Oxymoron Quilt Top

What to name a quilt?  Sometimes it’s easy, sometimes hard, sometimes perfect, and sometimes I settle on something rather boring.  While looking through photos of this quilt top, I kept thinking of names like “Wholly Separate” or “Divided and United”.  It occurred to me that in seeking a name for a quilt about duality, I was thinking in oxymorons.  And so, this is my Oxymoron quilt top.

I make a lot of lone star quilts.  If log cabin blocks are like comfort food to my heart, then lone star blocks are how my heart sings.  I have made many of them, and I’m sure there will be more.  Every time I make one, I play a little game.  When my large diamonds are all pieced, I play with layout, turning them back and forth to decide which end should be the center of the star.  Every time I do it, I tell myself that someday I’ll sew a lone star together in halves, with each half opposite of the other.  Well, I’ve now done it. (Actually, I’ve done it twice now – this was the first.) And guess what?  I LOVE IT!  Like my heart, IT SINGS.

I’m exploring the duality in our lives with this Oxymoron quilt top.  The way things are good and bad, hard and exhilarating, heartbreaking and lifegiving.  So often it’s the same thing which, at various times, brings extreme highs and lows.  And while we’d like to do without the lows, we can’t really get rid of them without also eliminating really good things.  So it all comes together, this mortal life of opposites at work in us and on us.

I set the star on the diagonal instead of top/bottom, to convey the way both anchor important space in our development.  I actually did this a long time ago, and then set it aside to think about what should be next.  Currently, one area I’m trying to expand my creativity is through using fabric in ways that allow it to take center stage in simple ways.  I had thought I would need a deep dive creatively to finish this quilt. I realized, however, that I could convey meaning just as effectively through well-chosen prints.  So that’s what I set out to do.

Every print I selected for borders in the Oxymoron quilt top was used in at least two colorways.  The fabrics here are both old and new, and feature designers such as Victoria Findlay Wolfe (first border and one of my all-time favorite prints), Anna Maria Horner (large scallop border and small cathedral windows prints), Carolyn Gavin (narrow colorful borders) and Kaffe Fassett (that regimental ties fabric is genius and I love it SO MUCH).

This quilt won’t be made into a pattern.  If you want to try something similar, check out my Lone Star Tree Skirt Pattern.  I used the star in that pattern to make this one, but sewed it into a square instead of an octagon.  And obviously, it’s not a tree skirt.

This is a “me” quilt, and I feel almost unreasonably happy about it.  These are the projects that completely light me up inside.  Today is actually my birthday, and I’m very grateful to have finished this.  I’m grateful to be where I am in my journey.  So grateful to be making art!  Have a blessed day!

Indigo Sewing Pouch

Two years ago I finished a cute little Indigo Siddhi mini quilt.  It was really fun to make something entirely by hand, but it wasn’t getting used much.  One quilter who inspires me tremendously is Megan Manwaring.  She has made a lot of pouches or bags using these mini quilt panels, and she inspired me.  I decided to try making a sewing pouch with it, but kept my original goal of an entirely hand sewn project.  So here is my Indigo sewing pouch!

I added two things to this piece.  First came pockets.  For these I chose a William Morris Strawberry thief print because the colors blend well with the indigo fabrics.  Plus, I love the strawberry thief pattern, and knew it would make me smile to see it here.  The fold is the opening to the pocket, and the edges are turned and hand stitched in place.  Not perfect, but still by hand!

My panel wasn’t perfectly square when I originally finished it.  That made adding the zipper more challenging at the end.  Above, you can see how I simply hand stitched the zipper on using the same big stitch.

I did great, except for the bottom joint, where it won’t lay perfectly flat.  Clearly I need more practice! Honestly, though, I’m not at all concerned.  This pouch is very functional, and I’ve been using it for a little while now.  I love the beauty of it, how unique it is, and also how lightweight it is!  Right now my indigo sewing pouch is the perfect size for my folk art flower applique blocks, which are slowly multiplying.

Someday it would be really cool to make a large Kawandi style quilt using this technique.  When I first took a class on it, that was my intention.  As you can see, I have far too many hand sewing projects going, so this idea will wait.

Folk Art Flower Applique blocks

Today let’s continue my general flower applique sewing theme.  Sound good?  Great, because I sure seem to be working on a lot of them!  Last year I sketched a simple folk art flower, cut it out, and stitched it to a diamond background.   (Hmm, just typing those words, “folk art flower”, reminded me of a favorite book and makes me want to draw.  I need to follow that impulse more often!)  But back to applique.  I cut out a few more, but other deadlines demanded my attention.  Recently I went back and thread basted them to backgrounds, so now my folk art flower applique blocks are coming along nicely.

This is a scrap project.  The diamonds require larger scraps, so I might need to raid my stash for more of them, but the flowers are small enough to pull from scraps.  I want to do more scrap sewing.  I feel like I haven’t done that in a while, and it sounds fun.

I now have nine folk art flower applique blocks completed.  I’m picturing a quilt with like colors going in diagonal strips for my final layout.  At this point I’m planning to just sew them together at the end without sashing.

My first bunch lacks contrast.  I chose stronger colors for this second batch, and I really like the solids mixed with prints.  The dark blue flower in the center is almost finished, and the others are simply basted.

These blocks are a great size for easy stitching.  It doesn’t feel like I’m working on a big project.  I have no idea how many I’ll need to make an entire quilt, so this will be a slow stitching project.  A little like my orange peel quilt, perhaps?  Ever slowly, they multiply.

Just keep stitching!

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