Sunday, March 6, 2011

Looking at the whole

I spent the last couple of days finishing up a table runner that I started in January. After feeling like I wasted weeks cutting up scraps into useful units I felt the need to use some just to prove it was a useful exercise! I dipped into my bin of conveniently cut scraps for a variety of blue pieces, followed the pattern “Churnover” that I got for my birthday, and promptly decided I was vastly disappointed in it.  It just wasn’t as vibrant as I expected.  I was uninspired to do anything else with it.
Last week I decided to use it for freemotion practice and to try out a few tips from the machine quilting class I went to a few weeks ago. I found a quilting motif that I thought would work and traced it onto tissue paper.
IMG_4617 If you try this, be sure to use tissue paper that is made to tear away easily, like the kind used for tracing sewing patterns.
I pinned the tissue paper onto the runner where I wanted the design to go.
Next I quilted over the lines, right through the paper.
IMG_4619 I’m sure you’ve figured out the next step: tearing away the paper.
IMG_4620 Voila!  A quilted design that didn’t leave behind any telltale markings showing where I didn’t quite quilt on the lines!
What does this have to do with “looking at the whole”?  This is a piece I seriously considered not finishing because it didn’t soar.  Then I started the quilting and fell in love with it.  Then I finished the quilting and felt I really should have done something different along the edges.  Then I added the binding and fell in love with the whole thing all over again.  So, I’m resolving to never again pass judgment on one of my projects until I can look at the whole finished product.
Who am I kidding?  I’m bound to fail at that, but it’s something to strive for, right?  With that new resolve, I’m going to be tackling #6 on my UFO list after all.  Stay tuned :)


  1. I do the same thing. I pick out fabrics and a pattern and just love it. I sew and sew and sew and then look at it and go "UGH, it's UGLY, what was I thinking; this isn't what I thought it would look like at all." But I've found if I keep working, I fall back in love with it by the time the binding is on. Somehow the quilting adds something. I'm glad I'm not the only crazy one with this problem and really glad you're happy with your table runner! It's beautiful!

  2. I think it came out great;) Your machine quilting looks wonderful;) Falling out of love with a project...happens all the time;) And, yes, I have found that if I just keep working on it, it will probably turn out okay;)
    Happy Quilting!!

  3. Great tip!
    It is amazing how the quilting brings a project to life.♥

  4. Your table runner is beautiful, love the blues and white really sets them off. I do the same thing with liking, hating and loving the quilt as it progresses. So far I haven't had a final product that I really didn't like. I tried the tissue paper thing with the border I am working on. I am hand quilting it and I think it works better with machine quilting. I finally went back to my chalk pencil for my border. I only have one side left to do on it and I can't wait to finish it.

  5. Thank you so much for this post! I have been trying to learn how to quilt something besides stipple or striaght lines without drawing on my quilt! Wonderful job!

  6. OK, so now you know what "quilt fatigue" is. Even the most beautiful quilt loses its luster when you have been staring at it for too long. My solution? Put it aside and work on something else! Really, though, love the quilting on the runner!


  7. What a great tip...ThAnKs! I just joined your followers list too.

  8. Wow! Your hand quilting is exquisite, but your machine quilting is beautiful as well. I, too, love this table runner -- and the Christmas Quilt that you recently finished. Lovely work.


  9. You did a great job. It turned out really great. I will have to try that tip. I don't free motion well. I give you credit for finishing it. I have one UFO, that after I got the top done, I hated it. Still do. Maybe I might just look at it. Connie204

  10. We are own worst critics. It's a delightful runner - bright and fresh. Your quilting technique has worked a treat. Nice design too. Ann :-)

  11. Did you use a walking-foot to do the quilting? It looks great

    1. I did free-motion with a freemotion foot for this quilting, following the lines traced on the tissue paper.

  12. Thanks for sharing this! I would love to try the tissue paper technique.

  13. Falling out of love with a project happens to me and friends all the time. Here's what I do. I pack up all the materials including pattern and put it into a project box, one of those 8x15 plastic boxes by Rubbermaid or Sterilite. Label the box. Then, once a year, my guild has a promotion to finish a UFO before Christmas. We have to sign a contract with the name of the UFO. That's how I get all those un-likable projects done and 9 times out of 10, I end up loving them once they are quilted.

  14. Would the tissue paper you buy for lining boxes work? The kind you buy for gift-giving?

  15. That's another creative idea as I go ahead to free motion. Thanks!

  16. I use parchment paper when doing this technique and paper piecing. The paper tears very easily and sturdier than tissue paper.


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