The thought process I go through when I CREATE…

Seldom do my projects end up looking the way I thought they would when I began the process.  I have made very few quilts from a set pattern I purchased or found in a magazine.  I much rather create from my head.  I like to find a fabric that I like and go from there.  When I first began making quilts about 3 years ago…this was only my third & fourth quilt.  Very basic and simple patchwork, one tacked with buttons, and the other tacked with embroidery floss.  These were made for two of my son’s children – the grandson’s on the left and the granddaughter’s on the right.ImageI don’t really like to sew clothing, but I can sew a straight line!! Therefore, I love sewing quilts or home decor items, such as pillows etc; But, as I said, rarely do they end of the way I thought they would in the beginning.

I have discovered this about myself: I like to “design as I go”.  A prime example of that is this quilt I am currently working on:  I’m calling this my “Jumbo Pinwheel” toddler quilt.  It began with the royal blue, pastel animal print fabric.  I designed the entire quilt around it.  What is even funnier – my original plan was for it to be a Chevron (zig zag) pattern.  I didn’t like how it was looking, so I changed it to the pinwheel block.  After trimming this block is still 18 X 18.  You will notice there are 9 of these blocks with hot pink, yellow and turquoise solids.  When I laid the pinwheel blocks out, I realized that my quilt was going to be square.  I don’t like square.  I wanted it to be a rectangle.  So, in order to lengthen it, but not widen it I decided to add the stripe fabric on the top and bottom as a border.

ImageBut, after I laid it out, I didn’t like the stripe at the top and bottom with all the pinwheels in the middle.  It just didn’t look right!  So, I decided to break up my pinwheels and put a row of stripe in between instead.  See what I mean about the thought process I go through?  When I first began quilting I used to draw my pattern out on graph paper – the way I wanted my blocks laid out etc;  Nada! No more!  I just wing it, using my floor as a design wall! LOL  It’s more exciting that way!  It’s kinda like opening a present at Christmas.  You don’t really know what you will end up with, until you pull all the packing/tissue etc; out and see what’s in the bottom of the bag or box.

I am also a real big fan of putting a “frame” around my blocks.  The orange fabric is called “sashing”.  2 years ago I didn’t know what sashing was or how to add it to a quilt.  Now, many of my quilts have sashing.  I have tons of fabric, so I just kept experimenting with different colors until I came up with one I liked.  (This is a very inexpensive hobby for me, really).  I go to estate sales, garage sales, resale shops, goodwill etc;  Often my fabric has been purchased off a clearance table at Hancock’s or off an auction on E-bay.  Then once it was all laid out – I thought – hmmmmm those pinwheel blocks would look cute with a button in the middle….ImageWhat do you think?

ImageBut I quickly changed my mind about the buttons…thinking “if this is going to be a toddler quilt, then buttons would be a choking hazard”…Needless to say the buttons were axed.

So now that my top is done….I need to decide what fabric I will use for the back.  It will probably be a solid color. (Maybe I’ll use a soft fleece or flannel??)  I also need to decide if I want to make a “scrappy” binding for the edges or if I want it to be just one color. I also have to decide how I will quilt it, or if I will just “tie/tack” it with some yarn, embroidery floss or what?  If I quilt it should I “stitch in the ditch”, one of my favorite methods or “outline quilt” it?   ImageYou may wonder why I’ve asked these questions or even found it necessary to post such an odd blog.  Are you creative?  Do you want to be?  Believe it or not, I am very much a beginner quilter.  I am a quick study, but everything I’ve learned in the last 3 years has been learned online.  If you are inspired to tackle your first quilt, or maybe some other creative endeavor – I would encourage you to do so.  It has been a very fun hobby for me.  I have signed up and viewed a class on “free motion” quilting on http://www.craftsy.com/classes?_ct=wberqbdql-sbqiiui  but, I’m not there yet!  Much left to learn.  I need lots of practice!!  

So, now you know the thought process I go through when I sit down to begin a new quilt.  In closing I will share a couple of pics of some other ones I made in hopes it will inspire you to tackle some creative endeavor you’ve been putting off for far too long.

ImageThis was sold on E-bay but I have enough fabric to make another one at some point.

ImageBed size  9 patch I made for my older brother, Jim.

Image“Square in a square” tutorial I watched online motivated me to make this quilt for my daughter, Theresa.  So, guess what I will be doing all day this Saturday?  Sewing!  I have several projects started that I really need to get finished before I begin another one.  That would be my biggest quirk when it comes to quilting.  I like to work on several projects at one time.  (I’ve read that this is a common trait among quilters).  If it’s an unusually large quilt, I will get bored while working on it and will have to switch to something else for awhile.

In closing…I hope I’ve inspired someone to begin a new project or finish one they’ve started.  

What I’m currently working on

I always have a project or two that’s unfinished.  I started this one right after Christmas for my granddaughter, Hannah.  ImageThis is just 6 blocks laid out.  I found this “coin block” pattern on Missouri Star.  My daughter had already picked out most of the fabric for Hannah and said she wanted lots of black with it.  I’m still trying to figure out why it’s called a “coin block”…I don’t see any coins anywhere! LOL  Unless they are rolls of coins…??  I’ve had a lot of fun with this one – because I love the bright vibrant colors.  I always have a difficult time working on quilts for boys or men because the colors and patterns seldom appeal to my tastes and I get bored with working on it.ImageHere’s another shot of it laid out on the floor in my craft room.  Isn’t it pretty?  Haven’t decided yet what type of back it will have, but Hannah’s mother requested that it have a scrappy binding.  What do you think?  Should I have a solid color for the back?  Black?  Hot pink?  Turquoise? Lime Green?  Any ideas?  Two of Hannah’s brothers got quilts from me for Christmas.  Hannah wanted money…so that’s what she got..even though I full well intended to make her a quilt anyway.  She was recently asking about it – wondering if I had made any progress on it.  That spurred me into action.  Hannah hasn’t a clue what it will look like, but I had to put it up because she will be spending the night with me Friday to have some “girl bonding time”.  I was so pleased when she text me to ask if she could spend the night Friday night.  Not many 16 yr. olds wanna spend Friday night with their grandmother so I was truly flattered and pleased!

ImageHannah is my namesake.  She has the same middle name as I.  “Leslie”.  I was so tickled when I found out her mom was gonna name her after me.  

So, the other project I’m currently working on is also one I started quite some time ago.  I had a desire to create a colorful, assorted 9 patch.  So, last year I began this one with no particular person in mind. ImageEach square is 4 1/2″ so once the 9 patch is sewn together it becomes a 12″ block.  It will work great for a large quilt for a queen or king size bed.  I am now on a mission to finish it because my youngest daughter requested another quilt for under her comforter in her Master bedroom.  She stated that she didn’t really care about colors or even if it was just made from scraps because it was not gonna be seen anyway.  Her primary concern was that it be lightweight like the other one I made her and soft to the touch.  ImageI laid out the 9 patches on the living room floor so I could see what it would look like.  I think I’m gonna like it.  I debated on whether to put sashing in between each 9 patch block.  I’ve also considered putting some type of wide border around the outer edges before binding it to enlarge it even more.  Any ideas or suggestions?  Anyway, I’m having fun with my latest projects. This is the way I de-stress after a day of taking care of grandsons.  Sitting at the sewing machine listening to Delilah on the radio is my way of relaxing.

Do you have a favorite thing you like to do to relax?

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