Sunday, February 8, 2009

True Confessions: I made an ugly quilt

I made an ugly quilt. Not on purpose. Really didn't mean to. But it was certifiable ugly. Both my youngest son and dear husband agreed. It was ugly. Not one of my best creations.

I didn't start out wanting to make an ugly quilt. It just sorta happen. Maybe I can blame someone else...hum...a toss up between my last customer quilt and my best friend in Tennessee. Yep. It's really all their fault.

You see, my last customer quilt had this beautiful fleece on the back and it quilted up so nicely....I really coveted a soft backing like that in one of my personal quilts. many quilts, so many PS's (personal projects started)...maybe one day I could have a fleece backed personal quilt.

Then it happened. My girlfriend and I were talking late the other night. See, she's a longarm quilter that has recently purchased a quilt shop in Bristol Virginia and we were talking about inventory. Since I'm quite the collector of books and patterns I was giving her my recommendations for future purchases for her shop. I actually pulled out a few books from my bookcase to give her some titles...and that just has to be it -- the start of my ugly quilt.

For you see, after our phone conversation I took a few of those books to bed for my evening reading material and low and behold I found a really quick pattern that I though would make a great scrap quilt. No sleeping now. Went to the studio and pulled out some fleece that I just happened to have in my stash... measured it ... went back to bed and figured out how I could adapt the pattern in my book to fit my new found backing.

The exciting part was the blocks were made from 3 inch strips and 5.5 inch blocks...well, the X's and O's quilt I'd made on New Year's used scraps I had cut from fat quarters that were 5.5 strips...some of the left overs were 3 3/8" and I could easily adapt that to the 3 inch strips...and then since I had 5.5 inch strips I could easily cut the needed blocks from those. This was going to be a piece of cake! Plans made I went on to sleep.

The next day was my "outside obligation" day. Morning chiropractor and massage therapist appointment, afternoon hair and nails (for the record this is only the third time I've ever had my nails professionally done -- I've never considered myself a high maintenance sort of gal, but I'm sorta liking this!!). I call this my 'attitude adjustment' day -- I have such wonderful friends in my service providers -- we laugh, and talk, and I just come away with such a wonderful spirit. Nothing like a little pampering and good friends to truly change my attitude! As per my habit, I don't 'work' on these 'outside obligation' days so that meant that my evening was mine to call my own. Perfect time to work on this new quilt that would fulfill my need to work from my scraps and have a personal quilt with fleece backing...

Several hours later the pieced blocks were done, rotated and replaced a zillion times before adding the setting blocks...since the backing was a blue plaid I decided that the 10 inch blocks should be a blue stripe...and once it was all together, it was pronounced UGLY!!! By the way, the blue plaid on the edges is actually the backing -- it has to be bigger than the top to load on the longarm...

My son said it was the colors of my scraps, my husband said it was the stripes. I couldn't tell you for sure, but I knew I'd probably just wasted several hours of my time. And I kept looking over my shoulder for the quilt police. Oh my, what had I done? What could I do? Why did I even start this project when I had 29 "projects started" that would have been much more gratifying. Just how did this distraction get started in the first place? I couldn't really blame it on my friends...i was my doing. Am I that easily distracted or just a free spirit? And NOW WHAT!!

I didn't want to rip it out and try to fix it. I didn't know how to any way. I certainly didn't want to donate it to the upcoming guild auction -- I'd be too embarrassed. Donate it to charity? No, I wouldn't give away something that I didn't like myself -- I was raised different than that. My son tried to be positive -- 'maybe you can save it with your quilting' -- hum...did I want to invest more time in this sinking project or not? I've have to think about it. Besides, I had a class to teach the following day so it would just have to wait regardless of what I decided.

A lesson in humility perhaps? A stark realization that I had absolutely no color sense or that I needed some training in values? Or a rude awaking that everyone sometime in their lives has a 'bless her heart' quilt? I don't know...but I thought about it, and decided that every quilt deserves to be that's what I did.

I played. No plan, nothing special -- except I knew I wanted my Karen's special butterflies in it -- figured it was already certified ugly so nothing I could do could make it any worse (or at least I hoped not!)

It's still not my best quilt -- but it's finished. Even the binding! I did that tonight. I think it's still a little ugly but not as much as before. I'm not sure what I'll do with it, but it's certainly soft -- I do love the fleece backing!

Align Center

Yep, every quilt deserves to be quilted -- ugly or not. It still reflects the piecer's love of the craft, the passion for quilting, and the learning curve !! It's part of the journey. Sometimes there's rough roads along with rainbows...all a part of life. At least a finished quilt can offer warmth -- so it's never a waste. Yep. I made an ugly quilt, but it's finished and that's what counts!! Chalk one more up for the finished category for 2009.


Zlaty said...

I love the quilting, the butterfly are lovely. I love the bias binding. I believe it's the blue stripe squares that didn't work with your colorful scraps. The quilting does catch your eye :)
Congratulations on finishing it! Most of the people would on give up if they didn't like it and just sit in the closet!

Gudrun said...

Well beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I too think
the stripes are the problem. And agree that the quilting is lovely. If it is any consolation, Karen,
I have seen much much uglier quilts.

Ginny said...

Oh Karen it's not so bad! Trust me I have made worse, and in purple if you can believe that!
I do love the quilting, as always your quilting is beautiful, if thats how it looks when you "play" I think I need to start sending my quilts to you for quilting!!!
The funny thing about this quilt, the close ups, I really like the tropical fabrics!

Susan Loftin said...

Your quilting is beautiful and it shows up so nicely on the quilt. Congrats for finishing it even when you felt it was ugly. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
I've nominated you for a "Life is Grand" award. Come on over to my blog to check out the details.

Susan said...

It is not ugly and it still will keep someone warm. I am my worst critic and although we might not like it there is someone who will. Don't be afraid to donate.

Jeanne Turner McBrayer said...

Well, your over-the-top quilting makes this one a star. Use it yourself for a snuggly nap quilt, or donate to a shelter where someone will LOVE its warmth and comfort.