Marian’s Flower applique quilt block

It’s no secret here at Hopeful Homemaker that I have fallen hard for hand applique.  My Finished Quilt Gallery is peppered with applique projects throughout the pieced quilts. I also have a too-large pile of applique quilt tops in need of finishing!  From my first project to my current one, I have enjoyed the quiet, thoughtful pace of applique.  Recently I taught an applique class, and in preparation I had the opportunity to draw a pattern that worked for the class.  I named it Marian’s flower applique quilt block.

I stitched a couple of blocks as samples before the class, each with a low volume background and a variety of prints for leaves, stems, and petals.  The fun scalloped border on one side is another opportunity to improve skills.  And of course we needed a couple of circles, since they are always a shape worth mastering!

Why Marian’s flower?  Well, that’s the name of my daughter who is currently away from home for an 18 month mission.  While we get weekly video calls and emails, it still tugs at my heart to have her far away for so long.  I’ve done this before; she is our 4th child to go and serve, but there are still times when missing her really aches.  So it felt natural to name it after the daughter I’m missing. It’s a reminder to myself that she is blooming by doing the things that will most increase her growth.

I turned one Marian’s flower applique block into a small pillow.  I sewed a cute insect print to the right side of it, made a back, and inserted a small pillow form.  It looks adorable on my blue chair on the front porch:

After teaching the class, I have at least a half dozen more semi-finished sample blocks.  I always debate finishing them, or saving them for the next class.  Which would you do?


Happy Sewing!

Love, Jennifer

Patriotic Flight II Quilt

Tomorrow is Flag Day in the US, and therefore a good time to share another patriotic colored quilt.  I have two favorite color combinations that both feel like summer.  One is red, white, and blue.  I love the sound of flags waving in the breeze.  It’s also been a week of Flight Quilt pattern features here at Hopeful Homemaker, so today naturally features a Patriotic Flight II Quilt.

Years ago Leah Duncan released a whimsical print with blue birds flying on a white background.  For me, it was an instant favorite, but it took me a while to decide how to use it.  Eventually it found a home as the background fabric for this quilt.

The birds that circle inside the star feature a red 30’s reproduction style floral (I’m sorry I have no idea what its name or designer is). The star is my favorite Amelia blue.  That lovely blue is also featured as the background of my Lucky Lone Star quilt, which is one of my favorite patriotic quilts.

The quilting was done by Melissa at Sew Shabby Quilting.  She’s talented, professional, and she’s also quick to finish my quilts.

In real life, I love watching birds.  I especially enjoy watching hawks and am always on the lookout for eagles.  A few weeks ago I sat quietly in my backyard when I heard a Cooper’s hawk call from the neighbor’s yard as dozens of smaller birds scattered in different directions.  A few minutes later, the hawk sailed over the fence and low across my lawn, just a few feet in front of me.  It perched in another neighbor’s pine tree for a few minutes before gliding away in another direction.  It was beautiful and I felt grateful to witness it.  My children like to tease that if I wasn’t so busy raising a family, I might have been a birder.  They’re not wrong!

For now, I’m content to scan the sky as much as possible, and keep making quilts.  This patriotic Flight II quilt will be a festive addition to our summer!

Large Flight Quilt Top

This quilt top is one I’ve worked on slowly over several years. It’s a large block version of the traditional circling swallows block, and is paper pieced.  I wanted it to be colorful, unexpected, and big enough to serve as a fun picnic or beach quilt.  Here it is, my large Flight quilt top:

I made my first version of the Flight quilt back in 2014 with Bonnie Christine fabrics.  That was TEN years ago!  Wow, time has flown.  Since then, here and there I’ve revisited it, and finally released the pattern.  (It’s actually a two in one pattern, with a bonus extra large single block Flight II pattern that makes a 64″ quilt)  Over the years I made a few sample blocks, but I always wanted to make a large 9 block version.

I had a few sample blocks in solids, all made independently.  I decided to use them, however, and went through my stash of solids to make several more.  It’s a vibrant quilt, and the unexpected color combinations make me smile.  (They remind me of my Prosper in Solids quilt, but maybe even more bold.)  It’s SO much fun to play with color and see how they all interact with each other.  That interaction, and observing what takes center stage, is one of my most favorite things about quilting.  I get to experiment endlessly, and learn from all of it.  Color is such a great teacher!

I’m currently brainstorming how to quilt this.  It could be fun to create something cool in the negative space.  I would also like to make the birds stand out, but perhaps a simple edge to edge design will prevail.  Either way, I’m excited to finish this large flight quilt top and have it begin the journey of memory making with my family!

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