28 January 2021

Flimsy Whimsy

I cannot believe I finished a quilt top!!! It feels as if it's been decades!!!

I bought the Painterly Petals charm packs on sale after I gave away two of my finished quilts early in 2019. Two women in my tiny village had lost their husbands, and someone who keeps better track of what's going on in the community than me asked if I had any extra quilts she could give to these two women. I had two unclaimed quilts (one of which I had kept for myself, but I couldn't justify my selfishness after being asked to share a warm hug with a stranger newly facing life alone), and I proudly donated both.

Blue Scrappy Block a Day

I was told I'd probably never hear anything from either of the women, neither of whom I'd ever met, but I was assured the quilts would be appreciated and treasured. That was good enough for me.

One of the two women did look me up and sent the nicest thank you card a few weeks later. We have since become friends. I am so happy I shared a quilt I wanted to keep for myself with her!

That got me thinking I probably need to keep a couple of finished quilts on hand at all times I can donate to women in my village who have lost their husbands. Made me feel good to even consider that, and the Painterly Petals sale seemed to perfectly fit the bill.

I'll be candid. I hated this line when I received the charm packs in the mail. The rainbow the samples created in the online photo was so attractive, and when I opened up the charms to visually feast, some of the fabrics actually turned my stomach. The charm squares sat in time out for a while. I'd previously ordered some royal blue solid fabric I wanted to incorporate as an accent into a dress I was designing, but the shade wasn't quite right. It was sitting in time out, too. When I placed the charm packs on top of the not-so-royal royal blue, something stirred inside me, and I wondered if I might be able to get rid of both fabrics in one quilt.

Eventually, I thought a half square triangle quilt might be a nice use of these two ugly stepchildren, and I began cutting the blue fabric in April. I ran out before I ran out of charm squares. I tried to order another couple yards of the blue late last spring, and there was none to be found anywhere. Many fabrics were getting difficult to find, thanks to the pandemic.

I played around with designs while I waited for more royal blue to become available.

I finally found a charm pack (!!!) and two yards of newly restocked not-so-royal royal blue right before Lizard's surgery in August and quickly ordered it, just in case it sold out again. (It did!) I was so excited not to have to cut my own blue charm squares for the rest of the project! I also picked up a yard of one of the individual Painterly Petals fabrics because I thought it eventually might make a helpful backing or binding for this project. The next few months, however, were tied up with post-surgery, and then fourth quarter work demands left next to no spare time whatsoever.

At the beginning of December, I set a goal to have these blocks all pieced, flimsied and ready to be layered and quilted by the end of 2020. I finally finished the flimsy on January 24.

While I was squaring up the half square triangles, I realized some of the fabrics in the Painterly Petals line are really pretty. I wasn't so ashamed of buying them anymore. This makes potentially giving away the finished quilt less embarassing for me, even though I know the quilt probably will be appreciated by the recipient no matter what fabric I use.

Then while trying to come up with a final attractive layout, I realized this line isn't really about individual fabrics. It's how they all look together. They really do make a nice rainbow. I think the bland royal blue really adds to the beauty, too. I'm glad I had some on hand, and I'm really glad I found more when I ran out!

Once I settled on a design, I was one hst shy of the full layout. I also needed eight solid blocks in red, orange or pink that would harmonize with and not detract from the Painterly Petals. I pulled out all my pink, red and orange batik scraps and auditioned them in the layout holes until I found just the right shades, and in the process, I found another scrap that fit in so perfectly, you can't even find the oddball hst. It looks like it came with the Painterly Petals!

This project really made me take a good long look at two of my other WIPs, HST leftovers, which are 2.5-inch squares, and postage stamps, which are 2-inch squares.

I've always laid out my blocks on the floor when I begin assembling a quilt top. I can't do that now because I don't want Lizard to slip on them, and I don't want to have to keep picking them back up and putting them back down during the short bursts I am able to work on them. I laid out the Painterly Petals on the spare bed, and it took me six weeks to finish the flimsy. One of the problems I frequently encountered while joining the blocks was accidentally putting them back on the bed in the wrong order or upside down or even in the wrong place while traveling back and forth between the dining room and the spare bedroom.

There is no room for a sewing machine in the spare bedroom. There is no room for blocks to be laid out in the dining room or adjacent living room. I had to undo and redo nine different blocks while I was putting this baby together.

I learned I like doing quadrants much better than rows when I'm working piecemeal, and now I have learned to keep a layout photo handy so I can put the pieces back in the proper order! I've also decided my scrappy HST project will be a sampler instead of one big design, just to make putting blocks and quadrants together easier. I'll finish quadrants so I can neatly stack them somewhere out of the way while I can't work on them. I'm not sure that idea will work with the postage stamps, but I can assure you I will not be doing rows!!!

Linking up with Alycia Quilts and Confessions of a Fabric Addict.


  1. I used to get in such trouble in time out because my mom would send a brother in too.... Your time out actually worked - and they both learned to behave and Holy Smokes!! That quilt is amazing!!I really like how the colors play so nice with each other!

    1. Thank you, Alycia! I hope I can finish quilting it by the end of the month, but oh, that's just two days away!!! Yes, I think these two naughty kids are getting along SO well!

  2. I never thought of making blocks instead of rows ... I might ... :-) Your quilts are beautiful. All the best! Regula


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