Friday, May 27, 2022

A challenge in black prints

 Hi everyone! I hope you have been having a good week, though I acknowledge it's been a difficult one here in the US, again. (See the bottom of this post for some somber thoughts.) Once again today, we are in the rain. This week the grass was so long that there are clumps all over the lawn from cutting it. Seriously, it looked like a pasture or something out there. All the better for the flowers, though, right?

Did you ever have a project where you made a few blocks and thought you would really like the finished quilt, but you just didn't have the motivation to make the rest of the blocks? That's pretty much how I felt about the black blocks that I had been working on off and on for a couple of years. I loved them but didn't want to make any more of them. Before we go any further with this story, let me show you what they turned into:

Not what I had in mind at the beginning! I was looking through the project boxes to put away the pink and green star blocks, and I pulled the black blocks box (say that three times fast!) out of the stack. "I have to make some more of those blocks," I said to myself (with a dramatic sigh.) Then I thought, "but what if I didn't?"

What if I didn't make more blocks? What could I do with just the ten blocks that I had? The more I thought about it, the more I liked the idea. I could have a personal challenge to use those ten blocks and make them into a quilt. I told myself I could make some easy alternate blocks and any kind of borders that I wanted, but no more black blocks.

Pull out the paper and start planning! Once I decided on the alternate blocks, it all came together pretty easily. The really fun part was choosing colors to go with the black blocks. I chose the light grayish blue and the very pale yellow, and I think they both worked. They're hard to see in the pictures but are charming in person. I almost went with a red, but I'm so glad that I didn't. 
I made the blocks for this quilt a couple of years ago from various black prints, and used a random half yard for the alternate blocks. The border is a very old print from Marti Michell and Maywood Studio. It's super pretty, but I am glad to use it up after all this time. There's about an 8-inch square left, which makes me seriously happy.

I think my experiment worked, though it's a bit bigger than intended. It's about 60 by 75, which would be great for a dorm, wouldn't it? Not bad for starting with ten blocks. Plus, I was left with an empty project box, which I quickly filled with some scraps so that another project doesn't jump in there when I'm not looking.

Hope you all have a great weekend. This weekend I'm planning to plant flowers while I pray for the children murdered in Uvalde, Texas. There's a lot that I could say, but nothing that really adds to any solutions. I find myself thinking a lot about my students who just graduated-- strong, brave, smart young people, many of whom are headed for their first teaching positions. Will they someday be forced to step over the bodies of their students and walk past the bodies of their peers? Or will they sacrifice themselves to save the children in their classes? How many of them will continue teaching in the face of preparing for violence every day? Every one of them would stand in front of a gunman without question, though they should never have to. But this is the country we live in right now. That's really all the words I have, because it's all been said before.

I could go on, but instead I'll just wish you peace and a restful weekend.

Sharing at Finished or not Friday, Brag About Your Beauties, and the Patchwork and Quilts linkup at Quilting Patchwork Applique.


grammajudyb said...

I like the way you finished the black blocks! Very subtle. I didn’t even really notice the pale yellow til the end ‘ it’s just lovely. I agree with your ending statements. What can we do? We can contact our elected officials. But I’ve lost faith in that process too! I live in a very red conservative state. The state with the most guns per capita! Not proud of that fact, just truth. I’m just so sad!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

What a beautiful quilt, Mari! I love how you challenged yourself to use those blocks up. The lighter gray blocks make the black blocks pop! I appreciated your words about the Uvalde tragedy. As a teacher of teachers, you're right there in it with them. So many worries and so little hope for change. So we pray and make quilts and plant flowers. Hugs!

piecefulwendy said...

I like how your quilt turned out, and it was clever to challenge yourself to see if you could finish it without making more blocks. You've balanced the blocks well and made a pretty quilt. This has definitely been a sobering week for our country. It just makes me sad. Things need to change.

Quiltdivajulie said...

The backing is beautiful and I really like the way you set the limited number of black blocks. The quilt top is striking! Well done. As to the state of things, I am sad and beyond concerned. Our deep red except for two counties (ours and another 4 hours east) state has gone over-the-edge-too-far with recent legislation and there is more on the docket with little hope of removing the offenders from their offices. I worry what our grands are going to inherit.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

I like it!!!
I think you made a beauty and it had to feel good to use those blocks!! Find them a happy home!

Susie H said...

Your quilt is a beauty. Focus on the beautiful things and try not to dwell on the uglies. There's a lot of sickness in our country that needs to be addressed. Until then, there are no solutions.

Sara said...

It's a lovely quilt and yes - I lose my motivation to finish things quite frequently. My brain has been wrapped up in this week's tragedy too. Last night as we were driving home from grandkids' baseball game I found myself overwhelmed again with this. I'm certainly thankful that I haven't had to deal with this personally, yet. My classroom for 18 years was at the end of a hallway on the second floor of an old building. The doors on that second floor only locked with old skeleton keys so we never locked them during the day. And the only 2 small windows would have required a 2-story jump to concrete. My final classroom just 6 years ago - had a lockable door and escapable windows - and the school had active shooter drills. Such a huge change over the years.

MissPat said...

Well done on getting another WIP finished and ready for gifting. I have too many unfinished QALs that need to be moved out. I share your sorrow at the state of our country. As we honor our veterans on Memorial Day, I can't help but wonder how disappointed they would be to see what the country they sacrificed their lives for has become.

The Joyful Quilter said...

Congrats on a fine finish (and kudos on giving you creativity a workout in the process, Mari!!)

Laura said...

Ah, yes...I do indeed lose motivation on some projects. I've been working all week on moving forward a project that I was finding tedious. Congrats on coming up with a creative solution for your quilt! :)

Ivani said...

You are so smart Mari. Love the way arranged the blocks and made this quilt.
I don't know which was your original plan, but it is perfect beautiful as it is. Well done!

quiltingbydawn said...

What a great solution for your black blocks. A lovely arrangement!
I agree with you in the senseless killing in Uvalde. As a substitute teacher, I share with so many, the sadness and anger with how and why these tragedies still happen. Change is a must! This has been another sad week in our country's history!

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

Mari, what a beautiful quilt you achieved! Clever way to use your pretty black blocks, and to finish a lovely top!
Thank you for sharing your quilt and your thoughts, and for linking up.

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Mari, I really love your low volume blocks around the black ones. I think that it adds more impact with the contrast than more black ones would have. Good for you for thinking out side that box and coming up with a great alternative. I'm going to keep that in the back of my find for a "some day..." project. Those are very powerful words about teaching - such a scary place to be - rather surreal and very, very sad. Take care.