Sunday, March 30, 2014

Projects that call out for a try

Sometimes, while hopping around to my friend's blogs, I spot a pattern or layout or block that calls out to me to give it a try. Even when I resist because of other fish to fry, they keep whispering to me in passing until I just have to give it a shot.

Sometimes they are like the "star crossed" quilt inspired by the Lucy Boston quilts I saw in a show. I test the pattern, I love the result but I say,"Never again", only to make "double crossed".

Once my sister sent me a maple leaf pattern ... lovely tessellating leaves that actually looked like real maples in configuration ... I just had to try making a quilt in that pattern. (and even after trying it out and saying "Never again", made another attempt with a table runner for a daughter).

There is a pinwheel pattern I just love ... or is it hate-to-love ... and have made several times. Usually these quilted pieces end up in very small items like a bag or a table runner ... and here is the reason why ...

I see these things on other blogs like this "+" block. Wow, that is so cool! What a great way to use up scraps!

How hard can that be? Just cut two squares and one piece the size of three squares and make a bunch of + blocks.

Nope, it doesn't work that way!

You have to lay all those pieces out and get them arranged first. THEN, you have to keep them in order long enough to sew them all together. It might not be a problem if you are sitting at a sewing table but this is my take-along work.

Anyone who knows me well, knows that I love order. One of my favorite things about library work was going to a shelf and finding a book right in place. My fabrics get sorted into bins by color or design and if I want a piece of pink print, I know usually where to look ... well it might be a stripe or check or plaid but it will be in the place it lives when it is not in action.

Yes, I do like to cross my bridges before I get to them and build a few extra ones along the way just in case. Plan As are great but I will be happier if there is a plan B or plan C waiting in the wings.

My favorite plan is to make lots of those blocks until I have enough for a quilt ... something like the Gala quilt ... lay them all out and arrange them so that they go well together ... and then put it all together, maybe add a border ... or like the + and x blocks, add sashing. When it comes to quilting, I am just the opposite of my every-day self.

I go nuts on those tessellating leaves or the pinwheels. Even on that last "broken heart" block, I spent almost as much time un-sewing and re-sewing as I did putting other blocks together. Most of those patterns that have blocks containing neighboring blocks will keep calling until I try them but they are never going to end up in a large bed cover.

I finally, after sorting out those pieces over and over again, pinned them together in rows. I can tell you now, this is going to be a very small quilted object! At least, the challenge of the Lucy Boston pattern was the set-in seams, I didn't have to keep 11 cats headed in the same direction!

Saturday I visited "Fabric Town" with a coupon for savings. I do NOT need any more fabric but was hoping to find something specific for a friendship block.

Well, everyone had one of those coupons! The sales tax will go up tomorrow and shoppers were out to make a deal. Good thing all I needed was a tiny pre-cut pack and some white lead for my marking pencil.

Along the street I was met by blooming cherry trees.

Yes, spring has finally made its way to Tokyo .... but it is not going out like a lamb.

Yesterday was very windy and rainy. Not much flower-viewing being done (and besides everyone was shopping in the upper class stores before taxes go up).

All night and all day today the wind is rattling the windows. I figure half of those petals are on their way to Canada and the west coast of the U.S.!

The magnolias that have been fuzzy buds since the end of summer are competing with each other for room on the branches.

Check out the size of just one flower!

(Of course, these petals are not even going to make it to the next block in this wind).

(And since they are growing beside an apartment building ... just like where the snow enjoyed a long life... they are not likely to get swept up).

My own little garden had a bit of spring too.

There is Sweet Daphne in white ...

and Sweet Daphne in pink and white ...

And this little pot of stars along the wall.

I have no idea what these are.
The leaves have a slightly onion-like smell.

They close at dusk and open again with the first light of day.

The picture doesn't really show their true beauty...

They actually have a pale blue-violet touch to the petals.

With all this wind, I should probably get away from my lap-top and take Nikko to the park for a good brushing.

Beware, Canada! There will be more than flower petals headed your way.


  1. such pretty flowers!! I too have seen that quilt pattern and thought to make it but I know I will have to keep things laid on a design wall to keep track of the pieces so I haven't started it and I don't know if I ever will!!

  2. Good luck with your plus blocks. They are looking good.
    The magnolia flowers are beautiful. It is a shame about the wind as they won't last long.
    Your weather has been causing a lot of damage in some areas from what we have seen reported on the news tonight. Did you get the hail storm, too?

  3. I love to read your thoughts on making quilts - and then to see them come about. Ohhh and lovely spring flowers - I love daphne.

  4. LOVE those + blocks! Julie ! They're so cool, indeed... I'm sure you're gonna make another beautiful quilt with these...
    Oh, My, don't talk to me about all those lovely quilt blocks on the Web! I.wish I could make them all, HeeHee... Yet, I'm trying to stay reasonable and "hold my horses" so that the UFO's pile stays at an acceptable level. However, I sometimes try just one block or another, just to figure about the construction, the difficulty. Some then go in the "never again" box, but others do go into the "maybe, some day" box :))

    Ooooh, those beautiful flowers! Too bad they quickly go away with the wind. Ephemera is sometimes the price to pay for beauty. THANKS for those pictures, at least they also enchant us through the Web wind...


  5. I love doing scrap quilts and using up pieces into an unplanned design, sort of like the gees bend quilts. I am an organizer though, I like things in their place and be able to find them instead of wasting time looking. Seems this is a sale week all over, I treated myself to a couple of things at our local quilt store, but I was frugal and only got a few fat quarters as the splurge, the rest was filler fabrics that I use a lot of.


  6. I saw a + quilt the other day also and am going to make one. You sound just like me, always seeing something new to try. Your flowers are so pretty. We got 3 inches of snow here today.

  7. I made a few (very few) + & x blocks. I also thought they looked easy to make but it took me forever to get the seams matched up etc. Then I decided NOT to make a + & x quilt. Your flower photos are wonderful. It is finally spring in Texas too.

  8. I don't like to make the quilts where you have to keep everything in order, either. Enjoy all your flowers. I finally found some green today, under all the dead stuff in my flower beds. I'm hoping more will show up in the next few weeks.

  9. Love the quilt block and your flower pictures. just beautiful

  10. The + blocks look really cool but I would go nuts trying to keep the pieces straight!

    Gorgeous flowers! Thank you for sharing all of the photos!