Friday, February 18, 2022

A Most Fan-tabulous Kind of Day!

Some quilts just feel like SPRING!

Even if the drizzle drizzled and the wind gusted - a day spent quilting with a pizza-wielding friend just make the "Best Things of the Week Awards" list!

If there is one thing I can accomplish in this quilty life - I would choose to be an encourager to all of those who feel in any way "less than" when it comes to finishing a languishing decades-old top into something beautiful.

If I could, I would pull out all of my early efforts and show you that many of my most loved and well-worn quilts are evidence on the time line of my life that learning and skill building happens all along the way - 

One. Quilt. At. A. Time.

The last time Martha came to quilt a recently finished UFO top she told me about this fan quilt that was not quite yet finished with the assembly.

The blocks came easily, she reminisced.  She knew she wanted a picnic type quilt.  Not finding a pattern for the size block she wanted, she used a compass to draw the block out and make her own templates.

She cut all of the fabric ahead of the making to be sure she'd have enough of everything to get the job done.

The blocks are all hand pieced, catching moments of time and grabbing pairs of fan blades from the basket set by her chair.

It was easy to find time to make the blocks in between child-raising moments, but then the assembly came.

And disappointment crept in when realizing that blocks were not all the same size.

And there wasn't time to deal with it, "not quite right yet." and things were placed in a box and settled back on the shelf and then....just like that it's 20 years later.

After how nice the Album Block Quilt turned out in a previous visit, and after we did a round of machine basting on a Civil War Sampler so the hand quilting could begin, the story of the Grandmother's Fan quilt came up with the drive to dig in and finish it, however it turned out.

But first - PIZZA!  We needed our stamina for this one!

That green backing!!  *Eye popping!*  But it has a story, and I'm so glad we used it here.

When the kids were little, Martha and her sister had great fun making teepee tents for the kids from brightly colored fabric and setting them up in the yard for them to play in.

This bright in-your-face green is the fabric from those tents!  Can you imagine the fun the kids had and all of the things they still remember about those long summer days playing inside their tents?

Fabric on a shelf after decades won't mean anything to anyone who comes along that wasn't a part of that memory.  

But turning that tent fabric into a quilt backing and then using that quilt to make more memories is a great way to preserve the tent memories even further.

Bright? Yes!  But happy to be put to good awesome use!

The tent green is out of the stash, is now the back of a quilt and will continue to be a part of Martha's life.

Maybe you have projects like this hanging around as well - maybe they're not perfect, the blocks slightly different sizes, the sashing might not be quite right and the cornerstone seams may not line up the way you think they should,
Believe me when I tell you that many things will quilt out!

We chose to space the quilting farther apart to keep the quilt soft and drape-able to retain the vintage garden feel that the quilt reflects.

Such sweet fabrics and colors!
The quilt turned out so pretty, and it will be a nice addition to the front porch swing or a picnic under the apple tree this summer.

To add to our fun:

I played binding chicken and WON! LOL!!

That seam is "JUST" far enough away from the corner to not cause a problem when I turn it.  For ONCE - I didn't have to unstitch and move that seam up past the corner.

It must have been the lucky pizza.  Or perhaps the two remaining pieces of Key Lime pie left by the February Quiltvillians that became our much needed afternoon treat.

A completed quilt is much better than an unfinished top that stays in a timeout box for more than two decades!⁣

Stop thinking that your quilts are not worth finishing and that your skills are lacking.⁣
Don't be embarrassed over your earliest tries!
Finish your quilts up the best you can and use them often until they fall apart with memory-making.
Skills will develop over time, and we need the growing experiences to learn as we go. 

Don't discount your earlier efforts!
Relish them for all that they taught you along the way.

And if only YOU know the story behind the neon green backing, it's there to make YOU happy - not anyone else.

I was happily exhausted and exhilarated by the time I reached home at dinner time last evening.

Totally quilted out!  Time to settle in with some hand quilting, and pup playing!

Mabel is feeling confident to play a bit of tug!

A package of "flat babies" arrived for play time and it was fun to see how they each approach things differently.

Zoey goes after toys with gusto, focusing right in on desqueakerizing the heads and tails, determined to remove ears and other bits while Mabel is ever so gentle with her mouth that she can't even get squeakers to squeak.

There must be some bird dog in her because her mouth is so gentle - AWLAYS.  She will mouth things but not bite them.

I caught Mabel making the babies squeak by pushing her nose on top of their heads on the floor.

Isn't it just so fun to discover their personalities!

Even more need for a DNA test - is there bird dog in her gentleness?

Oh, and just for your viewing pleasure because I laughed so hard I cried.  Click to Play:

Watch the gal on the left as she watches the gal on the right make an over-the-top lunch for her hubby.  HYSTERICAL!  And laugher is good for the soul right now. Be sure the sound is on.  LOL!

Today.  It poured and poured last night.  My season of mud continues.

I'm headed on an errand day - which will include a much needed massage as well as some necessary shopping.  I'll be gone all day - so I'll be looking forward to more feet up time tonight when I get back.

And then into the weekend we go!  How about your own Friday?

This continues!  Did you enter yet?

Rhododendron Trail has been retired from the blog, has been completely unscrambled and rewritten into PDF Pattern Booklet Format and is available for download in the digital pattern section of the Quiltville Store!

I've kept all of the hints, tips, tricks and optional methods in - the full 8 week run of instruction is now in an easier to read and understand format!

I know you've been waiting for this one!

Cabin Corners is also available!!

Sew Many Scraps!

Wondering what to do with all of those precious small saved pieces? 

Stitch up a riot of rainbow color accented with red and give it all (including the kitchen sink) a fabulous place to land! 

This is a foundation paper pieced pattern with 16 pages of full instruction, and many full color photos to help you on your way to sewing up the scrap stash.

Quilt Size: 84’’ X 96’’

Yes there are introductory pricing discounts, and even a  Rhododendron Trail Cabin Corners Bundle!

The bundle is a limited time offer only available through 2/28/22 so hurry!

And also YES!  We are having a Gift-Away!

I'll be drawing for 2 winners who will each receive that Rhododendron Trail Cabin Corners Bundle AND a Color Aplenty fabric roll from Cotton to Quilts!

Head on over to that Gift-Away Post and get your entry in. We'll draw for our two winners on Saturday, February 26, 2022.

We may never fully sew ourselves out of the scraps, but we'll sure have a ton of fun trying!

Quiltville Quote of the Day -

Don't settle for anything less today!
What is one thing you choose today to bring you one step closer?

Enjoy your Friday, everyone!



  1. I love the story of this quilt... thanks for sharing it!

  2. Thanks Bonnie for the encouragement to finish a quilt, I came across one I started over 20 years ago, and I'll have to go pull it out and figure out how to finish. I so always enjoy your quotes! Have an awesome weekend!

  3. Just the BEST post today - thank you!! Being willing to embrace the process of learning and improving our skills is hard to do. We have all skill levels in our guild group and no one judges. Because we ALL remember being a beginner.

  4. And how are the feline members of the family adjusting to the new addition? Are they warming to her or just ignoring her? I hope all are settling in for the long haul.
    Anna in IL

  5. Experience has taught me that washing a quilt covers a multitude of problems, too! Everything looks better after it crinkles with that first wash/dry. 😉

  6. Love the Fan Quilt and it's story! It's become such a happy quilt full of memories. And it's inspiration for others of us to exchange unfinished UFOs for happy memories. Thank you Bonnie and Martha for sharing with us!

  7. LOL...i LOVE the green backing!! It was the first thing I noticed!! Love the story behind WHY she used it too! Did you free motion quilting or is this a panto/computer generated design? Keep up the great work!!! You inspire us ALL!!

  8. Oh how I need to dig out some Dresdin block's and make a quilt, even just something small. Some blocks are my grandmother's.
    Thank you Bonnie for all you do.

  9. I enjoyed reading about this long unfinished quilt. While I have plenty of my own quilts that need to be brought to fruition they must wait a bit longer. Yesterday, I went out exploring and found a twin sized, hand appliqued and hand quilted Tulip Quilt with scalloped edge at an antique mall in NC. Based on it's solid green and pink colors I would bet it's
    1930/1940 and almost in perfect condition. A gentle bath in the tub and air drying under the covered porch should bring it back to life! I so enjoy these squirrels ...but I do need to work on some of my own lol...reading your blog today gave me hope!

  10. Bonnie, I can hear your voice in my head as I read this post! Your love of sharing quilting joy is so infectious-- have a wonderful weekend!

  11. That video was funny. If you want a real laugh out loud belly laugh, look up Mrs. Hughs on Youtube. Hysterical! I was laughing so hard I was crying. My husband actually came upstairs to see what was going on.

  12. love the interaction of the doggies. where is ivy? how is she handling all this? hiding or just jealous because zoey got a new friend. love the quilt and kudos for finishing it. i have class samples from ages ago to finish. enjoy your weekend. patti in florida

  13. I still have tears in my eyes watching the instagram. I always love your site. Thank you

  14. I am also starting to bring out past incomplete projects and getting them done. It is fun to remember what I was doing during those times in my life.

  15. Oh, Bonnie, I laughed out loud as well at the video. Thanks for posting it. I can never be the gal on the right.....but she may not be able to make quilts either. :)

  16. Finishing the Grandma Camp quilts to enter in the March Quilt show. I made a fan quilt years ago for a family whose home burned down. And again for Granddaughter #2. What quilting pattern did you use? I love the huggable quilts.

  17. Oh do I ever have a ton of tops to turn into finished quilts. You know what they say about the best laid plans.....well life interrupted those plans so time to switch gears. Need to clean, adjust and oil up my quilting machine and dive in! They are not going to quilt themselves.
    Thanks for the chuckle. The gal on the left is so funny. Her facial expressions, perfect. Have a wonderful weekend. I feel your distress about the mud, have the same issue here on Whidbey Island. That too shall be remedied as soon as I can.

  18. The quilt is beautiful! We see all the mistakes in our quilts, everyone else sees the beauty. I have encouraging friends who only see the color and pattern and not the lumps and pleats. How nice to have them in my life, I want to be that friend.
    A good laugh is exercise for your insides, poor girl on the left.
    Be careful driving in the mud, it can be worse than ice. Can you tell I'm a mother? My children always said, "Mom's cold so we have to put on a sweater".
    Enjoy the massage, they are wonderful.

  19. I love the lunch video! The fabric stories are so relatable! My kids get that "oh Mom!!" look whenever I say "remember that (article of clothing) that I made for (event)? ;)

  20. Encouraging post today! Martha, your finish is lovely.

  21. Bonnie, you've encouraged me so much with your "Finish your quilts up the best you can" comment. Recently I pulled out blocks I made over a decade ago. Not enough contrast in the blocks, block edges wobble, problems I now know how to avoid. BUT, I am putting them together anyway, and the quilt is actually turning out better than I thought it would. You're right, it's all a learning curve and we need to not discount our early efforts. Thanks!

  22. My Friday is making backs for 5 UFOs and a from scratch baby quilt. The 5 UfO tops have been completed since New Year's eve. They will head off to the long arm quilter Sunday and then I can tackle more UFOs.

  23. I am so inspired...I have a couple of container that are labeled quilt tops and finish me first that I need to dig into and maybe finish some.

  24. My happiness today is coming from listing a ton of stuff for sale in my Texas quilt group on Facebook this weekend for a garage sale. Hope it all goes to new homes. Also dropped off 2 bags of stuff to our local volunteer fire department for the quilt group that will be meeting there tomorrow. Hope it’s all gone too! Trying to clear out things I don’t love or want to make anymore. However, all my Bonnie books are staying along with my scraps! I have found my love..💝💝💝. Thanks Bonnie!
    I am so enjoying the puppy’s play time. Not having dogs anymore, I can live vicariously through yours..😂

  25. A beautiful fan quilt and the quilt history. Still laughing at the video.

  26. Beautiful quilt, beautiful story to go with it, precious puppies, and a rooting tooting hardy laugh, thanks Bonnie, you know just what we need!!! Have a great day!

  27. "Binding chicken" -- a never-ending game for quilters. Cheers to you, Bonnie, for giving us a name to make it easier for me each time.
    Quilter Carol from Dallas, GA

  28. Thank you for that video. I really could use a laugh today and that was perfect. I loved the lunch on the left and the look of its preparer.


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