Friday, March 10, 2023

Another Fresh Start On My Horizon: A Halo Quilt for Marlies

 Good morning, quilters!  Despite waking up to a muddy, rainy day here in Charlotte, I am in a sunshine mood today.  I think I may have finally figured out how to get my blog posts to automatically email to all of you wonderful people who have signed up for my email subscription!  Woo hoo!  Any of you who are not signed up for email but would like to be, just scroll to the bottom of my web site to find the signup box.  In case anyone else out there has been having a similar problem, here are the boring technical details: The RSS feed generator I'd been using successfully with that free email subscription service for years (can't even remember the name of it now!) and then with MailChimp created an RSS feed with slightly different tag names than the ones my new SendinBlue service is looking for when it checks my blog for new content.  The tags that were incorrect were "Published" instead of "pubDate" and "Content" instead of "Description," and SendinBlue's tech support identified that problem for me and directed me to a different website that would generate a new RSS feed with the universal RSS tags that their robots look for when they check my site for a new blog post.  The reason those awful blank emails were going out with just a header, a post title, and a footer, with no photos and no text, is that the SendinBlue robots were finding a new blog post title but couldn't "see" any of the text or photos when it wasn't associated with the tag name "Description" that they were looking for.  Clear as mud, right?  Anyway, I've been going back and forth with tech support about this and pulling my hair out over it for three months now, so it will be a huge relief to me if it's finally fixed.  The test email that I sent to myself last night came through correctly, so fingers crossed that THIS blog post shows up in everyone's inbox complete with text and photos, too!

But no one came here to talk about RSS feeds and computer bots, did they?  

Another NewFO for Rebecca: Halo Quilt by Jen Kingwell

I know I just posted last week about starting a new challenge project (the upcoming Star Upon Stars QAL from Laundry Basket Quilts), but the fabric and templates haven't shown up in my mailbox yet and the quilt along doesn't kick off until the middle of next week.  Meanwhile, my restless heart fell under the spell of a more intermediate quilt that will go together faster for me, one that involves curved piecing that I enjoy and find satisfying.  This is all the fault of my client Megan, by the way, because she's going to be starting this quilt in a class at the Quilt Patch shop in Matthews at the end of March and she tempted me with photos of a quilt that is way too adorable to refuse.  I'm also blaming Teresa, the Quilt Temptress who is teaching this class and who has been sharing photos of the gorgeous Halo quilt she made as a sample!  Teresa's class is already full and has a wait list, but I have a feeling she'll be teaching it again in the future.  As for me, I have a constitutional inability to follow directions anyway, so I'll be diving in on this one totally unsupervised.

Halo Pattern, Templates, and Tilda Pie In the Sky Fabric Bundles

If you're local to the Charlotte area and you'd like to make a Halo quilt of your own, Quilt Patch Fabrics in Matthews has both the Jenny From One Block pattern booklet and the optional acrylic template set for sale in their shop.  I purchased my Halo pattern booklet and my Tilda Pie In the Sky fabrics from the fabulous Flash Sew and Quilt shop in Naples, Florida while I was there visiting my in-laws, and I'll be making my Halo quilt as a gift for my mother-in-law Marlies.  

Marlies is very frail now and has been struggling with progressive dementia, osteoporosis and other health issues, which is heartbreaking for everyone who loves her.  She did not always seem to know who we were, but she perked up when I came back from the quilt shop and showed her my Tilda fabrics.  She was petting the fabric bundles (like we do, those of us who sew!) and wanted to know what I would make with them.  I showed her the picture of the quilt and asked if I should make this one for her, and she immediately said YES!  That's all I needed to hear.  ðŸ’•. 

Bernie with his Mom

Notice the flying geese on that throw pillow peeking out from under the blanket?  My mother-in-law probably made that herself years ago.  Bernie's grandparents on both sides were German tailors and my mother-in-law had excellent sewing skills in better days.  I wish I could show you the George and Martha Washington costumes she made for the Bicentennial celebrations back in the 1970s!  

By the way, if you're interested in making a Halo quilt like mine and your local quilt shop doesn't stock this pattern, you can find the Jenny From One Block pattern booklet and the optional template set here on Etsy.  Your favorite local quilt shop probably has the new Tilda Pie In the Sky fabrics in stock, but if not, you can find them from Etsy sellers here.  I'm planning to mix scraps and fabrics from my stash with the Tilda fat eighth bundles and will use plenty of pink in my quilt, because that's my mother-in-law's favorite color.  (This post contains affiliate links).

Neglected But Not Abandoned: Deco Quilt Cutting Progressing Slowly

Maybe you're wondering whether this means I've abandoned my other new project, the Deco Quilt pattern from Lo & Behold Stitchery?  Au contraire, mon frere!  That's still happening, too.

Cutting and Kitting My Deco Bed Quilt, Cheating With AccuQuilt

As mentioned earlier in this post, I have a constitutional inability to follow directions.  All you need to make the Deco Quilt, if you follow the pattern instructions, are a cutting mat, a rotary cutter, and a couple of basic rectangular rulers.  However, if you own an AccuQuilt Die Cutter (or are looking for an excuse to purchase one), you can speed up the cutting and increase your accuracy and chances of success tremendously with a 1 1/2" strip die.  Seriously -- you can cut ten identical, perfect one and a half inch wide strips across width of fabric in 30 seconds flat with the die cutter, and when you literally need to cut hundreds of strips in each fabric, this is a big deal!  I think this strip width is used several of the other popular quilt patterns from Lo & Behold Stitchery as well, such as the Knitted Star pattern I quilted for Megan several months ago.

The instructions for the Deco Quilt incorporates time-saving methods of strip piecing and then sub-cutting pieced strip units into smaller units that get rearranged and sewn back together again, common methods that will be familiar to many of today's quilters.  I personally find that I can maintain better control throughout the piecing process if I cut my fabric into individual units and piece them together the old fashioned way, one little seam at a time.  It will probably take me a lot longer to do it this way, but I know I'll enjoy the process a lot more and will be happier with my quilt in the end.  In quilting as in life, it's important to KNOW THYSELF!  ;-).  Making the quilt my own way (a.k.a. Cheating!), these are the other AccuQuilt dies I'm using to cut out my Deco Quilt:

I used an HST die as well but I don't remember off the top of my head which size that was.  Anyway, I will be pressing my seams to the side (rather than pressing them open as the pattern suggests) so that intersections lock together for accuracy, and I will be piecing my half block units individually rather than slicing a completed block in half diagonally, to maintain all of my points along the edges of the quilt.  By the way, I will not be sharing my "alternate instructions" or AccuQuilt cutting charts for my Deco quilt out of respect for the pattern designer's copyright, and to be clear, I did purchase the pattern from the designer because it's a very cool design and she deserves to every penny of the pattern cost for coming up with it!  So please don't ask me for that information.  If you purchase a copy of the Deco pattern and you own any of the dies mentioned above, you will have all the information you need to make this quilt.

To Be Resumed Shortly: FrankenWhiggish Rose Neverending Appliqué

...And then there's my current hand stitching project, the needle turn appliqué.  I always seem to stall out when it's time to switch gears.  Thank God I'm a Type-A highly organized person, or I would never be able to finish these projects that get set aside and forgotten about for months or years at a time.  Every fabric, thread, pattern, template, stabilizer, etc. related to this project is in this wire basket, waiting for me to dig it out and puzzle over what the heck I was planning to do with it!  I even save the receipts from the fabric, which sometimes comes in handy if I'm short on something that is out of print and I need to track it down on the Internet somewhere.

FrankenWhiggish Supplies Waiting Patiently for Prepping

These appliqué blocks will need to come off my design wall today to make room for Halo and/or Deco blocks, so I took a quick picture as a visual reminder of how many stuffed berries and broderie perse rosebuds need to be prepped to complete the applique.  After that, I think I'll do some kind of pieced sashing.  You know, EVENTUALLY...  ðŸ˜‰. 

FrankenWhiggish Blocks In Progress, Coming Down Today

It looks like I need to make 56 more rosebuds and 96 more stuffed berries.  I hope there's enough of those fabrics in my little basket!  ðŸ¤ž

And now, I'll leave you with some photos I snapped of my father-in-law's gorgeous orchids while we were in Florida:

And the most amazing fuchsia water lilies on his pond:

I didn't even know water lilies came in that color, did you?!  

Alright; now that I'm home and I'm unpacked, I have some clients' quilts waiting patiently to be quilted before anything else happens.  Once I get back on track with my quilting schedule, I'll be cutting and piecing one Halo block at a time, continuing to cut and kit my Deco quilt (organizing all the cut pieces for the various blocks in Ziplock baggies so I can piece them later), and prepping my appliqué bits and pieces so I have hand stitching to work on in the evenings again.  I know you all want to see the quilt show pictures, but it's going to take some time to go through the photos and get that post written up so sadly, it's not happening today!  I'm linking up today's post with my favorite linky parties:


Design Wall Monday at Small Quilts and Doll Quilts  


Midweek Makers at Quilt Fabrication

Wednesday Wait Loss at The Inquiring Quilter


Needle and Thread Thursday at My Quilt Infatuation  


Finished or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre


Frédérique at Quilting Patchwork Appliqué

Oh Scrap! at Quilting Is More Fun Than Housework

Slow Stitching Sunday at Kathy's Quilts

Thanks for reading, and Happy Quilting!


Anonymous said...

Love that you are going down the Halo rabbit hole with me! Your sweet mother in law will love the Halo quilt you make her! She will feel the love! I promise you!!!!!

Megan Shein said...

Not sure if my comment went through?

Marie said...

Oh, you'll have lots of fun with Halo and your mother-in-law will love it. I've been working on mine for (ahem) a couple of years now and the finish line is actually in sight. It's taken a while but I totally love looking at it on my design wall - it's much scrappier than yours. Nice to see Frankenwhiggish Rose back in the rotation again too, it's a beauty. And those orchids - OH MY!

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

Great projects, love that needle turn rose block!

Gwyned Trefethen said...

What a heartwarming moment you had with your MIL No doubt she will pet her quilt and feel the warmth of a gift from the heart when she receives her quilt. I appreciated your passing on the wisdom of knowing yourself. So true.

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

one rabbit hole after another for you LOL - it is a very pretty quilt - something like a drunkard's path but not. I could see falling down that rabbit hole with you but I have so many patterns hanging on my wall in front of me to remind me they are there that I think I must pass.
I would love to see the Whig Rose finished one day - so close!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Everything in this post is gorgeous!
Je suis sûre que ta belle-maman va adorer ce quilt, ce modèle est magnifique !
Have fun with all your projects ;)
Thank you for sharing them, and linking up.

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

Those flowers are absolutely beautiful Rebecca. Alzeiheimers disease is so sad when our parents develop it. My Mother had it for 10 years before she passed. Sweet picture of your MIL and Bernie. She will respond to the quilt! Great post! Hugs

Sandy said...

Much as I love seeing what you do with your customers' quilts, it was such fun to see an entire post of your own projects -- and those lovely flowers, too, of course! I am beyond sure that your mother-in-law will love the quilt, given how much love will be going into it.

Kathleen said...

You have so many cool projects, Rebecca! The RSS feed conundrum exists for all of us...I just moved to MailerLite. So far so good, except for user error! The halo quilt for your mother in law will be delightful. It was so sweet that she was interested in the fabric and what you would make with it! said...

Love your rabbit hole! Those flowers are such vibrant colors. I didn't know waterlilies could be fuchsia! Alzheimers robs the mind in such a heinous method. Making your sweet MIL a quilt is a great plan. She will love it and it is a way you can wrap your arms around her when you aren't physically there!

Chris said...

I totally love your Frankenwhiggish blocks. Just think, if you made 2 circles a week you could have them all done in a year. One a day and you could have them done by summertime.

Sara said...

How wonderful that seeing the pretty fabrics perked up your MIL. Dementia is such a cruel disease, maybe more so for the family. My MIL had terrible osteoporosis in her later years. Her mind stayed sharp, but her body failed her.

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

I'm thinking those halo blocks are going to look delightful, love your fabric selection!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

Aging is so painful.. So sweet that you could touch your MIL's heart with fabric and quilt plans!!!

dq said...

I am pretty sad she is dealing with dementia. My mother has it too and it is just so hard.

I checked out the Etsy shop on your fabric purchases for your new quilt - love love love! It is now on my want list.

The flowers are so beautiful. Coming into spring right now means no flowers for awhile.

I love how you do your own thing with patterns and fabric. Same.