Day 15 100daygreenmanproject

As it turns out, not making is hard. I like to make, which is one of the reasons this 100 day project is important to me. MAKING sometimes gets in the way of ASKING “what if?” and TRYING something to find out. The 100 Day Project, for me, is about trying, and about asking. But making is very satisfying! I like the sense of product as much as I like the sense of process.

Last week on Day 7, I took a six-hour workshop and tried (see, TRYING!) working quickly and intensely, without time for hesitation. The technique was different for me, with gluing colorful scraps onto a background and then freely stitching them down. I haven’t done a lot of appliqué of any kind, and none of that before. I also used fusible web to appliqué a word.

Later that week, still infused with enthusiasm, I tried (TRYING!) designing a Claddagh ring emblem. I used fusible web for it, as well. There are other things I will try on it, including weaving leaves around the ring and machine stitching the appliqué down. However, I ran out of fusible, and I had no stabilizer.

Our local JoAnn Fabric store is moving and the current location is in liquidation. The store is quickly emptying and they were out of the products I need. The only other local places to buy these supplies are a Hobby Lobby (I don’t shop there) and a WalMart (rarely shop there, either.) Instead, I ordered the items online, along with new pins (Dritz Super-Fine Sharp pins!) and machine needles. It will be a few days until they show up.


The Green Man project has been in slow-mo for the last week, but he hasn’t been abandoned. I reviewed my fabrics and found them wanting. A trip to the best shop around here for what I want will wait a few more days. I pulled out all my books on story quilts so I can page through them. I spend a lot of time thinking about him.

However, not making is hard. Sunday I decided to make.

Do you have orphan blocks? Orphan blocks are single blocks (or occasionally sets of them) from projects that have been abandoned. Sometimes they are test blocks, used to try out a technique or pattern. You might create an orphan block by signing up for a block-of-the-month and then deciding not to continue. Or maybe you made one great block out of twelve for a block quilt, but you found you didn’t enjoy the process.

I don’t have a lot of orphans but I’ll admit to a few. (And no, I don’t count single blocks as UFOs. They are not projects. They are just another resource like other kinds of fabric. There is no shame attached to them.) One of them came from a workshop I took about a year ago. The workshop was to learn to create a particular pieced block. (I won’t do that again. For me, workshops can be valuable for learning how to do something new, or practice techniques or skills, not for learning to create a particular teacher’s pattern with traditional piecing.)

Ahem… One of my few orphans was from that workshop. I liked it — bright, colorful, strong contrast, you know, all the characteristics I like. But I was not about to make more.

Sunday morning I pulled fabrics to make that orphan into a medallion quilt top. The block is the center within the narrow red-line border.

Fiesta! Unquilted top. Approximately 62″ x 62″. April 17, 2018.

This was easy and quick. I finished the top a whole 48 hours after starting. There was almost no math involved. (See my post on setting a block on point.) ANYONE can do this type of medallion. No, it’s not my most spectacular, but it’s gonna be a heckuva lap quilt for someone.

The piano keys border was cut from scraps. I cut them widths between 1.5″ and 2″, depending on what the scrap could give me. I cut them to 5″ long, or left them in long segments if they were long enough, to be trimmed up later. When I finished assembling the sides of piano keys, I cut each border segment to 4.5″ wide, to finish at 4″. Trimming both sides of the border gave me an even edge to stitch.

The bright gold setting points happened partly because I had enough of that fabric. The other things I had didn’t suit, because they were too dull or just the wrong color. The green setting triangles and border were chosen for similar reason.

The great striped border? I bought a yard of that recently when I visited my sister.

It’s called Fiesta! It was fun to make. One of the reasons it was fun was because I didn’t hesitate on decisions. I used what I had and what worked. The construction was simple with hardly any piecing.

I have three yards of another green print to use on the back. It’s not enough, so I’ll use most of the rest of the top’s green to add a strip. And guess what! I have a length of binding from the same fabric that should be long enough to finish this. If it’s not, I’ll cobble together binding strip remnants of reds, blues, and greens.

And tomorrow I’ll start on the Green Man again. This time, I’ll work on a chicken. Yeah, that’s the lovely thing about how I defined my project: even a chicken counts. 🙂

24 thoughts on “Day 15 100daygreenmanproject

  1. snarkyquilter

    Recently I read that limitations can spark creativity. They can be self-imposed (I’ll use only two colors or scraps) or imposed by conditions, such as a JoAnn’s store closing. I think that the push to be inventive leads us to alternatives we wouldn’t otherwise have considered. And I used to have that striped fabric, until I used it all up.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      I agree 100%. I like having constraints or limitations. Have unlimited everything can lead to paralysis by analysis. And certainly I have plenty of stash to make a few dozen bed quilts, excepting batting. So I am not terribly limited in my piecing, at any rate. Thanks for the thought.

  2. knitnkwilt

    That block turned into a great quilt top. So good to have fabrics on hand that look like you purchased them specifically! The piano key border is especially good for framing and transitioning to the rest.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thank you. I do like the piano key border. It’s an easy way to tie colors together, and also is not dependent on sizing. Even if the keys are *supposed* to be the same size, it’s pretty easy to fudge. Thanks!

  3. KerryCan

    I like that you were sort of driven to making this because your other options were limited by the Joann’s being closed, finding Hobby Lobby icky, etc. That, to me, demonstrates a drive to create, using the materials to hand. We all *knew* you were driven to make and I think the success of this piece says a lot about your creative ability, not just to make but to make something really lovely with what you had available!

  4. Cindy Anderson

    Melanie, I thinking “making” is the healthy thing to do. It keeps our minds and our imaginations fresh and vibrant. All of the projects that you have shown today show a level of creativity that not every artist can claim. You tackle the projects that leave me gasping. Never in my wildest dreams would I be able to make them. I especially like the most recent medallion quilt. Your use of color and design really makes this one shine. 😊

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Don’t sell yourself short! I can make the projects I make, and you can make the projects you make. As I wander through other people’s blogs and creations, I have the same thought you do — I could never make that! I think that’s as it should be. Thanks for your thoughtful comments. 🙂

  5. Chela's Colchas y Mas

    I do not have orphan blocks, rather they are more like “What was I thinking?” , misfit , blocks. These are blocks I made with no plan, rhyme or reason. I agree, making is very satisfying. Maybe I can make something out of one of my misfit blocks.

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, occasionally “what was I thinking?” blocks happen. I think that’s okay. We don’t have to make a finished project with everything. It’s not much different than sketching something to see if we can capture the essence of it.

  6. tierneycreates

    I’m thinking you could make medallion quilts in your sleep, literally. Melanie (yawning): “Ah that was a good sleep…oh wait…there is a new medallion quilt under my pillow again that I made while I was dreaming..”
    Great use of an orphan block! I have a couple orphan blocks here and there but none are medallion quilt center worthy. In addition to the medallion quilt of course, I love those other pieces you posted and you know how I feel about the Claddagh ring piece as I mentioned on your other post 🙂

  7. Kerry

    I’d been doing a lot of reorganising lately and I have a little box of blocks that were part of a hand stitching course way back in the early days. A group of them I really don’t like – the colours were not my choice, although I do like one of them – a bear paw block, while another just looks like a cooked spider crab – I had been toying with the idea of unpicking and using the pieces in scrap quilts. Another couple from yet another sampler hand stitching course is much brighter with yellows and reds. I do like those so I think perhaps a cushion when I eventually have a moment to sit down and make a list of things to do.

    Fiesta certainly is a cheerful quilt!

  8. audrey

    What a great quick and easy quilt from your orphan block start! I adore the strippy bit of sashing towards the outside of the quilt. Lots of great energy there! Orphans are so fun to play with in a no-pressure and organic way. Great reminder.:)

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Yes, thanks! I do think that great stripe helps make the whole thing work. It repeats the striping of the piano keys, as well as lightens and brightens the outer space. Thank you.

  9. fern

    Although I always enjoy reading your blog posts, I have never commented before. Yes, sometimes making is the order of the day. I loved seeing what you made with what you had.

  10. katechiconi

    I like making as an antidote to frustration with a different project, or as a way to stimulate my brain to find an answer to something that eludes me if I approach the problem too directly. Working on something clear and straightforward, where the path ahead opens without stress, is wonderfully helpful to a linear brain like mine. I think Fiesta already shows a freshness and spontaneity you’ll find helpful. No, it isn’t your most spectacular piece, but it is *A* spectacular piece and was achieved without long cogitation and planning. Hey, you’re good at this spontaneous stuff!

    1. Melanie McNeil Post author

      Thanks for the encouragement. It didn’t feel very far off the path, and I knew it would be fast, not something that would bog me down. Of course now I’m thinking of all the things I could do in those large expanses of the setting triangles, so it might bog me down before I’m done! Still, onward! 🙂


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