UGH. I feel like Ugh. Does that happen to you? I had this great idea about how I was going to start working on multiple quilts simultaneously, switching back and forth between projects according to my mood, whether I felt like doing hand applique, paper piecing, traditional piecing or whatever, and this was going to be a great thing for productivity and for creativity, blah blah blah. And so, for the first time ever for me, I set aside a quilt that I had not finished and started working on another one... and another one... and another one.
Guess what? It's not working out for me! I feel lost when I walk into the sewing room, and each time I switch projects I lose my groove and have to relearn whichever technique I haven't done in awhile.
There was the Jingle BOM, with blocks designed by Erin Russek of One Piece at a Time:
I set that aside when I realized that I wanted to set my center medallion straight rather than on-point as per Erin's original design, and I was unsure how to calculate the additional pieced borders I envisioned going between the center medallion and the on-point border blocks. I can't believe I haven't touched this since APRIL! :-(
Then I decided that I should learn needleturn applique, since I had so much fun with starch and press prepared applique for my Jingle blocks, so and I started working on a Frankensteined Whig Rose applique block consisting of several magazine patterns that I cobbled together. That one stalled out when I realized that I do not yet know a good method for appliqueing the tiny circles that I imagined going around the center of my flower:
|My Jingle Border Blocks, Languishing Untouched|
Here's the issue with that one: I liked the idea of appliqueing the fussy-cut rosebuds from my Vervain drapery fabric around the center of my flower, but the rosebuds are an odd shape, not really round. So I can't use the Perfect Circles templates to make these. I don't think I can needle turn them and get the edges of these tiny shapes perfectly smooth -- and what's more, I'm concerned about making sure that no ivory background shows at the edges of the rosebuds against the brown background. I got this block to this point by mid May or early June, and then set it aside so I could mull over the rosebud dilemma for awhile:
|Whig Rose Thingy, Stumped by Rosebuds in Center|
"Let's do something EASY next, to rebuild that confidence," thought Moi. So I made 9 Bear Paw blocks at the end of May and then decided they needed little 4" sawtooth star blocks as sashing posts.
|Stalled Franken-Whig Rose Applique Block|
First, I paper pieced a 3" star that was a pain in the tushy and too small anyway. Then I tried to make some 4" sawtooth stars at the beach and realized I can't sew anything at the beach because I can't SEE at the beach. Then I sewed two lovely red sawtooth stars once I got back home... only to have the red hand marbled fabric bleed all over the white background fabric when I tried to steam and press the finished block. Bummer!
|My Bear Paws|
|Bloody Sawtooth Star|
One would THINK I might have learned my lesson when one of my red batik fabrics bled in my Jingle blocks. One would THINK I would have tested this fabric for colorfastness before sewing it to white fabric. Whatever. The photo above shows what the block looks like now, after I soaked it in warm water with a couple drops of Dawn dishwashing liquid. I was able to get a lot of the excess dye out, but dye is still bleeding from the seam allowances where the fabric is stacked up and I am not sure how to get all of that out without fraying or distorting the edges of my blocks. I made two little star blocks out of this fabric and I used up all of the fabric, otherwise I would make new blocks after rinsing all the loose dye out of the uncut yardage. And of course I chose to make stars out of this fabric first because it was my favorite...
Meanwhile, in another fit of inspiration, I started making paper pieced pineapple blocks for a King sized quilt. Two of those are finished. I will need to make 34 more of these blocks to get the California King size I want for my bedroom:
So I've been working on all these quilts for months now, and I have nothing finished to show for myself except for the school fundraiser quilt and the kids' projects.
And yet I find myself longing to start on two more quilts, both of them totally unrealistic choices for me given my current skill set, my family responsibilities, and the amount of time I actually am able to spend sewing. I have officially lost my mind and have set my heart on making not one but TWO unbelievably challenging historical reproduction quilts:
|EQ7 Mock Up of Pineapple Quilt from Scanned Finished Block|
The first one is called Love Entwined, and it's Esther Aliu's free BOM based on a 1790 British quilt. Esther fell in love with this quilt after seeing a black and white photo of it in an old book called Patchwork. The current owners of the quilt refuse to allow anyone to see it or photograph it, so Esther has devised her patterns from enlargements of the black and white photo in her book. We don't know for sure what colors were used in the original, but Esther's mockup of bright fabrics against a dark background is captivating and reminds me of Scandinavian rosemaling. Look at this gorgeous Love Entwined quilt currently in progress, made by a Dutch quilter:
|"Love Entwined," updated color palette, by Esther Aliu|
Isn't that insane? I have been downloading and printing off the patterns as each month's installment is released, and they are all neatly stored in a binder. Me attempting this quilt today would be like a failing Algebra I student deciding to take Advanced Honors Trigonometry. However, it gives me something to work towards, and although the project is overwhelming when you look at the whole thing, how bad can it be if you just take it one piece at a time?
The other historical reproduction quilt that I am recently obsessed with is the Civil War era quilt with 4 1/2" miniature blocks and a striking, unusual pieced triangle border made by Vermont quilter Jane A. Stickle in 1863. This is the "Dear Jane" quilt:
|Dutch Quilter's "Love Entwined" in progress, from Juud's blog|
This quilt was popularized and made accessible by Brenda Manges Papadakis' 1993 Dear Jane book, including all 256 block patterns that she painstakingly redrafted. In the years since Papadakis' book came out, thousands of quilters have created faithful reproductions or modern reinterpretations of this quilt, and EQ sells a standalone Dear Jane software program that allows you to print out the block patterns in any size for rotary cutting, hand piecing, foundation piecing, or applique. I really love the border on this quilt, and how fresh and modern it looks when it's made up in bright contemporary fabrics:
|Original Sampler Quilt by Jane A. Stickle, 1863, Photo by Ken Burris|
I think Gwen used all Kaffe Fassett prints for her version of Dear Jane. She did a phenomenal job, and of course Judi Madsen's long arm quilting is magnificent as usual:
|Detail of Madsen's Quilting on Gwen's "Jane Revisited"|
Madsen spent 70 hours quilting this masterpiece. Doesn't this just take your breath away? Please check out Judi's Green Fairy blog here to read more about this beautiful quilt.
Ah, but what business do I have contemplating Love Entwined and Dear Jane when I have so many more attainable projects underway, and can't seem to make progress on any of them?!
And so, UGH! :-)
Have a great weekend, everyone!
|Madsen's Quilting Completed, Ready for Gwen to Finish and Bind|