Decide what to be and go be it.

A cautionary tale…of sorts

Haste makes waste.  I’ve been cautioned about that my entire life.  Sometimes I adhere to that advice…sometimes I don’t.  How I wish I had this time!  Last Wednesday, I didn’t finish my stippling project for the Quilt Along.  So I was determined that it would be ready this week.

This project was going to be good!  If you recall, I tried my hand at pin-basting this time.  It actually worked pretty well.  My biggest complaint was having to stop too often to remove pins.  But, I digress…   I’ve had this quilt top for many years.  I’m sure if you take a good look at the fabrics, you could date the quilt.  I think some of them are bordering on vintage.  But this would be my project…lots of straight lines and shapes to quilt around.  And lots of room to stipple.  Have I mentioned yet that I’m on stippling overload?  I know practice makes perfect but my quilting ADD is kicking in!  I dream about curvy lines.

From the time I sat down at my machine and put needle to fabric, if something could go wrong, it did.  I first quilted the straight lines.  Going sideways was great but going up and down was not.  it finally occurred to me that when I was trying to FMQ the up and down lines, I was waiting for the machine to do the work…feed it through with the feed dogs.  When I wrapped my brain around that realization, the lines looked much better.  On to quilting around the appliques.  These were hand appliqued and let’s just be kind and say that I’m not really an “appliquer”.   I would be moving along at a pretty good clip and then I would be spinning my wheels.  I caught the toe of the foot under the applique….more than once.  More than twice.  Let’s say lots of times.

Then stippling away I began to hate this quilt.  I was tired of looking at it.  I thought about making it a Level 3 UFO…almost completed, but not quite.  But, no!  I was going to finish this by Wednesday!  I had plans to do a double viney thing for the borders but by the time I got there, all I wanted was closure.  So I did a leaf design and it went well.  I was in the groove and the leaves looked great!  Until I thought I was finished.  Something didn’t look right.  Oh yeah…I don’t think you’re supposed to stitch the excess backing fabric to the back of the quilt.  Oops.

So, I’m thinking what’s the easiest way to fix this.  I was certainly not going to take out all of those stitches.  So, I’m looking at it and I decide to cut the fabric away.  HIndsight is always 20/20.  Not a good idea.  It worked for most of it but not where I had the big, fat fold that I somehow missed seeing when I made the initial determination.  OK….in too deep now.  Just trimmed where I could and slapped on the binding.  We won’t even talk about the binding.

I bring it upstairs and tell my husband that it’s going in the trash.  I have enough pictures to prove I actually stippled a whole quilt.  And I was just so ready to get that bad boy out of my life.  Well…he likes it.  “No one will see the back when it’s hanging” he tells me.  No one but me.  I know the shame that’s hidden back there.  I can hear the little bunny on the front saying “Haste makes waste, Doc.”  I’m thinking that maybe I might hang it in my sewing room to remind me to get up and walk away.  Know when to say when…

Here’s the finished product.

And a close-up…

And should you not learn from my mistakes, these little babies are wonderful for pulling out little bits of fabric and threads.

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22 thoughts on “A cautionary tale…of sorts

  1. Oooh! Your applique is lovely. I want to be able to do that 🙂 Thank you for stopping by my blog too. Avis x

  2. It looks good from far away! :-). I think we’re usually our own harshest critics.

  3. Sybil on said:

    I think your applique looks great also. And as far as quilting the excess backing fabric….I HATE it when I do that….you’d think I’d learn but I’ve done it several times already. grrrr…..

    • I’ve done it more times than I care to remember! I think we get a little full of ourselves and the quilting gods have to let us know who’s boss!!

  4. It’s really cute! Love the squirrel and honey tree.

    I FMQ’d over my backing fabric just a few weeks ago, and did manage to fix it. Not sure if this helps, but what I ended up doing was using small scissors to cut right up to the thread on each stitch line, and then gently pulling from the other side so that the fabric came apart into threads. Eventually I was able to pull it from between all of the stitches without affecting any of the quilting and just cut away at the binding line like nothing ever happened.

    • That’s what I started to do. It worked pretty well until I got to the giant pleat I sewed in! There was no fixing that bad boy! So I just left in. The binding holds it in place. BTW…when you cut very close to the stitching line, those little tweezers work wonders pulling the fabric away! Ask me how I know! 🙂

  5. I’m glad you are keeping this – so much work on the piecing – fun shapes and fabric choices. Your husband should get an extra hug for encouraging you to look at what people will see – you don’t ever have to tell anyone your secret lessons learned with this project. And really it could be you’ll have trouble even seeing your lessons next year when you look at the backside of the quilt!

  6. Anne B on said:

    Been there done that – and then some. I’m amazed at how everything that can go wrong always does go wrong when the end is in sight. The bobbin will be empty, the thread will break, I’ll do what you did with the backing, the tension will go crazy – you name it. I’ve learned to be super-careful when I’ve nearly finished a project, but the curse still strikes!

    • I think things go south at the end becuase we get in a big hurry to finish. Seeing the end of one project just means we get to move on to the next. And the next. And the next. 😉

  7. THAT is an adorable little quilt! Go for it candy56, hang that baby. DH is right; no one will see ever see the back!

    Couldn’t begin to tell you, initially, how many times I’ve quilted excess fabric to the back of my projects! (I thought I was a professional ripper!) But now, it’s one of the boxes I mentally check each time I make a major adjustment or turn my project during the FMQ’ing part. BTW – what is that little baby with the heart shaped center? I may need one of those – seriously!

    Quilt on, sista – great project!

  8. Those are a pair of needle-tip tweezers. I got them at Joanne Fabrics for about $4. They are awesome for pulling out little threads . If you see the post above from MC, she tells how she cuts away close to the stitching and gently pulls it away when she accidently stitches her excess backign to the quilt. These tweezers get in there and grab those little bitty threads. Not a bad investment at all for $4. They’re made by Collins. I think it’s part of the Dritz company. They work well for pulling up bobbin thread when you’ve cut it too short. They’re just my newest favorite thing!!

  9. Wow! I am not a quilter, but I work with fabric in other ways. And I LOVE your blog! So charming. Your tone is fantastic. I will look forward to following along .. and drooling at your amazing work. I aspire to try my hand at quilting before I die … will enjoy yours in the meantime. Cheers!

  10. Your quilt is beautiful, and your secret is safe with us… we’ll never tell what’s hiding behind. My mistake was very obvious and I finished it too. Why? For the very reason you are inspired to hang yours in your studio. It will be a reminder to slow down and notice!
    Love your work! ~ Lynda

  11. Thanks for liking our blog Candy and great tip about the tweezers! Thanks!

  12. I love your quilt. And yes, no one but you is going to know!! Ha ha. I love the tweezers, need those, my seam ripper is getting way too much use. sigh. I am learning to start leaving some of those “mistakes” in. I have started asking my daughter if she can see them before I rip them all out. But then again, I know they are there.

    • I leave in more mistakes than I used to. You can drive yourself crazy trying to be perfect! And a seam ripper is not as much fun as a needle! I find when I leave them in, I’m not as likely to make that mistake again.

  13. crazymountainquilter on said:

    Just applique’ an extra block or label or flower or what ever you can come up with over the stuff on the back. No one will ever know it is there and think you went the extra mile to add something extra to the back. I once did a wheel of myster or winding ways quilt and somehow during the quilting process stretched my first narrow inner border so it had a weewaa in it. Needless to say it was not very attractive. So I made the half circle part of the block and appliqued it over the weewaa and then added a couple more around the border then quilted right over it again. Now when ever anyone sees that quilt they say how much they love how I carried my blocks out into my border. I do tell them why I did it so they can see how you can fix something you did not think was fixable. Great day and thank you for sharing.

  14. Bwahaha… I’m so glad it didn’t end up in the trash!!! It’s always fun (in a few years, when the pain is gone) to go back and show your earlier quilts at guild meetings or for trunk shows! Keep perservering!

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