Wednesday, August 30, 2017

A Finished Top (for which I have no name)

In my post a couple weeks ago I was pondering whether to add the appliqued leaves similar to what the inspiration quilt showed. Well, the top is now complete and the only leaves you'll see are the ones that float in and out of the printed block fabrics and the border. With the greatly expanded color palette it didn't seem to need the leaf overlay. This one is big, the completed top measuring 91x91 inches. When I first laid out the blocks it looked like this (after sewing horizontal rows of blocks randomly together).
OK, but too heavy on the dark blocks in the upper left

and the next day, after rearranging and/or reversing five of the rows, the final layout looked more like this.
A little better overall distribution of lights and darks without it looking totally calculated light-dark alternating, I think.

Then, I had this batik that I absolutely love, and had hoped from the get-go to use for the outer border.  And of course, the quilt was telling me it really wanted to have that dark blue narrow stop border too!  
Hmm, maybe too much of a good thing?  Drat, I Love this fabric!

In the end though, it seemed as though this would be the better combo, with my favored print ending up playing a minor but essential role as the binding.

So, after an awful lot of hemming and hawing, this is the the final quilt top, in all its wrinkled, crinkled glory.  It looks more rectangular in the photos since I wasn't able to get the camera high enough for a center shot, especially with our low ceilings.  It really is square!

I hope to find time to take it to the fellowship hall later in the week for layering and pinning, and get a start on machine quilting it by weekend. If all goes well and schedules don't get too disrupted that is.  The batiks in the top span the seasons, here are just a couple of my favorite blocks.

The batik tote was crammed full when I began stitching blocks, after finishing this 91x91 inch top it is still nearly full.  How does this happen??!

Monday, August 21, 2017

Bowties and Home Life

Awhile back Marie at Quilt Bee shared the beginning of a bowtie quilt she is making after being inspired by Maryse at Maryse Makes Things; and I've had a hankering to make a new old-fashioned bowtie quilt ever since.  So a couple weeks ago at our quilt ministry group I started sorting and cutting through bins of scraps, and began piecing a small top for what will be my 7th 'opportunity quilt' for the year. Well, it's starting out small, but may end up growing like Topsy, one never knows with these things!  Here are the first few blocks completed so far thrown up on the design wall.
Many, many more to go, but these are such fun, and I love this particular setting for  the bowties. This quilt won't have quite the extensive variety of fabrics as Maryse and Marie's inspiration quilts as there are not a lot of green scraps in our stash, but I think it will still be lots of fun to put together.

Several years ago at an outdoor estate sale I found one of those plastic zippered bags, the type sheet sets are packed in, on the ground under one of the sale tables.The attached label said something like "partially completed quilt - FREE - Enjoy!" All I could see without unpacking it was a muslin backing, hand quilting, and of course the "free"  label sealed the deal!  When I got it home and opened it up, inside was a hand-pieced bowtie quilt, of vintage fabrics, and the traditional style bowtie piecing with center square rather than the two little corner triangles added to the light squares. It was about 1/3 quilted when I made off with acquired it.

I attempted to replicate the size/style of hand quilting stitches and eventually finished it off, and we have enjoyed this throw-size treasure ever since.
So many interesting vintage prints!

If I remain infatuated with bowtie blocks for any length of time I'd like to make several smallish quilts trying out various settings for the blocks.  Another way to use up a lot of smaller scraps.

On the home front, we've been busy harvesting blueberries and green beans, and some banana peppers which I pickled for the first time ever.   I put up sixteen jars of rhubarb-blueberry jam so far, and will probably do one more batch if the rhubarb stalks don't wilt away before I can get to them.
R&B Jam

Living in a rural area we see our share of wildlife, and this big mama apparently has decided that our hay field, lawns and gardens are the perfect place to raise her brood of eight wildlings.  She has ventured closer and closer to the house and barns, and the other day shortly after we removed the blueberry netting they were all feasting on blueberries on the ground and what they could glean by jumping up to attack the lower branches. Great fun watching them! We will probably post our land this fall so they have a safe haven during hunting season, provided they are still hanging around by then. Here they are right next to the driveway, probably not more than 20 feet from the window where I took this photo.

And last but certainly not least, I made a big bowl of bowtie pasta salad this week using fresh basil and the first of the Sungold cherry tomatoes.  One of our favorite summer salads, but we devoured 98% of it before I even thought to take a photo.

We live in troubled times when everything good seems turned upside down and inside out.  This week, lets smile a little more often at those we meet in the store or on the street, bless someone in need with a small gift, a home cooked meal, or even just a listening ear and a friendly hug.  Let your light shine brightly!  The forces of evil cannot prevail where love abides.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

A New Start

A couple months back while visiting our son and DIL, they showed us their remodeled (after the windstorm damage) bedroom. Being a nosy mom, I noticed that their wedding quilt was beginning to look more than a bit shabby and faded, having been on their bed for over 16 years. So, figuring a newly redone room deserves a new quilt, this is what I've started for their Christmas gift. A late arrival on my 17 in 2017 list but one I'd like to have completed in time for gifting this year.

28 of the 64 blocks needed for the center portion

These blocks will finish at 10 inches, so I'm planning 64 blocks for the central part plus borders should make this a good queen size.  I'm now up to 38 blocks sewn.  

A closer look

My inspiration was this throw quilt featured in Quiltmania's January/February 2012 issue.

My batiks have a much wider color range than the featured quilt, since this is intended as a "stash 'n scrap" quilt.  I'm hoping to not need to purchase more than a couple green fat quarters and pare down the stash a little with this project. The featured quilt has deliberately wonky squares that I chose not to attempt to replicate, but judging from the first photo above, I seem to have achieved a bit of that anyway by including a couple different sized center squares and narrowing some of the outer borders. 

While I'm kind of liking it now, seeing the photos convinced me that there should be a lot more light fabrics in the remaining blocks, especially if I add the appliqued deep green leaves. Which is another fussbudget dilemma, will trying to add appliques over the more colorful blocks be too much of a good (or bad) thing?  I'm still trying to find two or three deep green batiks that will play nicely with the rest of the fabrics.   Maybe it'll all work out with a lot more lighter hued blocks in the mix.  What do you creative quilters think?