29 March 2018

Blue Floral Nostalgia

I think I started this quilt back in about 1995 or 1996. It was my oldest WIP.

When I first started it, I cut up leftovers from several blue floral dresses I'd made over the years. I finished two blocks and put the finished blocks and the triangles and squares I'd cut into a project bag and forgot about it until 2013 when I joined the quarterly Ravelry WIP challenge. By that time, I'd moved three times, my kids had abandoned the nest and had started having kids of their own, I got married, and most of the dresses I'd made of those blue floral fabrics had joined the scrap basket because the elbows had become so thin and hems had frayed, zippers had busted and underarm seams had ripped beyond repair.

This was (and still is!) the only dress left from those '90s fabrics. It was made with some of the scraps from the scrapped dresses, as well as pieces of the scrapped dresses! I still wear this dress, but even it needs a couple of repairs now. (That's one of my next projects...)

By the time I finally finished this flimsy in 2016, I had plenty more scraps and leftovers to add to the blocks. I even included some of the blue floral fat quarters I earned early in the Ravelry challenge. We'd get a fat quarter or two from each of the other challenge members if we finished a WIP or two each quarter. I finally had to opt out of the fat quarter portion of the challenge because I decided I have too much fabric.

The Blue Floral Nostalgia flimsy was sentimental and not really suitable for a child, in my opinion, so finishing it wasn't one of my top priorities during the last two years when I was trying to finish Christmas quilts for cousins, nieces, nephews and at long last, grandchildren and their adoptive siblings.

I've had little motivation to finish any quilts this year because I currently don't have any kid Christmas quilts to make or finish. As this quarter's Ravelry challenge comes to an end, I realized I had not completed my goal of two quilts each quarter. I didn't finish any quilts in February, although I did bind my little neighbor's first FMQ quilt when she finished it.

I reviewed my WIP list, and two quilts jumped out at me, screaming to be finished. Both were on my second Ravelry challenge list. I'm not sure if I'll finish the second one by the end of the month, but this baby is done, and I love it.

When I first finished the flimsy, I entertained the idea of crafting a backing of more blue floral leftovers. I liked what I created so much, I added it to the WIP list as a new quilt top, Blue Floral Scrappy Block a Day.

When I decided my next finish would be Blue Floral Nostalgia, I needed a backing. I could piece another backing; I certainly have enough scraps! I looked though the blue floral fabrics I've purchased the last few years to make dresses. Some are cut and ready to sew, but there were a few I had not cut into yet. I decided this blue and white daisy print would be suitable for a quilt backing, and if I made up the width with scraps and leftovers instead of the blue and white daisy print, I could use the rest to back the Block a Day flimsy, too! One less dress to cut out. Ha ha ha!

One of the pieces in the backing is another of my reward fat quarters from the Ravelry challenge, which makes this finish even more delicious!

The center six blocks took three nights to quilt. I used lift and rotate instead of FMQ because I was trying to go fast and straight. My FMQ straight lines are not all that straight yet. The extremely narrow throat of my domestic machine makes it difficult for me to draw straight lines of any great distance when FMQing.

As I began working on the border, true FMQ because I could maneuver them satisfactorily through the machine without too much bunching, I noticed I had four kinks in the fabric on the back. I couldn't bear to think about ripping the stitches out that night, so I set the whole project aside until the next night. All day at work the next day, I kept thinking about "Finished is Better than Perfect."

I am by no means perfect in my quilting, but my grandmother taught me back in the mid-60s that the back should always look as good as the front. She was referring specifically to embroidery, but it's a mantra I've tried to incorporate into everything I make, even snowflakes.

My free-motion quilting will not be perfect until I practice tons more, but I can make my quilt back perfectly flat and straight. That night after work, I ripped out the tucks and folds and redid them, and I am very happy to report that even though some of my FMQ lines are wavy, there are no buckles in the back of this quilt. One more reason to love it endlessly.

After finishing all the diagonal border lines in one direction, I was so tempted to call it good and trim and bind the quilt. I had grown pretty bored with the project by that time, I think.

So once again, I put it away for another night, and when I got in the mood again, I began the diagonal lines in the perpendicular direction, which took two more long nights, as well as a couple of quick sessions before work in the morning. Once I had the first side border done, it was easy to resist the temptation to quit early because the crosshatching looks so much better than plain parallel diagonal lines did.

The binding is made of binding leftovers from the kid quilts I've finished in the last two years (See, there was a reason to stockpile all those leftovers!), and the waistband of a blue floral skirt I cut up a year or so ago not because the 20-year-old skirt wore out, but because I couldn't fasten the waistband any more. I surrendered. The waistband fabric was the perfect width for quilt binding! I was amazed by how well the kid fabric binding leftovers I selected match the quilt! The binding makes this quilt even more special to me because of the memories in the fabric.

This quilt is finished just as my (purplish) blue flowers are beginning to bloom!!!

When I finished, Lizard asked me who is getting this quilt. I think I get this one. There are tons of memories in this quilt, and I think anything that takes 22 years to finish has a right to stay in its creator's hands.

Linking up with Busy Hands Quilts, Crazy Mom Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. Bright blue sure is a win indeed. Wow though, that is one long wip haha should keep it for yourself indeed with all the memories and finally being able to say it's done.

    1. Thanks, Pat! I think I'm very happy to keep this one to myself. I kind of deserve it after all the quilts I gave away in the last two years!

  2. I agree that you should keep that one for yourself. All the memories all the fabric. I'd print this post and keep it too, so your kids know the story. I'm becoming more sentimental in my old age! "smile"

    1. That's so sweet, GrammaJudyB! I kind of like the idea of printing out the post for after I'm gone. My sister-in-law is doing that with all the quilts I've made for her family. She is saving the blog post about each quilt to give the recipients one day, when their old enough to appreciate and cherish it.

  3. I'm glad you decided to keep it. What a great way to recycle that waistband. And kudos for taking the extra steps to make it the best it could be.

    "I decided I have too much fabric." The first step is admitting it.... ;D

    1. Thank you, Sue! I don't think I will ever decide I have too much fabric. Well, except when it comes to "winning" freebies. I can ALWAYS use more fabric! Ha ha ha!


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