Thursday, July 30, 2015

Stumbling Over Slow Growing Pumpkins

Pumpkins need a pretty long growing season, but the pumpkins in this patch needed a full year to grow and ripen! I quite honestly may have spent more time on this Pumpkin Patch table runner than on any other of my patterns. We all start those projects that cause us to stumble and, sometimes, to land smack on our faces, and this was one.

I made the pumpkins in July of last year. I had an idea for an autumn table runner, and I'd picked up this very interesting yard of fabric. I started with the pumpkins. The pumpkin sections were all laminated onto the fusible web, cut out and ready to go.

I began piecing the background with absolute conviction that this design would be original, unique, downright fantastic!  I stitched the "interesting" background. Hmm... Not exactly what I'd expected. Then I laid the pumpkin appliques onto the background. Oh my goodness! Not fantastic at all! A total disaster, in fact. The background fabrics were bland and boring and the orange fabrics in the pumpkins looked pretty washed out. No pop. No life. No way. I was so glad I hadn't got as far as removing the paper from the fusible web. I tossed the failed background in with my scraps and packed the pumpkins away for another day.

A year went by and July came around and turned even more hot and muggy than usual. Maybe I was thinking about cooler weather, or perhaps that batch of new autumn fat quarters I'd picked up when we went on our quilt shop hop was the trigger.  For whatever reason, I decided to dig out those pumpkins and give them another try. There seemed to be a hundred interruptions. I had almost given up on the whole idea, but, I refused to quit again. I'm so glad I kept plugging away. The new fabrics made all the difference! Now the pumpkins began to shine. The pretty orange colors really stood out and the green leaves and vines only added to the vibrancy of the layout.

I had one more little stumble with the first plan for the border.  There is a photo of that attempt in last week's blog. It seems impossible, but it was both busy and bland. Sometimes simplicity is the best option. The fabrics are beautiful without any fancy piecing, so I made the easiest border possible, and it worked just fine. The story is done.

A Helpful Side Note

Here I go giving away free advertising again, but now and then I do find something that my readers may or may not have discovered. A few weeks ago, I purchased a product that really did live up to its reputation, and it has made my applique process so much easier. It's this applique pressing sheet. The applique designs can be completely fused together on the pressing sheet, then lifted and moved as whole pieces to place on the quilt. Instead of fiddling with moving every single section of my individual pumpkins to arrange them I was able to lift and move the entire pumpkin in just one piece.

I've had quite enough of year-long projects for now, and it's time to work on something small. New mug rug coming up next week. I hope!

Wishing you a fantastic last few days of July!