Bow Quilt Block Progress

My first QuiltCon experience included a class with Carolyn Friedlander, where I first started my Hunt quilt project.  I took another class from her at QuiltCon 2022 in Phoenix.  This one is the Bow Quilt, and what a fun day it was!  Several of us took the class together, and it did not disappoint.  I now have 8 blocks complete and thought I’d share my bow quilt block progress.

It’s a fun pattern to make.  As for skill level, I’d say this is a good beginner applique pattern with gentle curves and a simple design.  It’s fun to swap the fabrics with each other, and to leave gaps here and there.

I finished one block in class, this floral one below.  It’s the same fabric for all four arches.  I like the way it emphasizes the skinny strip of background fabric visible between them.  It would be fun to make several blocks like this, but as you see, it’s the only one so far.

I wanted to challenge myself with color in a new way, so I chose a medium value background fabric.  It’s interesting how many colors also read as medium, so picking fabrics for this one has been fun.  And challenging, as I planned.  For instance, that pink on the outer edge of the top block below doesn’t offer much contrast to the brown background.  Still, I like it and am using it to add interest because at a distance there will be a hint of contrast that invites the eye to look more closely.

For the most part I’m using scraps from other projects.  Lots of them are Sally Kelly for Windham Fabrics, as well as Liberty Fabrics.  These are Liberty prints on cotton, and several of them are many years old.  I have jealously saved every tiny scrap from those early cotton prints and really love adding them to projects. 

I’ve prepped several more blocks, so hopefully my next bow quilt block progress post will be for another 8 blocks.  I believe I need 24 in total, though I’m tempted to make extra.  Plus, I cut so many prints, I could probably make two quilts!  I guess we’ll see how much I enjoy stitching them.

Happy Sewing,

Jennifer

Homage – 1st Progress Report

Well, here I am today with another English paper piecing project.  Though I haven’t yet finished an EPP quilt, I am close on my Mandolin.  It just needs the edge pieces on two more sides and then I can share it.  I stitch a little bit each morning, and it’s coming together slowly but surely.  I guess that progress made me feel like I could jump into an EPP sew along, so at the first of the year I ordered the pieces for the Homage to Grandmother’s Flower Garden  and got started shortly thereafter.  Although it’s September, I want to share a Homage progress report.

Who doesn’t love a Grandmother’s flower garden quilt?  I read once that it’s the quilt pattern that is most commonly left unfinished, and there’s no surprise there!  So many hours, and yet it’s one of those iconic epp patterns.  I know I would love to make one, but never have.  When I saw this clever design for a huge ring of flowers set in a flower garden background, I ordered it immediately.  This is my grandmother’s flower garden project.

The sew along was cleverly divided into 52 sections, one for each week.  Every section includes some background and at least one colored flower.  Aaaand, I stalled at week 5.  Yep.  I started, sewed what I’d prepped, and then got crazy busy preparing my daughter to go to Guam for an 18 month mission.  Just like all my other epp projects, they tend to sit for long periods if I don’t have more pieces prepped.  It’s the step I just don’t get to, apparently.  

Last week I took an afternoon and selected, cut, organized, and glued pieces for weeks 6-12.  Once I get into it, I really enjoy it.  I’m hoping to pick up the project on the same weekly schedule even though I’m months behind.  I obviously won’t finish it in 2022, but I would like to finish it before my birthday next summer.  

Every time I look at it I’m excited about it again.  It’s going to be beautiful.  I just need to be diligent!  And while I’m at it, here’s my homage progress report for the first 4 sections.  It’s fun to see even this small section come together.

I’m excited to recycle the pieces for a second round of these lovely flowers.  I hope there are many more English paper piecing projects in my future!  But first, more prep work!

 

Marian’s Quilt

 I took my daughter to college a couple of weeks ago.  She is our 5th of 8, and though you’d think it would get easier, I can officially say that it does not.  This drop-off was HARD for me.  I mean, I acted fine while we were moving her in, but inside I was anything but.  There were definitely silent tears on my drive home.  I have missed her presence terribly, but I know it’s the right next step in her life.  She did take a piece of home with her, though.  I finished Marian’s quilt.

Marian made the quilt blocks years ago.  She and her sister both wanted to sew, and I felt like Marian’s personality would do better with improv sewing than following a pattern.  She jumped in and had fun, sewing several blocks.

Blocks that sat.  For years.  Because she couldn’t decide what color she wanted for sashing.

Last Christmas I used all the colors she liked to finish the quilt top for her and she loved it.  I worked up the courage to put it on my longarm so I could send it with her to school.  And oh, how I’ll look back at this one to laugh!  I decided to go for it and try a custom border that I definitely don’t have the skill for.  Yet if I never try it, how will I get the skill?  I learned good lessons as I tried to create a feather design all the way around the blocks in the white border.  There are a few spots that look good up close, but it’s mostly a hot mess.

One of the best parts is the back.  A simple rainbow striped sheet.  It’s a sheet we used at the beach house, and I kept it to put on the back of her quilt.  I knew I could trust her with it, trust her to love it more for the memory.  A scrappy binding made of leftovers from past quilts finishes it off.  It’s a perfectly imperfect quilt.

She loves it though.  Which is kind of her.  That’s been one of her gifts to our family – loving us with all our flaws, not complaining about how lame we are or how we could improve.  She accepted this gift for what it was, flaws and all.  And I know she’ll treasure it.  The way she looked when I put it around her shoulders the first time, and how she kept it there, was enough for me.  Marian’s quilt might be full of flaws, but Marian is a treasure.

Smiles like that are the best part of quilting!  This might be the best collaboration I’ve ever participated in.  I hope she treasures it like I do.

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