Thursday, March 28, 2013

March finish.

I wasn't sure I was going to make it, but I was able to meet my March goal for A Lovely Year of Finishes. Woot!

My goal was to quilt my postage stamp quilt. "Not too modest, not too ambitious," I told myself. "Nothing could go wrong," I thought.


After all, I'd chosen a simple spiral quilting design that I could do with my walking foot and I'd pin-basted the heck out of the quilt sandwich. The quilting fairies would visit me, sprinkle their magical quilting dust and with a wave of their magic sewing needles everything would come out perfectly!

Right?

I think they may have skipped my house on their way to some other quilter's house because I had two big problems crop up when I was about half-way finished with the quilting:

  • Problem #1: I spotted a fairly largish (maybe three inches long) pucker on the back. I was too far along to want to rip out a large portion of the spiral so I kept going thinking I would go back and just rip out a portion of the stitches and try to smooth it out. 
  • Problem #2: Despite all of my pin-basting, the top shifted. A lot. So much so that there no longer was enough backing along the top edge. Let's just say there was a great deal of internal wailing and gnashing of teeth.
The first problem was something I could ignore for a while, but the second one was a biggie. I'm too much of a perfectionist to sew another length of backing fabric to the back and call it a day. There would be A LINE. And I would see it every time I snuggled up in the quilt. And it would mock me. It doesn't matter that no one else would probably ever notice it. I would know it's there and would always see the flaw. So, that was not an option.

My second option was to create some sort of quilt label and stitch it to the back. But it would be such a long, odd piece that it would be yet another glaring piece of evidence of my big mistake. Scratch that idea.

The third option was not a pretty one: remove an entire row of blocks to shorten the top just enough so that I'd have enough backing. I knew it was the most logical thing to do. But... I just couldn't bring myself to get out the seam ripper and do it. So there it sat on top of my sewing machine, quilting half-finished, for about a week. 

Finally, I knew what I had to do. I had to rip out that row. And you know what? Once I finally made the decision, I was happy with it. There won't be any glaring, oddball "fixes" on the back, and that brings me peace.

As to that pucker, well I decided to leave it. I could have tried to rip out the stitches around it and smooth it out, but I would have risked making another big mistake when I tried to "fix" it. Maybe it would have worked... but then again maybe not. I'm okay with leaving it. 

So what did I learn this month? Three things:
  1. The quilting fairies need a better map to my house.
  2. Use a stitched grid to keep everything in place when quilting a large quilt. It's easy to remove and really does make for less mistakes later. (Yes, I could have used spray baste, but I don't want to deal with fumes around my baby and don't want to have to clean up the over-spray.)
  3. Learn how to use a scant quarter inch seam. Why had I never heard of this before? This isn't directly connected to my two big problems above, but I did notice that my postage stamp blocks were definitely a wee bit too small all the way around. I'm most definitely figuring out the scant quarter inch seam settings on my machine before starting my next quilt.
The quilting fairies may have skipped my house this time around, but I'm in love with my quilt and can't to finish hand-stitching the binding to the front. Maybe the weather will still be cool enough for us to get some snuggle time in it!

12 comments:

  1. The thought of quilting often delays my quilts from actually getting finished!

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    1. I'm betting that's a common affliction among quilters. I've had tops sit around on my sewing desk for many, many months before simply because I can't decide on how to quilt it.

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  2. I could not go away without telling you that your quilt is so pretty and I love it!! Have a wonderful weekend!!

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    1. You are so sweet. Thank you – and have a very Happy Easter! :)

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  3. It looks amazing amazing amazing!!! I love it SO MUCH Michelle! and I'm sorry it didn't just come together perfectly and smoothly, thats a bummer. BUT you did a fabulous job. I"m totally in love with it! It's been SO MUCH FUN watching this quilt. When we first met I was always anticipating your next share of postage stamp block stacks... and look at them now! hooray!!!

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    1. I'm pretty happy with it. I still have the option of trying to fix that pucker, but I don't know... it's not awful but I'm afraid I'm going to make things worse if I rip out the stitches around it to try to fix it. I'm glad you've enjoyed the process as much as I have! xoxo

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  4. BEAUTIFUL!!!! Oh to have such talent!! xoxo

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  5. What a beautiful quilt! It will delight you and your family for many years. (Who really cares about a few hiccups that show up along the way? No one will ever notice.)

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    1. You're right about the hiccups... I don't think anyone else will notice them. And I'm hoping it turns into an heirloom.

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  6. I really think that is a very challenging quilt style, so overall you should feel very accomplished! I've had that slightly-too-small backing problem before too. Always the gnashing of teeth.

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    1. Thank you for such a sweet comment, Rachel. I definitely learned a lot with this one! Hopefully I can avoid the backing problem on future quilts. xoxo

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