Friday, April 29, 2016

In the Meadow and Giveaway

Primitive Quilts and Projects is celebrating their 5th Anniversary with yet another beautiful installment of their one-of-a-kind magazine!  It's the Summer 2016 issue and it's now available both in stores and online through the PQP website.

And on page 46 of the magazine you'll find my In the Meadow table runner... 

When we first built our home in New Hampshire, we had a sunny patch of ground on the edge of our yard that I thought needed a bit of color.  So I bought a big container of wild flower seeds, roughed up the soil in the sunny patch, and shook out the seeds.  I'm not exactly a strong gardener, so I didn't hold out much hope for my $10 investment.  But to my surprise, the next year and every year since, that patch of land has yielded the most beautiful, colorful "wild" flowers!  We get daisies and black eyed Susans and lupine and some other yellow flower that I can't name because again, not a strong gardener, and of course, coneflowers.  And with the flowers come the dragonflies -- my inspiration for In the Meadow!

In the Meadow is the perfect quilt for a beginner and a fast project for a more advanced quilter.  The scrappy patchwork couldn't be simpler -- just raid your stash of greens and neutrals and start cutting.  The whipstitched wool appliqué is fast and easy and the stems are made by couching wool yarn.  To finish this quilt, I hand-quilted a cross hatch pattern on the background and I think it definitely adds to its timeworn appeal.

And now, as promised, to celebrate Primitive Quilts and Projects 5th anniversary, I'm hosting a giveaway!  If you'd like a chance to win a copy of PQP's gorgeous Summer 2016 issue, please leave a comment on this post by clicking the word "comments" below.  You'll be redirected to a "Post a Comment" window.  Once there, either scroll to the bottom of the window or click "Jump to Comment Form" and follow the directions to leave your comment.  This contest will remain open for a week and next Friday, May 6th, I'll draw one name at random, so please make sure I have your email address!

This contest is now closed.  Congratulations to Linda -- I hope you enjoy your Summer 2016 issue of Primitive Quilts and Projects!  And thanks to you all for your comments.  Remember, you can still purchase a copy of this beautiful magazine at PQP's website.

Happy quilting!

Friday, April 8, 2016

Beyond the Bottleneck

It's been a long winter and I've been churning through the quilts.  I LOVE machine piecing – so fast and so fun!  But now I'm in that tricky place where I've got a stack of quilt tops all awaiting finishing and the guilt is becoming more than I can bear.  

You know the drill – layer and baste, quilt as desired, bind.  Three simple steps.  No problem, right?  After all, you've already made all the big decisions about pattern and colors and fabrics.  You've already slogged through the cutting and pinning and piecing and you're looking at a finished quilt top.  Nearly there.  So close but yet soooooo far.  Because those three simple steps aren't simple at all.  Those three steps can be your undoing.  You've reached the bottleneck.

The problem is that finishing a quilt top gives you a pretty good sense of accomplishment midway through the process.  Your questions about whether or not you'll like the pattern or whether your chosen colors will play nicely together or whether you should have included that chartreuse green have now been answered.  The mystery, for the most part, has been solved.

To muster the energy to press on instead of starting the next project can be rough – all those new fabrics to play with, new blocks to try.  And this winter (ok, this year) I haven't been able to resist the siren's call of the next project and now my stack of finished quilt tops is 12 deep, not including the two basted quilts awaiting quilting and the two quilted quilts awaiting binding.  Hence the guilt.

It's a daunting pile of work, especially when I plan to finish a lot of it by hand, and it would be all too easy to reach for my rotary cutter instead of the batting.

But I remember what it feels like to FULLY finish a project.  To stitch down those last few inches of binding, bury the last knot, and set aside my needle.  To get up, shake out the quilt, and lay it out flat on the floor, finished.  To admire the clean, crisp edges of the binding and realize that, in fact, the quilting really does make the quilt.

And even though it's just another Wednesday night, you feel like trumpets should sound and fireworks should explode because you've finished!  You've used your imagination and your will to create something that did not exist before and it is gorgeous!  You stand there, hands on hips, gazing at your finished quilt and in that moment you feel like an artist, a rock star, maybe even a hero.

Joy, pride, triumph, and yes, relief, are all waiting beyond the bottleneck.  Press on.