Thursday, September 22, 2022

Happy First Day of Fall 2022! Nancy's Trail to Kansas Quilt + Elaine's Yellow Brick Road Quilt

 At exactly 9:03 PM EDT today, the Sun will traipse across the Celestial Equator.  Do you know what that means?  It means that today is the first day of FALL, despite temps still in the nineties and the threat of boob sweat stopping us Southerners from decking ourselves out in sweaters as we long to do.  We will rip out our impatiens and plant mums, and pile pumpkins, gourds, and random bales of hay on our suburban porches.  We may still be wearing sandals for a few months longer, but we will be choosing fall colors for our pedicures from here on out.  It's all about "mind over matter" as we celebrate the arrival of Fake Fall in the Carolinas.  

To help us all get in the mood for the new season, I've been holding back a couple of Fall client quilts to share with you today.  Grab your pumpkin spiced latte, your pumpkin muffins, slather on some pumpkin spice hand cream and if it STILL doesn't feel like it's fall, try lighting a pumpkin spice candle or two.  Here we go!

Nancy's Piecing the Trail to Kansas Quilt

There is a story behind this quilt, and another story behind THAT story...  When Nancy contacted me about this project, it had been languishing as a UFO (UnFinished Object) for quite some time.  The pattern is called Piecing the Trail to Kansas by Lynne Hagmeier of Kansas Troubles Quilters, and it comes with a historical fiction "journal" that has a chapter for each month about the joys and sorrows experienced by a family of pioneers on the wagon train to Kansas Territory in the 1850s.  The quilt block for each month related to what was happening in the book for that month's chapter.

Nancy tells me that she really got into the story about the pioneer experience and had enjoyed piecing the quilt top as a BOM (Block of the Month) program at a local quilt shop, but once the BOM program ended, her enthusiasm for finishing it petered out.

Nancy's 79 x 90 Trail to Kansas Quilt, Finished at Last with Primitive Fall E2E

I'm so glad she brought this to me because it's a gorgeous quilt that deserved to be finished!  There is also a story behind the Primitive Fall edge-to-edge quilting design we selected for this quilt, featuring pumpkins, moons, stars, birds (crows?), and botanicals.

Detail of Primitive Fall E2E on Nancy's Quilt

In the pattern cover photo below, you can see the additional appliqué elements that were supposed to be added to the background of this quilt.  Nancy had had enough of this project and just didn't feel motivated to do all of that appliqué work, even though the appliqué elements were symbolic representations of the storyline about the pioneer woman's family.  

I was DELIGHTED when I found that digital quilting design that incorporated so many of the missing appliqué elements.  I've got the crow, the crescent moon, the stars, as well as the botanicals.  You would never know, looking at Nancy's finished quilt, that any part of the original pattern had been "left out."

Pattern Photo of Trail to Kansas, Showing Omitted Applique

This is the quilting design I used on Nancy's quilt:

Careful observers might notice that I tweaked this design a bit for Nancy's quilt.  I mirror-image flipped every other row of the design so half of her birds are facing left and the other half face right, and I staggered the rows with a 50% offset as well so I wouldn't have such obvious, rigid repeats.  I used YLI 40 Tex Machine Quilting Cotton variegated thread in Green to Tan to complement the traditional, folksy feel of Nancy's quilt, and we used Quilter's Dream Cotton Select loft batting.

Here's what Nancy's quilt top looked like prior to quilting:

Nancy's Quilt Top Before Quilting

Elaine's Cuddly Flannel Yellow Brick Road Quilt

This next Fall-themed quilt is also a UFO success story.  The Yellow Brick Road Quilt pattern is a beginner-friendly fat quarter pattern by Atkinson design and it's available on Etsy from multiple sellers here (this post contains affiliate links).  Elaine told me that she started piecing her flannel Yellow Brick Road quilt top fifteen (15!) years ago.  She said it "wasn't an important quilt" and much like Nancy, she "just wanted it done."

Elaine's Yellow Brick Road Quilt with Falling Leaves E2E

All of Elaine's fabrics for the quilt top as well as the backing are flannels, and this quilt is SO SOFT!  If this quilt was still in my possession rather than long since returned to Elaine, I would be cranking up my air conditioning just so I could cuddle up with this one.

Rear View: Detail of Falling Leaves Quilting on the Backing Side

Quilts with simple piecing lines and solid or tonal fabrics can really be transformed by a dramatic quilting design.  I love how Falling Leaves E2E softens the straight lines and angles of the patchwork seams with flowing curls and movement, like those Fall leaves really were swept up in a gust of wind and they are swirling around across the quilt's surface.  I used 40 wt trilobal polyester Glide thread in Honey Gold for Elaine's quilt, with Quilters Dream 80/20 Select Loft Cotton/Poly batting.

Elaine's 79 x 91 Finished Quilt

Here's what Elaine's quilt top looked like before quilting.  And no, you're not imagining things and I'm not pulling a fast one on you, either -- In between taking this photo and bringing me her quilt, Elaine decided to remove the light brown border and replace it with the deep plum border you see in the finished quilt photos! 

Elaine's Quilt Top Before Quilting, With Original Border

The Moral of Today's Blog Post

Both Nancy and Elaine were thrilled with their quilts when they picked them up, even though they had been feeling "meh" about their projects and were really hiring me to quilt them mostly so they could stop feeling guilty about having started something long ago and never finishing it.  Haven't we all been there?  Someone should do a whole TED talk about Quilter's Guilt and how to break free!  I love how Nancy gave herself permission to simplify the quilt pattern and eliminate most of the appliqué that she wasn't excited about, allowing her to move on and spend her time on the projects she's enjoying today.  Same with Elaine -- she said there were "one or two blocks" that she wasn't happy with in her quilt top when she set the project aside, but once it was quilted she couldn't even find those offending blocks anymore.  Imperfectly finished quilts are so much better than perfectly incomplete quilts glowering at you from inside of dusty project boxes and making you feel bad for wanting to move on!

Special thanks to Elaine and to Nancy for helping us usher in Fall of 2022 with their beautiful quilts.  Thank you so much, both of you, for choosing me to quilt for you!

🍂🍂🍂 PSST!!  I'd Love to Quilt for YOU!

By the way, if you or any of your quilty friends has a quilt top or two that needs quilting, I'd be delighted to quilt for you!  I am currently scheduling quilts for completion in early December, so please let me know ASAP if you are working on quilts with holiday deadlines.  Click here to learn how easy it is to book a quilt with me!

Meanwhile, my Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler is quilted and trimmed, but I'm not showing it to you just yet!  I need to make the label and get it bound first, and then I'll do a big reveal when it's TOTALLY finished.  Soon, I promise!  I'm linking up today's post with my favorite linky parties, listed on the left sidebar of my blog.  Happy Fall, Y'all!


Sandy said...

Beautiful, as always! The quilting design on Nancy's quilt is perfect, as you noted. As for Elaine's quilt, her changed border really made it so much more beautiful -- as did your quilting.
Fall? We're hitting temps in the mid-to-high-90's this week. Of course, I prefer sandals to closed shoes, so there's that ... ;)

Kathy S. said...

Oh my! LOVE the quilting on this quilt. You amaze me again and again.

Karin said...

Beautiful quilts and beautifully the designs that were chosen to finish them.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

and even after quilting pumpkins and crows I bet it still didn't feel like fall!! For the past two weeks it has been 90+ and the A/C has been pumping out cold air - I am so tired of it and so ready for fall - for real fall but I guess Arkansas will need to wait for late October for that even the the leaves are turning on the trees - it is not due to fall but due to drought and heat changing those leaves to yellow and brown instead of the vibrant red, orange and bright yellow that they should be. But I'm heading to Tennessee soon and where I am going I checked the weather and it said 60's/40 - if it hits 40 I will be outside in the evening cuddled in a sweater saying hallelujah!!

Pamela Dempsey said...

I love your description of what we Southerners do for Fall even though we are still facing hot 🥵 weather. I’m in northeast Texas and our high will be 97 but feel warmer! I hate summer, Fall is my favorite season ❤️! The 2 blah quilts turned out awesome 👏

piecefulwendy said...

It's clear that you care for your customers with all thought you give to each of their quilts, helping to make the final finish so meaningful to them. Both quilts are amazing. We have lovely, cool weather here today; I'm currently tucked under a blanket (not a quilt - gasp!) while I read emails.

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

What lovely quilts and such a great lesson. Yep, finished is way better than perfection! Fretting over a work in progress and letting quilters guilt seep in simply saps our creative energy. You did a great job as always on those two quilts. Love those fall e2e designs!

Susan said...

Quilt tops ALWAYS look great after quilting! said...

Truly lovely quilting on those two quilts. A finish is so much better than perfect and these are two great examples! It is so wonderful to have a useable quilt than a project than in a box. . . I have plenty of the latter!! Well done, Rebecca!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Love the plum border switcheroo!!! Awesome finish on two former UFOs!!! Great job, Rebecca, on picking fab pantos, and great job quilt toppers!!!

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Good for Nancy and Elaine. I did that last year - closed my eyes and quilted! I love the new maroon border on Elaine's quilt - turned a blah border that did nothing for the quilt into a bright beautiful quilt. I do not blame Nancy for not wanting to go back and add applique! All in all - Great intro to Fall. Hugs

Kathy said...

I agree with all of you about Elaine's quilt. The plum color just makes the other colors pop and your quilting design works wonderfully. Thank you for all the inspiration.

Kathy said...

I agree with all of you about Elaine's quilt. The plum color just makes the other colors pop and your quilting design works wonderfully. Thank you for all the inspiration.