Tuesday, May 13, 2014

twirly, a finish, and the twisty tree

 tuesday mornings my four oldest children have an art class in a nearby neighborhood. when the weather is nice, the little girls and i play in the neighborhood park while waiting for the art lesson to be completed. this affords me ninety minutes of handwork time. last week, i nearly finished off the binding on d3's quilt, "twirly." this week, i completed the remaining two feet of the binding and got to photograph the quilt in one of their favorite spots to visit during our park time. unfortunately, it was super windy, so getting photos was tres difficult!

 but first, a small anecdote of the price we mama quilters sometimes pay to get in a few moments at our craft. the girls happily romped on the play equipment for over 30 minutes. then d4 said she wanted to run around in the grassy area and go to the trees. "fine, just stay out of the muddy spots from the sprinkler," i said as i continued to stitch away. i could hear the girls laughing with each other as i contentedly bent over my work, the strong breezes ruffling my hair and the quilt. it was all quite blissful. then i looked up.

"mama! we are playing in the water!" d4 calls, gleefully.

"i told you to stay out of that!" i yell back in my most annoyed mama voice.

"but it's not muddy, it's water. it's clean!" she assures me.

i seriously doubt that. that water has been standing and is probably full of mosquito larva and who knows what other deadly ickiness. by that time, however, the baby's pants are soaked to her calves and there is no turning back. so i let them be, uttering a silent prayer there's nothing too horrible in the water, and continue stitching. really, when they're already wet and dirty, might as well let them have some more fun.

some less-clean water on the sidewalk

as d5 approached me, declaring she was wet and wanted her clothes off, i saw just how dirty she was and thought, "this is the price i pay sometimes." yes, sometimes, we let them be so we can sew and there are costs involved. as long as they didn't pick up any strange bugs in that water, this price was not too high. muddy jeans can go in the wash easily enough and it wasn't too cold for her to be a little wet.

 at this point, i was done stitching and we headed over to "the twisty tree" for some photos. the twisty tree is a mesquite tree who's trunk and major limbs have grown nearly horizontal and very close to the ground. the girls love to sit in it and eat snacks. it was a pretty good spot for hanging a quilt if only it hadn't been so darn windy. i kept having to adjust the quilt and/or wait until the wind blew the right way so it wasn't plastered to the tree.

the top on the horizontal
"twirly" is a simple quilt i started dec 2012 in a shabby seams class at ETC when i was just starting to get back into quilting. i think that makes it the sixth quilt i started although it's the fifteenth (fifth full-size) i've completed. the top came together quite quickly. it has three rows of pinwheel blocks, sashing, two large fabric panels, and side borders of small squares. i'm sort of wishing now that i picked a quieter fabric for the large panels because the paisley makes me a bit dizzy, but the daughter this quilt was made for is as loud, busy, and colorful as this quilt, so i suppose it's a good fit. if you are at all interested in reading about other parts of the process of this quilt, just click the highlighted links through out.

thank goodness the quilting, which was such a trial to me (more here), has disappeared into the top. or at least i just don't really notice it anymore. that should give my comfort in the future when things go awry.

there are plenty of things i like about this quilt, but i have evolved as a quilter since i started this and i don't feel it really fits me much. however, it tells me a lot about myself then and now. i made it during a phase where i selected easy, quick finishes with large blocks. i was new to quilting and didn't (don't) have a lot of time to devote to quilting, so getting some finishes under my belt was most appealing. and i do truly love those pinwheel blocks.

the pieced backing
now that i have more completed quilts to claim and no longer feel like i'm never going to have more than one or two done in this lifetime, i am more interested in advancing my skills and doing more intricate work. like gyspy wife! having a handful of legitimate finishes really does give me the freedom to slow down and expand my scope. i wanted to make quilts, which i did. now i want to make more interesting quilts.

love this corner where all of my favorite fabrics of the quilt are grouped together
 i think this quilt shows my progression in selecting fabrics and combining fabric lines. i even varied my values of the three main colors, which adds visual depth. the only thing i'd probably do differently now is add more neutral space somehow. maybe a ditsy print instead of the large scale paislies. i have come to learn that i really like white space in a quilt.

 another thing i really like about this quilt is the backing. i used some extra pinwheel blocks, small border squares, and large panels to piece the backing. at the time, i thought it was taking forever wheni just wanted to get the quilt sandwiched and finished. now i'm glad it took the time because i absolutely love it - especially the bottom where most of the piecing is.

part of this backing was a cover-up for a mistake i made on the front. the large fabric panels for the front were accidentally cut a few inches too short, so i just got more of the paisley fabric to redo those knowing i could use the goof-ups on the back. yes, it makes the back busy, too, but it was a practical decision; a nod to the roots of quilting where quilters lived by "waste not, want not."

there is a strip of extra border blocks joining the two large fabric panels on the back. they get rather lost in the paisley, but it's one more detail waiting to be discovered when you're cuddled up with the quilt, examining its parts.

 and down she blows! she's going to need a washing. that wind really made everything way more difficult than it needed to be. i was unable to get a picture of the top fully spread out.

 this little one was ready to go, too. she had her bag of snacks and was hitting the road.

 art class is over for the school year. i'll have to find some other regular time for handwork now because i still have several quilts to bind! i should probably make some labels, too. eventually.


  1. It's always amazing when we look back and realize just how far we've come in our skill as quilters. I look back at the first few quilts I made and stand in awe of what I've learned since then. I also know that there is still so much more to strive for. This quilt looks great and so do your daughter's jeans. They look like my kids' jeans and now I feel a little bit better that my kids tend to look the same way when I'm working hard on a quilting task. :)

  2. its fun to see how your selection of fabrics and designs has changed. This is a pretty quilt - the pinwheels do really break up the big blocks of fabric. And your kids probably had so much fun in that water, despite the mess :-)

  3. I love those pinwheels. And I agree, once they're wet and dirty, just leave them to their fun. Especially if it means you get to stitch more!

  4. once, I met a friend and her two boys at the playground with my threes boys only to find it was flooded with water in many places. everytime they went down the slide they landed in a puddle of water, but we had plenty of uninterupted time to chat :)
    lately I am concentrating on finishing up WIPs with what fabric I have on hand. it is interesting as I work on them to see how much I have grown as a quilter. the challenge of 'making do' often leads to more interesting design choices than if I let myself buy new fabric when I think I need it.

  5. sweet finish!
    I found that little butt shot so heartwarming when I read the post on my cell. too cute :-)


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