Friday, November 10, 2017

1999 to Now

Do you have a quilt top that has hung around since 1999?

I remember exactly where I was when I first was inspired to make this project.  I had picked up some hexie papers at a quilt shop in Texas – we had been down on a house hunting trip because we were moving there from Idaho.

It’s been top status for several years now, but life never slowed down enough for me to even consider getting it layered and basted, or to even think about hand quilting it.

Well things are changing around here.  I am switching up my priorities just a bit.  I NEED down time in the evenings to recharge my batteries, and it all started to become clearer to me when I instituted the “handwork only after supper” when we are at the cabin.

If I can do it at the cabin, I can do it here.  Even if it is just for an hour.  There has to be time to do some slow stitching to recharge the batteries.

So yesterday, Sadie helped me figure out just what I am going to do to quilt this – as that was part of the problem.  HOW was I going to quilt this?

This will be great filler for the large neutral areas!

I want this very traditional.  It was made in a very traditional way, it has a very traditional feel to it.  Not to mention that we are headed headlong into the holidays and quilting on something very Chirstmassy in the evenings sounds like a wonderful idea.


Which backing?!

I posed a question on Facebook and Instagram yesterday afternoon about which backing I should use.  The neutral with the red Chinese symbols would be fun, but the quilting really wouldn’t show.  I might use that if I were machine quilting, but this is a hand quilting project – I went with the tea dye colored solid.

Did you know you can machine baste by long arm?  Check this out: (click to play)

I am using a 90%  silk 10% poly blend batting from Hobbs.  SO excited to quilt with this especially after our silk adventures in China.  I set my machine on a very long stitch and used a serpentine pattern to quilt large wavy lines across the quilt.

The wavy lines eliminate the need for cross hatching, and the quilt is less likely to shift this way when moving the hoop than if I had just done straight lines.



While quilting,  I use a seam ripper to clip about every 4th stitch and tug the bobbin thread to easily remove stitches from any area that I am quilting.


Basted on the front!


And from the back!

I had just gathered up my hoop, my thread, my needles and was ready to settle in and put in the first stitches when WHAMMO.  POWER OUTAGE. Total blackout.

Mind you, if this were summer, it would still be light enough to see but it was 7pm and pitch black in the entire neighborhood.


Emptying the dishwasher by lamplight!

Isn’t this the way you do it?

I wanted so badly to sit and hand quilt but here I am in the dark - two oil lamps, a candle and a flashlight trying to make due of what turned out to be a 2 1/2 hour situation.  Jeff took a drive outside of the neighborhood to see if he could discover the cause after about an hour – and there was a utilities truck with a bucket replacing a transformer down the road.

In the mean time:


This is kind of cozy!

I finished reading “Left Holding the Bag: by Carol Dean Jones!  Such a fun quilty mystery!  I made my cup of tea from my instant hot water on tap before it went cold.

And then I told Jeff that we might as well eat the ice cream from the freezer before it melted as well – if the power is going to be out, we may as well have a party!

And just about the time I decide to try to piece hexies by lamplight – the power finally came back on again.


Stitching going in!

I stitched while watching two more episodes of Victoria on Amazon Prime.  I'm hooked!  She just asked Prince Albert to marry her.  Such a fun dramatization!


From the back.

So glad I opted for the solid fabric.  It’s going to look really great once done.  Things I observed while basting and quilting this long term project:

Sometimes we just LEARN as we GO!

I started piecing this in the center not really knowing what I was doing.  My stitches are too big and many are visible.  I didn’t pull my thread tight enough.  That first center rosette is kind of a hot mess.

But you know what?  With each round surrounding it, things got better and better until stitches weren’t visible at all.  We learn as we go.  And there is no shame in the imperfections that come with learning something new.

This quilt is a timeline – and I keep adding to it.


Quiltville Quote of the Day!

Sometimes we really need to reexamine our priorities and decide what really is important, and what isn't.

Have a wonderful Friday, everyone!


  1. I don't see the "hot mess" at all. Looks great. Wonderful texture. This is going to be a masterpiece!

  2. I love that hexie quilt such a pretty design, my hexie quilt is almost finished and maybe it will be a goo one for me to learn hand quilting on.
    Sadie is so adorable helping you lol, have a fabulous weekend
    Love and quilty hugs
    Anne xxx

  3. Good to know about the basting by long arm. I can rent time on a local LAQ machine, but there's no instruction. Basting may be a way to 'learn' and get a feel about how to handle the monster! No consequences if my lines aren't perfect - so long as there are no puckers. And hand basting is my least favorite part of the entire quilt saga.

    Trying your chicken soup recipe this weekend. It's soup, stew and chili time!!

  4. Imperfections in quilts - my sister loves those quirky vintage quilts she finds, but is quick to point out my flawed quilting. Maybe she's trying to help me learn from my mistakes and get better...but it is serving as a negative as I never think mine are "good enough" and get so discouraged.
    Love that you keep moving on thru your projects and accept that you may just get better as you go. I finished a "learning" project that is more flawed than acceptable and I'm glad I journeyed on and completed it. Mystery quilt? I'll stumble thru making a few blocks and see how it goes. (The proof is in the assembly...too often those seemingly good blocks just won't fit together.)

  5. The stitch effect on the back of the quilt makes it and the top itself is beautiful. Bless you for all you do for us out here in Quilt land.Beverly

  6. This is and will be beautiful! You are inspiring me to get out a quilt I’ve been hand quilting since the first workshop I attended in Wellsboro PA. It will get finished this year! I only have a 2 foot corner to do, then the border. Lol

  7. That is one gorgeous quilt!! The design you picked for the quilting is perfect and I don't see the "hot mess" either.

    I follow the blog of a gal in Australis - http://foxslane.blogspot.com/2017/11/the-antidote.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+FoxsLane+%28Foxs+ about her family and their farm. It seems the uglies are all over the place. I read this and thought of all the Negative Nellies you have encountered - it's a head scratcher as to why people are like this. Her thoughts on letting the uglies take up space instead of those that compliment us are spot on, I think.

    Have a great weekend and some "piece"ful stiching.

  8. Wow! I had never thought of basting a quilt by machine before.
    That idea in itself is well worth remembering. Thanks, Bonnie!

  9. I am anxious to see your quilting, I have finished a gfg top and backing but not quilted. Can't decide how I want to hand quilt it so it is hanging very proudly on my quilt ladder waiting patiently. I have been following the progress on yours and am totally in awe, great job as always

  10. I love how your scallop basting looks! Usually the basting stitches are not a thing of beauty, but this time they are!

  11. YES, Quiet time stitching in the evenings is the best choice. Glad you got it all basted! Have a great week-end. I Loved watching "Victoria" on PBS. Hallmark Christmas Movies are on about all day here... Hurray for Mona time, I just read on your FB.

  12. Thanks for letting us see the back of your machine basted quilt. I don't have a computerized longarm, but maybe I can do this manually.

  13. I got ya beat on oldies, Bonnie. I hand pieced a king-size sampler while hubby was stationed at the Army War College in Carlisle, Pa 1984-85. Got it basted before we packed up to move off to Ansbach, Germany. Two years later, stateside, I unpacked it and thought that if 1/4" stitching was good, 1/8" would be better??? Little did I realize I would be stitching thru the seam allowances too. I got only 3 blocks hand quilted and I gave up.
    I am inspired by your persistence in getting these time-consuming tasks completed, and so maybe 2018 will be the year I get working on mine.

  14. It's absolutely gorgeous! I'll enjoy seeing updates as you choose to post them.

    That serpentine stitching looks like it might be the most effective basting ever. No way is that thing going to shift!

    If it makes you feel better, I'm still working on a hand-pieced Grandma's Flower Garden quilt that I started in maybe 1987? I was in middle school, grandma got me started w a cardboard template and a few scraps. I had no idea what I was doing, and no idea why I thought my first project needed to be queen-sized! I scrounged for enough scraps, so fabric content on some of them is.... well, no idea really, just definitely not cotton. Some of the pieces were traced w a purple flair marker so.... yeah, this quilt will never be washable. BUT, all I have left is a few very long seams to join big sections together and it'll be all pieced. These decades-long projects are totally worth it in the end!!

  15. This quilt will be stunning, Bonnie. I am so impressed with your tenacity!
    I started a Grandmother's Flower Garden in 1997. Got about 36 flowers made and realized the papers were not all the same size and they won't fit together (from the days when we cut all out own papers). My Mom had given me ones she had left from the quilt she made. We each cut them using the same template, but apparently she cut inside the line and I cut outside. It so discouraged me that I never finished. I have since decided I will applique the flowers to muslin squares, sash them with the 30s green and finish the top that way--someday. :)

  16. I think the quilting looks lovely! I didn't see big or small stitches - just the pretty design and the stitches looked even to me. Sometimes it takes a little while to get into the swing of hand quilting again. You did a lot in a short space of time! And I love the cosy evening pics.

  17. The quilt will be beautiful! I have a top I made in 1965--maybe someday it will get finished.

  18. Congratulations on realizing you need Bonnie time and shifting your priorities. Such a great epiphany! and then you acted on it...happy happy happy... and a huzzah for getting that hexie in the hoop, and initial stitching, ice cream, blackout, oil lamp and all! Hugs from Carlsbad, California... if i don't mention it, it's always there thank you for you contribution to my life...Cats

  19. What a great Christmas Hexi quilt!
    Love the six pointed star in the middle.
    I promised myself to finish several quilts before I start anything new. Still working on Wonky stars and loving it!
    Happy Quilting Bonnie!!!!
    Yoka Bazilewich

  20. What a beautiful quilt. I'm a new quilter and can't image taking on a project like this. By the way, I have the same oil lamps as yours. Thanks for all the things you do for us and all the encouragement you give.

  21. This morning I pulled out a UFO from 2004; a baby blanket for my now 13 yr old granddaughter from her older sister's dress scraps. This was my first attempt at 'quilting'. I am pretty sure the squares were cut with scissors. I had stopped because things weren't fitting together. So now I have learned so much and am taking it apart, trimming the squares, and will save it for my a great-granddaughter. Thanks for all of your inspiration.

  22. As always you never fail to amaze me with your beautiful creations. Thank you.

  23. Oh my, Bonnie. Once again you've inspired me. I made my then 14-year old a king size Irish Chain quilt for his grade school graduation. ONLY, now, he is 37, and the quilt iis still only a top and the joke of the family. I will follow your example and FINISH this quilt!!


    Loretta McGinn

  24. One of my favorite quotes is "Strive for progress not for perfection." I actually put this quote on some golf balls to remind myself that it's ok to not be perfect all the time. It's a hard one to remember sometimes!

  25. I love this Christmas themed quilt! Very attractive!

  26. You got me so excited and it isn’t even my quilt. 🤣. Your hexing quilt looks absolutely beautiful. I love the story it tells. I too have come to realize that handwork in the evening is just thing I need too. I have become even more enamored with EPP the more I do. I also sometimes opt to knit in the evening too. This is the best time of year for hand quilting don’t you think? It warms the body as well as the soul. Happy stitching ❤️❤️

  27. I started a purple and silver NY beauty quilt ....wow in 1997!I added a border several years ago but it sits in my flimsy pile.waiting for a decision on how to quilt it....life

  28. Such a beautiful quilt! I have a quilt with embroidered blocks, king size, started in 1985. It is all quilted except one border. I call it my forever quilt. Hopefully 2018 is the year it get finished. You are such an inspiration to all of us!

  29. Thank you Bonnie for this wonderful story, I know that story isn't the right word that I want but for lack of a better term..... I love reading things like this. It is a beautiful quilt.

  30. Power outage. You just can't seem to catch a break. Enjoy the downtime - it happened for a reason!


If you are commenting as "anonymous" please leave your name at the end of your comment.

Did you know that ad space on this blog provides for all of the free patterns and free mysteries and challenges at no cost to you? Without ads, this blog would not be possible.

Thank you for understanding the many hours that go into this blog 6 days a week, 52 weeks a year. :)