The Quilt That Refuses to Be

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Every time I try to work on this Feathered Lone Star quilt with the bird embroidery, I am forcibly reminded of Candy Goff’s Misery Quilt. You must go read that story. Don’t worry, I’ll be here when you get back.

Now, my quilt started innocently enough, really, about three or four years ago. I wanted to make something different, but small-ish, to enter into the AQS show that year. Life got in the way, and the pieces are still sitting here waiting for me to put them together. I pulled it all out earlier this year to see what I could do with it, and maybe finish it up for the Houston show this year. I wanted to do something a little different with the setting, and the only fabric I had that I liked, I didn’t have enough of. (How this could be, when I have this much fabric in my house, is beyond me!) I carried all the parts with me to the States when I went to the Diane Gaudynski workshop in Paducah, and looked in every quilt shop we could find between Nashville and Paducah, but couldn’t find any more of what I really wanted, nor could I find something else to substitute that I really liked.

After I came home and I started thinking about selling my Pfaff embroidery machine so I could get the Bernina 440, I had a sudden inspiration about this quilt, and decided I wanted to put machine embroidery in the setting squares around the star, which meant that if I sold the Pfaff, I’d have to get the embroidery unit for the Bernina 440 right away if I wanted to do this quilt. I made that happen, and did test stitch outs of all the birds I wanted to use, purchased more thread, and things were just clipping along, except for the missing fabric, of course. I did finally settle on something else that’s a different color, but it gives the same effect so it’ll probably work out okay. I got all the birds done, and I put the whole kit and kaboodle up on the design wall to see if it was going to really work. I had cut the curvy pieces to fuse to the outside edges of the bird blocks, and thought I liked the way it looked. I fused all the pieces, then had second thoughts. And third thoughts. And then I didn’t like it at all.

At that point, I had eight machine embroidered bird blocks with the curved pieces fused to them, and I didn’t like the curved pieces. I tried to remove the fusible web, which can be done with something called De-Solve It, I think it was, but I decided that I didn’t want to put any sort of chemicals on the fabric and the embroidery for fear of what it might do sooner or later. I tried scraping off the fusible web bits, and it sort of worked, but not well enough. (Oh, BTW, this is why I hate fusible anything, but I just can’t do hand appliqué anymore.) I finally trimmed all the bird blocks down, taking off all of the fused fabric, and put them aside for some other project someday. They’re now too small to use for the Feathered Lone Star. I thought about piecing matching fabric around them to make them big enough, but I knew that I wouldn’t be happy with that, and this is for show, so re-doing the birds completely was really the only answer.

Yesterday, I started the birds again. I have just over enough fabric to do each one once more, and then I’ll have another crisis. The embroidery isn’t going as well as it did before: the little bit of metallic thread I’ve tried to use has been breaking constantly (though I’m not doing anything differently than I was before, and it was fine then), and out of the little bit of fabric that I had left, some of it is a bit flawed and I didn’t notice until I’d cut it. I might have been able to cut around it if I’d noticed, but it’s not too bad, and I’m hoping that the quilting will camouflage it well enough in the end. I did get four of the eight birds done yesterday, but this morning, I reloaded a fresh bobbin in the middle of the first bird of the day, and didn’t put the thread through the hole in the finger on the bobbin case, so the tension wasn’t right. I couldn’t figure out why the embroidery didn’t look right, and by the time I finally realized what I’d done, there was a lot of embroidery to take out. I spent two hours taking it all out, and then decided that the fabric was so damaged at that point that I just had to use the one last extra square of fabric and start that bird again. Here it is 5:00 p.m., and the first bird of today is only just done.

I’m continuing on, but I have parts of it up on the design wall now, and I’m not sure I like the curvy parts even after I did them differently. I’m not sure why I can’t get what I see in my head to come out on the fabric and look right, but maybe this quilt is just jinxed. I’m beginning to think that this quilt is not meant to be. If it does get done and end up looking like anything close to nice, it’ll be a miracle. The machine quilting has got to be easier than all this that I’ve done so far. I have the whole weekend to myself, since ITMan took the kids to the Austrian Alps until Monday for hiking, biking, swimming and gourmet meals. (And I stayed here for this?!?) I WILL get the top of this sucker put together before they get back. Never let it be said that I’m a quitter. Hopefully I’ll have some pics of this misery quilt to share by Monday!

Nadine

2 thoughts on “The Quilt That Refuses to Be

  1. I remember reading about that Misery quilt back when I first got into quilting – I still really like it. Thanks for the trip down memory lane.

  2. Pingback: Quilt Epiphany Blog » Retreating to the comfort zone

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