Monday, January 28, 2013

ARRRRGH! The Perils of a Beginner Quilter

No, I'm not pretending to be a pirate, even though Gasparilla was held in Tampa this past weekend and the pirates invaded the city.  My arrrrgh! is because I have to do some ripping. No, a lot of ripping. I layered and pinned my daughter's quilt top this past weekend. I kept coming up with one side that just wouldn't lay properly. So...I ripped out the side and sewed it back up again. I thought maybe it was out of whack because I had stitched the length of grain of the border on the bottom and the stretchier squares on top so it made the side shorter. Nope...that didn't work.

I decided to measure both sides of the top. It is almost 1.5 in longer on one side than it is on the other. Then I started counting squares to make sure I had the same amount on both sides... why wouldn't I?  Duh... but, these squares are on the outside of the first border that goes around the quilt. Apparently since this was my first quilt I have made I added 1/2 a block to one side to make it "even". Yeah, I did. Who would do such a thing without measuring first? I guess me.

This quilt was from a book that I had bought. The original pattern called for it to be square. My daughter wanted it to fit her queen size bed in her spare room. So I decided to tackle my very first quilt. My mistake was in thinking that making a quilt was the same process as making a dress or pants. You can fudge on a sewing pattern, add piece here, if it's to short, take some away if it's to long. Not so with quilting. You really do have to use quarter inch seams. You can't fudge on them and take a little here or leave a little there. It screws with the consistency of the quilt pattern. Apparently so much that I added half a square to make the seams meet. HA.

Good thing I didn't send this off to be quilted by a professional. First off I think she would have sent it back because it was full of threads. Nope, I didn't trim off all or any of the threads. What was I thinking? I guess I wasn't. Boy would she have gone nuts trying to get the quilt to lie straight for the long arm. She would have definitely  sent it back then. I am hoping it won't take me more than a week to get it straightened out so I can get started on getting it quilted. I know my daughter is anxiously awaiting it's return so she can finish decorating her spare room.


  1. I used to be a "make it up in the seam allowance" kind of gal. But there are so many pieces in a quilt that I sooned learned it didn't take long for a little inaccuracy here and there turned into a LOT of difference on the next step. I'm coming here from the Small Blog Meet.

  2. Hi, i came over from Lily's Quilts, i love your blog! I'm so glad to hear that someone else is having the same problems as me! I decided to make a sampler quilt in the hope that i would learn something new with each block i make, and i've found some great block tutorials with lots of pictures out there in blogland which have turned out great so far. Stick with it, i'm sure you can make it work :o)

  3. Been there, done that! Now I draft out all my sewing - even if I have a pattern or a book, because I usually alter the size. I'm better at maths now than I ever was at school!

  4. Oh me too - I learned to sew when making clothes and quilting is so NOT the same. LOL Funny now, but it's sure not when your blocks don't line up. I'm glad to see you are sticking with it. I found you at Lily's and I'll be back - I'm following you.

  5. Thank you so much for stopping by and leaving your comments. I am exactly the person Nina. Make it up in the seam. I found that when I took the quilt apart I had seams that were anywhere from 3/8 to a smidge of fabric holding the seams together. I have corrected as much as I can and I think it will even out better. Also since I originally made this top, I now have two quarter inch seam feet. One for my viking and one for my singer 66.