Friday, July 1, 2016

Cuz I'm a Sunflower from the Sunflower State!

I've had that song stuck in my head for days and days and days, and it's all Gwen Marston's fault.  Well, the Gwennie Medallion QAL, actually, not Gwen herself.

After we all made basket blocks for our starters, the second prompt was 'childhood'.  It took me a while to come up with an idea.  Childhood?  Hmm...  Bikes.  Those endless summer days with flipflops and picnics.  School.  Nothing really grabbed me or even offered much traction.
Then I thought about my childhood in Kansas.  Just like the song says:

I was born in Kansas, I was bred in Kansas
and when I get married, I'll be wed in Kansas.

(Well, not that last part.)

But you can't hardly swing a cat in Kansas without whacking a sunflower.  Besides the real ones growing everywhere, there are sunflowers stuck on everything big enough to carry a logo.
Sunflowers.  Now there was something I could work with.
But which approach should I take?  I hadn't brought much for yellow (just two really light fat quarters) and no golds at all.  Not even much for orange, believe it or not.
I tried a non-traditional sunflower, to mixed reviews.


Stash enhancement was absolutely vital.  What a shame, right?
So I made test blocks with different stars and flowers, questing for just the right sunflowery look.





I even tried foundation paper piecing.


I ended up with an abundance of blocks, but no clear winner.


On the other hand, I ended up with a whole field of sunflowers, so I just decided to use them all.  There were 5" blocks, 6" blocks, a 7.5" block, and even one that was 4"x8".  It gave me a run for my money.


I love it.
A lot of the assembly process went completely against the grain for me.  I like all my seams precise and lots of measuring and matchy-matchy.
I didn't work that way for this.  It wasn't easy, but I did it.
I estimated stuff and sewed it on.  If it was too long, I chopped it off.


If it was too short, I sewed on another piece of something.
I decided to ignore any crunched points or wonky seams.
This view of the bottom corner shows the clusterfluffle of partial seams I ran into.  I'm still amazed it all fit together in the end.


It was very freeing, actually.  I may do it again sometime.  After I go lie down for awhile.

In other news, I also finished the 'childhood' round for my applique basket block.  One of my treasured childhood memories is spending time at my grandparents' farm.  They always had chickens, ducks, and geese, along with the occasional cow.  I liked the cows and the chickens well enough, and I loved the ducks, but the geese were not my friends.
As a matter of fact, the geese hated little kids.  Like me, for instance.  They delighted in escaping from their pen and attacking every little kid in sight.  Like me, for instance.  Many's the time I ran for the house yelling "Grandma!  Grandma!  Help!" as a goose chased me through the farmyard, beating me with its wings and biting the backs of my legs and my butt.  By the end of summer, I was usually carrying quite a collection of black and blues.
So, to commemorate those ghastly creatures, such a part of my childhood, I made flying geese to go chasing around the medallion.



Or rather, a bunch of biting geese chasing around the border.   (And I gotta tell you, nothing ever tasted better than the roast goose Grandma would serve for Easter dinner...)

So here's my two medallions, ready for the next chapter.


Next up is log cabins.  I can do that.  Log cabins surely won't bite me on the ass, right?

Linking to all the Gwennie fun.  Come see!




34 comments:

Cynthia@wabi-sabi-quilts said...

Oh, my goodness, the whole wild range of sunflowers all together is fabulous! I'm so glad you used them all! Seems like you've really captured the freedom of improvisation. The geese border is fun too of course! I love your color choices, overall.

Mystic Quilter said...

Wow Gayle -two stunning Medallions coming along here! Love the sunflowers.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

As I was reading and following all those sunflowers I was thinking - use them all. AND you did!! I love the look and geese always make me giddy.

Scrap and quilts said...

Congratulations! You stepped out of your comfort zone and did a hell of a job with this exercise. Yay you! I love the sunflowers of different names. You did bite those geese right back now didn't you? Having them all aligned and behaving so nicely now. I give you a blue ribbon. Enjoy the log cabins. Be warned, they are addictive. lol ;^)

Julierose said...

I LOVe how you used all those sunflower variations!! Just perfect--I can understand totally why you had to go "lie down" PHEW!! and the other Medallion is
so pretty....hugs, Julierose

Judy said...

Yeah, for all the sunflower blocks! I will have to study them as I think I'm gearing up for a 'Kansas' quilt. I've found rocky road to Kansas block, Kansas troubles block, a prairie flower block and a Kansas dugout block. I want to add a buffalo, a meadow lark, maybe some wheat as well as sunflowers. Not sure what else.

Mom and Dad got a pair of geese when I was a toddler for watch-dogs. I refused to stay in the fenced yard. The rocks out in the road were a magnet. When the geese went off Mom knew I had found a new way to get out of the fence and I was back out in the road. I probably got my backside swatted every time...but like a moth to a flame; I had to play in those rocks.

Sue SA said...

Your collection of blocks trying to replicate sunflowers are such fun all grouped together, what a great idea. I love the story about the geese, this did happen to me once, just once was enough! I will look at flying geese in a different light now :)

Linda @ kokaquilts said...

I love both your basket medallions! A whole field of sunflowers is simply the most prettiest of images!

Cathy said...

I love both your medallions. I almost chose Flying Geese for the theme for the third round....lol Hugs

Libby in TN said...

My suggestion, before I read on, was to use ALL the sunflowers. So glad you did. Both medallions are coming along nicely.

Sandi said...

Great stories and womderful interpretation for your borders. Love that you put all the sunflowers together and made it work. I've had fun putting swap blocks together in a similar matter.

Your good border and story is all womderful.. Have fun building those log cabins!

Karen in Breezy Point said...

I love both your borders! The sunflowers are so fun--very creative! I totally agree with you about geese- I was attacked at a Japanese Garden in San Francisco--they are crazy!

Vic in NH said...

You are definitely a liberated quilter with these marvelous medallions! I always enjoy your humor, too.

Sally T said...

What a great solution for your sunflowers. Zounds. That is a magnificent border.

Cynthia Brunz Designs said...

They both look great! Nice job combining all those blocks together in one quilt. Can't wait to see the round of log cabins!

Magpie Sue said...

Oh wonderful! Congratulations on emulating Gwen by adding on and hacking off as needed. Have to say the sunflowers medallion is now my favorite (not sure which one was before!).

Lori said...

So wonderful! I'm so happy you used all the sunflower blocks! I really like it alot. Love the geese too, but not the real mean ones.

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

I love how all those different sunflowers ended up looking - great idea!

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

I love it that you used all of the sunflower blocks. Your geese story reminded me of my childhood. I think my parents got rid of the geese when I was about 5 or 6 because they would chase me and nip at the backs of my legs too. When my mother heard me screaming she know what was happening outside.

Rebecca in AK said...

Wow! Your sunflower border is amazing! I love it, so glad you used all the sunflowers! It looks like the geese are nipping each other now instead of you!

Béa said...

Love them both, very beautiful.

Véronique Prat said...

Your work is remarkable spectacular...gorgeous ..I search all terms I can find to express my admiration...
Love the both..
Véronique

MissPat said...

Wow! Wow! Both medaliions are great, but the sunflower one is inspired. And I can always count on you for a good laugh.

Quiltdivajulie said...

The sunflowers are just FANTASTIC AWESOME and downright WONDERFUL!! Terrific (!!) post!

Wanderingcatstudio said...

First... that mass of sunflowers around the basket is AH-MAZING!!! Wow! All the WOWS!!!!

Second... I'm pretty sure geese are the devil's birds. When I was a kid, my Dad liked to take me fishing a lot (actually, I don't think he wanted to, I think my Mom made him because I HATED fishing). I would get bored and start throwing rocks in the water. After getting yelled at for "scaring off the fish", I go look for something else to keep my occupied. This particular day, there was a flock of Canadian Geese hanging out not too far from us. Dad had told me to leave them alone... but you know I didn't listen, right? So I decided to walk right into the midst of them and check them all out. I ignored the hissing because my cats hiss, and nothing bad ever really came of that...

I've never been a great runner, but I put on some serious speed that day... and how can something that waddles like that run so fast in the first place?

Nancy said...

Oh, what memories! The geese. Horrible creatures to chase a child. We used to visit a historic village where the turkey chased my 4-year-old daughter. So glad you both survived the chasing!

Your sunflowers are spectacular. I especially like the quarter/half sunflower. The variety together certainly makes a statement. I like your second center and border, too, with the geese. The colors work well with your center.
--Nancy. (ndmessier @ aol.com, joyforgrace.blogspot.com)

knitnkwilt said...

Using all the sunflower blocks was a perfect solution. Up till that point I was wondering what would become of all those potential orphans.

Great goose story, and good revenge.

Cathy said...

Your sunflower border is fantastic! What an awesome and impressive field of sunflowers you've grown. (I know what you mean about "after I go lie down").

Geese are nice too but doesn't top that sunflower border. We raised geese once and they must have been a nice variety. Never raised them again, though, because it was too difficult to pluck the feathers...nothing like a chicken.

kmkat said...

I have a vague memory of being chased by a goose -- or was it a turkey? -- on the farm when I got off the school bus. I must have been 5 or 6. Nasty critters, geese.

Karen said...

All those flower blocks! I like what you have done with your basket medallions.

Debra said...

Wow! Love them both! I have just decide to try to join the QAL so I need to catch up. Your two pieces are inspirational - thanks for sharing!

Sharon said...

Wow, I love ALL your sunflowers! I'm so glad you used them all! Yes, it can sure be challenging to sew things together that way, but once you get over the shock of it, it's really fun. I hope you do some more of that!

I like your biting geese border too. What a memory! hee hee! My FIL had a nasty old goose that bit. Even our dog was afraid of it. I had to accompany her to go potty. Like I was any actual help. :) He finally had to give the darn thing away. The goose, not our dog.

Wendy Caton Reed said...

Love them both, especially the colors! Yum!

Shasta Matova said...

Both of these projects are superb. I'm glad you sued all the sunflowers.