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Good Neighbors

Thank you for the kind comments and words of encouragement on my MMSC post yesterday.  I completely agree, bloggers who write honestly and authentically have a certain quality that makes them very readable.  I love ones who share so much of themselves and their lives, blogs that come to mind of being of that style are here, here and here.  Love, truth, struggle, honesty.  And so beautifully written.  I fear that this style works best when the writers are "normal" or dealing with socially acceptable problems.. and I can't say that all of my challenges right now fall into those categories.  I am making tough choices, choosing to do what I feel is right over what society, my family and my loved ones may expect.  And it's hard, but it's so worth it.

You have all been good neighbors to me, and I am so thankful.  So here, let me show you a quilt I made..

When AmandaJean announced she had new fabric coming out with Connecting Threads, I jumped at the chance to help her promote it.  I chose the cooler colors from Good Neighbors, teal, patriot blue, grey, green and joined them with Patriot blue and Indigo solids.  (This still needs another border in the Indigo, but I wanted to take pics today when I had time).
I chose two blocks from Get Started Quilting, the Starry Night improv stars, and the Improv Housetops, which I modified a bit.  This quilt is very similar to one of the design wall samples (p. 116, I think) but I wanted to see how it would look in cool colors and with the circle of stars in the center.  Here's a bit of my process:

Start by making the double star wonky star blocks:

I use the chain piecing method described in the book to keep the star point units together as I assemble the block (leave thread chains between the patches as you machine piece and then they don't accidentally get out of order).
Make 4 star blocks, and rotate them so that they alternate Big-Small-Big-Small and form a ring.  (I love how this happens)

Then start in on the housetop blocks-- making rings of medium, light, and then dark around center squares (completely improv, nothing needs to be measured, slice in angles for visual interest, trim down at the end).



The Improv Housetop pattern in the book has you make one big ringed block, cut it in quarters, trim up to 6.5" and reassemble so all the centers are going the same direction.  For a large portion of these blocks, I just cut the ringed blocks in half, trimmed to 6.5" x 12.5" and stacked them.

Assembly is a little tricky-- I added panels of housetops to the top and bottom of the star section, then built up the two side panels carefully pressing seams for optimal ease at the final joining of columns.  I could have planned it out before I started sewing, but that's just not how I work.

I added 3" borders in Patriot blue and I want to put on one more border of Indigo before quilting it.  I have.. limited ideas for how that will go so far, so I think I'll let it sit as I think on it for a few days.  Suggestions welcome.

I loved making this quilt.  The Connecting Threads solids have such a nice weight to them and Amanda Jean's Good Neighbors prints are really just that-- I can see these prints working so well with others in my stash already.  Plus the whole line is just cheery and candy coated and reminds me of all of her other quilts.  I really enjoyed playing with it.

So, this is how I quilt.  From idea to partially finished top, it took about 4 months.  I'm surprised I did it so quickly.  Most of the piecing and assembling was done in about 4-5 days.  I do not like to rush.  I want to remember the process (I forgot that that's why I started blogging in the first place, waaaaay back in 2006) and to work out my thoughts as the quilt takes shape.  There is bigger meaning here, much bigger, and I think the social media wave often knocks people off balance.  It's part of life though, one more thing to manage.  Thanks for rallying around me this week, friends.  You guys are the best neighbors <3 p="">

Comments

  1. Wow, I love how this turned out! I love the star ring especially.

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  2. I like the effect of the cut house blocks looking like they are hiding behind each other.

    I agree that when things get hard that it's harder to write about them. Some things you don't want out on the Internet for everyone to find.

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  3. The ring-of-stars is just so nice. Love the whole quilt!

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  4. This came out great - I really love the center stars!

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  5. Jessica, I love the way that you write on your blog. You do so much and are stretched so thin, and yet you accomplish so much! Don't sell yourself short! You've inspired me to take my EPP along while I'm in CA helping my daughter get through a difficult 2 nod pregnancy.

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  6. This top is so fantastic, Jess! You do a marvelous job of pulling the positive together in the mess that Life really is. Reading your words, I think that's why I like quilting so much. When I was younger, I worked puzzle after puzzle (large, intricate ones), and I know it was a therapeutic activity wherein I felt like I was putting pieces of Life back together into meaningful symphony rather than the crushed, chaotic, disappointing unsureness that I felt. Quilting fulfills all that and more, lending a useful permanence to the process, and a beauty that can be shared with others. It's much more social for me, too, particularly when I'm able to blog regularly. It's been several years since I've felt that Life had a lot a Not-So-Greatness for me, and I'm certain that without quilting, these years of kids moving out of home and into lives of their own that only include me peripherally would be so very much harder to move through than they are. Whatever you're working through right now, I think you're taking the best approach - doing what you feel is right instead of what others expect. That's not so easy, though. Hang in there!

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  7. I loved watching your construction process. What a fabulous quilt. You are such a talented quilter. Be true to yourself...best wishes....

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  8. I enjoy the process shots! And this quilt is beautiful.

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  9. I just stumbled across your blog, entirely by serendipity. I am so very glad I found your blog...and not just because I have recently "discovered" paper piecing. I appreciate your desire to be authentic in your writing and in your life. That is a quest that I am on in my own life as well, and quilting is one of the spiritual practices that I use to help me on my journey. I can't wait to read your previous blog entries, and to get to know you better through your writing. Thank you.

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  10. I just stumbled across your blog, entirely by serendipity. I am so very glad I found your blog...and not just because I have recently "discovered" paper piecing. I appreciate your desire to be authentic in your writing and in your life. That is a quest that I am on in my own life as well, and quilting is one of the spiritual practices that I use to help me on my journey. I can't wait to read your previous blog entries, and to get to know you better through your writing. Thank you.

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