Monday, January 6, 2020


My original plan with Bonnie Hunter's Good Fortune mystery, when it started last year, was pretty much to follow the pattern. Except for the dark background, I used about the same colours as Bonnie in the same places as Bonnie. I did plan from the beginning to make it larger, and hoped to use one of my old Asian fabric panels in the centre, since Bonnie's inspiration was her trip to China last year two years ago. 😂

Eventually I accepted that my very western fabrics didn't play well with the panel, so that idea is on hold and I went with the Mariner's Compass I showed last time instead.

While I was playing around with the layout of the quilt, I had the bright idea of blending the edge of the blocks out into a scrappy brown border. Partly because just following the pattern started to chafe, and partly because some how when the clues came out, I cut way too many brown squares.

I really have no idea how that happened. It is over 3 inches/8 cm high!

Anyway, I made quite a few of these...

...instead of these...

...with the goal of doing something like this.

Fast forward one year, and I am now regretting it. It would be a lot faster and easier to just make all the blocks the same. And it would give me more flexibility in the final layout, I expect. And most of all, the tricky border is not really going to be better. The quilt was already good.
But, today I accepted that it would be more complicated to unpick all those units, than to just keep going. So the tricky border lives.

I do have to say that I am loving all those browns. They really give so much life to the colour scheme.

It's all a balancing act, isn't it? I've been looking at quilts with fresh eyes this past couple of months, and I think one thing I've been guilty of in the past was overthinking and making my projects too complicated. And then they stall. Reading the first AHIQ post for 2020 (which is thoughtful and beautifully written, btw), I laughed to see that the definition of modern utility quilt now includes an emphasis on a finished quilt. I am sure that is one of Ann's contributions to the dialogue. 😉 Totally right too, and I'm hoping to channel some of that energy this year.

Of course, you don't have to look very far back in my feed to see this crazy idea. But obviously it will be EPIC and I still plan to do it.

But I am also hoping to maintain this new perspective, and try to keep my projects from getting overly fussy and involved. The question is if the extra detail adds value to the finished quilt. If it does, then great, but if it doesn't, move along.


  1. Thanks for the compliments, Monica. I didn't realize I'd added to the definition of utility quilting but that was part of my contribution. We have enough stuff lying around and I really see that the quilt tops I've left undone become outdated. I'm really trying to work all the way through my new projects and work out some older ones in between.
    Your projects are so beautiful. I'm continually drawn to the way you alter patterns, layouts, color schemes. Such a talent. I'm glad you're back to blogging. So much to share beyond snaps. Thanks.
    There are so many quilts flying through our minds. Some of them are quite elaborate and worthy of that attention while others just need a nudge to get done and out the door. Of course, making baby quilts has changed my opinion. It helps to get them done before the baby is born or at least before (s)he can walk.

    1. Well there's no doubt that finishing up adds to the equation. Seeing the results and being able to weigh the benefit of following through with a design idea is priceless! I agree with Monica, the post was very thoughtful and well written.:)

  2. Seriously! Modern quilts are finished quilts? Whoduv thunk it?
    I agree with your thoughts on over thinking. That is one reason I get stuck following the pattern so closely. I don't want to think too much. At least until I am done school.

  3. Really?! A rainbow over Sue Garman quilt? That will be so EPIC! Can't wait to see more. ;^)

  4. I remember this graphic when you first posted it. I still think it's a grand idea. As regards utility quilts needing to be finished, today I am visiting with my long arm quilter and taking two quilt tops from my closet. One will be donated, so I guess it's a utility quilt. I would like to quilt it myself but it's 75" by 90" and I would wear myself out doing it. It wouldn't be any fun. The other top is Organized Chaos, a pattern by Sujata Shah. I love it's craziness and will keep it for myself. You may have seen it on Instagram. Happy sewing!

  5. I don't often think to use brown, but whenever I see it in someone else's work I love the richness it brings. Balancing grand ambitions with pragmatism can be challenging, can't it? Hopefully there is room for a bit of both, since your grand schemes result in stunning quilts.

  6. I agree with the overthinking, I'm experiencing the same problem myself presently and seem to have lost my way with a quilt I'm making. Sometimes I just walk away and go back to the design wall in a couple of days and see with fresh eyes! You do have quite a stack of brown squares there but don't they look good with the blues and yellows you have in the laid out block.

  7. I too chafe at following directions and get easily bored with all that. Sometimes taking the detour finds us with some extra trouble, and sometimes it finds us with a much, much better quilt! Love your brown, blue blocks. They really are exciting. Very hopeful you find time to make the complex quilt as well as move some of the other quits along. It's all part of the wonderful process isn't it?


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