Tuesday, August 18, 2020

LAL#3: The One Where Rebecca Finally Finishes a Quilt, but Doesn't Love It Anymore

 Happy Tuesday, friends!  Welcome to another Long Arm Learning linky party!  I actually have a finished (long arm quilted) quilt to share with you today, my FIRST finished quilt of 2020 -- and yes, I do know how pathetic that is to be finishing my first quilt of the year in mid-August.  My Sermon Scribbles quilt is FINISHED, as in quilted, labeled, bound, washed, and photographed!  

I started piecing this in November of last year, and loaded it on my frame for quilting in April, just as this crazy pandemic lockdown was settling in.  From beginning to end, this silly quilt has taken 9 months to complete.  Like the gestation of a child, for crying out loud.

We were taking these photos just past 6 o'clock, with the sun sinking in the sky, and the light was kind of electrifying -- the quilt doesn't look quite so fluorescent in real life!  Here's a shot of the same quilt indoors, spread across the bottom of my bed with morning light flooding in from the window:

See?  Not nearly as bright as it looked outdoors.  By the way, I'm disappointed by the extent to which my custom quilting was minimized by the shrinkage and crinkling that happened in the first washing.  A single layer of Quilter's Dream Cotton Select batting was not enough to do justice to 5 months' worth of custom quilting.  For your reference, here's what this quilt looked like prior to washing, fresh off the frame:

And now I can understand more clearly why quilters use a batting with more loft, or even a double layered batting, for heavy custom and heirloom quilting.  Live and learn!  This quilt lost approximately 8% of its length and width from heavy quilting takeup and from shrinking in the wash.  On the positive side, any wobbles or wiggles in my quilting that I wasn't happy with certainly aren't going to be noticed now.  And I still got the benefit of practicing all of those different quilting motifs, even if you can't really see them in the finished quilt.  This would have been an excellent candidate for an edge to edge pantograph quilting design, IF my objective in making it hadn't been furthering my free motion quilting practice.

The truly weird thing is that I don't know what to do with this one, now that it's quilted.  The colors are all wrong for it to live anywhere in my house -- it doesn't go with any of our bedrooms and, at 54" x 70", it's not bed sized anyway.  It's all wrong for my traditionally decorated living room and family room.  It wasn't meant as a gift for anyone and it's too big to be a baby quilt for a shower gift.  So this is my first Completely Useless Quilt Going Straight Into Storage!

54" x 70" Sermon Scribbles

Nothing But the FAQs, Ma'am:

Ah, well -- here are the stats we quilters always want to know about a quilt:

Name: Spirit Song Sermon Scribbles

Size: 54" x 70" Throw

Pattern: Traditional 8" Airplane blocks, no pattern used

Fabrics: Mostly from stash, with a Kaffe Fassett border print

Batting: Quilter's Dream Cotton Select

Thread: Superior MonoPoly for SID; everything else is Superior So Fine #50 in the needle with Bottom Line in the bobbin

It took me three days to bind it, and yes, I'm happy with how my binding came out.

Here's what the back of the quilt looks like, post-washing:

If I Had This Quilt to Do Over?

What would I do differently, if I were to make this same quilt again?

  • I would rotary cut my HSTs instead of using the AccuQuilt GO! HST triangle dies
  • I would quilt this with a much simpler design since the heavy piecing and dizzying array of prints makes it hard to see the quilting anyway.  This would be a great candidate for an edge to edge (E2E) pantograph design
  • I would have used a single thread color for the whole thing, something like a pastel pink or yellow Glide, to reduce the hassle of thread color changes -- and so the quilting would show up better when all is said and done
  • I would have used either an 80/20 blend batting or a wool batting, something with minimal shrinkage and more loft to show off the quilting design better
  • I would have made sure all of the fabrics in the quilt had been prewashed and preshrunk prior to using them in the quilt, because the use of so many unwashed precuts surely factored into the amount of shrinkage and puckering that happened with this quilt as well.  Again, not a bad thing necessarily -- I like the crinkly shrinkage with certain quilts, but it's working against my quilting in this particular quilt
  • I would have done the more elaborate quilting designs in the background fabrics, where they would show up better, rather than on the busy pink and orange print fabrics, where they disappear

But I won't be making this quilt again, because I've fallen a bit out of love with it, now that it's done.  What I can say is that I'm very glad I decided to make a quilt top out of fun, cheerful fabrics for the sole purpose of practicing quilting on it.  It's been far more fun than endless practicing on muslin, and I've learned a lot with it!

And Now, Tuesday's To-Do List:

Last Week's To-Do List:

  • Finish that 15" orange block with the flying geese for Anders' sampler quilt
  • Trim the edges of my Sermon Scribbles quilt
  • Applique my label to the back of Sermon Scribbles
  • Make binding for Sermon Scribbles, machine stitch to front of quilt & hand stitch to the backing
  • Wash Sermon Scribbles and take that quilt out for a photo shoot!
  • Piece backing for tumbler outreach top (next in line for quilting!)

Wow -- I actually did pretty good with my list last week, didn't I?!

This Week's To-Do List:

  • Piece backing for tumbler outreach top pictured above (next in line for quilting!)
  • Load tumbler quilt on frame
  • Select pantograph and thread (Do you have suggestions for a thread color and/or a good beginner-friendly pantograph design for this quilt?  If so, please comment away!)
  • Quilt tumbler quilt

I'm linking this post up with the To Do on Tuesday linky party over at  Home Sewn By Us.  I'm also linking up with the following "finish!" parties, since I finally have a finish to share:

·       Whoop Whoop Fridays at Confessions of a Fabric Addict

·       Peacock Party at Wendy’s Quilts and More

·       Finished Or Not Friday at Alycia Quilts

·       Off the Wall Friday at Nina Marie Sayre

·       TGIFF Thank Goodness It’s Finished Friday, rotates, schedule found here: http://tgiffriday.blogspot.ca/p/hosting-tgiff.html

But I'm also inviting YOU to link up, right here and right now, with your latest machine quilting post for Long Arm Learning!  This linky will be open until midnight on Friday, with a new linky opening up every Tuesday morning.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

Click here to enter


Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I thought that quilt was much larger for some reason - bed size. it is still a nice size but I too find that size a little bit useless for some reason - although being so nice and bright it would make a really good picnic quilt - but you put so much work into it you might not want it for sitting on the ground or beach. I always wondered why some use two batting's for a quilt. I understand what you are saying for the depth though but two batting's in a quilt would make it so heavy - you would need a really chilly bedroom to get much use out of one unless it was just made for show.
All in all I think it is a really neat quilt - I love the bright colors I can see the quilting and I just like it!

chrisknits said...

It's gorgeous!! I can't believe you don't love it to pieces. But I understand the issues you list. I think you just need to use it for a snuggle on the couch. Who cares that it doesn't " match", it's for using!

Janette said...

Thank you for sharing this quilt journey. I have struggled through a lot of the same issues as a longarmer. Custom quilting is definitely a labor of love! Your quilt is bright and happy and should not be hidden in a closet. Maybe you could use it on a wall or over a chair in your quilt studio? I am wondering what blue thread would look like on your tumbler quilt? Urban Elementz has a beginner friendly list of edge to edge designs. I would look there for ideas.

Barbara said...

I love your quilt!

pattie said...

If you ever get to the point where you don't want any shrinkage in your quilts, try using Hobbs Thermore batting. It is 100% poly but drapes and quilts beautifully. It only comes in a baby quilt and queen size. I use it for my hand quilting as it needles really nicely and lays flat.

The Joyful Quilter said...

That shrinkage is precisely why I don't wash my quilts until absolutely necessary!! Sorry it didn't turn out like you had planned. I think it's gorgeous and would use it EVERY day!

LIttle Penguin Quilts said...

Like everyone else, I think your quilt is just gorgeous! I see the quilting, and all the work you put into it, Rebecca! Maybe this quilt is intended for someone special and you just don't know who yet. Just save it for that perfect person who will love it to pieces!

LynnJ in Wis said...

Your quilt is quite spectacular. It was fun and terribly interesting going on this quilt making journey with you. Thank you for all your time in sharing. I'm not a long armer but I learned a lot I can apply to domestic machine quilting. I very much like your quilt. it is a good quilt because every glance takes one in deeper. Thanks again.

KaHolly said...

I can feel your frustrations for the reasons you spell out, but you did a beautiful job and it’s a gorgeous quilt. I’m never at a loss for people to make and give snuggle quilts to (I have three in the works right now) and hate the thought that it’s going to go live in a shelf. You must know someone, or someone who knows someone, who could use and would appreciate the perpetual hug that a snuggle quilt provides.

O'Quilts said...

Lovely pictures by the neighborhood bull..great self-evaluation, once it is in the closet, it will speak to you...it will tell you who needs and wants it..Outside looking in, the quilt is grand!!

piecefulwendy said...

It's such a pretty quilt, with all the bright colors! I just like everything about it. Maybe a donation quilt? I just made a Freedom Quilt and donated it (will be given to someone rescued from human trafficking) and this is just the right size. Personally, I'd just set it aside for a bit; you might like it more at a later time. Nice finish on your list for the week! I didn't even post today - I've been sewing but have nothing that I can show for it :-P

Gretchen Weaver said...

I love it! Would you have room to hang it on a wall in your sewing room just to look at and remind you of all the stitches you practiced? You'll find the perfect use for this quilt someday. Happy stitching!

Sharon - IN said...

That's a gorgeous quilt. Love the back fabric. And oh, your do-over list? You have some good pointers in there I'll have to keep in mind with future quilts.

EirinH said...

Great quilt. It's just so nice when you put blocks together so you get more patterns out of a shape. Enjoyed your quilting very much!

Marie said...

Oh my - your quilt is just gorgeous Rebecca! Sounds like you are experiencing a little bit of 'lunchbag letdown' with the quilting, but don't - it is a master class of creativity, time and patience and shows up beautifully. Just beautiful.

SJSM said...

To me, I think that is one beautiful quilt. I do agree with all your issues but use that as you intended, a learning experience. When one works hard on a project and it doesn’t quite turn out as expected one can be disappointed. Do put it on a shelf but come back after a few weeks. You may find you actually do like the quilt after all. I have found that my eye goes to all my issues when done. Once that has time to work it’s way through my brain over time, the next time I see it I find I’m much more fond of the project. You may find you love it again and pull it off the shelf to use. Of course, if you don’t want it for your use or to come back to for your marker of your progress there are many places it can go. I’d think of a family member or good friend to use as a snuggle quilt. Anyone who has not received a gift from you regarding your sewing may be absolutely delighted. Even a bloggie friend.....just saying.

Lani said...

I love this quilt. I have loved the colors and fabrics since you started it. It's a nice lap quilt to put over you on a cold evening watching TV :) It's ok that you custom quilted it, you got a lot of practice. I am one of those that prewashes my fabrics to minimize shrinkage/crinkling when washed. Unless I'm making a quilt with reproduction fabrics and want the vintage look.

Nikki said...

Thank you for posting your thoughts on what you learned while making this quilt. I always tell my hubs things like that and he responds, well I like it. That's not what I am saying...just like I would not do things in my life the same way again, I learned stuff!

One question, since I have a go cutter, why would you not cut your triangles with the Go?

Thanks, nikki_moshier at hotmail.com

Cheree @ The Morning Latte said...

Oh but Rebecca it's a beautiful quilt and I love all the fmq in it!! (You're inspiring me! One of these days...) I can feel your pain, tho, as there are plenty of quilts that just don't match my traditional decor & colors. I'm not sure what the answer is--I mean, are we supposed to only sew what works in our house and what others would want in their house? (as in gifts). Sometimes you just wanna use a fun palette and that's that! Well, maybe you'll find a use soon.
You know, I've never noticed any shrinking after quilting but I've never measured a quilt after I washed it--and I choose to not wash them till they've been used a bit (I know, they're not as soft, etc but I don't like the extra wear put on them). This is all food for thought. I like your thoughts on what you would do differently--I used to do that on all my projects but haven't lately. I find it's a great way to learn along the way!

Nancy @ Grace and Peace Quilting said...

I'm enjoying checking out all the LAL links! As for your quilt, that would win Grand Champion at any fair! It is absolutely beautiful! And the colors will always cheer you up. Use it for a nap, use it while watching tv, use it when you're having a morning coffee/tea, use it when you're reading. Next time you're doing custom quilting you can use QDB Poly on the bottom and QDB Wool on top. We live and learn with each quilt. As they say in Iceland, if you're not learning, you're not living. Now, as for that thimble quilt, I'd use a Mother Goose thread color--kind of a light tannish/gold, that will blend in with the prints and stand out more with the solids. Stacked Snailz would be a good panto choice--a modern take on a trad quilting pattern. I have it in paper if you want me to send it to you.

Beth @ Cooking Up Quilts said...

I LOVE your Completely Useless Quilt! And I disagree, it's not too big for a baby quilt. I just finished quilting a customer quilt that she was giving as a baby shower gift and it measured 73" square. My hubby says you just can't make a quilt too big. :) I'm sorry you're disappointed that the quilting doesn't show as well after washing, but you did a fabulous job with the quilting. Maybe you'll love it more next year after it's had some time in the storage closet...

Andree G. Faubert said...

Hi Rebecca, I'm sorry that you feel like your quilt was useless because I think that it's absolutely beautiful, but then those are some of my favourite colours. In the end though, you learned so much and those cheerful colours got you through the worst of the winter and spring! That is an achievement in itself. I think that if you don't give it away, put it away and have a look at it in a few months. You may feel differently about it.
I'm really happy that I got to link up this week. I think that I was just in too much of a hurry last time. Take care and enjoy the next quilt!

Zenia Rene said...

Bravo! It's fantastic! And on the bright, bright side, you got a ton of quilt practice and thread changing in! You've got serious "stick-to-it-iveness! I don't think I'd spend 5 hours quilting a quilt, let alone 5 months! Maybe after LA quilting for awhile I might. Congrats on your to-do list!

Kate said...

Sermon Scribbles is a beautiful finish, even if you aren't in love with it anymore. It would be a perfect quilt to use for a little girl. Maybe as a big sister quilt when the baby gets a quilt? Congrats on all the progress on last week's to do list. Hopefully you've already made really good progress on all of this week's to dos.

Angela said...

It is a gorgeous quilt!

Rochelle aka Bella Quilts said...

An amazing quilt. Let it rest in the closet for a time and it may grow on you. If it doesn't there are always charitable organizations that would find a loving home for it. Your church could put it in their next holiday sale and raise money for some worthy cause. I do think you did a wonderful job on the quilting and I admire your persistence in getting it done. I also appreciate the lessons learned you shared. Good luck on the next.

Nann said...

Oh, Rebecca -- don't beat yourself up over this quilt. It is gorgeous. The colors are vibrant (whether outside or in). Sure, the busy blocks could have been quilted less elaborately, but that's better than the opposite way (plain blocks and plain quilting). There will be an auction or a donation opportunity where your quilt will be welcome.

Exuberantcolor/Wanda S Hanson said...

It is a perfect couch quilt size and the size I prefer to gift, not too much money invested (compared to a bed quilt) and it doesn't have to match a room to be a couch quilt that is used. Also a great size to gift as a comfort quilt.
Why would you rotary cut the triangles next time instead of die cutting them? I love my die cut triangles.

Alycia~Quiltygirl said...

I think it is gorgeous!! and that much work was worth it - put it away for a week and you will fall in love again!

grammajudyb said...

I , too, think it’s a fabulous quilt! I agree with Diann! It will be perfect for the right someone!

Quiltpiecer said...

I think it's a great quilt and I love it. It's a good lap or throw size. It's a quilt you can use to cover when watching TV or reading a book. It'd be a shame to put it in storage. It would be perfect for the right someone.

dq said...

I think aften we are less enthused about the most recent project. Get it out again in 6 months and you will love it so much more. I think it is stunning even though it shrunk.

Roseanne said...

Hi Rebecca! Oh, I feel so badly that you don't love your quilt after all that hard work. I can honestly say I have been in this position, disliking a quilt so much after it was complete. Learning from the whole experience is a great thing, however. Isn't that what we teach our kids? Pick ourselves up and keep on - you are not giving up on quilting, obviously. I do wonder why you would rotary cut your HSTs? {{Hugs}} Thanks for linking up last week - I am so far behind in visiting friends. I wanted to tell you how much I've been enjoying your linky party, too. I may not be able to go visiting last week but I'm hoping for a better response tomorrow. ~smile~ Roseanne

Sandra Walker said...

Okay I read this post. I THOUGHT I commented on it; I thought you answered...am I dreaming quilting/blogging? LOL I love your quilt, but I totally get the disappointment as I've been there. I learned the hard way to not even for 10 minutes, put a quilt with wool batting in the dryer... The fabrics are wonderful, and even though ALL THAT INCREDIBLE QUILTING doesn't show up as you'd hoped, you did learn and grow so much through the doing of it. I absolutely love it on the bull too! :-)

Frédérique - Quilting Patchwork Appliqué said...

I love this quilt, and if you still don't, I'm sure you can gifted it to a very happy person close to you! Your quilting is gorgeous, even after the washing ;)
Beautiful 2020 finish, thanks for sharing!