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.
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.
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!
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.
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.