Finished is better than perfect… the LONG JOURNEY


Finished is better than perfect… the LONG JOURNEY

 Critiquing your own work… for the next time.


 SORRY,  I have not posted in a while….. because I have been quilting.  Today’s post is the long journey of this UFO from the start 3 years ago till the finished… I have gone from loving to hating back to loving this quilt from  Hxxx. 

It started three years ago when as a new quilter I selected fabrics cut them into 2-1/2 strips sewed them together than not knowing any better sewed them into 80 inch x 72 inch strip sets.  NO WAY can I sew a straight seam for 80 inches wide… They wiggled and wobbled all over the place.  ( Yes, I was following the instructions in the book as least as much as I understood of them.)   I compound the problem by having friends help me sew these long strip sets …  Some of the girls sew with EXACT quarter inch seam allowance  and some of  the girls sewed with scant.  The problems this created did not show up until I sewed the strip sets to my batting.

I did not like the fabrics in the strip sets when I finally sewed them all together… but I could not tell you why I did not care for the final selection… It was not until recently after taking several color / design tutorials that I realized the color selections lacked VALUE … all my colors were mediums… no darks and no lights.  The contrast was very low and the quilt was kind of flat despite the bright colors used.  It need the punch of very light and very dark to give depth and sparkle. 

So this project  went into the UFO PROJECT PILE for three years.  The project got squirreled away in the basement.   Occasionally, I pulled it out and worked on it a little but it would end up back in the UFOs whenever another project came along.  Recently a need arose for a fast quilt to be made so I dug this project out to finish it since the “hard” part was done.  

Problems plagued this quilt at every step of the way.  The strip sets were all suppose to line up so that even though I offset the color to form the over all pattern.  The patches were suppose to match up.  REMEMBER, I said in the beginning I sewed wobbly strip sets and I had friends help me.  This is where the patch work got WONKY.  I would cut various width of the strips sets (There is a grid in the book to follow for cutting directions; I just did my own thing and winged it. )  I would then the long strips to the batting and backing material and flip it over, press the seams and then repeat the steps working from the middle of the quilt outward.  ( Sew and Flip method of quilt as you go.)  Since none of the strips sets were exact… the color placement and seams got out of alignment.  I also learned if you do not sew and flip carefully YOU would get a hole in your quilt.  It gave me a lovely design opportunity… I appliquéd a pick ribbon over the hole in the seam allowance. 

I kept procrastinating over finishing this quilt even though the deadline was looming.  I just did not like the colors as the turquoise blues were fighting with the blue green and kept rattling my nerves.  I had no idea what to do to FIX the bad color choices. 

This quilt came together when I added the borders… I selected a dark turquoise blue that went well and tamed  the other colors.  I think it added the depth the quilt needed.  I actually started liking the quilt again.  I loved the process of making this quilt especially when I added up how many hours of actual work went into the quilt it was one of the quickest sewn projects I had ever made.   ( Less than 30 hours actual sewing and machine quilting time, which is a record for me. YES I am pathetic and keep track of how many hours I spend on a project.  But that is a topic for another blog. )  


APPLIQUE  fixes a lot of mistakes

Detail of border quilting








Things I learned while making this quilt:

VALUE and COLOR placement is important to add interest, sparkle and depth into any quilt project.  Yes most colors play nice together but sometimes they clash…. If is NOT WORK do not be afraid to change your mind. 


I can not sew long seams accurately.  It is better to sew shorter segments and make multiple strip sets.  Two width of fabric strip  sets would have been more accurate than having a super long strip set of 80 inches.

Avoid bowing when sewing long strip sets by changing the directions you are sewing the strip sets together.   If they are all sewn in the same direction they tend to develop a rainbow effect.

It is difficult to cut a large (length)  strip set accurately.  I now have a long ruler for this purpose.  I also think having several shorter strip sets then sewing them together ( maintaining the color placement) after they are cut would result in more accurate sizes.   When I cut really long lengths my strip set could end up 1/4 inch or more too wide.  This resulted in wobbling when I sewed and flipped the strips to the batting and backing.  The machine quilting on the back showed how off a quilter could get when she sewed these long lengths.  The color pattern was very forgiving and it always looked like this was part of the design plan.

Since starting this project three years ago I have read other ways of making this quilt top.  Traditional piece work to make the quilt top is one method, you would then have to machine quilt the top afterwards.  I have also read pattern where the strip sets were made in varying widths of patches so you get a pronounce color shift.  I like to think that my bad missed size strip sets were actually planned designs instead of mistakes.


Persevere and stop procrastinating.  If you trust in the process, if you trust in your self, if you strive for good workmanship.  YOU can forgive yourself for lack of knowledge and making mistakes.  Mistakes are design opportunities that will result in the quilt being yours instead of a carbon copy from a book, pattern, magazine.    


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