Athens time

Sunday, 1 November 2009

A Problem Shared....

My mum is celebrating her 90th birthday half November (quite a milestone) and so I decided to make her a quilt she would really like.

I decided on this quilt;
as these are the sort of colours she really loves and her interior is a mix of modern and antique so it would go very well.

To say it has gone smoothly would be an understatement and I now admit that I probably was trying to run before I can walk... and all the mistakes and frustration are the result of it!!

I solved the applique problem with Cathy's help (Cabbage Quilts) and went from this;

to this;

much neater isn't it! Thanks Cathy!!

I managed to get the whole thing square.... (why didn't anybody tell me that having squares on point is not as easy as it looks?) but solved that one myself by taping it all to each other with masking tape - don't laugh - and sewing through it before tearing it all off... The square, right up till the outer border, is actually square!

I then carefully put the outer borders on (lots left over on the corners), made sure to find the middle of the quilt sides and the middle of the outer borders and put all the applique on (quite a work but happy it looks better than it did in the middle!).

The problem came when I tried to sandwich the quilt....

Now I had allready noticed that I seemed to need more triangles on one side than the other for the sawtooth border, which puzzled me but did not worry me unduly... However...

When trying to sandwich I realized I could not stretch all the sides simultaneously without getting huge creases! I despaired, threw it in a corner for a bit, had my migraine, and came back to it...

I realized then what had happened... I had sewn the mitred corners by folding the fabric over at right angles and making a crease... then sewn on the crease... but... IT WAS TOO TIGHT!!

Problem is also that I had allready cut off the excess.... I proceeded to open the mitred corner again (oh my trusty stitch ripper...) and yes... when there is a little dart left over, the fabric lies nice and flat!

SO..... darts ... mmmmmm......

It seemed like the answer but when I tried to sew them in, I got...

Firstly that I cannot get the point right (tried to undo it a bit again but quickly realized that this is not helping at all and I will have to start from scratch)

Secondly that the corner now seems to be extending into a happy drawn out point (even with the excess trimmed off and some more sawtooth triangles added... The quilt is not square anymore, or not even almost square (54 x 55 at the moment...) but is going off at a corner if you see what I mean...

Thirdly that the dart itself is wobbly along the sewing line and can't be straightened out...

I am really at a loss what to do... I realize that it all comes down to me not having the basic sewing skills, not having sewn before starting to quilt... and that possibly if I could insert a simple dart I wouldn't be so desperate, lol !!

So what do you all think? Is this rescuable? Or should I put new borders on and put the applique double on top? I WOULD SO APPRECIATE YOUR HELP !!

so....... HELP.....!!!

As I tried to stay positive I told myself that the rest had (almost) nothing wrong with it... and so started to quilt from the middle, as I only have a fortnight to handquilt the entire thing now...

This is it from the back;

You can see I have got to the inner square and am just starting on the geese...

It stablizes it all nicely and once the geese are done the next thing is outline quilting around the celtic symbols
and so work my way outwards....

BUT... what to do about the outer borders and the corners???

I would be so happy if anybody with more experience has some ideas?

Thanks for Lynz and Flossy for encouraging me to put this out there... They are of course so right about it... I somehow have been raised to only show the world your perfect end result.. when it's done and as perfect as can be, it can go out there! But I think I have to learn not everything has to perfect... or be great to be out there...

We can learn together... can't we? and I for one am far from perfect....

So please, if you can help me out... I promise I will help where I can too (maybe not so experienced as to be in a position to do this yet... but hopefully will one day!!)


Susan said...

Wow! Marguerite, your sweet Mum is going to be SO proud to have a treasure that her very own daughter made for her with much blood, sweat and tears and JOY, too, don't forget the good feelings you had while you were working on this beauty!

Gosh, the dilemma is a big one, at least to my novice eyes. The easiest fix that I can think of, though, is this-

Applique something over the darts, completely covering them and going up into the border just a bit. What about one of the bits from the center medallion thing, are those pineapples? Artichokes? Whatever, they're beautiful and maybe you could finesse one into being the right size and shape? You could even make it a little oversized so you could work it all the way to the corner, so the blue would be on the edge, no white showing right there.

It's just a thought. I KNOW you'll come up with the solution and you're bound to get some better ideas, but maybe this has some merit, I'm not sure.

I'm still glad you're feeling better, and I hope you don't let this stress you out! Mum's gonna flip for this. And aren't you sweet? My mum will be 89 Dec 22, aren't we a pair of lucky girls? (My mum is from London, my friends call me HalfBrit. lol)

karen @ badlandsquilts said...

Wow! what a quilt?

Despite the fact that you have a lot of photos I'm not sure I have a perfect grasp on the situation. How about if you take the triangles off the outsides, then can you just put squares (or even a square pieced block or appliqued block Or plain) of white or a print in the corner (rather than darts) to get it to lay flat? THEN put the final triangle border back on/adding a few or subtracting to get it to lie flat on the new improved version??? Good luck!

Terrie Sandelin said...

I agree with your other commenters -- this is a gorgeous, gorgeous quilt and your mother is going to love it. I don't have a fix idea, unfortunately, but I think the idea of applique is possible -- you could perhaps applique something that is a message to your Mom (her name or something).

I think it also matters if this is meant to be a wall quilt or a bed quilt. Some problems that would show on a wall won't show so much when it's draped.

Last idea, remove the inset, lay it out again to get the shape you need and then applique in the shape you need. It's possible that you may need to do more than one corner if it is distorting.

I don't know that any of this was helpful -- but still have to say, this is a gorgeous quilt, and the trouble you've had with it is ultimately just going to be part of its own story. A lovely thing.

Cathy @ CabbageQuilts said...

Oh Marguerite this quilt is truly beautiful, your Mum will treasure this. I love the colours and the pattern, I'm thrilled the tutorials helped too.

I think what I would do is very similar to what Susan said. I would make 4 off white squares to applique over each corner. Check out Lena's latest quilt to see what I mean about how the squares would look at the corner edge.

If you applique them on then you can cut out most of the fabric underneath, which will help it to sit flat. You will probably need to stitch over half a triangle each side to do this, but it will still look fine if you match it on each side.

You could then put a little more appliqe in each square, maybe another celtic ring, or even a blue heart in each corner.

I don't know if this is making sense, I wish I could drop over and show you, I'm happy to draw up a couple of diagrams if it would help, although as I'm typing this at 2:30am cause I can't sleep, I won't get to it till tomorrow!!!

Your handquilting is amazing too Marguerite, this is one gorgeous quilt that you are making for you Mum xo

Ann said...

Corner squares (or nearly square to fit the quilt) was the first thing that came to my mind as well. It is beautiful! Wow.

dolores said...

Oh my goodness.....this is absolutely gorgeous and don't you dare take anything off of it!

I think your solution is said in all the suggestions above....simply put, trim the corners so they are purfectly square and then applique a square on the top of each corner hiding the miter. You could even then applique something on top of that square or the four corners could be something pieced out of your leftover fabrics and then appliqued on top of each corner....YOU CAN DO IT!!

No worries and your 90 year old mum will be so proud!

Can't wait to see the finished quilt!!

Rafael's Mum said...

Hey guys, thank you all SOOO much! I just wrote you all an answer to the above on my son's computer, realized I was in his account and when logging on to mine lost it all.... grrrrr..... (computer illiterate above all as well...) so will start again! Not ignoring you all, really grateful for the posts. just give me a min! :-)

Rafael's Mum said...

Thank you Susan, for encouraging me to put this out here and your kind words.

Thanks for the idea of the squares in the corners. I had thought of it, but I have run out of the cream fabric now, the darts were the last of it. I have some other cream but one is whiter, the other more yellow and if you need to cover the entire square you need to have a very big applique...

Thanks badlandquilts for the corner idea also. I think you are right that taking the triangle border off and then back on would square the corner off again at 90 degrees.. that would get rid of that nasty point again also! I hadn't thought of using a print instead of the white.. that is a good idea as well!

Thanks Terrie for your kind words. It means a lot to me that all of you (who know what you are doing!) like it. The quilt is a bed/lap quilt. My mum has a double quilt on her single bed as she likes to put the quilt (even cream woven) all the way to the floor on two sides that are showing so you cannot see under the bed (even though she doesn't store anything under there...). If I gave her a single bed quilt, it would be pulled over and look uneven. So I thought this lapquilt, she could put on top of the cream one for decoration and it would almost look part of it and center it as she likes. then in the evening when it is cold when watching tv, pull it off the bed and put it on her knees.

I will have to do all four corners as it was pulling everywhere so they all need the same thing doing.

I am going to put my mum's name in the label and that it is commemorating her 90th birthday. Good idea to put her name on but in all four corners probably a bit much..

Hey Cathy, I was surprised to see you up! In my previous comment that got lost I was saying get some milk and honey and try again! by now i do hope you are asleep again though I am glad you commented!

Thanks so much for your kind words and I am glad you like my quilting! I feel that it is probably a bit too large and uneven but if it is all the same it will look as if it was meant to be, lol!

I think I know what you mean and I will check Lena's quilt out in a minute.

Thanks too akdilcher. I am glad you like it... It makes me feel so much more positive about it!

Thanks DeeRoo too for your advice and encouragement. I appreciate your comment on the ORBC site too. I was a little apprehensive about posting as I have not done quilts 2 and 3 being busy with this one still... but so glad you, Lynz and Susan put my mind at rest about the group not minding it being a different quilt!. The whole group means so much to me and I am so thankfull for all the support!

All your comments combined have set me thinking on a different track and I think what I need to do is indeed put the squares in and square off the corner by putting the triangle border back on at 90 degrees. Also the square probably needs to be coloured. either in one fabric or pieced of the leftovers as a block. The other idea is putting the darts in (if badly) and covering it totally with an applique like the centre one. Leaving the darts would mean the applique would not need to be as big as if there were a yellowy cream square.

I really appreciate all the advice of everyone above! If anyone has any different ideas or something to add to the above I'd of course love to hear!

I will write you tomorrow Cathy! I hope you managed to sleep.

Thanks everyone! Feel so much better about the quilt now.. was ready to abandon last week!

You are all wonderful!!

Dana said...

I think DeeRoo is 100% right on the money.

This quilt is BEAUTIFUL and sooo sentimental. The best kind!

Despite the troubles it will be perfect in the end because your mother will adore it.

Rafael's Mum said...

Thanks Dana!! Do still keep your fingers crossed.. I only have a fortnight left to quilt it and fix the corners..... eeeeek......

sallgood said...

Hi! I'm sorry that I can't offer any help, but it sounds like your on your way to solutions. But what a gift for your mom, who is going to LOVE all you have put into this, and I'm sure she will LOVE how it looks too!!!!What an amazing job you've done!!!

Sarah - Red Gingham said...

Oh I really feel for you! You have made such a great job and it's looking really awesome, really. I love it and I know she will too.

Now I would make it as flat as I could with the darts like you are doing. Then make a feature of the mistake areas by adding more applique (as you are so good at it now). Mistakes are just a chance to be creative. A few swirls and lines and you won't even guess at all your worries.

It'll all turn out alright in the end. You've made such a special present that her eyes will be so blurry anyway!

Lauranie said...

It IS beautiful!! What a great job you are doing!! Good luck, and thanks for giving ME an opportunity to LEARN along with you!! Of course...ZERO advice from me, but LOTS of hugs and encouragement that YOU can do this, and don't stress, your mom will LOVE it!! :) xo

karen said...

Hi Marguerite

The quilt is beautiful. It seems like the mitre corners are just the problem for you. What if you added square corners instead to the cream border. I understand you don't have any plain cream fabric left but what about the cream fabric with the little flowers or blue fabric. I will try and send a diagram using your photo.

Chin up you are almost there.

Molly said...

I'm just blown away by the detail in this beautiful quilt! I'm sure this all this expert advice you'll get it fixed in time for your mother's birthday. I hope you post pictures of your Mom and the quilt on the big day! Good Luck!!!

Sew This N That said...

Oh I am in awe! This is so beautiful :0) I am also new to sewing and I admire how you have thrown yourself into making your first quilt, you are a very brave woman :0) You are an inspiration to us newbie's out there, keep going, I look forward to seeing your finished quilt.
Your Mum will be so proud of you, it is adorable :0)
*hugs* Heather x

dutchcomfort said...

The most beautiful quilts are made making some mistakes. When finished it will absolutely have more character because of your little struggle!
Your mother will be so proud of you Marguerite! It looks so wonderful!