Wednesday, October 26, 2011

When everything goes wrong..

The short version:

When everything goes wrong... complain and then go make something else.

The long version: 

Unfortunately, I'm talking about the Swoon quilt.

this corner

Yes, that swoon quilt.  It's a good one, I know.  Or at least I thought it was going well until...

** I finished basting and realized that I had made the backing slightly too small.
** I hadn't realized this before because I had not trimmed the backing edges evenly.  So, if you measured along the longer side, it was big enough.  Bad Rachel.
** In hopes of correcting the small bit of overhang, I moved the quilt top after spray basting.  I-yi-yi.  Sticky mess.  It's pretty hard to recenter a sticky quilt top onto a sticky batting. 
** I failed.
** Resigned to fixing the small overhang by enlarging the quilt back, I set off to quilt.  But, behold, there were puckers.
** Because I tried to move the spray basted top.
** Did I mention that this was a bad idea?
** Gritting my teeth I pushed through the puckers.  I prodded, I pulled, I smoothed and coddled. 
** I also decided that a spiral quilt design was far too ambitious on this 80" square quilt in my tiny, tiny sewing machine.
** Which was possibly shrinking.
** And when I finished quilting (phew!), I resolved to restore my affections for the quilt by making my lovely readers a step-by-step binding tutorial as I finished.  You know for my binding with the zigzag finish?  That finish that had turned out perfectly on the last two quilts I've made?
** The Swoon binding was not perfect.
** I was not shocked.
** I confess I also thought bad thoughts about my book while I bound that quilt.  We're all capable of bad thoughts.
** The pictures I took (at night, tsk, tsk) of the Swoon binding also turned out pants.  I just deleted them all moments ago.

when everything goes wrong...

But, it gets better!  Because, I then left the finished quilt in a crumpled mound on my table, like so.  I left it there until the following night, when I set it aside with a "hmph" kind of sound.  "I finished you. You can't hurt me anymore!"  And then I made stars.  

Stars make me happy.

And the stars were so nice.  They made me smile.

And then, and THEN....

crinkly and nice.

Today I washed and dried the Swoon quilt, and spread it on my bed just to see. And what I saw wasn't the terribly, awful I saw before, but instead something crinkly and nice.  I could even see the good done there, for this quilt has been made to bless someone and a blessing it will be indeed.

Tomorrow I'll have lots more pictures of the finished quilt.  Today I just wanted to clear the air about the terrible awful part.  And, to remind you to always, always make something else!

44 comments:

  1. Ah, Rachel, thank you for sharing your pain. It helps to know that other people go through hard things with their quilting, and I can let myself not be a failure just because I'm having a tough time with my quilt. In another life, I was a potter, and I learned to never get too discouraged about pots right when they came out of the kiln. Sometimes I had expectations about how things were going to turn out, and sometimes when they didn't turn out that way, I couldn't see that they were perfectly fine anyway, just not what I expected, until I'd had a cooling off period. Lots of times, I'd come back to pots I'd initially not liked at all, and thought they looked pretty good when my vision wasn't hampered by my expectations.

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  2. Just to let you know, you are not the first person this has ever happened to, nor the last...it is good to realize that we have all suffered through one quilt or another like this. :) I think the quilt looks beautiful, and can't wait to see the whole thing...and by the way, one time I had crumpled up a king-sized lone star quilt and threw it in the corner, and came home to find that my mom had picked it up and taken the whole thing apart for me (crumpling up and walking away is a good thing!) :)

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  3. Whew! That was a whirlwind. I'm glad to know that sometimes even the best of us struggle :) And even more glad to know that the end result was worth it!

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  4. I am so glad you shared your experience - it's nice to know that it happens to other people!

    I cannot tell you enough how much I absolutely LOVE your swoon quilt. Those colors together call to me and the way they work makes something inside me smile. Thank you!

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  5. aw, such an adventure in quilting! it kinda sounds like all my quilts, though. Heh.

    those stars are happy twinkles of a new journey. good luck!

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  6. Oh, and I meant to say, the new stars look awesome!

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  7. Oh you poor dear! What a sad story. :( BUT it looks like a good ending to the story and I am very much looking forward to seeing more of the finished quilt.

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  8. I LOVE the stars. they are perfect.

    Thanks for sharing your terrible awful. I struggled with a quilt I made my husband as a wedding gift. It was my second quilt and I made all sorts of rookie moves like heat and bond that was too heavy, zigzag stitches around the circles that were too thick and I didn't hide my starts and stops, and it turned out to be bright rainbow colors when I was really hoping for a more muted masculine palate. Mess. I won't even start on my struggles with the borders. It took me a year to finally take it to a long arm quilter because I was so embarrassed. In the end, it's a beautiful quilt, just not what I originally intended, and it is lovingly used almost daily by both of us. I still don't like how hard the circles are (from the heat and bond) but they are getting softer with time.

    I can't wait to see what those stars will become!

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  9. oh I was just struggling with some fiddly designs last night and my husband said "isn't this what you love to do? why are you getting upset?" Why? Well because it doesn't always turn out how we envisioned it...or at least the process can be a little painful. I messed up another block and he told me I should measure twice and sew once. Hmph! I'd like to see him piece together some of these blocks. lol

    Long story....well...long. You are not alone. ;)

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  10. Thanks for sharing your story! Its good to know that we ALL struggle with the quilting process, sometimes! And it usually works out in the end! Good for you for being brave til the end!

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  11. I love this quilt, and I'm sure whoever receives it will think the world (and moon and stars) of it. They won't notice any imperfections (if they really exist - I think you're too hard on yourself R), they'll be too busy swooning over the top to worry about the back.
    I agree with you though, some days it just seems to be a whole lot harder than others. Makes you appreciate the days when it all comes together I guess!

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  12. The quilt is beautiful, but your expression of experience is even more beautiful. We ALL feel the same way. And what great advice you offered - go make something else. Thank you.

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  13. So sorry you had a bad experience- know what you mean. FMQ and I aren't getting along at all- well, mostly it is my thread and bobbin that are fighting with me so I feel your disappointment.
    Glad a wash and dry seemed to fix things- always helps and yes, to make something else- :)

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  14. All I can say is . . . I love ya', Rachel, and the family is going to love that quilt. One of the great beauties of life is that while we often see our own mistakes and are frustrated by them, others will hardly notice—if at all. Love your new little stars, too!

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  15. Whew, so glad the washing machine and dryer put that quilt firmly in its place ;o)

    Those stars are fab :o)

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  16. Thank you for sharing this Rachel. I was having a panic moment (not sewing related) and your message reminded me sometimes it is best to walk away and regroup. The quilt is beautiful and yes we always need to just make something else!

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  17. Man, I know that feeling. And it's especially disheartening with such a beauty of a quilt. I'm glad you persevered and started something new. You needed that. And hello, happy stars! Those colors are just fabulous!I'm glad the Swoon quilt has a happy ending, though. I can't wait to see pictures!!

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  18. Sorry you had so much trouble! I'm glad it turned out ok in the end! And those stars are gorgeous!!! My fave is the one with the black and white print on the left. Great contrast!

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  19. ((hugs)) all good quilters have been there and done that and will do it again. :o)

    I always think a quilt looks much better when it has been washed. I look forward to seeing the pictures :o)

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  20. You made me giggle honey, I'm sorry it happened to you but I'm sooooo pleased I'm not alone in my little quilting snit! Thank you for sharing and I'm really happy that it all turned out well with your fabulous quilt .

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  21. very happy stars and i can't wait to see the happy quilt tomorrow.

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  22. So sorry to hear that you had such a bad time with this quilt, but pleased to hear that it turned out alright in the end.
    I'm not by any means an exceptional quilter. However, I have learned over the many years that I have been quilting that perservering and ending up with that final, terrible, even unlikable, (you think) nasty quilt will all be changed by a quick wash of that horrid thing. What a miracle when all those wonderful little puckers and tucks and wobbly lines actually look like they are supposed to be there!! There have been a number of quilts over the years that I've nearly tossed in the trash can....then... I remember how totally different they all look after being washed! Great job, Rachel! Can't wait for the rest of th pics!

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  23. I'm sorry your experience was so frustrating! But I'm excited to see pictures, because it looks fabulous me (and I'll most likely pin it :)

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  24. Well, despite the difficulties, it turned out beautifully! I can tell by the little hint of Swoon you gave us at the end of your post. I can't wait to see the whole thing!

    Mostly, though, thanks for sharing your troubles. It's very useful for others (and maybe especially beginners like me) to know that even more experienced quilters run into all kinds of snags and snafus. I'm glad the stars and a good night's sleep made it all better!

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  25. I am so glad to know other people have quilts that just are plain pains in the a*** from start to finish...just one thing after another.

    Thank you for sharing!

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  26. YEA!! Way to power through it!! It's even more special because of the 'technical difficulties'! :-)

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  27. Is it bad to be half smiling, nodding my head and thinking- oh yeah, I know those bad words too! And, you are so right--make something else!

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  28. You are a dear for sharing your struggles with us because when we're in the trenches, it feels like we're the only ones that have ever been there.Next time I am gritting my teeth and fussing at an uncooperative quilt, I hope I remember your post. In fact, I'll just print it out and tack it to my bulletin board. I'm so glad that everything turned out wonderful in the end. It truly is a lovely quilt.

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  29. yikes! felling your pain, honey. I recently had a too small batting, but didn't notice until after I'd spray basted it to the backing. I'm glad your quilt had a happy ending :)

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  30. Oh gosh! We've all had experiences like that. (I'm calling mine Friday Fail... new entry this week. Sigh.) Your quilt is beautiful though. I'm glad it "all came out in the wash"... snicker.

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  31. Oh, I can't wait to see more pictures tomorrow!!! Lotta's new collection looks beautiful, as does your stars! I'll have to give making them a try sometime.

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  32. It came out beautiful and I am sure that the family that gets it will treasure it!

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  33. Oh my!!! This is definitely a post I can identify!!! Can't wait to see the finished product! :)

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  34. I'm glad you didn't quit!! I just finished my first Swoon block tonight - I'm ready for more!! :)

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  35. Sometimes you just need to walk away or go to bed. We've all been there, so we know the feeling. I think it looks fine, beautiful.

    "All's well that ends well."

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  36. Awww, Rachel, thanks for sharing! I think sometimes we think things come so easy to others, it's good to know we all struggle. Quilting isn't easy!

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  37. It is nice to know that I am not the only one who has to undo. I pin baste my backing so I haven't had to undo any sticky stuff yet but spray basting sounds so much easier it might be in my future.

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  38. Oh I feel your pain! I think we've all had some kind of disaster like that but thankfully it usually comes out fine in the end!
    your stars are sooooo purty!

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  39. I hate it when that happens! After running it through a good wash and dry cycle though, it looks fabulous!
    And your stars made me smile as well!

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  40. Oh Gosh, I did the EXACT same thing with this quilt. It was 75x75 and I thought spiral quilting it would be a great idea because it would fit perfectly with the pattern. Huge Fail.

    http://craftmylifeaway.blogspot.com/2011/10/plum-blossoms.html

    You seem to have finished it though, that's more than I can say. Quilt looks great.

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  41. That's great that you didn't give up on it! Sometimes you just gotta push through the hard stuff that gets in the way to find the good that eventually comes out. And those stars are adorable, I would love to put all random sizes into a quilt. Do you have a pattern for them?

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  42. umm it looks amazeballs!, can't wait to see the whole thing. sometimes you just have to walk away, huh.

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  43. Hi Rachel,

    Thanks so much for sharing,this brought out alot of comments that really makes sense to me now....just wanted to tell you thanks now when do mess up i can just look the other way...lol..

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