The road ends, but the journey continues...


It’s been 19 weeks since my last ToDoTuesday post*.
Here’s my first in 2020!
On-going goals since October 15th, 2019:

  • Work on Michelle’s lime green African Fabric wall hanging in progress
  • Sew up scraps have on hand in progress
  • Practice free motion quilting in progress

How to use my growing stash of glorious authentic African fabrics without compromising the scale of design? That question is always the number one concern whenever I pull out those lengths of fabrics for consideration of use in a ‘special’ quilt project. Stumped for a satisfactory solution, I usually end up draping them over armchairs, the couch and the living room floor admiring their textures, rich colorations, and design elements. Soaking in their exotic vibes, breathing in their subtle, yet specific cloth scents – all feeding my imagination, yet still coming up short on a way through my dilemma.
And then, Along Comes Mary**from Zippy Quilts! A few months ago, she posted a quilt design that seemed to answer that question. For one set of fabrics at least.

Woodin Fabric selvages

Cote d’Ivoire/Woodin fabric selvages

The latest yardage given to me by our middle daughter acquired during her last PhD trip to Cote d’Ivoire included a deliciously vibrant patterned Woodin material paired with a complimentary solid lime green waxy-shiny chintz fabric. The solid fabric is not African, but commonly added as a free component in the sale. Interestingly, this is because all dresses are sewn with linings. Michelle told the vendor she wasn’t going to have the material made into a dress, but he insisted it was part of the deal, regardless.
Floating Block Lattice wall hanging top

Floating Block Lattice wall-hanging top

Using the two together, this is the completed wall-hanging top. At this stage I can safely roll it up and pack it away to be finished at a later date. Meanwhile, I have a roadmap figured out for the next steps needed to finish this project:

  • I’ll be using the 80/20 batting to help stabilize the two fabrics under the needle when I do the machine quilting (the lime green chintz is thinner than the more densely woven African fabric)
  • Quilting pattern inspired by the gold streaks in the African fabric – as an all over design on lime green fabric with lime green thread and gold metallic thread as accents on some of the gold streaks on the African fabric
  • Binding is still up for grabs as is an actual backing fabric


African fabric scraps

Scrappy sewing is my favorite type of piecing!

As most of you know, I am a scrap-lover and enjoy sewing up the bits & odd shapes leftover from on-going projects on a regular basis. Heck, I even pull out old scraps from my scrap stash to fiddle with as a tension reliever! In this instance, I decided to use only the scraps generated from these two fabrics in the construction of the wall-hanging top.
I think they look quite artistic for such minimal effort on my part – yet with great therapeutic payback in the doing of it!
Speaking of therapy, on a whim, I picked up one of my made-from-scraps quilt sandwich samples to practice my free-motion quilting skills. This has been a frustrating technique for me to feel comfortable with, but it calls to me often to keep at it!
Well, to my surprise and delight, this impromptu session yielded a break through! My hand direction/foot pedal co-ordination/stitching speed miraculously fell into sync where the whirls of design took on a life of its own…what a thrill!
That’s it for now!

ToDo for the weeks following February 25th:

  • Continue on-going goals

Thank you Roseanne for this opportunity to share and reflect

And thank you Zippy for showing off my completed top on your blog

*Geesh, almost sounds like a confession…Bless me Father for I have sinned. It’s been X weeks since my last confession…Just sayin’.
This link leads to the YouTube of the song (give it a listen, it’s only about 2 minutes long) – which Zippy will no doubt recall listening to back in the day 🙂


  1. Anne Xopeland

    I truly love your creativity and respect for the fabric. I too am a fiber artist (art quilter) and a recycler as well as an upcycler. I also work in mixed mediums, and so it has a wonderful feeling for me. Somewhere back in my old posts, there are photos of my very old Honda Civic Hatchback (my hippy car I owned for I think 27 years) and I covered it with recycled cloth from all over – thrift stores, tailgate shopping (otherwise known as finding perfectly good garments and other things made of fabric in the trash bins in our senior mobile home park – everything can be washed, and some things still had price tags on them. Many of those things over the years became new garments for me, and to tell you the truth, I feel good about doing these things. Oh, I used acrylic gel for the glue, and then painted three coats of clear polyurethane over the cloth. For me, it was more than just using fabrics I found and loved from everywhere. It was the difference of how people began to treat me on the freeways, roads and parking lots. Before they used to show fingers to tell me to get that old piece of junk off the road, but later they all would put up peace signs with fingers, and thumbs up and high fives. And everyone wanted to take photos of it and me with it (not too bad for an old lady – though I wasn’t as old in those times), and I made a lot of friends. Then a couple of years ago when we were in a tight spot with what we had in the way of income and bills, out of nowhere came this most unlikely couple through our park, and they offered me $500 for that old sweet friend of mine). I told my hubster we already had one vehicle, his old Ford Escape SUV, and we could use that, so it went away, but I will never forget the experiences and the feeling of turning two old things (the fabric and the vehicle) into a thing to inspire others and to make good use of the fabrics. As I noted, if anyone visits my WordPress blog, allinadaysbreath, they will find it somewhere down near the beginning posts with the photos on it. Thank you for sharing your beautiful work. I absolutely think it is really wonderful, and honors what is vibrant and alive from its makers.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Anne, I remember finding that post of yours about the fabric covered car… Phenomenal!
      Thank you so much for sharing your reactions/insights into my African Fabric wall hanging. You’re so right about the importance of ‘honoring’ the makers of such artistic material.
      Stay safe – and continue to use your gift in these more difficult times.

  2. Dione

    How great to hear that you’ve had a magic moment in your fmq journey. Like riding a bike or driving a manual car… it’s a skill that clicks with practice, even if there is still more to be learned after that. Thanks for sharing your happy moment at the Chameleon’s Colour & Inspiration Tuesday.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks for the encouragement, Dione!

  3. Catherine de Seton

    I would hate to have a list of “goals” …. I’m in the process of taking some time out, which has included “looking at supplies etc” and I realise even when I threw out into recycling bin a bunch of paper this last week – I will never truly run out of paper…some of the boxes are organised, many aren’t. One big box had around 7 pieces of interesting layered-on paper …. I just thought, I’ll put that out in the accordion making space, they might look interesting semi-cut up!
    One area that needed revamping was “shelving units” interesting that many of boxes/packets are in front of the shelves on the floor, mission over these next few days it to put them on shelves – and if the shelf is jumbled, sort it up – not necessarily in any order (that might come later…)

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sorting supplies is part of being a creative, right?

  4. Mary J Puckett

    You go, girl! I am still practicing FMQ after many years. I paid a lot of money to take a class in FMQ about 30 years ago and, when I finally got one piece that looked pretty good, the high-dollar instructor (who shall remain nameless) said, “You got lucky”. Huh.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Geesh – It takes all kinds…even in the quilting world (which is a traditionally ‘kinder, gentler’ environment than most).
      Glad you didn’t give up, either!

  5. Jennie Fitzkee

    Working with two different fabric textures must be a challenge, but a fun one!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Oh yes, Jennie, it truly is fun!

  6. Kathryn

    The African fabric is beautiful, and I can see you like an artistic approach. Practising fmq does take time and at times is frustrating. I just plod on with it and spend time watching others on You Tube. It is good to feel I am building a skill. All the best with it. Kathryn Quilts

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thank you Kathryn and yes, we must soldier on with fmq!

  7. Janis

    Really nice, Laura! You have found such a great use of that beautiful fabric. My sewing machine is beckoning…

    • laura bruno lilly

      Remember, if you dabble a bit with that machine while you’re not traveling about, then when you are traveling, you have the perfect excuse to splurge on fabric purchases! (“oh but these are perfect for what I’m working on…”)

      • Janis

        I like the way you think!

  8. Jane Chesebrough

    I can see that when a person publishes their goals, they get more motivated to finish projects, whether having lost interest or not. Enjoy the process!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Good point, Jane. Thanks.

  9. Ally Bean

    Beautiful colors and pattern in your project. It’s amazing what you can do with some fabric and determination. Thanks for sharing it here.

    • laura bruno lilly

      And thanks for stopping by, Ally!

  10. Anne

    You have come up with a great solution to your dilemma. The vibrancy of the quilt honours the fabric. And with gold stitching…..!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Ah yes, the gold stitching! You, among others such as Mariss, have inspired me to experiment and try out different things on smaller pieces like this wall-hanging…we’ll see what happens, eh?
      Thanks for the kudos!

  11. Roseanne

    Hi Laura! WOW, has it really been 19 weeks?! I read whenever you post . . . plus it doesn’t have to be quilting related. I have a few suggestions for big-print fabrics, but I’m so glad you found something that speaks to you. That is going to be a fabulous wall hanging and one that you’ll enjoy gazing upon for years to come once it’s complete. I just ADORE your artistic pieces – they look really, really, really cool. And your sandwich pieces that you are practicing FMQ on – you can make something from them as well. I am beyond thrilled that your FMQ attempt gelled and worked well. That’s the way to feel encouraged as I already know you CAN do anything. Woot woot. Thanks for linking up today. ~smile~ Roseanne

    • laura bruno lilly

      Email me those suggestions you have for big-print fabrics sometime, if you’re able. I’m always open to more options.
      So touched you read ‘whenever I post’…thanks a lot, Roseanne!

  12. Lisa

    Love it Laura! The print is really beautiful and I am a sucker for lime green! I had a lime green, orange and hot pink paisley wall papered room in my teen years and couldn’t have been more thrilled with my “mod” room through my parents couldn’t bear to even look in !
    As always, you inspire and motivate me to get get back to the machine ! What a fun project you have created complete with a lovely story!
    Thanks for sharing!

    • laura bruno lilly

      HA! Maybe that’s why you favored the ‘mod’ wallpaper! (ie-parents couldn’t bear to invade your space!!!)
      Oh my, we are ‘twinkies’ as our hubby’s say…I had lime green and ‘hot’ turquoise paisley curtains with matching bedspread (Ma made them of course) with a darker version of both colors in my rug! I’d forgotten about that till you mentioned that wallpaper of yours.
      And now, get thee back to your machine…

  13. Mariss Stevens

    Know what you mean about those vibrant African fabrics. They are hard to cut up. You found a clever solution and I salute you for your plans to quilt with gold thread (psst — it might be easier to do that bit by hand). So glad you have found your free motion modus operandi — I tend to think of it has free falling quilting because I end up in a speed wobble.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Actually, we’re on the same wavelength, friend…am thinking of experimenting with handstitching the gold thread…maybe even with Kantha stitches???!!!

      • Mariss Stevens

        Ah yes, Kantha. But beware, you might become addicted

        • laura bruno lilly

          HA! You should know!

  14. L. Marie

    Love this, Laura! Beautiful fabric and colors. So cool! Thank you for sharing your progress! Bright colors are always a day brightener for me.

    • laura bruno lilly

      Sounds like the lime green brightened your Chicagoland day today!
      Such a simple pick-me-up, color is.

  15. Laura

    I can’t wait to see the quilting on your wonderful project, Laura! How fun to hear that you have had a breakthrough with fmq! I am glad that you haven’t given up on it!
    I had a bit of fun perusing a new to me blog, too! Thanks for sharing Zippy! 🙂

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Laura…I’m sure the color palette added to your enthusiastic encouragement, too – HA!

      • Laura

        Snort! You know me! 🙂

  16. Jill Weatherholt

    You have much more patience than I do, Laura. Nice progress! I love the colors you’re using…they are gorgeous!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Hmmm, they seem to match the blouse you’re wearing in your gravatar pix!
      Thanks for stopping by, Jill.

  17. Annika Perry

    Laura, your post is full of creativity and inspiring!

    • laura bruno lilly

      Thanks, Annika! I wish for you a great day, filled with (he)artistic endeavors.

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