Over the years I have made a LOT of quilts. Some I was happy with, some I was not. I have to say, this one (so far) is my ABSOLUTE FAVORITE! (And trust me, the photo does not do this quilt justice.. the colors make my heart sing!) There are so many reasons why I love this quilt. For one thing, I've been quite ill for the past few months, and haven't been able to do much sewing. So this was done "one bite at a time". Sometimes that can end up being so frustrating that you end up unhappy with the results, but in this case it kept me motivated and encouraged. It's also the first time I've done a king sized quilt where no block was larger than 3½" unfinished size! Wow... talk about testing your patience! *grin* It's also one of the few I've done that didn't have a consistent background color.
While I wanted this quilt to reflect my Arizona-born-and-raised background, I didn't want the typical southwestern look that was so prevalent in the 90's. I wanted those colors, but something a bit more updated and a bit more eclectic in usefulness. I guess that was clear as mud, but I know what I mean. LOL
I've been spending this past week just sorting, ironing, cutting, and organizing some of the "what was I thinking" fabrics in my sewing room. A dear dear DEAR friend of mine gifted me with a Log Cabin die for my GO! cutter... along with some fabrics she termed "B-Ugly" and a challenge to play with those and have some fun. So that's what I've been doing... making logs of the old big florals, the novelty type fabrics and the ones that are just flat strange looking, both from my own shelves and from the ones she sent me. Of course, I'll add some really pretty fabrics to the projects I use those in, but at least the "uglies" will be cut up first! I'll post photos when I finally get a chance to actually sew any of those together! *wink*
And with the PRETTY fabrics....
Done! I also finally got the binding finished on the two throw quilts I've been working on this past couple of weeks:
It's been a productive week, though my sewing room looks like a hurricane blew through!
It's funny how set in our ways we get... or at least I do! My personal rut has always been to check all my Yahoo quilt groups each morning as I drink my coffee and try to pry my eyes open far enough to see whatever current quilt project I'm working on. That's not happening, now that Yahoo has made changes that put my computer into lock-down-mode every time I go to their site, so I think I'll spend a bit of extra time on my blog each morning until they get their Yahoo Groups working again. In the end, we may all end up using our blogs to communicate! *grin*
So... what to chat about...
I'm currently working on a quilt top that's fighting me. I think I made every "mistake" that I knew better than to make on a scrappy quilt. Colors that were just a shade too light are "flickering" out, which makes the bold setting I was working with just sort of disappear into a jumbled mess. I totally LOVE scrappy quilts... junky results not so much! This one is "so-so", but I think it would have been spectacular if I had been more careful with my color values!
So... let's analyze where it went wrong...
I'm going to start with a confession. This quilt was started in order to USE UP some random HSTs and fabric strip pieces that I had in my fabric stash. I didn't worry too much about colors and sizes of my scraps, since what couldn't be cut one size could usually be cut to another size. And if you keep it random (not just toss all the pink fabrics into one row) then you can usually get away with murder on repeating some fabrics. If I had made this quilt before, or if it were being made with someone specific in mind, I would have probably either been careful to use more variety in my choices OR go more controlled (using all blues and creams or all greens and creams, etc.) but that wasn't my goal on THIS one, so I didn't fuss too much. Also, I don't have a design wall, so I either make my choices as I go, or lay a few blocks on the table to see what they look like together. Sometimes that's enough, but sometimes you don't see the mess factor until it's all done.
1) The star blocks. Notice how on some of them you see the star first, and on some you see the pinwheel first. Even that would have been "okay" if I had used some consistency in placement. For example, all the pinwheel-first blocks could have been put in the first round of stars, and the star-first blocks in the next round of stars. However, the best solution (in my opinion) would have been if I had just been consistent throughout, using all light pinwheels and dark stars, or all dark pinwheels and light stars. Sort of a "MAKE UP YOUR MIND, JEAN!!" kind of issue.
2) The log blocks. Okay.. this is COMPLETELY about color choices and values. In any scrap quilt, I like to add a few "zinger" fabrics that add sparkle or movement to the quilt. Unfortunately, the bright orange fabric in this one didn't add zing so much as chaos! If I did this over, I would still use that orange, but ONLY in smaller pieces... NOT in the bigger log strips! Or at the very least, not a big log in the center motif! To me, this just looks distracting.
So, in closing, I will finish this quilt.. it's worth finishing! BUT, knowing me, I will also make another one like it, using what I hope will be better choices. When I get the "replacement" made, I'll show a comparison of the two and see if I really did any better! *grin*
As promised, I DID get this finished, but I still plan to do it again with better fabric choices.
Sometimes "finishes" are a matter of just keeping at it. We don't always feel like working on just one project from start to finish, but that doesn't mean they should be left as UFOs (un-finished-objects) forever, either. For example, this morning I finished adding the binding on two Christmas quilts that I had finished quilting MONTHS ago. But now they're done, and ready to gift when Christmas gets here. I'm way ahead of the game!!
On-going projects continue to receive attention as well. Here's where I am with my hand pieced Grandmother's Flower Garden quilt that I'm doing in 30s fabrics:
It's far from finished, but I'm making progress, so I'm a happy camper!
One of the ways I get so many quilts completed, is that I "bribe" myself. When I walk into my sewing room, I spend the first 15 minutes doing something I REALLY don't want to do. Maybe it's putting away stuff from my cutting table... or trimming up some random HSTs... or cutting out the binding for a quilt that is almost done. Once I've put in the time "breaking rocks", I reward myself by doing some sewing that I DO want to do. If I have 3 different sewing spurts during a day, that's FORTY-FIVE MINUTES that has gone to less fun work, but it doesn't FEEL like it was that long because it was in 15 minute segments. I get a lot of completed quilts that way, and WITHOUT feeling like it was any kind of a burden. Give it a try... you might like it!
Is it a scrap, or just part of the fabric "stash"?
I've been asked a few times what I would consider a "scrap". For ME, it's anything that's only usable if you trim it up in some way. It could be a piece large enough to get several usable strips or charms out of, or only one little square. Usually it won't fold neatly unless you straighten it up in some way. Here is a prime example of a LARGE scrap I was given:
I'm compulsive about cutting things on the straight of grain, so that's the first thing I check. Then I start deciding what the LARGEST pieces I can cut are. For the scrap above, here's what I ended up with:
Every single piece is usable for projects I know that I do! Note the tiny pile of trimmings at the bottom that will be thrown away. VERY little goes to waste in my sewing room. I will make good use of every inch of this piece in several of my scrappy quilts. It took me a few years as a quilter to realize I don't have to use it all in one block or even one quilt! LOL!
Okay, so you know how there are always things you plan to do, but never really get around to? I had a little mental list of things I wanted to try, and decided I would put them in one quilt. So.... first thing I did was pull out my 1.5" strips, and decided to use those log cabin style. I wanted smaller blocks than usual, so I just made them with less rounds:
I did enough of those to exactly cover the top of a king size bed, but a bit longer to allow for pillow coverage. Then it was time to decide what borders I would use. The first was a no-brainer for me, because I wanted to try prairie points. (Yes, this really was my very first time to do those! LOL!) For the following rounds, I decided I would do a PRIVATE round robin... just doing a row around and THEN deciding what kind of round would go next. No pre-planning... just letting the quilt talk to me. This was the final result:
Personally, I REALLY like this one. It is very much "my sort" of quilt.
After a rather severe head injury a few weeks ago, I wasn't able to do much sewing. Blurry vision... headaches... stuff like that. So that's why I haven't posted much lately. Anyway, yesterday I did manage to get the binding finished on one of last year's Christmas quilts. Not much to show, but it's better that getting nothing done at all! LOL!
Hopefully I can get the binding done on the rest of those Christmas quilts this week!
I figure at this rate I should get this top pieced in another couple of weeks. I'm usually so fast, that I'm having trouble believing how long this one is taking me! That's okay... it's still going faster than the hand stitched Grandmother's Flower Garden is!! That one might take me a year! LOL!
I usually tend to stick to one project and get it finished, but lately that hasn't been happening as much. Oh, I'm sticking to them.. just not getting them finished as fast as I would like. Of course, it would help if I weren't working on two of the most time consuming patterns! LOL! So, when you don't see me posting finishes, it doesn't mean I'm not sewing at all.
The first quilt I'm working on is a Double Wedding Ring done all in brown scrappy style.
I have two rows put together, and all the "arcs" sewn for the remaining rows. It's all about assembly at this point, which of course is the most difficult and time consuming step.
The other quilt I'm working on is a hand sewn Grandmother's Flower Garden, done all in 30s prints. I'm doing this one in the totally traditional manner, as I have wanted one since I was a little girl and am determined to get this one done "the hard way". I'm doing English paper piecing, so where you see that one set of white hexes (around that blue flower), that look gray, it's because I've removed the paper from those. (I didn't trust that paper, and was afraid it might stain after being in there a long time.) The rest of the paper is white, so I figure it shouldn't present a problem.
I figure this one will take me a year, doing the hand sewing in the evenings. Basting the hexes goes fast, but again, it's the assembly that takes all the time.
Okay.... so, every once in a while, I get carried away and find myself going too far (or at least too far astray), and suddenly it's a Hodge Podge of design elements that might not play well together. That's kind of what happened here. It's an "okay" quilt, but would have been much better if I had just decided on something and stuck to it.
I've already started over on the Grandma's Flower Garden parts, to do one in a more traditional fashion, which I think I'll like better. In the meantime, I have a potential Christmas gift done for a family member next December!
Finished another one. This was made from parts of a quilt top that was sent to me. I ripped it apart and retrimmed the parts so they were accurate, and put it back together adding in some dark sage green for accents. I finished the flimsie months ago, but just now got it quilted and the binding done.
I had always wanted a quilt of my own done in the 30s style colors and fabrics, so I finally made the decision to make one! This is my happy place!! Would I do anything different.. maybe here and there, but I am quite content with the way it turned out in general.
First of all, I want to say that I detest this new thing where my blog makes me go to picasaweb to load my photos THERE before I can load them HERE! Okay, enough whining.. on with the show...
This is another flimsie that I finally finished quilting and binding. It's a Hidden Wells, and done with a combination of patriotic fabrics and pinky shades... I make quilts for girl soldiers too, so this was appropriate! *grin*
A new project! As many of you know, I seldom do anything but straight stitch piecing. I don't usually do curves, and almost never do applique work. However... a friend gifted me with some 30s style FQs, and I found that I could no longer resist the urge to make a classic style quilt with them. After giving it some thought, I decided to do a Dresden Plate (modified to have pointy tops like a fan) which meant... TA DAH.. biting the applique bullet. Here's a block I have finished, and the rest are assembled and waiting for the hand applique. Hopefully I'll have a finished quilt in a month or so.
A dear friend sent me a bag of strips last year. She had intended to make a curved log cabin quilt in controlled scrappy colors of teal and purple, but for personal reasons decided she didn't want to make this particular quilt after all. I got the top made within a few days of receiving the strips, but I am just now finished with the binding, etc. And I have to say, I really love this quilt. Thank you, my friend!
I got a GO! for Christmas, so to see if the cuts were accurate, I used some "uglies" from my scraps and made a modified version of Bear Paws. (By the way, the cuts are VERY accurate, and I LOVE my new toy!!) This made a very cute baby size quilt. Yes.. it truly is cuter in person than it shows in the photo! LOL!
Everyone that ever quilted has at least one embarrassing piece of junk.
This one was mine. Or at least, one of my worst! I put this together MANY years
The original premise was not bad... I would use some orphan blocks etc., in
patriotic colors, add a nice pp center and some border stars, and have a neat
looking vet quilt in the end. Well, I used some really bad fabric I guess,
because it has smudges of red going onto the white areas. I hope those will wash
off, but there's no telling for sure, so it will NOT go out of my house.
Secondly, since I had already decided that the bad red fabric made it junk
anyway, that I would try an accessory that came with the used longarm I bought
around that time. (Note to self.. if the words "how hard can it be?" come out of
your mouth, it will be VERY hard!) So, I quilted circles.... sort of... and
badly! I put that accessory away in a closet after that and haven't touched it
since! What a MESS! The quilt also got tossed away in the closet, and I never
bothered to put binding on it till today. And the only reason it got finished
today, was that John asked if I had a junky quilt that he could have for Sophie
(his little dachshund) since she was always cold. I remembered this quilt, so I
got it out and put the binding on it for her to use. It was so cute... she
immediately burrowed under it and laid down with just her nose peeking out! Made
us all happy, so it was worth it. LOL