Wednesday, September 7, 2016

keep. on. sewing.

I've finished two more quilt tops in my NICU Hearts series.  They're sized to be mattress covers on open NICU beds in my local hospital.  It's nice to work on a smaller scale and with a clear purpose, though I am finding my creativity challenged by these already-made heart blocks.

NICU heart quilts

My first quilt in this series was very simple, so for my second I wanted to do something with more piecing.  I sketched and shared the design that became the pink quilt on left as day #14 of 30 Days of Quilt Design.

NICU heart quilts

Honestly, I'm not at all fond of the result.   Choosing six blue-background hearts and framing them with mitered striped borders felt like a good start, but proved quite the opposite.   I think my main misstep was allowing color choices to be guided by the fact that I have an excess of pink fabrics in my stash.  Faced with six, pink-framed hearts, I simply could not find a pleasing border fabric in my stash for the life of me.  Everything was sickly sweet.  I chose this muted brown-orange sketch border after much angst because it hushed the candy-colors a bit without seeming completely wrong.

Bottom line, I don't want candy colors in September.  It's totally the wrong season for that in the northern hemisphere!

NICU heart quilts

After the frustration of the previous quilt, making this quilt top was a vacation.   I let myself choose colors from my heart and was delighted to make it up entirely of scraps (apart from the very last outer row).  There are two wide strips of delicious velveteen in their too!  I sewed them in with a tinier stitch length and wider seam allowances to guard against the extra fraying that is characteristic of velveteen, flannels and linens.  I've learned the hard way to take precautions when combining other substrates with hardy quilting cottons.

NICU heart quilts

I'm already working on my 4th NICU Heart quilt.  Wish I could say it is coming out as well as the rainbow log cabin did, but... I'm not so sure.  Regardless, I know that these quilts will appeal to someone on the floor.   Not everyone prefers bright rainbow colors over sweet pink and blue after all!  So, I'll keep that in mind and keep on sewing. 

Generally, that's always the way to go - keep. on. sewing.  Your heart may not sing over every finished project, but you're sure to keep learning if you only don't give up.  And along the way, even through trial and error, you just may find what you really want to say flowing out in the colors and shapes.

20 comments:

  1. Love both your quilts and I'm sure they will bring comfort to a cute little one.

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  2. The rainbow log cabin is just luminous! The blue really makes the first quilt. Sometimes challenges like this (making a bunch of quilts out of presewn blocks) really stretch creativity. I have no doubt you'll make them all beautiful, Rachel!

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  3. They are both so pretty. I am with you on the pinks. Your work inspires me.

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  4. Oh, I so agree, it is very difficult for me to work with spring or pastel colors when we are headed into my favorite time of year, autumn!! I am sooooo ready for cooler weather, and getting out my sweaters. I think your solution for your hearts quilt is a good one, lots of interest in the border. I would probably have put a floral print on it and called it good. Yours is much more creative.

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  5. Beautiful! Just like your heart, friend! Handmade brings its own warmth and love to a space where it's certainly needed. Keep on keepin' on!

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  6. The timing on this post and it's final lesson is perfect for me this week. I just finished two quilt tops that I'm really not all that thrilled with. But I learned some important lessons from both of them, and they are charity tops and so will send a message of love and support regardless of the "mistakes" I made. I'm going to keep. on. sewing.

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  7. They are both beautiful! I especially like the mitered borders around the hearts!

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  8. I think they're lovely, Rachel, and those that receive them will be blessed. Perhaps you're being a bit too hard on yourself.

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  9. oh these turned out wonderful. I think the NICU will love them
    I know the babies that lay upon them will feel the texture and see the color changes.
    Well done!

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  10. Rachel, these are both beautiful and will make the children happy! I'm not sure if the season effects my colour choices. Seasons are so different here, mostly only two seasons and now in september we still have degrees like +30c and even more. x Teje

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  11. Love the log cabin design and color choices, the log cabin is the best and could go so many color ways....

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  12. Can I be obtuse and say I really like candy pinks in fall, especially in my garden, against the burnt oranges and reds, but I guess nature doesn't always translate onto quilts quite so well!! Keep sewing x

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  13. I love the rainbow one too! I look forward to seeing more.

    What tape is it that you use to join batting pieces with? I thought I had it saved but I can't seem to find it ;)

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    1. The one I use is called Heat Press Batting Together. It doesn't work well every time, so if there is another brand you might try that.

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  14. Even though you aren't keen on the candy colours in September I'm sure the recipient will
    Love it

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  15. Lovely quilts, both of them, and you are so right about not quitting! I am working on a quilt now (my day 1 design) that I was tempted to abandon when I first put the squares up on the design wall. Disappointment!! But I found a print to use in a small border that I think will pull it together. I have kept on sewing and it is growing on me!

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  16. I've found, in making charity quilts, that God has an intended recipient for each quilt - what may not appeal to you will be just the perfect quilt for the person who receives it. Time and time again that has proven true! Your quilts are beautiful and such a tribute to sweet Eleni!

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    1. I also believe that each quilt will find it's way to someone for whom it will be just right. That's the nice thing about charity quilting. Precisely because you don't know the recipient, you don't ever have to conclude that your colors/design are completely off =)

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