Sewing Away on Those Summer Nights

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“Mom, I can’t sleep.”

This is the second—or is the third?—time my 9-year-old has come out of her room since bedtime, which was already a late 9:30 but earlier than the bedtimes we’ve been having recently.

“Sweetheart, I’m sorry, but it’s 11 o’clock and you need to go back to bed. You can turn your light back on and read if you want, but you *have* to go back to bed.”

I can’t really blame her for still being awake. First of all, she apparently takes after her mom’s night owl-ish circadian rhythms. Plus, it’s the week of the summer solstice, when the sun is officially setting behind the Colorado Rocky Mountains at 8:30 and the sky isn’t dark until well after 9:00.

Regardless, not having last hugs-and-kisses and lights out in my daughters’ room until 10:00 has been obliterating my sewing mojo and I’ve been getting very little done. I may be a night owl, but I am also (ahem) middle-aged and busy and tired quite frankly, and it’s hard for me to start getting motivated to be creative that late in the evening anymore. If I can get started by 9:30, I’m good, but after 10:00 is a challenge.

So back to her room she went (she was asleep within a half hour), and I went back to my piecing. I just started this quilt top a few days ago, inspired both by rediscovering a lot of my fabric while doing some reorganizing last week and by the memory of a quilt pattern I wrote for the February/March 2018 issue of McCall’s Quick Quilts, Spare Parts by Bev Getschel. I’ve been wanting to give it a try for a while, as it requires exactly 40 2½” strips plus yardage.

When I rediscovered this package of Tonga Treats batik strips from Timeless Treasures in my stash, it called out to be used and used right away. The collection may be named Bouquet, but all I could see was rainbow sherbet.

The collection may be named Bouquet, but all I could see was rainbow sherbet

The collection may be named Bouquet, but all I could see was rainbow sherbet

There were two strips each of 20 different batiks in the pack. I decided to pair up complementary or contrasting strips with half of the strips, and then pair up analogous strips with the second set. It kind of worked, although some pairings later had me wondering, “Now, was this supposed to be complementary or analogous?”

complementary or analogous?

Complementary or analogous?

No matter. With a quilt like this, I just want to make something fast that will allow me to enjoy some pretty fabrics. It’s the simple things in life, really. So I made my choices quickly and started joining my strip sets.

 

I just want to make something fast that will allow me to enjoy some pretty fabrics. It’s the simple things in life, really.

I just want to make something fast that will allow me to enjoy some pretty fabrics.
It’s the simple things in life, really.

To make the blocks, I tried to use one pair each of contrasting and analogous strip segments that more or less worked together. In Bev’s design, the blocks don’t really need to stand out on their own, and because I used pastel batiks I expect the overall effect is going to be rather watercolor-y. So again, I didn’t sweat my choices.

Once the strip segments were sorted, I found that chain piecing blocks 3 or 4 at a time was most economical. Trying to keep track of the correct order of things for more than that would take too much thought, and considering I was sewing late at night, I didn’t really want to have to think. I just wanted to sew. The trickiest thing about this pattern is the partial-seams technique needed to finish each block, and it’s really not tricky at all. The blocks went together really quickly and easily.

I didn’t really want to have to think. I just wanted to sew.

I didn’t really want to have to think. I just wanted to sew.

Despite being a night owl, I do have my limits and had to stop sewing at some point. After all, I still had to get up and go to work the next morning, so I shut my machine off after making 7 of the 20 blocks. The next 13 should be a piece of cake, and then all that’s left is to make the background blocks with pops of color cut from the excess strip sets.

The next 13 should be a piece of cake

The next 13 should be a piece of cake!

I just need a couple more summer nights’ worth of sewing before this quilt top will be done. Meanwhile, my 9-year-old daughter is in for more reading in bed to the strains of my machine humming along in the room below. She’ll reach her summer reading goals, and I’ll have reclaimed my quilting mojo once again.

Sounds like a great way to start the season.

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