,

The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Well, I’m going to be honest here, it’s The Good (I didn’t say perfect), The Bad (What happened to those stitches?) and The Downright Ugly (What the hell was I thinking?).  Yes, we’re talking about my Summer Blues quilt in progress (again). I’ve noticed a large amount of inconsistencies in the stitching of this quilt, not unexpected I suppose when you work on it on and off for years and your technique’s improved somewhat in the mean time.  Let me illustrate:

The Good (I didn’t say perfect)

Detail of a nine patch patchwork quilt in progress. 'Summer Blues' © Stephanie Boon, 2016

The Good

Why this one is good: fairly even stitches, that fact that the stitches are relatively straight and the ‘1/4″-away-from-the-edge’ is ok considering the seam allowances underneath are all over the place.

The Bad (What happened to those stitches?)

Detail of a nine patch patchwork quilt in progress. 'Summer Blues' © Stephanie Boon, 2016

The Bad

Why this one is bad: I really don’t think I need to explain!  I’ll put this one down to learning to rock the needle (it took me a while to get the hang of it).

The Downright Ugly (What the hell was I thinking?)

Detail of a nine patch patchwork quilt in progress. 'Summer Blues' © Stephanie Boon, 2016

The DOWNRIGHT Ugly

Why this one is downright ugly: I really don’t think I need to explain! But, just incase you’re a complete newbie, the stitches are on the inconsistent side to say the least (I can forgive myself for that)…but those random NOT-in-the-ditch stitches on the left?!  What?!  Why on earth did I do that and WHY ON EARTH DID I LEAVE THEM THERE?!?! I have absolutely no idea! None. Nada.

Seriously, I need to work on getting even stitches when I’m working over a long period of time.  What are your worst stitches like?  I bet they’re not as bad as these!

In other (Summer Blues) News

Nine patch patchwork quilt in progress, laid out on a bed. 'Summer Blues' © Stephanie Boon, 2016

Pretending

Earlier in the week I laid the quilt on the bed and gave it a rumpled look.  My verdict: it’ll still look fresh and cheery despite the stitching!

I was stitching the cornerstones in the sashing last week and I mentioned I had 64 to go. After a quick count up this morning I can tell you I’ve only got 24 left to complete now.  My calculator tells me I quilted 40 during the week, the equivalent of 4 and a half nine patches, give or take. Not exactly a good output when I look back at the week and can’t think of anything else I was working on. These cornerstones are annoying though. I can only fit one in the hoop at a time, which means moving the damn hoop all the time. It also means turning the hoop 4 times to go around the square. I was getting fed up with this, so I decided to try and stitch the square without turning the hoop at all, a la frame quilters. I had some success: towards me, no problem; right to left, no problem; bottom to top, ok if I only took two or three stitches; left to right, just how?!  It meant changing to my left hand, which I’m not fussed about (I can usually use my left hand pretty well), but all I could manage was one stitch at a time!  Question: is it worth me persevering and teaching myself to quilt in all directions, or should I just turn the darn hoop?  Part of me thinks, meh this quilt’s a mess, why not practice on it some more and the other part thinks, oh just get the darn thing done! What would you do?

This brings me to another question… I keep looking at this quilt and wondering if I’ll regret it if I don’t quilt a 1/4″ from the seam on the sashing as well. It’s ok without it, and it means I’d get it finished quicker, but I keep having this nagging doubt and a feeling that I’m copping out and sacrificing time over aesthetic. And usually aesthetic is much more important to me. Again, what would you do?  Any thoughts gratefully received and considered!

I’m linking up with Kathy for Slow Sunday Stitching today and look forward to catching up with you later on (Sunday lunch date first!). Before I head off into the sunset (aka the pub) I must apologise for not sending out Friday’s newsletter yet. I honestly got mixed up and thought it was going out Friday coming (note to self, put it in your diary!) – time’s gone quickly!  Also, don’t forget to come by later in the week to read about how Audrey from Quilty Folk makes the most of her quilting time – it’s a fantastic read!

Until then, happy stitching!

Signature: Stephie © Stephanie Boon, 2015 www.DawnchorusStudio.com

25 replies
  1. Sandra
    Sandra says:

    I think you should keep quilting til the quilt is done….and you’ll know when that time comes! As to the difference in stitches, I think it shows your progress over time and that should make you sit back and smile proudly at each wee stitch you’ve made!

    Reply
  2. Chantal
    Chantal says:

    Oh! Stephie! You are way to hard on yourself. No one learns who to ride a bike without a few knees scraped; no one learns who to quilt without some uneven stitches. :^) You are doing wonderfully in my book because you can see where you need more practice. And that’s the beauty of a quilt. Maybe you need a bigger hoop though? I’ve hand quilted all my quilt on a big frame until last year when finally learned how to machine quilt. :^) To answer your question, I don’t know! I am left handed so to quilt towards the left, I have my elbow higher than the block to quilt and my hand is coming down towards me and I just quilt. I don’t know how exactly I do it as this is now so natural for me. Not much of a help am I? Every one has a favorite / comfortable way of doing this, I’m sure, and you will find your niche too. Meanwhile, you have a very beautiful quilt. Enjoy the slow process. ;^)

    Reply
  3. Deb
    Deb says:

    I think you are being way too hard on yourself. I just finished my first big quilt…. honestly after a wash it, it just looks lovely on the back of the couch. I can tell you my stitches are not consistent or anywhere near perfect but they all look wonderful on the snuggly quilt.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Deb! I tell you what, this quilt is absolutely filthy!!! I can’t wait to wash it, I think it’ll look like a completely new quilt once it’s clean 😀 Congratulations on finishing your first big one – every stitch tells a story I reckon and it must be wonderful to snuggle up underneath it. I can’t wait to join you with my first big finish…in a few month’s time I suspect!

      Reply
  4. Melanie
    Melanie says:

    You are learning and later you won’t even see the bad. And even if you do, it’s done and now you can hand quilt better on your next project. I consider every quilt I work on a chance to learn and improve for my next quilt. It’s a beautiful quilt.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Melanie! Thank you so much 🙂 When I first started this quilt I was a hoopless quilter, but because this one is fairly large for me I thought it was about time I learnt to use a hoop. I was pretty confident without one and I guess whenever we try something new and it looks a bit off its tempting to give up learning the new technique and just go back to the old way. I’m proud of myself for sticking with it really and the wonky stitches just make me laugh! You’re so right every quilt is a “chance to learn and improve” 🙂

      Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Jennifer! The colours of the fabrics really are uplifting – and quite frankly my eyesight’s a bit off these days anyway…wonky stitches, what wonky stitches?!?!?!

      Reply
  5. Jessie Aller
    Jessie Aller says:

    Oh my goodness you are WAY too hard on yourself! I think all your stitches are beautiful. They show they were made by a human hand. It’s such a lovely quilt. As for stitching from left to right, I have a floor frame and I sort of angle my body to the right so I’m stitching from the top down instead.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Maureen…it looks so naked with no stitches in the sashing! I think you’ve convinced me to just get on with it. It also occurred to me that if I stitched the sashing I wouldn’t need to do the cornerstones separately…and wouldn’t have to turn the hoop so often: win win! Look forward to popping over to you in the next day or two, defo time for a catch up (I’m so far behind again, but no idea how!)

      Reply
  6. Nancy
    Nancy says:

    I can completely identify with your stitches in all three photos. Mine look so similar. I would keep turning the quilt in the hoop and get that beautiful quilt finished and onto your bed. If you don’t quilt the 1/4″ seam in the sashing will it affect the integrity of the quilt (as in washing/drying/keeping the layers together)? Will it affect the aesthetic of the quilt, even if only in your eyes? Will you regret it after it’s washed when it will be harder to add quilting stitches?

    I love the rose walls in your bedroom! Beautiful.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Hi Nancy, thanks for coming by and saying hello 🙂 Your questions are rolling around my mind, and thinking about the sashing from a practical point of view (ie washing) is a really good point. And that little word ‘regret’ keeps on nagging at me…I think I’ll really regret it if I don’t do it. Darn it, that’s a whole lot more work you’ve talked me into, hahaha!!!!

      Thanks for the compliment on the wall colour. It’s funny, the room needs freshening up (there are some white walls too), but that deep pinky red’s staying! If I remember rightly it’s a Laura Ashley paint called ‘summer pudding’ – just the perfect name don’t you think?

      Reply
  7. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow
    Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow says:

    It looks lovely on the bed ! I do not think that it is easy at all to get even stitches where seam allowances are, etc. I know that the last pieced quilt that I had quilted had uneven ones in places…you are too hard on yourself. 🙂

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Thanks Deb. In the past (way distant past) I would probably have cried my eyes out and thrown it away. Whatever I was working on had to be ‘perfect’ and if it wasn’t I gave myself a very a hard time: my inner critic isn’t called Mussolini for no reason 😀 I’m happy with the way this one’s working out really – my wonky stitches just make me laugh nowadays! Hope you had a great weekend Deb.

      Reply
  8. jinnie
    jinnie says:

    You are definitely not the only one with this problem, but I think there comes a time when we have to stop being so hard on ourselves: it shows the progress we’ve made… and it’s just beautiful, despite the imperfections (nothing is perfect remember!) that we are usually the only ones to scrutinise. I’m going through the same thing with a large lap quilt that I started making 13 years ago for a disabled friend. It was a quarter quilted when I decided that the red quilting on the pale parts of the patchwork and the cream quiting on the dark autumn coloured fabrics just didn’t look right, so I pulled it all out. Restarted, quilted a few blocks and decided that the quilting pattern wasn’t right. Out it came again , then it sat there for several years whilst I thought about it on and off. Then I decided to just quilt diagonal lines across the whole thing, which looks so much better, despite the difference in stitch quality. Unfortunately the friend for whom it was being made died three years ago. I still think of it as her quilt and it will always be special, but I think now that i should have worried less about the aesthetics and perfection as that wasn’t important.
    I really enjoy your blog Stephie, and your quilts are beautiful. Keep up the good work.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Lovely to meet you Jinnie! Thanks so much for sharing your story – tinged with sadness I’m sure, but a wonderful way to remember a good friend. Sometimes we just need to put things away for a while and let our ideas reform and resurface and, as you say, it can take years. We’re bound to improve if we keep on practicing over that sort of time and it’s much kinder to look back at the first stitches with a bit of tenderness and affection, rather than a harsh critical eye. Thank you for reminding me of that. And thank you too for your kind comments. I hope you’ll come back for a chat again soon 🙂

      Reply
  9. Bossymamma
    Bossymamma says:

    I think you should finish it quickly, in whichever way stops you grumbling on (only joking about the grumbling 🙂 ). Then send the quilt to me because I absolutely love it and you obviously don’t – so you don’t deserve to keep it. I would love it and cherish it and embrace all of its idiosyncrasies. Ha ha ha.

    Reply
    • Stephie
      Stephie says:

      Oh Dina, say it like it is!!! I do love it…it’s just been hanging around for SO long and I keep thinking of all the other quilts I want to be making 😀 I refuse to start anything new until this one is done though, as Kaja said “it’s time has come“! (She also said ‘just get on wth it’…hahaha!!!)

      Reply
  10. Kaja
    Kaja says:

    Turn the hoop! And don’t look too closely at the stitching. It’s a lovely quilt. (Sometimes I carry on stitching with a needle I haven’t noticed has bent, and end up with a slightly diagonal stitch every three or four stitches. I change the needle eventually not the sloping stitches, I have to say, don’t bother me)

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

I'd just like to say...