Saturday, March 18, 2017

Inch by Inch, They All Meet Up With a Finish Eventually

 You know me, always trying to move forward, one little phase of a quilt at a time!
Another quilt top closer to a finish!
Now that the hand quilting is done on Flowering Snowballs, then it's time for binding! Can't leave that hoop empty for long, so for now my Creative Process quilt is going to be getting some hand stitching details to go along with the basic machine quilting already done there. I went ahead and changed out the picture for my 'Current Quilt in the Hoop' caption at the top of my blog.
Getting ready to sew on some binding strips
But well, that might not take very long and I did have a very quiet day on Friday! Two more quilt tops sandwiched and pinned, including this Marsala challenge quilt. Something I've been itching to get my fingers on lately. The colors--they are calling my name....
Marsala quilt--the Unexpected Crossroads quilt
Summers End was the other quilt that got some pins in it and I'm really not feeling very thrilled to be working on that right now. I intend to stitch in the ditch around all the blocks and then come back and do some hand quilting on the little baskets. Big stitch of course. Is there any other kind anymore? Plus, I had a crazy idea that I might, just maybe, hand tie in the middle of each empty block. It's an idea. One that kinda makes me smile because it's different...
Summers' End quilt. An project that didn't do what it was supposed to do....
Really though, it's been one of those weeks where I've been focused on finishing and getting things wrapped up at the end of the quilting spectrum. I even sewed an extra two quilt backings and delivered the quilt packages to my longarm quilting friend. One has a deadline of the end of April and the other sometime by the end of summer. My friend is a busy gal and I don't want to pressure her, BUT I am loving the idea that within just a few months, my quilt top list could have 7 quilts checked off! {That's including the St. Paul quilt I'm still stitching the binding onto.}
All ready for action
Plus, all the rising sun blocks are done. Whew! I pulled out these five blocks to see if I could conjure up an idea or two for a traditional setting. So far my mind is pretty blank and everything I audition makes me feel very bored. They will just have to hang out on the wall for awhile I guess, soak up some creative spark from somewhere else.
What's left of the ruined Rising Sun blocks
Right now all the spark seems to be directed at the base blocks for the make-do rising sun quilt. The one where I'm going to chop those rising sun blocks in two and use them for an outside border? Yeah, that one.
The Make-Do Rising Sun Quilt
Very simple applique on very simple, but similar {18" blocks}. Sounds like a winner to me!



Friday, March 10, 2017

Growing Pains

I'm going to blather on today about a quilting issue I've been having for quite awhile. Last year I veered off into a very different {for me} way of working called Adhoc Improv. While I feel that it's been an important shift as far the style and originality I'm always looking for, it's quite thoroughly changed and interrupted the normal way I go about making a quilt.
One step at a time for Folksy Flowers
Maybe not obvious to you, but I've noticed something different. Digging a little deeper into my reflections of the past year, I sort of woke up to the reality of having growing pains. How I was working the past several years produced some wonderful quilts for me. It was a comfortable, pleasant, sometimes invigorating, place to be. So why change things up? Especially as the previous stage of quilting was so hard won in and of itself. I didn't just drop into that place without some very hard work! I guess the best answer is that I've felt a nagging desire to be challenged again and the thing that kept drawing me in was Improv., something very much out of my comfort zone.

And honestly, some of my quilts seemed to be missing just a little something beyond my grasp or understanding. This happened very gradually and mostly I thought the Adhoc. Improv. would just be something for fun and play. But then I realized that I was growing increasingly frustrated with some of my earlier quilting choices, even projects 'in-the-works'. It has increasingly seemed to me that I was betwixt and between.

Take the quilt below. I specifically remember wanting to work with these specific colors, experimenting with a challenging block and feeling pleased about adding the surprising twist of a tumbler block border to the quilt top. But as I was quilting it this week, it felt boring and much too predictable. Too formulaic and well, completely unoriginal. In my disdain for the quilt, {yes, I was essentially 'sneering' at it}, I basically placed zero importance in binding choices and simply raided the leftover binding tote until I had the proper lengths--something 'close' to the quilt colors. I didn't even check, okay? That's how uncaring I was. Then.... something very odd happened. After the initial phase of sewing the binding onto the quilt {it's still not hand sewn to the back}, my heart melted just a little and I started to feel that all-so-important connection again. All because of some unexpected color choices {pretty clashy in a couple cases if you want to know the truth of it} and a scrappy, make-do attitude. And I fell in love all over again.
Saint Paul quilt: Still learning even after the project is basically finished....
How obstinate is that? And then, the project below. Started from a Material Obsession book, I really thought it had the power to keep me interested clear through to a finish. But nope. Time and time again, I've recommitted myself only to procrastinate, be sloppy in my work, practice avoidance, blinker off into fun new projects, and always, always feel like I've been pulled back by the skin of my teeth. Is it ugly? NO. Are the fabrics impossible? NO. I just haven't felt any real connection. Which still leaves me three blocks left to applique.*grr...

The funny thing is, now that I've finally determined to cut up seven out of 12 blocks {terrible stitching issues} and just make do, I've actually started to relax. And enjoy. Hey? Is this quilt really salvageable? Be still my heart!
Rising Sun blocks to undergo some surgery...
And so I've decided to make use of those strange lighter, green fabrics left out of the original blocks {a decision that has always bothered me}, scribbled up some ideas for simple applique and well, yeah, I am back to being fascinated and intrigued by my quilting adventure. The methods that used to give me the basic framework for what my quilt might look like at a finish, are simply not working anymore. Occasionally yes. But not often enough to be reliable. Even though every phase of my previous quilts wasn't set in stone, I still had the comfort of knowing a basic outline. hahahahahaha

It's all been completely upended and I'm still not sure when {exactly} it happened. Not a comfortable feeling, that I can tell you. It's like feeling lost in the wilderness of too many choices at times, which is something I've always tried to celebrate and embrace. I can't even explain.....
A total restart
So I deliberately pulled out an old quilt top that I've been putting off the quilting forever. It's a clunky looking thing and almost no one likes it. That's okay. It served a purpose while I was making it, talking about 'The Creative Process so simplistically, and is serving a purpose for me now. So ironic how the old and the new always end up meeting up again and again! Reminding us that all the steps of the process are important. Just because I am learning to go with the flow, allow myself to cut into fabric without any definite, concrete plan, pushing myself to being 'free' and unfettered in every way possible with design, I cannot forgo the very important step of 'Incubation' and just try to make things happen!
Finishing up with machine quilting for The Creative Process
quilt---next step will be some hand quilting....
With this particular quilt, I admit to being cheap, settling on dull fabrics for the 'Incubation' and Implementation' lettering part of the quilt as that's what I had on hand. Now it seems laughably prescient. I rushed the process. Part of Incubation is having the patience to wait on the right idea, making sure all the pieces are in place, recognizing those important connections, and never losing track of elements that work to make our quilting unique. Incubation takes time. There is no formula. It can be hours, days or weeks before things click, especially if you're already working outside of your comfort zone! Because of my experience, there are things I can do to make a quilt progress and probably look okay. For it to satisfy myself creative self, there needs to be specific elements {relating to personal connection} incorporated or really, I'm just phoning it in. Lets just call these practice quilts, because we all have a few.*wink

Part of 'Implementation' is giving respect to the quilt when it indicates something is missing. Paying attention every step of the way to making sure the very best color, fabric, and/or element we have available in our current repertoire is being used correctly. Being decisive and adamant about making the best interpretation of what we're 'seeing' inside our incredibly rich imaginations. Incubation brings all the separate ideas together, Illumination sets the scene, and Implementation is where the details come into play. The ones that can take our quilt from 'nice job' to 'Wowsers! How did that happen?'

It's quite clear to me that {thankfully}, I don't have to empty out my leftover binding tote for every quilt finished. One thing for sure though, as my blue and gold quilt so succinctly pointed out to me: 70 plus fabrics in a quilt doesn't guarantee a quilt will look scrappy enough--for me. Some unexpected color blends and possibly a make-do element will probably do the trick. If my stitching turns up wonky, intentionally or not,, then well, it probably needs to have some control elsewhere, perhaps in a repeated applique or block design. Those sort of things simply ground me and provide a personal connection. Your criteria will no doubt be an entirely different list.

I just can't, in any form or fashion, make color-in-the-number sort of quilts and feel good about them. Which sort of makes the old way that I was quilting feel stale and formulaic. Now. It didn't use to feel that way at all. Aghhh!! Okay. What I'm saying is this. It's not going to be all Improv. all the time, but that method is definitely something I can use to do the sorts of things my quilts are starting to demand. By embracing the new in the parts and pieces that make sense to me, I'm not leaving anything important behind. In fact, it's a way of ensuring that my creativity won't shrivel up and die.
An important thing to remember...
I'm slowly finding my way forward, blending the old method of working with my new found joy in Improv. Finding a style that more completely embraces all the elements I love, not just stumbling onto them willy nilly and hopefully pulling off a hat trick. You might think I love being a reactionary quilter, but really, it only goes so far. And right now? I'm very busy slowing things down until there's a new comfort zone. Because it will happen. The transition is usually the most difficult part of the process!
Trying not to lose the spirit of the quilt....
In closing of this impossibly long post: What matters to me these days is making sure to work 'intentionally', something that has always seemed to be at odds with Improv. I'm finding that it doesn't have to be that way.

I want to work 'purposefully', no matter how simplistic my ideas come off to you or anyone else. If that involves ditching a complex quilting plan and starting from the ground up {all in order to make a very basic foundation of a quilt}, then that's the way it has to be. 

There apparently has to be an element of the 'unexpected' in order for me to feel true connection to my quilting. How incredible {and ironic} to finally understand that it can come in the most basic of forms such as a binding. You just can't make this stuff up.

Growing pains are hard. Stretching ourselves to learn new things, learning how to incorporate those new elements and finding our way forward takes a real, concerted effort. And all without losing the best parts of what we've discovered before! I can see why some people shut down after years of feeling passionate about what they do. It's the path of least resistance. When their projects start feeling boring or they lose the personal connection, then the way forward can feel much too difficult to navigate. How do we know what specific part of our previous comfort zone needs to be shed? How do we grow without damaging our confidence and that very important, trusting-in-our-instincts progress we worked so hard to accomplish? Our originality and growth as a maker depend upon us finding some answers. I'm happy to finally be finding some of my own. Ought to be an interesting year!

Friday, March 3, 2017

AHIQ Start and 17 in 2017 Progress!

It never seems like there's proper time to get a post written these days. Guess I'm spending too much time playing 'Words With Friends' with the family, catching up on my reading, or getting pulled away from what I'm doing by my husbands requests to accompany him here and there. Well, that and we just bombed through February already. Does that mean winter is mostly over?
Mock up of potential sashing units
Crossing my fingers fiercely on that one. Ughh. Am I ever tired of the snow and ice! However, there is still a bit of quilting going on behind the scenes, no matter how sporadic the approach these days. I dithered around, played with a quilting project idea, slept on it, then slept on it some more, tweaked my color choices and then finally, finally started the AHIQ-Chinese Coins challenge. These colors ended up being the pick of the day as they will probably end up being 'background' in the quilt and not a focal point.

At the moment there are only four sheets of strings sewn together. After getting through the initial work and checking to see that 'Yes, these can be cut to the appropriate strip widths and lengths', then I went ahead and free cut the approximate amount of strings needed for the entire quilt. Part of my initial reluctance to dive into this project was the feeling that Chinese Coins usually present in a formal 'evenly measured' manner. Then Kaja put into words some of my feelings about what was really stopping me from starting this project! We're all sort of inspiring each other I guess, because she referred to Sue {I personally was thinking about Ann's lovely string/coin work} and around and around we go. Mine will eventually be cut into 2 1/2" x 8" strips to be joined together in 6" sashing sets. And I want the imperfection of mismatched seam alignment although I did make an effort to not have extremes in width of fabrics cut. We'll see how it turns out, but whatever. I'm actually glad to have some mindless sewing in the works again!
Strips ready to be sewn into sets
So then, there's the 17ufosin2017 linkup. I thought there was very minor progress made during the minuscule month of February {hardly worth talking about}, but as it turns out, more was accomplished than I realized. Yay! My Peachy Cameo Medallion quilt gained another border. Hardly inspiring as it is identical to the previous one, but well... it just works. The quilt could almost be done right there, I'm so happy with the look, but it's gonna have to have that applique border I've been envisioning since the birth of the project. Yep. I can't help myself--always adding a bajillion more hours to my quilt tops, thinking applique will make it extra special wonderful....
A repeat border for Peachy Cameo Medallion quilt
Improv. Woven Basket also gained a border {very simple one} and then I've spent time drawing out and prepping for the next border. That always takes so much more time than we want to admit to doesn't it? And yes, the plan is for it to be an appliqued border as well. The picture below is what I have ready for the base of a simple flower design, mostly leaves with a very small little flower detail,that part to be determined after the bulk of this stitching is done. The flower stems were mostly gleaned from my orphaned applique bits and pieces totes which makes me smile and ensures a bit of unpredictability in stem width and color. Love that!
Prep work for border on Improv. Woven Basket quilt
Next up for gaining ground with a ufo is another border for Folksy Flower. This time I made sure to add triangular shapes to the end of my border lengths so as to address a little of the bias stretch that I will be dealing with. The math has been particularly tricky for me and so honestly I've just been avoiding it altogether. The border pieces are terribly wrinkled because I crammed them in my hand stitching bag for our recent long weekend to Oregon. Not much stitching happened tho as I found myself driving a lot instead of being passenger!
Another border for Folksy Flower quilt
While I completely finished up Geese Tracks and Black Shadow Applique {happy dance for a lovely, lovely finish!}, it doesn't feel like quite enough. If I'm going to be churning out quilt tops like a busy little beaver, then more domestic machine quilting is in order. Not just the feel good hand quilting stuff which is easy, fun and very low pressure. Ugghh. It never feels good enough, this machine quilting, but at least I'm starting to feel 'unashamed' of my unpolished efforts. Okay. That definitely feels like progress in and of itself!
St. Paul quilt sandwiched and ready to quilt
And my lovely husband tracked down some better tape for sandwiching my quilts. All of his own initiative too which makes it even more sweet. {Tired of hearing me grumble I'm sure!} I have had a terrible time with getting painters tape to stay attached to either the fabric or the floor and duck tape has been forbidden for use with my worn out, old wooden floors. This green tape is an auto body quality tape which so far is working wonderfully with everything but one fabric I tried it with. For some reason it didn't want to adhere to that particular fabric, but with everything else, I can actually pick the tape up and re-attach it!! Will wonders never cease. Now maybe I can get my quilt sandwiches to be taut and wrinkle free, something that machine quilting distinctly requires....

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The First 2017 Finish!

First finish of 2017 is Geese Tracks and Black Shadow Applique! Yay! It feels so good to have one that's quilted to the point of getting binding on. Whew! This years starting out a little slow compared to last.
Geese Tracks & Black Shadow Applique finished!
That's 'cuz I keep having a million and one interruptions and/or demands that for some reason have to take precedence over quilting. What's up with that? hehe  So I'm just focusing on trying to enjoy the journey. Thank goodness for hand quilting. Stitch after stitch, it reminds me of why I like to do this so very much!
Always a lovely sight to see the finished texture
I was actually quite terrified to start quilting this particular quilt. Anything with applique always gets at least the minimum of hand quilting around here, but still, the overall stitching pattern was being very elusive. Finally I quit ignoring and passing over this one and just got it sandwiched and pinned so I could do something. And, as always, once it was in the hoop, it started being a no-brainer.
I think it's saying, 'care to snuggle?'
I probably over stitched the geese track blocks compared to the rest of the quilt, but that's what made sense to me. Then I did a basic clam shell stitch pattern behind the applique flowers. And on and on, working that perle cotton thread for the best texture.*wink
This one was an interesting journey for sure!
This has been another one of those moody quilts, sometimes looking quite cold and indifferent, and then at other times, feeling very warm and cozy. It all started a couple of years ago when I made a decision to sew up some geese track blocks. Didn't get very many finished when I was really quite tired of making them! So I stuck them on the wall and played with them until one day I found myself adding a surprisingly stark bit of applique to the mix. I also ramped up the challenge to myself by including a stack of gray fabrics I'd been wanting to play with forever {not an easy color for me to work with!}.
It's pretending to be shy hanging in the stairwell
One of my readers commented that the black flowers would look good in a red basket, and well, my mind started churning out the ideas. Next up was a border of tilted vases in the lovely greens that blended with the middle blocks and yes, one snazzy looking pink/red one! As I contemplated moving on the next border, I kept coming back to those blendy, more retro. looking fabrics mixed with a rather bland, medium gray fabric. It appealed to me because it was a subtle transition {while incorporating little pops of color}, yet made me anxious in terms of possibly muddying up the entire quilt. Yes, no, maybe so....
The center is where the entire quilt started....
Trusting my instincts, I went ahead with the fabrics while keeping the design very simple. Several of my readers were polite, but obviously not impressed. As would I have been had I not been involved in the designing itself! But by then, I already had a half baked idea of adding more of that silhouette looking black flower applique to the quilt.Only thing was, I really, really needed to lighten the edges of the quilt without distracting too much from the centerpiece.
And somehow it all came off, just like it was always meant to be!
After a thorough search through all possible fabric selections available to me in the quilt room {I did NOT want to go buy anything new!}, I finally turned a couple more medium gray fabrics over and used the back side. Along with the lighter white with gray print fabrics found in the stash--it seemed to give off the lighter, sparky bit of magic the quilt needed. And proved to be a very happy place to add on the black vine and flowers, which funnily enough, included a piece of black fabric turned over to maximum the color from the backside too, the perfect charcoal I was looking for! Why I didn't add leaves to the vine, I just don't know. It just seemed to be the right amount of applique at the time and it's only now that I've questioned that decision at all. But not too much. More black would have made the quilt look choppier instead of letting the eye flow around the quilt with the curve of the vine. All in all, it was immensely fun to play with the silhouette effect while attempting to not alternately darken the quilt to the point of depression!

The binding color was a tough choice as I initially thought to use pink. No go. And green, gray and black looked pretty blah too. Surprisingly enough, it was the sharp, orangey-red which made the cut {love how it ties back into one of the geese tracks block--one of the two blocks made with grandmas' fabric}. Of course there wasn't nearly enough in the stash so that had to be purchased new. Totally worth it as it helped bring the quilt more fully to that 'happy', cozy place I love my quilts to be in.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Always a Fight Getting Back Into the Groove

I was finally able to vacate the back office except for the routine, daily stuff. So nice to be able to see my desk again too. Thinking 'Yay! Gonna have lots of quilting time now' and then well, life happened. We had a houseful of teenagers over a long, busy weekend and lots of comings and goings.
Flowering Snowballs in the hoop
So great to see the teenagers have fun preparing for a Valentines formal, looking all spiffy, and then hear later that the guys bailed as soon as things wrapped up. Basketball is so much more entertaining than wearing a tie! Several of us parents indulged ourselves with a really nice meal at a good restaurant, all New Years resolutions on temporary hold of course. After everyone was packed up and traveling back home on Monday, our family sort of went into hibernation mode. That's when I finally grabbed my hand quilting again and settled into my favorite spot on the couch.*sigh
Attempting to see how the stitching will look as a whole...
Sometime later this week I was able to rouse myself enough to head upstairs and check on things in the quilting room. Everything looked sort of uninteresting and I had to almost force myself to pull out a project and get to work. Not that there's any pressure, but hey, I know this feeling and if I don't just dive in, this state of lethargy will still be winning a month later. At first I just worked on the next border to my Improv. Woven Basket quilt. After much contemplation, it looked this was the winner. Somehow a busy, complicated border just didn't look like it belonged.

A simple border plan
While checking on the progress for the Rising Sun blocks {trying to decide if they were really worth working on}, I temporarily stuck some on the wall in a mock-up border idea. Kind of interesting really, as these blocks are a joke. The more I stitch them to the background fabrics, the more I realize how messed up they are. Next time I will hand stitch them as I obviously don't have the skills to piece little bits precisely enough. My current {favorite} methods of fudging, eyeballing and winging it just don't cut it with these kinds of piecing efforts. Maybe if I slice them in half, it will help ease the puffiness in the centers? Just an idea as I absolutely refuse to take them apart and attempt a re-do.
Auditioning something off the wall
But that's not what I was wanting for this particular quilt, so they were quickly shuffled aside. Applique is more in keeping with the general mood of where this quilt seems to want to go. And yes, it's very simple as most of my applique generally is. But it feels right. And that's really all that is needed before the prep work for applique is initiated!
And then settling on a real plan of attack...
Other than that, I've been playing with my fabric stacks. Putting those together with possible new quilt project ideas. Trying to distill those ideas into something definite. This sticking to the '17 ufo's in 2017' quilt list is all fine and good, but I am burning up with the desire to start something new and of course, something vastly more interesting.*wink  Next up will be to catch up on my emails and everyone else's latest blog posts! Plus, my mom just informed me about another one of our favorite from-Washington-on-the-way-to-Oregon quilt stores' closing. What is it with the main street quilt stores having trouble staying in business? We can't be the only people who prefer to {physically} look at and touch our fabric before buying it!

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Improv. Wheels Quilt Top Finish and A Walk-Through

Ever since the creation of this quilt several years ago, I've been intrigued by the idea of how very much difference a tiny, little addition can make to a quilt. Just adding that simple little bird makes me love the quilt a whole lot more. Mostly because it makes me smile! And that's a good thing.
A few little applique birds
So I kept thinking this quilt needed something to cover up the big, fat, white areas {created by the corners of my wheel blocks meeting}, They just made me uncomfortable in some very odd way. Like I had walked into someone's house that wasn't mine and people were saying, 'Well, yes it's your house, don't you recognize it?'
A new quilt top finish!
 And so finally I relented. Even though I wanted the wheel look, chopping off the corners of my improv. pinwheel blocks just to get that particular look. It really doesn't make sense does it? Oh well. Nothing to do now but forge ahead. I searched and dug around for fabrics that would be capable of adding that tiny little spark of 'me' without pushing the quilt over the maximum 'busyness' factor. Everything was sort of 'meh' until the bright, cheerful plaid popped up. Can you even see that in reality, the blues and blue-greens sort of clash in the quilt? Yep. It was meant to be! Just that beautiful surge of cheerful energy and I was sold.
Some fabrics are more clashy than others....
And then it wasn't finished. Still! It kept insisting it needed a border, which just made my head hurt. Everything auditioned was cluttery and such a distraction. Piecing was a definite 'NO'. It wasn't until I went back to the floral fabric {tried out as a sashing fabric earlier in the life of the quilt}, that it started coming together for me. And if you notice, it has a touch of that clashy blue in it as well, along with spaces of white that kind of allow the quilt to ease into the border without overpowering it.*sigh
My son agreed to hold the quilt up 'inside' the house,
only agreed to an outdoor picture for next July. hehe
I knew when I impulsively bought that fabric over a year ago that it was going to be an amazing piece and wowsers, was I glad to see it again in the stash. Some fabrics are just meant to be and I'm a huge, {unapologetic} fan of sweet, distinctive looking floral fabrics finding a good place in a quilt. So go ahead and sneer when they end up, oh-so-traditionally on the borders of my quilts!
Interesting how the colorways always have connections!
I once read an article about how boring, predictable and well, plebeian, having birds and flowers represented in a quilt was. Oh. And years ago? There was also a commentor on a popular modern quilt blog who totally disdained the work of needleturn applique as being sloppy and childish looking. The funny thing was, lots of people jumped on the bandwagon right along with her. But that's fine because it had a good outcome for me at least. These kinds of 'group-think' attitudes helped me to more wholeheartedly embrace the look that I simply love from the bottom of my naive little, country-girl heart. Don't tell me what to do! lol  But the thing is, I will never willingly make a lifeless looking quilt just for the sake of perfection, or a trendy look, fabric use, or popular opinion. That's so not me, nor should it be you. Make what YOU love and let the naysayers go elsewhere or eventually, you'll probably quit making altogether. It's not worth the angst!

p.s. The floral fabric was fussy cut in 7" widths in order to incorporate the best use of large bunches of color. Also, included in the pinwheel blocks is a couple re-cycled men's shirts. Pinwheel blocks were cut and sewn according to Sujata Shah's 'Cultural Fusion' pinwheel formula, then altered to gain the big 'wheel' look that I wanted.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Progress on the 17 UFO's

Last week saw me with the quilt top finish of Chunky Crossroads. This week Gather Ye Roses and My Quilty 365 got crossed off of the 17 in 2017 list as well. I only committed to quilt top finishes with these particular projects as Meredithe assured us that progress was the point!
The three latest quilt top finishes!
Gather Ye Roses started out as tumbler block leftovers and then eventually morphed into a large tumbler basket after one day of play. At that point, I knew it needed more, but wasn't sure where to go from the over-large basket piece. Medallion style quilt? Pieced blocks? More flowers? There are so... many options you know!
Gather Ye Rosebuds looking a little washed out..
Finally I settled on a very rough draft that included smaller basket blocks, a flowing vine and space for some appliqued words. The baskets were easy, just took some time for the details. Then for the rest? Hmmm... In the drawing, my vine had what looked to be fat berries on the vines, but when I settled on 'Gather Ye Rosebuds' for the saying, the berries looked extremely wrong. Not that I'm a purist, but seriously, mentioning the word 'rosebuds' might, just maybe? create an expectation of buds on the vine as well as in the occasional basket.*sigh  These quilts, so demanding!
A look at the bottom of the quilt
However, the flowers are all just a mishmash of whatever blooms I decided to cut out at the time. Tulip shapes and other assorted floral shapes that made sense to me. I refuse to get too worked up over making sure every single detail is just 'so', and I do so love the primitive look to this asymmetrical quilt. Especially done up in the classic, traditional colors that I'm seemingly drawn to, over and over and over again through the years. I will say though, that the applique was a bit brutal at times in the overall effort of making this quilt. Hardly any machine piecing at all which means progress always comes along at the speed of the turtle, not the hare....
The large tumbler basket centerpiece
And then there was the day I spent appliqueing the centerpiece for my dear Quilty 365 quilt. Nothing else quilty that day at all, just this deceptively simple addition to my circle quilt! Words are tricky, but oh, so fun looking on the occasional quilt.
And now it's a quilt top finish!
Surprisingly, I've also moved a very little bit forward with the make-piece triangles for Shattered. It's a quilt that is primarily going to be made out of the scrap bin and while I love the look, it does get a bit tedious at time. Just saying! 76 out of 208 triangles made so far, which by my calculations is just over a fourth the way through. Every time I think, 'This is it! I'm done making these forever!'. Then I take a couple days break, think about it and come back with fresh eyes. It may be a project that takes the entire year to plow through, but I know it will be worthwhile if I just stick with it long term.
Make-fabric triangles
The really exciting progress was finishing up the hand quilting for my Geese Tracks quilt. Yay! It needs binding of course, but it's always such a great motivator to get this close to a true-blue finish. I don't even have to put the binding on for a month and I already feel like it's amazing progress.*wink
Geese Tracks and Black Shadow Applique quilt
So far, it's been really good for me to have this list, reminding me every single time I walk in the quilt room, but the years' young! There's a whole long list of projects I still want to attack, most not even cut out yet. When there's time, I'll be checking out everyone else's progress over at Meredithe's 17 UFO's in 2017. Right now, my youngest son thinks dinner is much more important that mom's quilting stuff and you know how hungry teenagers get when their stomach is empty!

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