwhelmed by that particular idea. Well. If you have to be that way!

Inspiration is always a blessing
It wasn't until the top was sandwiched and pinned that I reluctantly decided on an overall stitching effort, the 'hills & valleys' one in particular. {Baptist fans just seemed a little bit too formal, even done in the freehand method.} Then I got sidetracked by being sick for a couple months, which oddly enough gave me just enough time to properly cement the idea in my mind. Soooo, here it is. Subtle, but seemingly funky and a little bit modern and whimsical too? Definitely nothing to distract in any way from the fabulous design, which was always going to be a concern. Better to push it to shine!
Don't ever be afraid to add the elephant
I want to say that I have had the most fun making this quilt! I'm laughing while I say this, but believe me. All the hair pulling aside, this has been an exhilarating quest, up to and including the last bit of stitching. It challenged me in so many ways that have positively influenced the confidence that I have in attempting whole quilt applique efforts. I'm a better quilter today for puzzlements just like this one

You can take a look at the original print here and compare and contrast the very small changes I may have made here or there. One of the most valuable things I have learned about attempting an interpretation is that the final result will NEVER be exact. And really, why would you want it to be?

The awkward flowers are sooo sweet
The goal {generally} is to take a look at the final interpretation quilt and instantly be able to recognize the original inspiration. But.... not get too caught up in agonizing over where the math may or may not work out or how your color choices perhaps changed things to slant in a 'you' vibe. I'm not saying the original design ever needs improved upon. Not at all! We were impressed and amazed enough to feel compelled to do something with that starting point. It's just that we're all human and inevitably something is going to be different, because for one, our eyes see color differently. Our perception of what is pleasing is tuned individually. Our hands create in distinctively unique ways. It's perfectly okay and it's a beautiful thing.

This quilt ended up being made up in these precise proportions mostly because I ran out of background fabric after making a serious math error. Then I had to pick apart fabric and basically start over. Wasn't going to ditch the starting Matisse looking leaves and well, why not wing it? Make-do with what I had available using the original as the framework and not the absolute. I've always been a little shocked at how closely the quilt did in fact replicate the print! Still shaking my head in disbelief... These are life long lessons that I've already put into good use since the finishing up of this quilt top in 2020. Start out as you map out, then be very willing to adapt, adapt, adapt.

Crumples up nice and cozy looking
I get so weary with quilters who fret and stress about how the original pattern maker will feel if they change up colors or an element here or there. If they will 'like it'. For goodness sakes, just do it!! That's what quilting is all about. Taking timeless quilting motifs, patterns and elements and doing our thing, making it our own. Putting our personal little stamp on it. {In this case, it's an artists' rendering and I tried to give Jane fair warning that the outcome would likely not be identical.} Do we need to give respect and honor to the original inspiration? Absolutely! 100%. Then it goes out into the world and morphs again 1000 more times, and where are you in this equation? Probably being a tiny, little spark to a couple of people you'll never even have occasion to meet! Isn't it wonderful?

The hot pink binding ended up working out perfectly!
Okay, enough about that. At this point, I don't know how I will be able to let anyone ever use this quilt, at least until the shiny wears off. It feels a little too precious and special. I had been thinking about gifting it to a granddaughter, but yeah. It's a lot of quilt and they're pretty little yet! We'll see. I might think about putting it into a quilt show some day. Just not sure about mailing off my quilts these days.
Making a statement in the guest room
In other news, I am still pushing forward on the Improv. Hourglass Abstract quilt. The open floor is only mine for a couple more days so really, I need to get off the computer and go quilt! All the hourglass units are where they will probably remain and now I am working on sewing improv. string units to fill up all the empty space. Right now they are just loosely plopped down into the pertinent space until I can determine how many still left to cut out and sew.

Trying to piece together a background 
There should have been plenty of them, but quickly realized that I needed a whole lot more. So bad at the guestimating! Back to the stash totes to dig for more fabric, grumble, grumble... Improv. strippy piecing takes much more fabric than single pieces of fabric, but if you want that background texture? Gotta do it! Basically, I need the empty areas to be lower volume fabrics because it will provide a nice background for the large scale applique vine I'm wanting needing to do. Uh huh. It's all starting to make sense now. 

And you may or may not know this, but I have a terrible time letting go of pretty pieces of creamy white background fabrics. Yep. I'm usually quite positive there is another much more worthy quilt waiting in the wings and of course it will desperately need this or that specific fabric....

Lots of lighter areas for better flow in the quilt
In case you're interested, here's a picture of what I see when I'm rounding the corner from the quilting 'room' back into the open floor plan upstairs. Back to my design floor. Wish I had a design wall as big as the floor area, but hey! We all do what we have to do to survive. To the right is the back of my husbands desk, which is always interesting when he's working upstairs and I'm just over the partial wall, merrily quilting on the other side. Good thing we like each other, though his music now, that's not always as palatable....

Having fun stitching the details
And here's a picture of the current quilt in the hoop. Making good progress with this one, though the individual hoops are taking much longer than expected to stitch. Somehow I always think that I can breeze through the hand quilting and get a hoop done in an hour or so. Uh huh. Right.... Hoping you all have a great Easter weekend! 


  1. A lovely quilt, and enjoyable to watch it coming together and now beautifully quilted and bound. Thank you for sharing it.

  2. is the quilt double bed size or queen in your guest room - it fits the bed so well - I didn't see the size as large as it is when it was on the floor. It looks so good. I hadn't realize you had gotten the idea from print - inspired is right - you see something and want to make something like it but you know it won't be a perfect replica but you know some one might recognize it from what you started with. It turned out great!

  3. Fabulous - I thought at first it was a mini, but seeing it on the bed is an experience all its own! Congratulations!


  4. Awesome quilt! And your enthusiasm is delightful and inspiring!!

  5. A fantastic quilt for sure. Starting with an inspiration and then doing your own thing is the right way to go. Exact reproductions would feel stifling. Your quilt is so precious as you say like most just finished quilts are to me, can't let go of them right away and maybe not at all. After a few years I'm more likely to share with someone else.

  6. Absolutely charming and delightful. You did put your personal stamp on the design.

  7. Such a sweetly whimsical quilt! I love all your colors and the border is perfect. I agree that some quilters spend way too much time trying to exactly replicate the quilt in the pattern. Do what you like, I say!

  8. Great quilt! And thanks for the idea of using tall arches in place of fans for the quilting. I hope Ms Ormes has been notified it's done, you did her work justice, IMHO.

  9. Your Ormes quilt is wonderful and definitely worthy of a quilt show! The quilting seems perfect for it; thanks for showing it on the bed so I could better visualize it’s size. I wouldn’t be too eager to give it away ๐Ÿ˜Š.

  10. I'm not sure this quilt could be any more perfect! And seeing it on the bed in your guest room is the frosting on the cake, an explosion of gorgeous color. I think it should live with you until it becomes a legacy quilt, this one is just too good to give away.

  11. Audrey ¡¡Felicidades!! solo digo ¡Espectacular!

  12. Your Ormes quilt is fabulous and looks perfect in the guest room - can you book me in for a visit?? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ Congratulations ๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘๐Ÿ‘ Meredithe xx

  13. I had no idea that your wonderful Ormes Inspired quilt was bed size! - it looks so good gracing the bed in the guest room.

  14. Wow, Audrey another awesome post highlighting an even more awesome quilt. How absolutely wonderful this piece is!! That design inspiration definitely spoke to you and you answered in your own beautiful unique way. I love the conversation the two of you always have. It makes me feel silly to worry about adding a little butterfly recently to a project. But you have a gift, dear quilty friend, that not many have! Thank you for sharing this with us.

  15. Ormes Inspired it looking magnificent in your guest bedroom looks as though it was made for that room! Congratulations on a tremendous quilt.
    Love your paragraph on changing up an original pattern whether colour or a slight tweak to one of the elements and so good to see you're back from your battle with bronchitis.

  16. The elephant ALWAYS makes me happy - congratulations on a stunning finish. What a terrific post on a fabulous quilt. Quiltdivajulie

  17. Truly, truly beautiful, Audrey!! This may be my favorite quilt of yours...until the next one, that is! :)

  18. YES YES YES It really is the BEST Quilt. I love seeing it on the bed. bravo~

  19. So happy to finally get a back to blog reading just in time to see the Ormes Inspired quilt done. Yup, I have to admit of all your fabulous quilts, this is my favorite! Just fabulous!


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