Friday finish: when you don’t love it

Today I’m trying to strike the right balance of positivity and honesty when I talk about this quilt.

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I want this blog to be a fun place to spend a little of your precious time escaping from whatever it is that you are taking a break from.

But I also want it to be a safe place where I can tell you honestly how I feel about my projects so we can learn together and improve together.

So I’m going to be honest and tell you that I don’t love this quilt.

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I’m not upset about it. I definitely like it. It’s definitely pretty. But I want to learn from this experience and figure out why I don’t love it.

I knew long before I finished it that it wasn’t going to be a favorite. It was still important to me to finish. I try to finish all my projects because I know the end product will always be useful. And I don’t want the ghosts of unfinished projects to haunt me when I start something new. I like to approach my new projects with the confidence that comes from knowing it will get finished and someone will use it.

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As I’ve worked on this, I’ve tried to think about what it is exactly that went wrong. It’s not the simplicity of the patchwork. I love square patchwork. It’s what drew me to quilting in the first place.

I’ve come up with 3 main lessons about my personal quilting style:

  • I prefer more variety in fabrics
  • I prefer more variety in color
  • In a quilt featuring square patchwork, I prefer smaller patchwork (these were 5 inches unfinished)

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Do you agree?

Go ahead. Tell me what you do or don’t love about this quilt. It’s ok to love it. It’s ok not to. Either way I want you to think about why so you and I can both benefit from it.

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I hope to be back for work in progress Wednesday next week with my first gypsy wife blocks! I feel fairly confident that I am going to love those.

Linking up with Crazy Mom!

WIP wednesday: gypsy wife

I haven’t done a WIP post in quite a while because most of my blogging (and sewing!) energy has been going to the barn door quilt along. Now that that’s on auto pilot until the last linkup on March 3, I’ve got some time on my hands.

A lot of my amazing quilt friends are doing the Gypsy Wife quilt along. I was holding out for this reason and that, but yesterday I finally caved and ordered the pattern from Westwood Acres.

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I also ordered this bundle of stripes because every time they post a new bundle of stripes my brain refuses to function until I order it.

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Probably won’t be long until I get this one too.

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So pretty. I just love the way that dots and stripes look with florals, and that just so happens to be the inspiration behind my first fabric pull for my gypsy wife quilt.

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My fabric pulls often start with a simple desire to use certain (usually new) fabrics. I knew I wanted to use some of the dots & stripes bundles I’ve been ordering.

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I knew I wanted red because I haven’t used it in any of my recent projects.

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Bonus that I finally get to cut into Color Me Happy!

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I’m in the mood for something a little softer and prettier after barn door II. I’m also trying to push myself to use more than just 3 main colors in a quilt.

Penny sampler was mostly peach-orange, teal-aqua, and a little purple.

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Barn door II is primarily blue, green and orange.

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I’ve gotten comfortable using a lot of different fabrics in the same quilt, but now I’d like to try more colors. This pull is red-pink-green-blue-yellow. Pretty colorful, for me at least.

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I can’t wait to make my first block! You can bet I’ll be doing that within moments of the pattern’s arrival, which could be as early as Friday. It’ll probably pop up on Instagram first so come check me out (@sarahschraw) or keep your eye on the sidebar right here on my blog.

If you’re interested in the quilt along but would rather WIN the pattern than buy it, head over to WIP girl! She’s giving away a copy (giveaway ends Feb 11).

I’ll be back Friday to share an old WIP I finally finished. If you remember the “wish I had a girl” quilt, you’ve been hanging around here since the beginning!

Linking up with Lee.

Barn door quilt-a-long: my fabric choices

I loved Carolyn Friedlander’s line Architextures. It’s getting hard to find, but her new line Botanics is most certainly the next big thing. It started popping up here and there after Quilt Market and now it’s just hitting shelves. I got mine from Fat Quarter Shop when they were offering 25% off on black friday.

I gotta tell ya, I was sorely tempted by the beautiful stack of fat quarters. It’s just so pretty! But I’ve been quilting long enough to know that, for me, fat quarters are never enough. It makes more economical sense to force myself to choose my favorites and buy half yards.

All that to say, Botanics is my starting point for my next barn door quilt. I ordered most of the whites, grays, blues, and greens and a little orange. From there, I decided to incorporate what’s left of my Architextures stash (leftover from the fat quarter stack I purchased to make these airplane pillows). Then I went nuts and grabbed any similar shades from my stash, and landed here:

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Botanics + stash coordinates

Low volumes

Low volumes

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Light blues

Dark blues

Dark blues

Greens

Greens

Oranges

Oranges

My initial plan is to not have a plan. Ha! Seriously though. I am going to start the first few rows and then see how it develops. When I made my first version I definitely planned each fabric selection very specifically before I started sewing.

They alternate with quite mathematical precision!

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This time it’s a bit more complex because I’m planning to use quite a few more fabrics, so I’m just going to take it one row at a time. Eventually a more specific plan will form, I promise.

The pattern works outward from the middle. The first row we sew will be the hourglass row at the center. From there we’ll sew both the adjoining rows and work out until we have completed the central X of the design. From there we add the top and bottom borders and we’re done! It really does come together quite quickly. The trickiest part is lining up the triangles but we’ll worry about that next year.

I’m so excited to see what you guys are thinking about using for your fabrics! Please do not hesitate to ask questions. I love talking about this stuff. If you’re on Flickr please upload your fabric stacks here! If you’re not on Flickr you should consider joining, especially if you don’t have a blog. We’re all going to want to see your quilt!

Linking up with Lee for WIP Wednesday. It’s an official WIP once you’ve got fabric and a pattern… right?

Oh, and if you’re new around here, you can always catch up on everything Barn door quilt-a-long related by clicking its tab at the top of the screen!