What a mess!

Well, I joined my two current quilt alongs to learn lessons and to grow in my skills. And, I’m learning by trial this week.

On Sunday night, I finally settled in to work on my steps for the star surround quilt along. I’ve been biting my nails for a couple of weeks because I knew  that I sliced into a piece of red fabric that I shouldn’t have sliced, and I had no margin of error because the remnant left when I was done cutting the red fabric was only big enough to eek out a few 2×2 inch squares for a future postage stamp quilt. At the time though, I didn’t really stop to think exactly how I was going to compensate for that mistake.

Lesson one: When you make a quilting mistake, figure out how you’re going to fix it before you put more stitches in.

Then, I found the “same” red in the remnant bin at Joanns and wanted to scream, “Victory!”

Lesson two: Dye lots matter  — even on Kona fabrics — and probably especially when red is involved

The reds are just enough different that I can’t blend them .

Still I pressed on, I sat down on Sunday to race through the rest of the piecing, thinking I had the instructions firmly in my mind, so there was no need to pull up Melissa’s website for one last check.

Lesson three: Not checking in with the pattern is a bad idea — a bad, bad idea.

I raced on thinking I was just crazy and hadn’t ever messed up because somehow I had enough total squares even without my mistake square to piece everything together — never mind that those squares were black. I didn’t have the pattern in front of me so it was easy to pretend they would belong.

Lesson four: Count pieces more carefully while cutting and then be suspicious when extras appear.

I raced downstairs, put everything together for a rough fit, and realized that something was very, very wrong.

wrong star surroundThose extra pieces don’t belong in the quilt at all (duh!). Instead, the extra black squares are jutting out into what should be a nice red background. Sorry about the horrible picture to illustrate, but at midnight, when I just realized that I had messed everything up, I wasn’t going to move stuff around to get the perfect shot of an epic fail.

I ripped out all the seams in the two offending corner four-patch blocks while at a friend’s house last night. And, after those same friends confirmed what I already knew in my heart of hearts — that the extra red I picked up just wouldn’t work, those friends had to listen to my whine fest.

So, what am I going to do? Well, I pieced the square that I sliced apart on the diagonal back together with a seam that was closer to 1/8 of an inch than 1/4 of an inch. That  still leaves me short about 1/4 of an inch on all sides of the square.

So, I stared at the quilt and stared at the quilt — not my messed up one — but Melissa’s beautiful one over at her website. I tried to figure out where I could fudge the seams so I could make up for the quarter of an inch, but I can’t just slice off the sides of the quilt since triangle points go all the way out.

I think what I’m going to have to do is take apart the flying geese units and trim about 1/4 of an inch out of the middle of that unit.

Slide1Yeah, right where that white circle is…all those stitches need to come out. This trimming will make the borders slightly more narrow, so the smaller red block can fit with only a wonky diagonal seam to give it away (a seam I hope will basically disappear after some dense straight line quilting). I know I’ll have to pull in at least two sides to make it work, but I’m bracing myself to have to rip out, trim, and redo all four sides because I think with the one block design, the difference in width might be too noticeable if I only adjust two sides.

So, that’s the sad news. Needless to say, I missed the quilt along weekly deadline after doing so well all the other weeks. But, the good news is that I have until September 15th to finish the top and get it entered in the final post of the quilt along. With a long holiday weekend coming, that goal is still doable. I’m still not writing off getting the entire project quilted and bound by the 15th, so I can join the parade of quilts on Melissa’s blog.

Ah…live and learn…and use my rotary cutter with more caution…

4 thoughts on “What a mess!

    • Thanks, Paula, for the encouragement that we quilters mess up every now and then 🙂 And, I’m glad you made your way over to the new blog space!

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