Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Bramble Blooms I - second border

The second border prompt from Audrey for Bramble Blooms I was a difficult one for me to wrap my little brain around!  Probably because my first border using the yukata fabric lent a more formal look to the quilt, and the idea of 4, 9 or 16 patch squares as a second border didn't fit what I'd imagined at all.  So, between bouts of dithering about that, I got busy and added a few extra touches to the center, that always felt a bit empty to me.  Birds sounded appealing, so a bluebird magically appeared.  A little extra leaf was also tacked onto the edge of the flower pot/basket.

And, because my husband loves doves, we needed one of those as well, along with a branch to perch upon.

Then we messed around with some uneven 9-patch blocks.  
Definitely not!

On point?
Not feeling the love here either!


Big fat fail!  

The gray yukata has given this quilt a moody vibe, much like our typical April weather - overcast, rainy and otherwise gray and dreary.  It really needed something to lighten the mood just a little but the nine-patch blocks were not going to make that happen in a way that was pleasing to me.  So, back to the drawing board.  Maybe just a few nine-patch blocks in the corners?

Then, from one of the "chunk" bins I found a long strip of this tone-on-tone fabric that had been the back of my Quilty 365 quilt!  Blending very nicely with the print appliques from the first border.  

Ahh, yes!  This is more like it!  Does it even matter that the golden fabric is poinsettias??  So, below is the final rendition of border number 2.  And yes, I did eventually stitch down that little leaf at the right edge of the flower pot to finish it off.  

There will be at least one more wider border added since the quilt right now is less than 48x48 inches.  Too large for a wall hanging around here and too small for a useable throw quilt.  But for now, there are several other projects I need to get busy on, especially the quilts I need to finish for the quilt auction at the end of summer.

I'll leave you with a little sneak peek at the next one in the pipeline.  First two rounds of borders stitched during our quilt ministry meeting this morning.

Looking forward to seeing what Audrey has in store for us with Bramble Blooms II!  

Friday, April 5, 2024

Two Friday Finishes

 I don't think I've ever posted a first finish for the year this late, but life just moves slower the older we are. Anyway, earlier this week I finished this little doll quilt made of leftover sashing pieces from a camp donation quilt a few years ago.

The backing came from a donated piece of fabric that was once the beginning of a shirt for a young child, and the binding from the ministry bins.  My friendly giraffe will accompany the quilt to its new home on Sunday, when it is given to a little girl in our congregation.  

And, finally, finally, the Circus Animal baby/toddler quilt is a finish!  

My file indicates that this was started in 2021.  I chose to hand quilt this one, such happy blocks how could I resist.  Unfortunately I chose to use up an older (no label) piece of cotton batting that turned out to be a bear to needle.  Had to work on it in short stints, with several other larger quilts being finished up in the meantime.  By the time the last block was quilted, there was no way I wanted to continue hand quilting all the sashings, so earlier this week the Janome came to the rescue with serpentine stitches and last night the binding was completed.  Still, I'm so happy to have put in the effort to hand quilt the blocks since this is such a bright, cheerful quilt.

It may be a bit easier to see the quilting from the back.

This quilt will be saved in the blanket chest for a future great-grandchild, and I hope to have a couple more added to the pile before they are needed a few years from now.  

In the meantime I'll be concentrating on finishing up Bramble Blooms 1 before Audrey posts the starting prompt for the second quilt in the series.   Meaning, of course, I'll need to figure out and actually make the blocks for the second border before the end of the month.

We are still having snow showers every half hour or so, and hoping the skies clear for the eclipse.  We'll be staying home for the event, figuring it wouldn't be worth facing all the traffic to get to a place of totality.  Where we are located it should be about 99 percent - good enough for me!

Enjoy your weekend!

Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Scrappy Sawtooth Stars

 It's been awhile since I've posted, but finally I have a finished top to show you.  Sawtooth stars, lots of them, with simple alternate blocks in a rather odd green that is impossible to render accurately in a photo, sigh.

Lots of scrap bins were raided with bits and pieces used up in making the 66 star blocks.  This quilt will be donated to the annual camp benefit auction over Labor Day weekend.  

My helper was there every bit of the way, especially when all the pieces were laid out on the floor.  Here he is overseeing the photographing effort.

And now I'm looking forward to getting back to Bramble Blooms, and a couple other projects.  
Hope to post again soon, the past couple weeks have been a blur, and expecting that to continue until mid-April, at least!

Wishing you all a lovely weekend and warm sunny skies for Easter!

Sunday, February 11, 2024

Bramble Blooms First Border and other projects

 This past weekend I finally bit the bullet and sewed up the first set of borders for my version of Bramble Blooms I.  

I decided to go with my original idea and make all four border panels from the same stylized yukata fabric, adding half-circle applique accents in areas of plain background along the inside edges.  You might be aware that floral yukata fabrics often reverse direction of the design every so often, which facilitates the creation of kimonos with both front and back being right-side-up without the necessity of cutting and creating shoulder seams.  This reversal happened in the top border you see above.  

I'm quite happy with the way this border turned out, but am still not totally happy with my center panel.  It seems like it needs "something" but I don't know what.  Perhaps a bird or a butterfly?  Appliqued or embroidered, or quilted?  I'm open to any and all suggestions!

Aside from this project, I spent the majority of January cleaning up the "scrap corner" of the sewing room.  All the random piles are now neatly housed in smallish bins of several size squares, narrow strips, "wide" strips generally over 2-1/2 inches, long lengths of binding, and a big bin called "chunks." That's pieces larger than 6-1/2 inches but less than a fat quarter.  The amazing thing is that I've actually consulted several of those neatly stacked bins when searching for a particular size square, where the piles were totally ignored when they just sat jumbled in the corner.  

Remember this quilt top?  I've been ever-so-slowly hand quilting it off and on in the evenings.  

It should have been done long ago but a piece of rogue batting got used for this one, and it's a bugger to needle.  I'm hoping to finish hand quilting the last three panels in the next couple weeks, and then machine quilt all the sashings/borders and be done with it.

The historic panel quilt is partially quilted now, awaiting the day when the table around the Janome is cleared so that project can proceed.  The panel itself is now hand quilted, but the borders are being machine quilted.  Soon I hope.

And, just because distractions/squirrels always seem to find me, a friend at our quilting ministry was cleaning up several bins in our storage area last week and came out with these pieces - could I resist - not a chance!

The large piece is a home dec fabric of unknown age. It has been cut into on all sides, but enough is intact that a good size central medallion piece can be cut from it.  First though, a wash on the delicate cycle since I have no idea whether it will wash well.  The last piece of home dec fabric that I used in a quilt border washed well with no shrinkage and had a similar hand, so I'm hoping this one will too.  

Well, this is enough for one post.  We're expecting a snowstorm mid-week after several days of mid-50s this past week.  A very strange winter for sure.  

Til next time, happy quilting!

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Bramble Blooms 1 - next steps

 It's a foggy, rainy afternoon and the internet is barely moving along.  HughesNet and rainy/snowy weather do NOT get along at all - 'nuf said ...

Anyhow, when I last posted, the center of my Bramble Blooms I was still in process of being stitched down.  When Audrey posted her guidance for the first set of borders, I was having a little fun playing with some sawtooth stars meant for a camp donation quilt for the 2024 auction.

Cheerful, yes?  Though clearly not what Audrey had in mind.  More applique, possibly a coping border and then a wider border with repeated applique was what she suggested.  I had been thinking about half circle appliques surrounding the coping border, so I set about looking for some possibilities.  

After having used a piece of Japanese yukata fabric for the flower pot in the center, that bin of fabrics was consulted again while completely ignoring my set of fabrics initially chosen for this series.  Improv????   I ended up choosing another treasured piece of yukata of which I have 4 yards (yukata fabrics are typically only 14 inches wide, so not as much fabric as you might have thought).  

A bit on the dark side, but I love the subtle colors and the repeating tulip theme.  Below you can see the tulips emerging and also my half-circle cracker box template pinned in place.   Coping border was chosen from my bin of bits and pieces set aside for the sawtooth stars quilt, but that bit of deep brownish red seems to tie the center tulips with the brownish tulip leaves in the outer border. 

Surrounding the outer edge of the coping border completely with half circles was clearly not going to work well since I didn't want them covering that flowing tulip motif.  

Right now I'm thinking intermittent half circle appliques will solve that issue.   The next thing I'll need to consider is whether to continue these fabrics around the entire border or ?  I like the idea of the undulating tulips all the way around, and hoping it won't be "overkill" if I proceed in that direction.
And no, there won't be a right-hand border of that red fabric on the right (below), it's just pinned up on the design wall so it doesn't wander away while I'm concentrating on other ongoing projects...

Last, but not least, I'm leaning toward using the green fabric shown below for the cornerstones fabric.  A lot to do before Audrey's next set of border suggestions are published!

Til next time, I hope you're having as much fun with whatever you're stitching at the moment.