Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Hollyhocks Top Finish

I finished the Hollyhocks quilt top (Ruth B. McDowell pattern) this past weekend and pieced together a back from some fat quarters I bought recently at a sidewalk sale. I wanted the quilt to have a cottage-y feel to it, so I chose what I think of as traditional fabrics for the background. I decided to add borders (which, I guess, go with the traditional look), piecing together random lengths of the same fabrics I used in the leaves, and then adding more of the background fabrics so that each pattern extended to the edge. I really cut it close, using up almost all of two of the background fabrics. Here's the front with the batting peeking out behind it. It's about 23 by 57 inches. (The lower third of the photo is more accurate in color than the upper part.)

To make the back, I pieced together 6 fat quarters, staggering them to make the most of the blue/green print. I had originally planned to use it on the front, but it just wasn't looking right to me. So I guess this quilt is, like a mullet haircut, "business in the front, party in the back." Maybe? There's a bit of print in those light colored fabrics, too, but they didn't photograph well. I'll try to get a close-up of them when I take the final pictures after quilting.
Here's what I had left from two of the front prints. I've already found a use for the lower print in my Lake Michigan quilt. Maybe a bit of the batik will show up there, too. We'll see.  

I've pin basted the quilt, and I have to make some decisions about quilting thread. Then it's going into my take-along bag to hand quilt on vacations and during other times away from home. It might be awhile before you see the whole thing again, but we'll see. 

Now I'm back to auditioning fabrics for the foreground of the Lake Michigan quilt, but I'm not getting much done this week. It just doesn't feel right to do whatever I want or need to do--whether it's sewing, taking a walk to the library, buying groceries or making a meal--when there are thousands of people in dire straits in the Houston, Texas area who can't do any of those things. I've spent way too much time watching TV, and that doesn't feel right either. It's like disaster as "entertainment," but watching the rescues does keep the victims and their rescuers in my mind and keeps me offering prayers even though it's hard to know how to pray in a situation like this. I am in awe of the people working seemingly tirelessly (but I'm sure actually to the point of exhaustion) to rescue others and provide a safe place for them, and I am heartbroken for the victims and all they have lost. I know that the best help from afar right now is donations to charitable organizations that can provide tangible support, but it doesn't seem like enough. 

I'll leave you with some pictures I took on a bike ride last week because I feel the need to try to end this with some sort of beauty in the midst of despair. We rode to a city garden not far from our old neighborhood. It was built in the 1920's, I think. There is a rose garden, a pergola with an overlook, and a big grassy area that can be used for events such as weddings. We had heard rumors that it was in disrepair, but were happily surprised to see that it is still being cared for and even improved. The "roof" of the pergola has been replaced, and new wisteria vines are being guided to the top. Flowers in some areas of the garden were spent, but there were plenty of beautiful blooms left. 


I'm linking up today with Sew Fresh Quilts for Let's Bee Social


  1. The Hollyhock quilt is very pretty. That narrow border sets it off so well. Great job!
    I agree about the devastation in Houston. My cousin lives there and their house took on a lot of water- really awful. But she is safe and has a great attitude. It has been a horrendous disaster though.

  2. I was pleased to see your photos of Francis Park. We lived a few block from it for nine years, moving in 2004. Your Hollyhock quilt is lovely. I will be eager to see your Lake Michigan quilt. We camped along the lake, and lived along the lake later. Michigan is such a beautiful state.

  3. Loving those hollyhocks! They fit right in with your pretty pictures!

  4. First of all, I love your hollyhocks quilt, and the batiks scattered around are just right. Second, I laughed out loud at your description of "mullet". :-D And third, what a lovely post about Houston and surrounding areas. Like you I've had a disinclination to to any of the things I need or want to do and have watched TV rescues and press conferences and cried and prayed. It is so hard to fathom the devastation and heartbreak. My heart is aching, but I'm ready to get back to normal with deep gratitude for our blessings. Your closing photos - what beauty!

  5. Your Hollyhocks top looks wonderful! I love how you extended the background fabric "thru" the inner border.

    As a long time Red Cross volunteer, let me reassure you that your financial donations do a LOT of good. I've worked with hordes of volunteers, giving lots of time and energy, but only money can procure the raw materials we need to help those in need: food, blankets, cots, fuel for the trucks that carry all that, etc. We are grateful to our donors every day for giving us the tools we need to get the job done.

    Since we can't volunteer time on this disaster, we will be giving money.

    Houston's floods are a marathon, not a sprint. It's good for you to take time away from the TV coverage to rest and renew. Then your spirit will be ready to be even more compassionate. I can tell you have a big and tender heart :)

  6. Nice quilt. Love the photos of all the flowers. I love roses and cone flowers, So pretty