Sunday, October 19, 2014

Make It Work!

If you are a fan of Project Runway you are familiar with those famous words uttered by Tim Gunn as a means of encouraging a designer when something is not going well. Or at least that is what they mean to me. Well yesterday I had a "make it work" moment in my studio working on the borders of my old UFO,Fall Urns. If you have read my blog for any length of time you are probably aware that I hate doing borders. I consider them my quilting nemesis and clearly for good reason! It started out fine. I had finished the appliqué of the 4th border and needed to sew on each side and miter the corners before adding the corner appliqué. I carefully measured the sides and marked each border in the center and the appropriate distance to each end. I don't mind mitering corners so that was not the issue ( though these days I always cut my borders with extra length to give myself a little wiggle room when I am mitering the corners). Anyway. I did the first corner with no problem and trimmed it. I went to the next corner and discovered that one of the pieces of fabric was too short. Aghhh! What I did not realize when I did the first corner was that these borders had been cut to the exact size, over 20 years ago, and the bit extra on the first corner should have alerted me to the fact that I had incorrectly centered that border. I could not take it off and start again as I had already trimmed the miter and I certainly was not going to make a whole new border. Plus I had no more background fabric. So in the manner of quilters throughout the ages I added a tiny scrap of fabric from the trimmed corner and made it work.

It isn't perfect but I will just look at it as a learning experience. Oh and then when I was prepping the corner appliqué I discovered that I did not have enough stem to fit under the appliqué in one corner. This fix again is not perfect but it will do. I just added a bit more stem with a little join in the bias and fit it in. The two sides are not a perfect match but I can live with it. You may also have noted that the birds are not quiet in the asme position in each corner, another issue of measurement but I can live with that too.

Oddly enough these difficulties make me think of the women making quilts long before we had all our modern conveniences such as sewing machines, rotary cutters and mats, xerox machines, light boxes, Frixtion pens and good lighting. All of these are things I take for granted and certainly go a long way to making my quilting more accurate. But it is the imperfections and whimsy of the antique quilts that really draws me in so I am going to let these imperfections remain as part of my quilt's history and consider it working for me!

 

Now I can just relax and get stitching those corners.

 

28 comments:

Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow said...

it is absolutely stunning ! :)

Karen said...

I don't see a difference so your fixes work well. The border is going to be a beautiful finish.

Julee said...

love it !!!!

Lynn S said...

i just love the projects you share. They are always so nice! You do beautiful work!

normajean53 said...

Really beautiful!

Janet said...

Well I think your applique border looks amazing!! I love those little birds - they look so sweet interacting with each other. Just gorgeous! I like the charm of antique quilt borders where the maker "made it work" too :0)

Jane in Wales said...

It is beautiful Heather! Those little birds make it look really interesting and charming.

Judy Dietrich said...

Oh my goodness--what a gorgeous design!! Love those borders. From here, I say it looks PERFECT and close to done!!! That is just stunning. Really like the vase fabric---very elegant & brings all the other colors together!! I am sure Tim would agree

Ramona said...

With your gorgeous flowers and urns, who will even be looking at the background fabric? Your quilt is just beautiful!

Every Stitch said...

So beautiful Heather! and now it has a story in the "making of". How wonderful that it will be finished 20 years later - well done for making it work! I also love the little birds :)

sunny said...

IT's gorgeous! If you decide you don't like it once it's finished, I'll send you my address.

Bev said...

It's gorgeous! Good for you! Situations like that are the reason I have old ufo's! I just tend to say, screw it and put it up! You are an inspiration!

Pat Converse said...

Beautiful!

Jill said...

People will admire the overall beauty. They certainly won't glance at minute imperfections. Lovely.

Oops-Lah said...

Stunning! And isn't necessity the mother of invention. To be honest, it's hardly noticeable and once the quilt is finished, you will have a hard time even finding the little "flaw".

susan said...

I'm so glad that and exquisite applique r like you, has the same issues as the rest of us and is okay with it. I feel the same way, the little make do patches and fixes and satisfaction that it does add the charm of home made which is hands down better than anything manufactured. I think your work is amazing. It looks marvelous darling!

Barb said...

stunning!
things made by hand aren't meant to be perfect - but this looks to be!

Carla A Few Of My Favorite Things said...

So glad you have come to realize that those minor imperfections are what makes those antique quilts so wonderful. Baltimore Garden has opened my eyes to the talent that the original makers of these quilts had. Like you said they didn't have the tools we have today!

Cheri said...

Beautiful!

Karen H said...

You are too critical - I think the border looks great and the problems and solutions just add charm to your quilt! The little birds are delightful (are they from an older fabric). The quilt is so pretty and I'm so glad you are finishing it!

Thimbleanna said...

Wow -- this is a beautiful quilt Heather!!!

A Nudge said...

Oh so beautiful. Thanks for the lessons in 'make it work'.

Carole~Wheels on the Warrandyte Bus said...

This quilt is perfectly gorgeous! Glad you could persevere to find solutions so that it all went together in the end. Like many others I just love the birds.

Kyle said...

Your "fix its" worked out perfectly. No one would ever know. Your quilt is stunning and I'm glad you're finishing it.

audrey said...

Very charming! Your fix is perfect. Why is it that we expect perfection in our own quilts but appreciate the imperfection in others so much.:)

Rachaeldaisy said...

Wow! This quilt is gorgeous!! That little fix is the kind I love to see in quilts, it means there's a story and a clever quilter who found a way to fix it. The birds are so cute!!

Caron at Michigan Quilts said...

Your quilt is beautiful, and you are doing what every other quilter in history has done... making it work! The phrase, "I meant to do that" comes to mind. Beautiful, beautiful quilt!

Karens Quilts, Crows and Cardinals said...

Heather you are amazing !! An inspiration to all of us. Thanks for sharing your beautiful work. I am loving the birds in this piece - they are darling. Take care!
Karen