Monday, November 30, 2015


When life serves you lemons, make lemonade.  What a concept for life and for quilting.  If you hadn't guessed it yet, I am a flea on a hot stove, except when I am hiking (when I am really slow!).  My excitement and anticipation sometimes get me into trouble when I enter my sewing room and plow forward with determination.  That is why my faithful readers get to vicariously walk through a lot of obstacles on my blog.  I try so hard to achieve perfection, but remain quite good at making mistakes.  However, I usually am able to figure out a way to solve the problems I create, so I share.

I put together the white and the black background of the quilt.  Then I pieced the side panels and machine appliquéd them onto that background.  There was some excess black on the left side, which I intended to cut back once the sides were sewn down on top of it.  I forgot!  I didn't even think of it again....until I quilted one of the orange triangles.  It was very clear that there was black fabric behind half of it with a very visible straight edge.  It SCREAMED at me under the light fabric.  I was not going to redo the quilt or remove all the quilting that was keeping me from getting at it.

Black fabric behind upper orange triangle
So I set the "lemon" aside and did some other things that needed doing.  Then I made some Christmas presents.  Then there was lots of cooking for Thanksgiving at the last minute because icy roads prevented us from joining family for the celebration.  By this time several days had gone by, and I had finally decided what to do.

The background quilting of the offending triangle was very tightly sewn so I made a mock-up with scraps showing the black behind the orange, and then did the same kind of quilting with the same color thread.  Why?  I needed a tester.  I tried some paint, but that looked awful.  Than I wanted to see if I could take out the heavy quilting without ruining the fabric.  YES!  It worked, so I carefully ripped out the quilting of the one unsightly triangle.  It took a couple of hours and a good audio book.  Then I sprayed water on the fabric to relax the fibers and rubbed a soft toothbrush around to gently induce the needle holes to disappear.  The fabric looked a bit used, but not damaged.  Once the fabric and batting were dry I opened the triangle and carefully snipped out as much of the nasty black fabric as I could reach without cutting the quilt top.  I couldn't get it all, but as you can see below, there is no longer an eye-catching straight line of black.  A little bit is still there, but could be mistaken for a shadow or a natural dark spot in the batik fabric.  At least I hope it looks like that!  All has now been repaired, the area re-quilted, my enthusiasm restored and I am excited to move on.

After snipping out the black and redoing the area - not perfect, but OK (I hope)
TIP:  It is discouraging to make a distracting error, so leave it for awhile as you ponder solutions and decide on options.  This took me a few days.  I don't recommend tossing it in the closet until next year.  If I did that I wouldn't remember my plans for finishing and that might lead to more ripping.

I successfully finished the background quilting and some of the pieced side borders - still more to do on the sides.  The black at the bottom will be quilted after the bird is in place.  (Don't worry, it is not crooked, but is hanging wonky with a rumple in the middle - nothing permanent.)

Background quilted and ready to receive the bird.
Below is the back.  I wish I had put colored thread in the bobbin for the straight lines on the pieced side parts.  Oh well, I think I will do that as I quilt the rest of those pieced parts.

Reminds me of the Mediterranean designs.


  1. Very cool quilt! I have done that with the darker fabric. I did it on the current quilt because the paper piecing didn't have even pieces. It annoyed me when I saw it while quilting, but then I forgot and when I looked at it later, I barely noticed it.

  2. Are you sure that light area isn't reserved for an applique of Yoda? Ears and all, looks just like him.

    1. I did think of appliqué, but that amount of work did not gel. Not sure about Yoda as I know only the name. I never got into Star Trek (that's where he's from?). Your thought is fun and I will probably never look at that again without thinking of him!

  3. Looks perfect now Mardi and I know I have done that before and then had to figure out how to get rid of it. Great work!

  4. What a festive quilt and great attitude. Yes, when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Thanks for sharing your #CreativeGoodness.


  5. Good advice, especially the part about don't throw it in the closet. That's a beautiful quilt, I need to see the bird since now that I've read it I see Yoda :)