Let Them Eat Cake—The Long Struggle to Completion

The Mini Cake Stands quilt is finally finished after a rather long journey! It was started back in early 2012 as I just couldn’t resist the siren call of making 150 little basket blocks. Obviously. I mean, how cute are they?

Let Them Eat Cake (the mini cake stand quilt)

 After hours of making these sweet, but seriously, tedious blocks, I eventually came up with a quilt top that well, immediately made me wonder what I was thinking. Ughh. It had some good ideas, but mostly just disappointed. So it lingered in the quilt top drawers until January of 2015, when I finally just couldn’t stand it anymore and started ripping the entire quilt apart. I don’t feel like a perfectionist, but there are some projects that need a second chance. These baskets deserved another try! It took until July of that year before eventually I could settle on a quilt top idea that I thought would work.

Love seeing all those tiny baskets!

 I even included an upside down block in the spirit of make-do’ism. {If that’s a word.} It makes me smile. As does the very few blocks with the darkest 9-patch units. They add to the utility look and give a bit of whimsy, an unexpected departure from the sweetness of all that pretty, pretty pink. I also deliberately chose some pinks to be much lighter, helping create a fade-in/fade-out impression which hopefully helps move the eye around the quilt. I love, love, love attempting to creative movement and energy, even in a ‘sweet’ quilt.

And a purposeful ‘mistake’

 A couple months ago I went digging through the quilt top drawers looking for a quilt to gift to my next youngest sister for her upcoming birthday. If you remember, I hate making quilt specifically for people, but generally adore giving away when I feel a need or possibly a connection. This quilt really seemed perfect for her in a myriad of ways. My friend agreed to find time to very simply long-arm quilt it for me by the birthday date. Woohoo! I believe she had it for two months, so it should have been plenty of time? Anyway, things came up, life got overwhelming for her and I didn’t even get the quilt back from until approximately 22 hours before the party. Yeah. I couldn’t even reach her on the phone the two days before. It was a nightmare. Oh well! Believe it or not, with the help of my daughters taking care of the other birthday prep. I was able to get the binding taken care of, most all the threads snipped and even a few pictures taken!

So pretty!

And I think we totally surprised her! She wasn’t even expecting a party, much less a few gifts. You know how it goes when we get older. Birthdays become more about a dinner out and less about the presents and how old we might be getting….

Happy Birthday to my sister!

Here’s a picture of my original inspiration, an antique quilt from ‘Scrap Quilts-The Art of Making Do’ by Roberta Horton. It’s one I had drooled over many times and finally decided to make a version of, changing things up as I love to do. I’ve never been a fan of making a quilt exactly the same as the original one. I prefer to use that original as the spark or the ‘seed’ and see where we end up. Ha! Sometimes that results in a big fat fail as you know! Nevertheless, one day, with the straggly stacks of recently reclaimed mini cake stand blocks, I took another look at the original quilt. Which elements drew me in the most and could I possibly capture them? It was an interesting process and one that honestly, I thought I had failed at {even the second time around}. There’s just something incredibly challenging about trying to duplicate the spirit of a quilt without making an exact replica. Its a wonderful exercise and I urge everyone to try it at least once!

The seed of an idea….

On another note, before the actually quilting, the quilt top itself just looked sweet, but sort of bland and static. It was satisfying but well, uninspiring. I thought maybe it was one of those quilts where the maker just hit the jackpot on having all the perfect elements together in one quilt and I was out of luck. Imagine how completely amazed I was to to see it morph into this lovely, take-you-back-in-time sort of quilt with just a little texture from the simple stitching! Ahhh… It made me so happy! At this point, I just have to call it a success, totally worth the time and effort of tearing it apart and giving it another go. What else can I call it when in the end, it was so terribly {surprisingly} hard to give away? I wanted this one for my very own, and no one was more surprised than me.*wink

Linking to Sew, Stitch, Snap, Share!