I know that we all have times that we screw up a step in a project or cut something the wrong size, etc. I know I spend time with my ripper to correct issues once in a while. It seems, though, that lately I have had my share of issues.
The first big one of the year happened a few months ago. I was going through some things and found my stashes of exchange blocks from my bee in Virginia. We had done flower blocks and spool blocks. I pulled out the flower blocks and decided to see if I could come up with a great alternate block for them--something that might look like leaves (triangles) and lattice, etc. I leafed through my quilt books and found a likely-looking block. I drew it out, coloring the pieces the way I thought they would look good, and they seemed to look great with the flower blocks. On the graph paper, at least. I was so sure that they would be perfect that I set about doing all of the cutting--for 20+ blocks. Luckily it was all from my stash, and nothing that I bought special. I cut and cut and then I starting sewing and made 4 blocks so that I could lay it out with 5 flower blocks and have a 3 x 3 grid, to get the idea of what a large quilt would look like. It was terrible!!! The pattern didn't work but worse of all, the colors were horrendous. I think the color issue struck the worst blow to me. I get that I can choose a bad design, but to so mess up the color, too! Anyway, it was a day and a half totally wasted. I through the blocks I had made and all the cut bits in the trash and put the flower blocks back in my closet.
In my last post, I said how I had begun a doll quilt for the exchange. I decided to do small shoo fly blocks and then alternate them with plain squares.
The quilt top came out great, too.
And then I got the idea that I would all-over stipple it by machine. When it was a quarter done, I was having second thoughts, but I kept at it, hoping it would get better! (Mistake!) Anyway, I was over half done and just wasn't happy. In my opinion, an antique doll quilt would have minimal hand quilting. Even though the all over stipple, when washed, gives the "look" of a crinkled old quilt with lots of quilting; that wasn't the "look" that I wanted. In frustration, I left it under the needle and found the other quilt that I ended up sending to my partner. Is it me? Am I too particular?
Then yesterday I had another issue. The night before I finished the big, 30" appliqued block for Austin Bluebird. I got up excited to get it pressed and trimmed. I ironed it. Here's a tip: I always iron my appliqued blocks face down on a couple layers of towels. That way the back of the block gets smooth, but the applique shapes "pop" off the backing fabric, since they are padded by the toweling. I had the block looking great and then got my book out to double check the size I needed to trim it to (30.5") As I checked the book, I glimpsed the picture of the block and it didn't look anything like my block!
I was flumoxed. How had this happened? I realized that because it is so large, the pattern contains a quarter of the block only. Instead of "pinwheeling" the quadrant around my block, I had flipped it. I knew right off that I didn't want to make another block. Would this one look okay? To me, the original has a sort of circular feel, where mine doesn't. It was my emotions that were getting me. I had been so excited about it and then all of a sudden I realized I made a mistake and felt so bad. I shared this picture and Instagram and I'm afraid I whined a bit about it. Then I had a shower and gave myself a real "talking to." So I got all of my pieces of the quilt out and laid them out to see how my block looked. It looked okay!
Meanwhile, the best people in the world were leaving comments of encouragement on my Instagram picture! I was feeling better. And then Laurie Minick, who is on Instagram, left a comment of encouragement. Better yet, she re-grammed the picture just above, which I'd also shared, and said that she is going to make her large block just like mine in her newest, blue version of the quilt. I was so touched. I have no problem "making patterns my own" and doing something original. I was worried that the design of the block wouldn't look good. I'm so glad it does. Someone left a comment sharing a sentiment that I always have, "Is it a mistake you can live with, or will you always think of it when you look at the finished quilt?" I'm more than aware of that, having made that mistake before! In this case, I'm looking at it as a "lesson learned" block. To remember that I shouldn't get too wrapped up in what I think is a mistake--and enjoy the serendipity!
It's a good thing I was thinking about all of that in the afternoon when I made up my Temecula Quilt Co. Summer Sampler blocks. I just love their free sew-alongs! They are always so much fun!
How about you? Have you had any "major fails?" I think its just as important to share the problems/fails at it is the successes.
Have a great day!