Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hourglass Reprise

"The trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be."
~ Paul Valéry

This quilt went together more easily if only because most of the parts were already sewn and ended up a repeat of the previous one. I thought about making something very different but... all the hourglasses with polka dots were already sewn and it needed to be gifted this week so time was of the essence. Time; hourglass. Somehow appropriate. Plus, it uses up all these specific pinks, aquas, and the second black print in my stash {which has been lurking for a while because it never fit anything else.} There's several more yards of the stripe since I purchased it for bindings. The last excuse is that the quilts will reside in different states and their owners most likely will never meet.

I enjoyed working with hourglasses as both a central block and a border. There are a few more ideas running through my mind {aren't there always} that I may flesh out in the spring. We'll see.

Nine sets of four to nine small hourglass blocks are separated by black and white striped sashing and surrounded by a larger round of hourglasses for a border.
Improv Hourglass quilt 2

The pink with red polka dot triangles were short one to finish the center {more or less} identically to the previous one. I dug through the stash and scrap bags for a bit more to no avail. Something had to change and the very center seemed the likeliest. Perhaps a different block should have been used but the design needed to be centered in the block like an Ohio Star with the hourglasses turned into star points. After cutting the beautiful birds below {which are laid out in the opposite arrangement in this photo} their backgrounds were obviously too strong for the rest of the quilt. A single bird in the center was even worse. Like a wart on the end of your nose. I didn't even pause to snap a photo.

Testing the quilt center combining five hourglasses with four alternate blocks of printed bird fabric
Possible quilt center with bird fabric

One reason I felt comfortable with this diffuse design is that I've done something similar before. Not every quilt needs spectacular blocks. The sashing or the border can grab your eye first. Because we start with the block, sometimes we focus too much on making them the focus {how's that for a pun?} rather than letting them become part of the background.

The quilting is almost identical to the previous one except for SID at the inner border - a more felicitous choice because my machine is home again - and quilted spirals in all the inner hourglasses. The straight lines in the border quilting add a bit of contrast and actually show against the prints. Wonders never cease.

The hourglass border has pink prints to the inside, blue prints on the sides and a black print on the outside to form a strong frame for the quilt
Detail of Improv Hourglass quilt 2 border 

Pink micro-check gingham became the best choice for the border interior. The black is printed with turquoise and grey so a dark grey with pink dots made a good binding. It blends into the black triangles well and makes a simple, strong edge to this quilt.

When folding the quilt for views of the front and back together, I unfortunately lined up the edge with the inner border. Now it looks like a different front. Oh, well. The back is the same fabrics as the previous quilt and that finishes all of them, too.

Folded quilt shows the pink, blue, and black hourglass border and the peach fabrics on the back of the Improv Hourglass quilt.
Border and back of Improv Hourglass 2

From the original mistake of low contrast pink and blue fabrics, these two quilts made a good recovery and have become some of my favorites. The striped sashing helps enliven the quilt but the black outer border adds confidence... or gravitas.

Folded quilt shows front, back, and binding of Hourglass 2 quilt
Detail of front, back and binding of Improv Hourglass 2

Again, this quilt was also gifted "warm from the dryer" and the parents liked it very much. For a change, it arrived before the baby. Ha.

Quilt Specifics
Size: 42"x42"
Design: Hourglass
Batting: Mountain Mist Cream Rose cotton
Thread: Gutermann 50 wt light blue, pink, and white cotton
Quilting: FMQ spirals, SID, parallel lines
Approximate yardage: 5 yd


Monthly FUR (Fabric Use Rate) 
For my records, January saw two finished quilts = 10 yds. Roll on, February.

Enjoy the day, Ann

30 comments:

  1. Hourglass 2 turned out wonderful! I kept flipping back to #1 to see the differences between the two. Then to gift it before the baby showed up - excellent!

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    1. I like it, too, but it's very similar to the first. However, as you say, so wonderful to beat the baby home.

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  2. I'm going to join you on hourglasses soon. I finished a study of pinwheels and they make an hourglass when set side by side too. This looks so pretty and interesting, a wonderful combo.

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    1. It will be fun to see what you do, LeeAnna. I like pinwheels, too, and have a bunch I made to use up scraps. What else?

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  3. I made a few hourglasses on my "Green Monstah" as I had a lot of green precut triangles...I find that in Feb (ORANGE!!) I have some too, so I will most likely be doing some more...
    I like the 2nd baby quilt, too; that second polka dotted fabric is just perfect in the center...your work and methods are so inspiring...hugs, Julierose

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    1. Aren't the simple blocks fun to use. Hourglass, pinwheels, etc. fit in lots of places. I was glad to find something to finish this quilt off. Now I hope to return to some older projects for a bit.

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  4. OK, this made me laugh at myself. I was really looking at your fabulous border trying to figure out how you pieced it. Voila! Hourglass. ;-)

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    1. Thanks, Elle. It's very simple but the color progression makes it look fantastic IMO.

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  5. Well that went fast! The differences are very subtle, hard to see the differences until you point them out. Glad you went with the things that worked before on the sashing etc., rather than trying to drum up a whole new plan. Good to save your energies for the next hourglass quilt, right?

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    1. Yes, isn't that a nice change? I needed to get this one finished since babies don't wait well. Thanks for the reassurance that a repeat was worthwhile. I like the way these fabrics worked and had all the pink and aqua cut and sewed already. I didn't want to set it aside until a new idea spoke. And yes, I have some more ideas for hourglasses.

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  6. Wonderful! There's nothing wrong with making something that worked the first time. It looks great.

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    1. Thanks, Robin. I use baby quilts as a way to use up extra blocks but I don't tell the parents that. They probably wouldn't understand. It's good to use all the blocks I'd already cut and sewed. Way more fun than unsewing them.

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  7. Fabulous! Somehow I missed your post on the first finish. You know, when you first showed that striped sashing I really didn't think it would work. Seemed like it just didn't belong with the other fabrics. You worked your magic and I love how it looks. That fabric does belong! I'm impressed. I also love how you made that border. And a couple more babies are blessed with Ann originals!

    Musing on that quote...

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    1. It's never seemed like it belonged anywhere. I purchased it for binding and could never find a place to use it. But I was certain the pink and aqua needed something much lighter and something else much darker since they were such muddly mid-tones. It really took the border to grab the attention and settle those blocks into background for the sashing. Funny that.
      You make lots of lap quilts to use up your older blocks but baby quilts work for me as long as DH is at this job.

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    2. I was musing on the Valery quote at the top of your post not on making baby quilts.

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    3. I sometimes wonder if anyone reads them. This one made me laugh and then think as it did you.

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  8. Could this be the start of a series? Interesting to see the subtle differences between these two quilts, but using the same colour families.

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    1. Wouldn't that be nice? It's always a surprise to find a simple block has so many more uses than we thought at first glance. They are very subtly different. It might have been nice to save for twins but I was thrilled a grandchild wanted one.

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  9. Can I be honest and say not one thing in this quilt is something I'd have tried? Strange because I love the result. You are gifted with a way of thinking and seeing possibilities that just wouldn't occur to me.
    Also, that border looks difficult. My brain did not see hourglass blocks.

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    1. I really thought I'd made a mess once I sewed the first blocks. Everything else was an attempt to recover from disaster. And then I had so many extras it was easier to reprise it than try to completely change it. You create gorgeous quilts. I love the fabrics you choose like that beautiful red on your last one.
      That border was a cinch but it does look difficult. We'll have to remember it.

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  10. What I like best about these is that instead of rejecting those initial blocks once you realised they weren't working you stuck at it, pushed yourself to find creative solutions and made it look as if that was you planned all along.

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    1. That's such a positive way of looking at it. I might have said I was too cheap to discard those blocks and the time already spent. Baby quilts are a great place to try to fit the oddities in since they aren't that large. Looking at the results, I'm very glad I persevered.

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  11. Arrived before the baby :-D I am sure the baby will be happy playing on it and all the polka dots will entice him/her no end.

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    1. What a lovely thought, Preeti. It's always good to get it home before the baby, too.

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  12. That came out fabulous! You are so talented.

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  13. Worth repeating! I like the larger center block too.😊

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    1. Thanks, Monica. The parents like it so I should quit worrying.

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  14. I scrolled down, back up, down, back up to see the differences between the two. Both turned out so well! By making the second you kept a bunch of units from the Spare Parts Parking Lot (aka limbo).

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    1. What a clever term, Nann! I must remember it.

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