Sunday, November 13, 2022

Ten-Year Projects In Progress: Update on Frankenwhiggish Rose, Jingle BOM, + Deco Quilts

So...  I put my Whig Rose blocks back up on my design wall yesterday morning to see how much work remains to be done on them.  I started this needle turn appliqué project in March of 2014 (you can read about it here) and it's been an on-again, off-again kind of thing.  I'm finding it really monotonous to appliqué the same shapes over and over again.  The reason I haven't started any of the Sarah Fielke 2022 Block of the Month projects I signed up for is that I wanted to finish THIS appliqué project before starting on a new one, and this one ain't finished yet!

FrankenWhiggish Blocks on November 12, 2022

Just for kicks, let's compare today's photo to the one from the last time I had these blocks up on my design wall, back in January of this year:

FrankenWhiggish Blocks on January 12, 2022

So it took me TEN MONTHS to complete eighteen of those wretched little tulips!  AAAARGH!!  And I still have ten more to go.  

Well, the remaining tulips are already cut out and I've already reverse appliquéd the diamonds in the center of them.  They are ready to be positioned and pinned to the blocks for hand stitching in front of the television at night.  Except that I've been doing more late-night longarm quilting lately than television watching...

I Am Sick and Tired of These Tulips Already!

In my defense: As mentioned earlier, sewing the same shape in the same fabric over and over again is boring!  I have also discovered that it's a lot easier to needle turn and stitch sharp inside and outside points than the sharp inside and outside curves in my tulip shape.  I can tell I'm getting better at it when I compare my recent work to the first test block for this quilt, but I can tell you that my next appliqué project is going to be a sampler with plenty of variety instead of the same block over and over again!  

Check out my design wall eight years ago, right after I finished the first test block for this quilt and had made a start on the second block:

My Design Wall on October 9, 2016

That big green block was the first block I made for the Nanu Nanu! Retro '80s Building Blocks sampler that I just finished last month, and the quilt top underneath that block was a teacher gift that was the very first "real quilt" I quilted on my first long arm machine.  The sampler blocks on the right are in a project box somewhere.  They are marinating, or hibernating, or maybe their tannins are softening and their fruit flavors are dropping to give them a smoother, fuller flavor, like wine...  No plans for them any time soon!

Time traveling even further back, here's my design wall back in September of 2014, when the very first of these Whig Rose blocks was still in progress:

My Design Wall on September 8, 2014

These design wall photos make me feel better about how long this appliqué project is taking, because I'm reminded of all of the other things I've been working on at the same time.  Those bear paw blocks and sawtooth stars turned into my Color Outside the Lines quilt that I completed last year.  Off to the right, those are the very first two pineapple log cabin blocks that turned into my gigantic Pineapple Juice Nostalgia quilt that I also finished last year.

Only One Block is 100% Complete

I keep working on this project because I have a vision for what I hope it will end up like and I do still like the quilt!  Hopefully once I get the tulips done the last bits of appliqué will go faster.  There are the broderie perse rosebuds that go around the centers of each flower, like so:

Seven Blocks Need Broderie Perse Rosebuds

Looking at that photo now, I am tempted to add something in between the rosebuds, but I think I'll get the rest of the blocks caught up to this block before I start shoveling more work on myself!  After all of the blocks have their rosebuds, the last step is the stuffed berries, like so:

Eight Blocks Need Fussy-Cut Stuffed Berries

Notice the little unintended pointy thing on right tulip tip that is supposed to be an acute curve.  That was my first block for this quilt, and I'm getting better at those rounded points but they are still annoyingly fiddly!  And of course, I still have an even older incomplete appliqué project in progress, my Jingle BOM that I began in 2013:

Jingle In Progress, 2013

Whereas my FrankenWhiggish Rose project is all needle turn, meaning the raw edges get turned under with the point of my needle as I'm stitching each shape onto my block background, my Jingle project was done using a prepared edge technique using starch and heat-safe plastic templates to turn the raw edges under smoothly before stitching.  I much prefer hand stitching the applique when the edges have been turned ahead of time, but I didn't enjoy the prep work with the hot iron and I didn't think it was a fantastic method with intricate shapes.  

Here's what that Jingle quilt top looked like on the design wall before I started custom quilting it in July of this year:

Completed Jingle Quilt Top, Prior to Quilting

Back in July, I got all of the stitch in the ditch quilting and the feather quilting in the setting triangles completed, and started in on a few of the pieced blocks before my sewjo petered out.

Jingle Custom Quilting In Progress, July of 2022

I have one more client's quilt in my queue and then I've got Jingle scheduled to go back on my frame the week of Thanksgiving -- I'm determined to finish quilting it so I can enjoy it THIS YEAR during the holiday season!

Meanwhile...  (I'm starting to realize that I'd have more finishes to show for myself if I didn't have so many "meanwhiles!")

I have made no additional progress on my Deco quilt that I supposedly started last November, but it's hanging out patiently at the end of my cutting table in hopes that if I see it glaring at me I might pay it some attention!

Prewashed Deco Quilt Fabrics, Cutting In Progress as of Today

I've planned out my colors, bought my fabric and prewashed it, and started a tiny bit of the cutting for this quilt.  I also drafted myself some nifty foundation paper piecing patterns in EQ8 for the half blocks on the sides of the quilt, because the pattern instructions call for making full blocks and slicing them in half.  I don't like those directions because I want an extra quarter inch seam allowance beyond the center of each half block, so my points don't get covered up by my binding.  

My Kona Solids Color Plan for 102 x 102 Deco Bed Quilt

I think that, before I chop up all of my Deco fabric into strips per the pattern instructions, I might want to make a couple of test blocks first to ensure they finish the right size.  The fact that I'm using so many more colors than the pattern calls for is complicating things, too, because when the instructions say to cut X number of strips of Color 3, and I am actually using three different fabrics for Color 3, I have to stop and think and try to figure out how many strips I need of each of my own fabrics.  The popular construction techniques in this pattern are geared towards speed and fabric conservation, but I worry that I might be giving up some control and accuracy if I follow the instructions, especially since these are not my usual "tried and true" methods.  I would be so much more comfortable cutting out hundreds of individual squares -- but then this would likely turn into ANOTHER 10-year project!  

So, those are the reasons I'm thinking/planning/researching Stars Upon Stars, but won't be starting it until at least next year!  I think if I ever tried to host a quilt-along, everyone who signed up for it would get really frustrated by my snail's pace -- except the procrastinators!  The procrastinators would love me!  😆. If I didn't long arm quilt for clients, I'd never have any finishes to share on the blog!  Next post, I promise to show you a lovely finished quilt (but it probably won't be one of MINE!)

Have a wonderful week, everyone, and happy stitching!  I'm linking up with my favorite linky parties, listed on the left sidebar of my blog.


CathieJ said...

You have a lot of beautiful, but time consuming projects in the works. I don't know if I would ever go back to the Whig rose applique once I put it down. It will be absolutely beautiful when it is completed. I hope you can finish quilting the Jingle quilt. It is gorgeous!

loraine everard said...

Hi, Rebecca, so lovely to see these quilts again, I guess I have been reading great quilting blogs for longer than I thought! I am also a terrible procrastinator, but one good thing about it is how often I put something away, thinking it's awful, and when I pull it out again, I like it! I've been working( not totally true!!) On Erin Russek's Mimi's Bloomers for quite a few years. Maybe one day I will get it finished! The frankenwhiggish quilt is looking great! I look forward to seeing it again. Best wishes from England, Loraine.x

Pamela Arbour said...

Your quilts are beautiful. I did read all of your post. Congratulations on your progress on all of them. Your needleturn is going to be gorgeous when you are finished. There is so much detail. I gasped when I got to the part where you have all of those little circles to do! I love the padded ones. Maybe you can find some way to pace yourself for the finish? I guess like maybe one block per month? I've been using a timer to help myself move along on certain projects. That might not work for your project, but something to move it along. Thanks for sharing everything.

Gretchen Weaver said...

Sometimes it take a long time to finish hand appliqued quilts but when I do, I LOVE the quilt! I can't wait to see Jingle, she's a beauty, we would all like to enjoy her this Christmas season, happy stitching!

Sandy said...

You really do accomplish so much, even if it doesn't always look that way -- finishes are so much easier to "count" than are steps toward a finish. As for your plan for your Deco, I think you've had a great idea in putting it into EQ8 so as. not to lose the points! Maybe I'll do that, too, once I get around to finding fabric for that pattern; I don't like chopping off points!

piecefulwendy said...

It was fun to see those photos of your design wall through the months/years and see your progress on all your projects. I've never been good at needle turn, but we just had a tutorial at quilt group showing a new-to-me method so I might give that a go. As far as finishing, I think it's great to have projects that have to percolate a bit, that are always there for you to work on. Much more satisfying to enjoy the finish when it comes. I'm all for chain stitching and fast finishes, but I think the joy of knowing the work put into a quilt that has taken years has a greater satisfaction? (And what do you use the Avent baby bottle for??)

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

I love revisiting all of your projects. I love needle turn applique but hate the prep that you need to do if you do the type where it is all pressed to the back using the templates - I can not do that way. I find the prep work too tedious and can't stick with it. With needle turn unless you want perfection each piece can be slightly different if you are not looking for a ribbon in the end. I do want to do more applique in my future and I have a pattern chosen but not the time to do it right now as I really want to finish all these RSC quilts already started plus finish some smaller items for Christmas.

Kathleen said...

That is going to be a gorgeous quilt...and it is frustrating when we stop and then have to get back to it. I sometimes find scheduling time is a good thing, even if we break the date a few times - but not enough to break up with the project. Good luck with your do take such time and care - they are true masterpieces!

Deb A said...

I see lots of progress on some beautiful quilts. All the applique is amazing, I am in awe of your talent. Have a great week.

Quilter Kathy said...

I sooo admire your applique skills! Your stitches are invisible!
I have been working on a tiny tiny project and hate my easy applique - I will write more about it next week, but I intend to rip it out. Keep going... it looks fabulous!

Miaismine said...

It sounds like your FrankenWhiggish blocks are a long-term project – and so very beautiful! Honestly, it’s lovely! Your fussy cuts add so much to the project. Those close up photos are great for studying and learning how fussy cutting our fabrics add to the entire project. I noticed your serge (?) your blocks. Perhaps I should be doing the same with my own long-term projects?
Your Jingle quilt is stunning!

Kate said...

I enjoy looking at applique and love those complicated designs, but I'd never finish any of them. You've done so well with FrankenWhiggish blocks, it's going to be a beautiful quilt, as is your Jingle Quilt Top. You are not alone in having a number of project marinating, I've got more then my share of block sets just waiting for inspiration on how to set them.

Sue Daurio said...

those applique blocks are just so gorgeous. But I certainly understand the need for variety. Which that new BOM certainly has it. Rabbits seem to be big, I see that Jen Kingwell has bunnies in her new BOM too. Can't wait to see what you do with the old one and the new one. Maybe if you finish one block of the old one you can reward yourself with a block of the new one! They can finish at the same time :)

Linda said...

Those Whig Rose blocks are just gorgeous! I understand they would get boring. Your Christmas quilt looks magnificent! Thank you for sharing your fun post with To Do Tuesday! said...

Your applique process is fabulous! Wow! That is going to be a fabulous finish too! You are so close to a couple of finishes. How terrific that must feel. Oh. . .the anticipation of starting a new project!

Susan said...

Those are stunning blocks! I can see why you're tired of this project, but it is going to be a beauty when finished.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Well, if I had kept my magazines I would delve into Whig Rose pattern - I love your variation!
I already bought the Jingle pattern when you first showed the finish top - I need to get off the computer before I have 10 more quilt tops to do and send to you!!! LOL. Hugs

Maggie said...

Dear Rebecca,
I love to appliqué but realized years ago it must have a lot of variety. So I can understand how frustrating it is when you have to do the same thing over and over again. Be kind to yourself, you are on the home stretch and your projects may take years they’ll get done. My block or speed bump was being to hard on myself and expecting things to be done sooner than later. So when I flipped the switch to tortoise and not the hare, I got my mojo back and working on one project at a time has seen many more complex pieces finished in the past two years. Your machine quilting is beautiful. Take care and have an amazing day.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Gorgeous projects on the go, but try to remember that there's NO SHAME in taking your time with any quilt. The longer you spend making a quilt the more value per yard you are getting out of the fabric included! :o))

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Wow, your appliqué is just lovely, well done on the blocks already made ;) These tiny little shapes take time to sew. I love your new project, such a graphic design, it's going to be super pretty!
Thank you for sharing, and linking up!

Jennifer Fulton Inquiring Quilter said...

Your thoughtful approach to your own projects is reflected in your quilting style, which is also thoughtful and well planned. I know your clients appreciate that and so do I as an ardent observer. Thanks for sharing on Wednesday Wait Loss.

dq said...

Monotonous or whatever, they are beautiful! Great that you chose to work on an existing project than start the 2022 BOM. It is so easy to start and so much work to finish for sure.
Your applique' is exquisite.

Sharon Kwilter said...

Your fussy cutting on those tiny applique shapes is stunning!