Tuesday, July 28, 2015

It's OK to be Lazy - Occasionally

Yes, I was lazy last week.  I didn't write a post.  Summertime is unpredictable even though my children left the nest long ago.  There is yard work to do.  I have trays my mother painted with Early American Design that have become damaged with use.  I need to repair them in the summer when the weather is warm because I must varnish in the uninsulated garage instead of in my tiny home.  Fruit is ripe and jam must be made when the time is right.  It waits on no sewing project.  I generally sew every day for 2-3 hours, but have not been able to do that for the last couple of weeks, let alone blog.  I had a visitor from Scotland so we hiked and he chiseled a crack in two of my genealogical brick walls.  Had to work on those of course.

Lastly, the sewing of my Phoenix bird hit a snag.  Do you ever make a quilt that goes perfectly from start to finish?  Grrrr!  I don't.

TIP:  Start your quilting in the middle even if the sandwich is well secured.

The bird itself turned out great.  I started on its belly in the center and worked the wings out from there.  When I got down to the tail feathers, I got so excited to work on them that I just simply didn't think it through and began with the outside feathers and worked in.  Thread painting is so dense that it redistrubutes fabric as it fills.  Here is what I got:

Extra fabric arising like the Himalayas 
All kinds of mountainous rumples arose within the confines of the feathers.  What to do?  The fire helped a little, but the photo shows it unfinished because I thought I had better bulldoze the hills first in case I had to rip out the flames.  I tried McTavishing, but it wasn't enough so I took it out and settled for small pebbles with a curlique in the center hoping that lots of stitches would eat up the extra fabric.  They did as you can see below:

Heavy quilting black on black - click to enlarge.
Mostly that did the trick, but the area does not lay perfectly flat.  I think and pray that I can flatten it during the blocking process.  If not, it will still be a nice quilt, but not show fodder.  If not, I will consider it part of a heavy duty lesson in thread painting.

TIP:  All is not lost, ever.  It is all in how you look at it and whether or not you learn from your mistakes.  After all, it is just a quilt.  Your life cannot be ruined by a quilting error.  Your psyche may get temporarily dampened, so take a break, take a hike, make some jam, clean up the sewing room.......

As I write, I know I have more extra fabric to contain, but it is getting better as I work it out.  The fires are complete so I continue with black on black pebbles that take a magnifying glass to see what I am doing.

Sew a happy seam this week.


  1. I'm sorry you are having issues. I never have a quilt that goes completely smooth;y either. It's all part of the learning curve I suppose.

  2. I have a question about the extra fabric. Was it just on the top or also the bottom. I'm asking as I've had problems where I end up with a pleat or a bubble. It wasn't planned and I lived with it as they were quilts for babies/kids. If you know you're dong heavy thread painting, could you slit the fabric and overlap the extra knowing it will be covered by thread? Just wondering so I'll have a possible solution when it happens to me. Thanks.

    1. The fabric bunched up on the top only. The back is fine. I have two layers of stabilizer between the top and the batting and I thought that would solve all potential problems. It didn't. I didn't have the problem where the thread painting was as it was done over fused fabric, which was a bit stiff. It was fabric outside of the thread painting that misbehaved. I am avoiding pleats by smoothing bits of the extra as I go so that it gets distributed among the heavy filler quilting stitches. Most of the time, if I and keep the excess distributed with my fingers the presser foot and needle kind of scooge around a bumpy and incorporate the excess into its little area where I am stitching. I just go go slowly and carefully and constantly check the fabric around where I am working, but it is tedious.

  3. Even with all the problems it's turning out beautifully. It's often a learning experience, isn't it?

  4. I love the way you fixed the issue. Your posts are always instructive and inspiring.

  5. I think it looks wonderful!