300 Quilts

Garden Flower • Quilt Top Finish

Floods! Snow! Storms! Rain! More Rain! That old saying about April Showers really doesn’t apply to California, because for us it’s March showers bring April flowers, so yes, my garden is overflowing with flowers which is where my latest quilt started.

This pattern is also where the quilt started, with Yvonne’s wonderful Garden Peony quilt pattern. Yvonne is a master of shape and space (her handle is Quilting Jet Girl), and love how the inner path of this quilt mimics the ruffling of a peony blossom.

I’ve highlighted it here.

But I’ve always wanted to make this in Kaffe prints, just knowing it would make a wonderful big blossom. Luckily for me, Yvonne put out a new edition of her pattern, so I was in business.

I busily cut out all the green I wanted to use (an old Kaffe geranium print) and then started mocking up the center. I remembered that our peonies had that brilliant yellow center, so that’s what I cut next. However, there wasn’t a blossom big enough for the solid circle Yvonne had in her pattern, so I ended up with four smaller blocks. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was already in trouble with this quilt:

Can we say Color Mush? Can we say Pieces Turned Awry?

Admittedly, this was taken at night, but I couldn’t see any delineation between the outer three colors. I went to bed, dejected, as I just knew her design would be beautiful in Kaffes but couldn’t see my way there.

Thank you, Committee of Sleep. Out with the treasured geranium fabric. In with dots.

I tried three different pinks around that center yellow, and have a shopping receipt and the cut-out shapes to prove it (some fabrics were already in the stash). I had to make another hard decision about the 2nd ring: I inverted it, largely because the shape of the blossoms in the Kaffe were fighting the natural flow of soft scallopy petal shapes. It was a hard call, as I loved how Yvonne had the ruffle effect (see above). But now I was in new territory, and I was determined to make it work.

But apparently the quilt wasn’t done with me yet.

This just didn’t work. So I re-made a new one, with a better match of pink blossom and a stronger background, and pieced it in. I even rotated it a quarter turn for better balance.

Admittedly the two outer rings are still very similar in value, even though one is Kale and the other Geraniums. I’m hoping the quilting will help fix that.

Yvonne has great directions. I was worried that I wouldn’t have enough big blooms to make full-blocks in one section, and I shouldn’t have. It’s one of my favorite parts. I wish I’d been braver on the other sections (this is a “before I switched it out” photo).

There are many good tips on construction in the pattern, so you shouldn’t have any troubles.

I printed out the pattern onto card stock, and put two loops of blue painter’s tape on the back to keep it in place when I was cutting. I set a ruler on top of the straight edges to help with cutting (large rotary cutter). I followed her directions for cutting multiple shapes, using my smaller rotary cutter on the curved edges.

Put your sewing machine speed on slow, whether it’s you that’s on slow, or the machine. Pin the center of the arc. Then one more at each end. I always tried to use a scrap to start the seam before stitching that beginning edge, and used the natural flex and give of the bias to help align the edges.

I pressed nearly every edge to slide under the larger arc piece, with the exception of the center circle. Then trim it up and put it on the design wall.

Sew together, pressing well.

I had to do a last photo in our under-construction kitchen. This is the Day Six of Week Four, showing the floor all finished with its patching (sense a theme?). We’ve chosen our cupboard color (the Great Angst of the last two weeks), but you’ll have to wait to find out which one we chose. I woke up from a dream the other morning where I was being tiled: tiny pieces all over my face. Hmmmm, I thought, when I was fully awake. Better get on the tile stuff for our backsplash. And the stories! I’ve loved reading about painting, buying, kitchens, workers, counters, windows–your experiences have helped me be more sanguine about mine.

So just like making a quilt, from choosing a shape to material to color to size to revision, the kitchen is coming along. I had thought I’d just sit upstairs and sew merrily away for six weeks while they hammered and sawed downstairs. That was an illusion. The reality is we’ve spent nearly every day making some $ignificant deci$ion, or shopping to learn about that significant decision. But we think we’ve purchased just about everything, and now it’s just time and other people making in their workshops, sawing and planing and cutting wood.

I much prefer fabric.

Happy Easter!

12 thoughts on “Garden Flower • Quilt Top Finish

  1. You really did a good job on that. I’m anxious to see how you choose your quilting. Remodeling is exciting, expensive, and a little scary. I am looking forward to seeing before and after pictures!

  2. You know I adore those Kaffe prints! What a great way to showcase them!

    And I have to admit, I do smile at your impatience with how slow the kitchen is going, when I think it is going very very fast! It’s going to look amazing. Can’t wait to see that blue!

  3. The Kaffe really was a fun choice for that design. I was imagining it much smaller, but it looks great as a larger quilt. It as the everyday decisions of our remodels that drove me crazy. I craved a day when I didn’t have to pick a color, knob, lighting, tile, flooring or anything else. Happy Easter!

  4. I had hoped that someone would be inspired to use Kaffe prints by my Garden Peony quilt. I love the way you took my quilting path and expanded it out. Sleep or doing something else completely (we call it mowing the grass) can make a huge difference. I’m looking forward to seeing how your quilting continues to bring this to life.

    Happy Easter! May your kitchen remodel go smoothly and you have fewer big deci$ions to make.

  5. I ‘m happy to see the Kaffe prints with Yvonne’s pattern. His big prints can be a challenge to use when it comes to symmetry like the giant flower. You dit it! I find every quilt I make is a learning experience in one way or another even if it’s a super simple design. Values don’t come off as I imagine or the prints don’t quite translate as I had hoped. But done is a really good thing. Easter blessings.

  6. Such a stunning quilt top! Oh my, how I know those nights of sleep that helps a design issue resolve although in my case there are also those nights of waking off and on with different thoughts appearing that confuse things even more!
    Wishing you the best on the continued kitchen renovation, just imagine how wonderful that first meal in your new kitchen will taste!

  7. Your peony top is wonderful, so luscious. I love that Steinbeck quote. A kitchen renovation is such a huge deal. It sounds like you have a really good team doing the work! But it’s also work to make all those decisions! It’s fun to see your process!

  8. What a great job you did using the Kaffe fabrics in this design! Thanks for taking the time to show your process. That geranium fabric is beautiful, but, you’re right, it didn’t work here. I’m taking a “sewing curves” class next week with Cindy Grisdela so maybe I can tackle something like this pattern afterwards! Redoing a kitchen is a lot of work, but you’re going to be so happy with it and enjoy it so much for a long time 😊.

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