Stuck in the Mud? I Guess Not.

I’ve felt stuck, unable to move forward or back, not even really spinning my wheels as the wheels aren’t turning. My red and white Fire & Ice quilt has been my major endeavor so far this year, and it’s still not done. Because of that, it feels (feeeeeeeeeeeels)ย like I don’t have anything to show for my year.

Not true.

In fact, I’ve done a few things I’m pleased with. Kim’s Bright Garden is one of the highlights so far. The real highlight is she loves it, and Son loves that she loves it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Kim’s Bright Garden. 71″ x 71″. Finished March 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

Another finish, which I don’t think I’ve shared with you, is a mystery quilt I made with my small group. The instructions called for strip piecing, but I wanted to use scraps. To find out if that would work, I looked forward in the directions, ruining the mystery but likely improving the quilt. For this I used all the bright pink, orange, green, and purple scraps from myย scrap drawer, along with yellow background fabric and a pretty piece for the border. I donated this for my guild’s quilt show (June 2 and 3) silent auction.

Mock Irish Chain mystery quilt. Approx. 50″ x 70″. Finished spring 2017. I’m not sure who took the photo to promote our quilt show.

Early in the year I decided to make a pink and brown quilt using the Delectable Mountains design. My original intention was to make it the “easy” way, using large half-square triangles to create the jagged blocks. Because those blocks are not square, the construction confused me a bit and I opted to make them the old-fashioned way. The method suited the old-fashioned colors, as did the heavy feathering I used to quilt it. I did post a photo of the finished top, but not after it was quilted.

Delectable Mountains. 61″ x 61″. Finished spring 2017. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

After making the pink and brown Delectable Mountains, I still wanted to create the design with the HST method. Googling images showed me how other people managed the problem of non-square blocks. Simply, they used small spacer blocks to adjust the sizing. Because my guild is having a special exhibit of red and white quilts, I decided to make the quilt again with the HST method. (Very long, not pretty story of why this quilt won’t be in the special exhibit. My nose is a bit out of joint, but it will heal, I suppose.) I don’t have a photo of the finished quilt yet (but it is done!), but here is the finished top. (And you can read more about it here if you wish.)

Hibiscus Mountain. Unfinished top. 73″ x 73″. Photo by Jim Ruebush.

In addition to these four finished quilts, I have three going that are not quite done. The biggest project by far is Fire & Ice, my other red and white quilt. (This one will be in the special exhibit, and even that is part of the long, not pretty story. UGH.) It is done with the exception of the binding and hanging sleeve. Today’s number one priority is to get those attached so the hand-finishing can commence.

Besides that, a niece has fallen in love with the muslin mock-up, which I created specifically to test quilting for the Fire & Ice project. It also is done except for binding. I’ll finish it and send it along to her.

Finally, I began a project with a paper-pieced spinning star. The top is done, the back is made, and the batting is cut. It’s loaded on the longarm frame now, and I hope to quilt it tomorrow and finish it before the end of the month. Here is the star center.

Along with all the quilting (it will be seven projects finished by mid-year,) I’ve put in a lot of time for other guild projects. I’m a little worn down by it all. My brother jokingly suggested that my next six quilts be constrained to red and white, to see how well I can work within the limitations. I told him that certainly is an idea, but “My next 6 quilts, whatever they are, will be with a joyful intention. That will be my constraint.” While all these quilts have been valuable to me for their lessons, it’s time to shift back to happiness in my quilting, as I found with Kim’s Bright Garden and Hibiscus Mountain. The joy is where the power is.

31 thoughts on “Stuck in the Mud? I Guess Not.

  1. zippyquilts

    Well, gee, that looks like a LOT of accomplishments to me! Most of those are quite complex. Anyway, it’s the fun you have, not the stuff you produce, that is most important.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes on the fun. The real issue was just my mind was playing tricks on me. I’d spent so much time on the one, that the rest faded from my view. ๐Ÿ™‚ THanks for taking a look.

      Reply
  2. Clairequilty

    Thank you for sharing everything you do. With awe I study the quilts and learn something new every time.

    Reply
  3. TextileRanger

    I thought I read a WordPress update that they had taken a 7-step menu for inserting photos and simplified it, but I just went and checked and it doesn’t seem any different at all to me, at least in the classic editor. In the more mobile-friendly editor, it may be different, but there is still no way to quickly size the photos, and in that editor, I think it is even more difficult than in the classic one. But at least I went and checked. So now I feel like I have accomplished something this month! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I think a lot of changes happen in mobile or in … other versions that don’t affect classic. It’s been easier for me to just keep doin’ what I do. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  4. TextileRanger

    You crack me up. “It feels like I don’t have anything to show for the year…” except these SEVEN quilts!
    I only have one top 90 % done and one top about 60% done, and 2 dish towels woven. I haven’t written a blog post in so long that I haven’t even tried the new and improved photo uploader yet.
    So pat yourself on the back and keep murmuring to yourself, “It could be worse… it could be much worse…” ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      New and improved photo uploader? What is this of which you speak??? ๐Ÿ™‚ Yeah, I’m getting more done than it feels like. Blogging isn’t one of them. Thanks, Gwen. I guess we need to stick together.

      Reply
  5. KerryCan

    Let me guess–the quilt cops said that, because your Hibiscus Mountain has gray in it, from the pattern, it isn’t really a red and white quilt? We’re having a red and white display at our guild show, too . . . oh, the drama! You did just the right thing to prove to yourself that you’re not in a making slump at all. You may be in a pleasure slump but not a making slump!

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, it has colors other than red and white. In fact, my other quilt ALSO has colors other than red and white, but … it is pure enough. Oh the drama! Indeed… blech… In fact, the pleasure has been generally fine. But this one quilt project has taken a long time and the drama detracted quite a bit from its pleasure. Otherwise, … I’m looking forward to moving on. ๐Ÿ™‚

      Reply
  6. snarkyquilter

    I have visions of you gritting your teeth and saying, dammit I’m going to get these suckers done. Some projects have a much longer and more painful labor than others. And it’s great that your garden quilt has been well received.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, the dammit mode is definitely where I am right now! I have 3 major things to finish before Friday. One is the binding on the R&W, one is quilting and binding the new spinning star piece, and one is a powerpoint slide show that will be used at our quilt show. Of course, to illustrate the making process of a quilt, for the slide show, I needed photos. The photos are of the spinning star project. Which has to be finished in order to get the last photos. UGH. Problems of my own making. Note to self: don’t volunteer for anything new for a while…

      Reply
  7. Tamara Hutchinson

    I’m tired just reading of all you have accomplished! Hope you get back to the joy very soon.

    Reply
  8. Jim R

    I agree, you are not stuck, nor spinning your wheels. But, one project has required a lot of attention. I think you’ve learned a lot of things useful and things you won’t do in the future.

    Reply
  9. tierneycreates

    Just want to be clear – should you tire of any of these piece, please mail them to my house. I give them a good home – ha! Very wonderful work and the paper pieced star is spectacular!

    Reply
  10. katechiconi

    Joyless striving is just hard labour. Definitely time to bring the joyful back, I’d say. It sounds as if there’s a horrid little story you’re very tactfully not sharing with us, which is admirable but renders the failure to launch of Fire & Ice and Hibiscus Mountain incomprehensible. They’re beautiful and highly deserving pieces.

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you, Kate. I’m not really being tactful. I’m being passive-aggressive, an indulgence I don’t often allow myself. The Fire & Ice will be part of the special exhibit, but the other will not. The issue comes down to it not being a red and white quilt. ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

      Reply
  11. allisonreidnem

    Whew! Definitely not stuck! Lots of progress and quilts finished/soon to be finished. Did writing this post help you to feeeel unstuck? The red and white delectable mountains are so striking and I like your scrappy Irish chain too. Important to find the joy in creativity – enjoy your next quilt to the max โ˜บ

    Reply
  12. jmn111

    I feel the same way – yet when I, too, do an inventory I’ve got a lot done since my showing last August. Several garments in addition to six quilts and four textile art pieces (and of course socks). My problem is the piles of fabric on my sideboard for three pairs of pants, a silk quilt, and two more small textile art pieces (and a raincoat) that keep shouting to me!

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      There is always more to do, isn’t there? I’m sure that’s part of why it feels like little progress, because we can see the next things coming up but can’t quite reach them yet.

      Reply
  13. Patricia

    I love all the quilts, especially the two with yellow backgrounds,. What is the yellow fabrics?

    Reply
    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks, Patricia. I don’t know what they are, other than yellow! The medallion has several yellows in it, and the Irish chain just has the one. I don’t save the names of the makers or designers.

      Reply
  14. piecefulwendy

    Cannot for the life of me understand why the Hibiscus Mountain isn’t in the exhibit, but it is really beautiful. You have had some good progress in the quilt room! All of the quilts are lovely. I just finished a “learning quilt” too, and I fully agree with your statement that it’s good to get back to the joy of quilting. Hope you find a happy project soon!

    Reply

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