This is a follow-up to my Troubles, Troubles, Troubles post on paper piecing a Modern Double Wedding Ring quilt. Had more trouble as I went on and have not blogged about it because it was bumming me out and I was unsure if I would ever finish the quilt as I didn’t know if it would even come out OK. I am here to tell you that if you have a quilt top that you are disappointed in, you have a couple of options that you need to choose from because if you continue to just do nothing it will sit there and always be on your mind. You can #1, get it finished-this can either be done by yourself or paying someone else to finish it for you, #2 get rid of it-give it away or sell it, you can give it to another quilter, a quilt guild, a thrift store or sell it on ebay or a facebook group, someone is bound to love it more than you. To me these are your options. I had started this project with the intentions of entering it in a local quilt guild’s quilt show because to me it fit our theme “Everything Old is New Again”. I had to have the entry in by the 1st of Sept with the show the 1st weekend of Oct. I was hesitant to enter it as it was still just a top at that point. But I did and I finished it a couple of days before the show. Here is the reason it took me so long to finish.
Each of the 16 blocks were made of 12 smaller paper pieced blocks that were sewn together.
I’ve done paper piecing before and have enjoyed it for the nice sharp points and matching seams you can get. Well I had a few problems with this block. I choose to keep the paper in all the 12 pieces until they were put together to form the block. This made for some thick seams and paper stuck it tight little corners. When it came time to take the paper out I had difficulty removing it. At one point I used steam or Best Press to help the press the seams open. When I did this with the paper still on the blocks the ink was transferred to the white fabric. I thought it might just be the paper showing through the fabric. So I took off the paper-hoping. No stains still there, but the corners were tight so I got out the tweezers and tried to get all the paper out of them. That got rid of some of the stains. While it was nice to leave the paper in while putting the parts together because it helped keep the fabric from stretching, but because the fabric was not stretching I was not able to help manipulate the fabric into perfectly matching at places. But at that point I was so tired of this project that I put the blocks together and said “oh well, it i what it is”, hoping that quilting it would mask some of those errors. So I was not very happy in the end with my piecing job (yes I know I am not supposed to point out my own faults-but I do this as a warning and a help for others, not to berate myself). So I had this quilt on the design wall contemplating how to quilt it and what to do to cover the spots if they did not come out when it was washed. I had wanted to put extra borders on the quilt and do some applique like one of these designs. But not knowing if the stains would come I didn’t want to put more work in than I needed to.
So I just sandwiched it and started quilting the white parts.
Just did my dense graffiti quilting with feathers, swirls, pebbles, flowers, whatever came to mind. It did mask the stains a little and made them less noticeable so I began to have hope. Finished the quilting stick it in the washer with some color catchers and hoped for the best.
Was crushed when the washer was done and I took it out and found this had happened. More stains.
Tried a couple of different stain removers to no avail. Thought of a last ditch effort-what else did I have to lose at this point-as there were too many spots to add appliques or couching yarn over them (2 of my solutions I had thought would work for just a few of the bigger more noticeable spots). The spots were only visible on the white fabric and so I got out the bleach. What? Yes, bleach, I mean at this point it really was just a practice quilt that I was not going to put in the how. So I got a small cup and some Q-tips and went to work. The first spots started to turn brown and then slowly disappear, I got excited. In hind sight I should have diluted the bleach, but I was so excited that I just wanted to get the bleach on the spots and wash the quilt as soon as I could so it would not damage the quilt. So I quickly finished and washed the quilt once again. Success!!! No more spots. The bad news was the bleach did go through to the back and left some white spots.
But at this point the front looks great and I really am not upset at the back. Here it is finished and hanging in the show.
So this is why I encourage you to just finish or get rid of your quilt tops (and even your finished quilts) that you are not happy with. While it was on my design wall or folded up I still knew it was there and while I did not constantly think about it and the problems with it, it was always there and I never knew what would have happened to it until I actually did something about it. Did it take a long time to quilt? Yes, it did (all those time stitches). Is it perfect? No (lots of mistakes). But it is done. Yes, and I am no longer consumed with what could have happened. So, many of my friends go by this saying which I totally believe is true, “Done is better than perfect.” Do you have a quilt top that you are not happy with? Get it quilted or give it away and be done with it one way or another. I have a few tops that I just need to get rid of because I was not happy with how they turned out. ON a different note, our quilt guild had what we call a Silent Auction every year. We put our cast outs on tables, whether they are projects we did not like (they may be tops of still in pieces) or notions or whatever and then guild members will bid on them (at the end of the night the left overs are taken to a thrift store). I got a table runner that I think is adorable that I can finish and will put in the silent auction we have at our next quilt show. So that unwanted project has made some money for the guild, and will make more money for the guild once it is done.
In the end this is what I put on my label on the back of my quilt-so it can be a learning tool to whoever it may end up with.
Modern Double Wedding Ring
Machine paper pieced, machine quilted by Sandy Carreon April 2016-Sept. 2016, in Long Beach, CA. Designed on EQ7 for the Modern Meet-up at Sew and Vac in Long Beach. Many lessons learned even though I had done paper piecing before.
- Kona cotton is thicker than other fabrics.
- You can get very precise points with paper piecing. But you need to be careful when joining pieces that have been paper pieced together.
- Trim and take paper out when joining 2 or more paper pieced portions. Pin these to get precise joins. (The paper prevents the fabric from moving to be able to match seams).
- And this is the real important one-make sure to get all the paper out of the stitching, adding water or starch or any type of moisture may cause the ink to stain the fabric.
- Make sure to trim the darker fabrics in the seams if using white or a light color as you might get shadowing when the quilt is finished.
- If you do happen to get ink on the fabric and it is white try to get the stains out before quilting. If all methods fail and it is white, bleach may work-it did for me (but I quilted it first and when I washed it more stains appeared-probably from small bits of paper with ink still under the stitches). Or if you quilt it, use white backing as the bleach will go through and make white spots on the backing (experience again-but at this point I will take a less than perfect back for a more perfect front).
And if you finish a quilt and you are still not happy with it, you don’t need to keep it. Give it away! Give it to a thrift store, give it to a shelter (human or animal). Only keep what you love, let the others be lessoned learned and move on. That said I have a stack of quilts waiting for me to quilt them, and some tops that I just need to give away and move on. Happy quilting.