Monday, July 6, 2020

Halo Quilt Sew Along - A Finished Top!!

During April, I shared a new project -- the Halo Quilt.  The booklet has been in my stash for a couple years and this scrappy quilt catches my eye on Instagram over and over!
I was in the midst of several other projects (of course) but when a couple Instagrammers announced they were going to host a Sew Along, I caved at once -- I could do the two blocks a week goal they shared easily.  I copied the template pages, glued them to template plastic, cut them out and started exploring my fabric stash for the right stuff.
A few blocks into the piecing and I made some basic fabric decisions such as the arcs would be simple prints, the four side shapes would be low volume prints, and I'd use a wide variety of print styles and novelty prints for the centers and corners.
I didn't stay with those guidelines 100% of the time, but they helped me start moving.
I machine pieced the blocks and used them as "sew-offs" (leaders and enders) for projects with deadlines.  My experience teaching the drunkard's path block with Marti Michell's templates made the curves easy and my blocks were generally square which was a delightful surprise!
Soon the blocks were accumulating and I was getting very relaxed about the fabric pulls.  In general, I pulled the fabrics for two or three blocks at a time and pieced them.  Some of the other participants cut all their fabrics before starting the piecing but I have a rather short attention span and am eager to see how "this block" is going to look!!
As the blocks were finished, I added them to the layout without much arranging.
As the number of blocks increased, I started researching the outer border blocks by looking through the dozens of Instagram photos from other quilters.  My first thought was to use more low volume prints for those units and I trialed a few -- meh . . . . 
Then I saw Maria's (@marvanzij) version using teals!!! -- check it out HERE!
I love teal and so off to my shelves I went -- but I don't have enough teal prints to pull it off .
Which color do I have lots of variety?
Rather than use the border templates in the pattern, I cut rectangles for the sides and squares for the corners following the instructions and made this "cut away" template.  Once all the arc units were assembled and the border squares/rectangles cut, I worked on my design wall to audition them for placement to enhance the circles in the center of the quilt.  It took a couple days of coming and looking, moving, leaving - coming back, looking, moving, leaving, etc. until I was happy with the arrangement.
I was also going slowly because I wasn't completely convinced that the blues would be right.
Interestingly, I cut all the pieces for this quilt with my trusty Gingher scissors?!?  
I haven't done that since the early 1980's!?!
At this point, I was convinced the blues were just right for my blocks!
My version is smaller than the pattern and many of those being made by others.
It will finish at about 47" by 56" -- larger would have been fine but I could sense that I was getting bored with the piecing and I'm always happy to have another laprobe around the house!
Time to assemble the blocks into a top!
My blocks were pretty consistent but every now and then there was one with a wonky corner -- I'm blaming the grain of the fabric.  
I'm not a "trimmer" -- but I have lots of experience at "fudging" things together so my focus was to match the arcs and the block corners and everything happily fell into place!
I believe it helps that I always assemble quilt tops using pairs and quads instead of rows.
It's the same technique I described in my recent post on setting together the blocks for my Mississippi Mud pattern -- it's HERE.
Here's the finished quilt top.  The backing is in progress and I'm currently stalking Instagrammers for quilting photos of their versions!  I found a hand quilting one that inspires me -- not sure I want to hand quilt this one or that I can adapt the idea to machine quilting -- we'll see?!?
Are you doing any anti-racism work?
It would be easier in the short run to skip it, wouldn't it -- but I believe the sooner all whites get educated about this issue, the sooner things will improve.
It's easy to wish things would just go back to normal but normal wasn't really working.
I remember someone saying to me as my husband recovered from a stroke that it was good to see him getting "back to normal" -- I bravely responded that "back to normal" wasn't my hope for him as it led to the stroke.  There needed to be changes made and this isn't any different.

I'm halfway through Me and White Supremacy -- the questions are getting harder but my white fragility is getting less fragile.  I listened to another one of Ms. Saad podcasts -- twice -- introduced me to the white habit of "cultural appropriation" as it pertains to yoga and the spiritual practices in which it is rooted.
Now I can't stop wondering how quilters fascination with the work of Ghee's Bend reflects that same demeaning habit.

Over the weekend, I started listening to The Bluest Eye.  It's Toni Morrison's first novel and I was pleased to find a copy of it on Overdrive read by her.  I love to hear authors read their work -- I know it's being conveyed the way they intended.  Her word pictures are vivid and the fact that she has a soothing melodic voice is a bonus!

Finally, I'm hosting an OPEN GARDEN DAY this Saturday (7/11) from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The daylilies should be at their peak and the native meadow and prairie plants should be starting to bloom!  It's free but donations to benefit The City Mission of Cleveland will be welcome.
There might even be a few plants for sale and a few quilts on display depending on how energetic I get?
I'm located in Northeast Ohio, Lake County and an email to 
maryhueyquilts at hotmail dot com 
will get my address.
Everyone is welcome!!



  1. I think cultural appropriation is a bogus concept. It's just borrowing things you admire, and that's been going on for a long time and not just by whites, I'm sure. If black people straighten their hair, is that cultural appropriation or just a look they happen to like?

    1. Yes, we all borrow and adopt from other cultures but as a result of my reading I'm coming to understanding is the objection is that things are adopted without a true understanding of the background and then used in ways that don't respect that.

  2. I love this quilt! She's a beauty. Hope the open garden goes well.

  3. Oh, those blues are perfect!
    And I agree - we have to build a new normal, because the old one has a bunch of stuff that needs fixing.

  4. I love your Halo! Such wonderful choices for the fabrics - my stash is just not that abundant. And I swoon over that border - perfect. Love the flower photo too. Wish I could be there. Blessings!

  5. I love how you did the border. Very cool quilt.