Thursday, August 11, 2016

Small element, big difference

Isn't it funny how a small thing can make a huge difference? I've had a love-hate relationship with this little quilt.

I loved my fabric choices and loved making the blocks.  I hated the way the fabrics played together IN the blocks. (Blocks are from "Chic Sisters" by Sew Kind of Wonderful.)

The pinwheels didn't pop as much as I had hoped. The white and grey prints seemed to disappear where they met the light aqua and yellow.  These blocks were supposed to be joined to make a table runner for a shop sample, but I thought it just looked like a busy mess.

I toyed with a square layout, and tried to figure out what to put in the middle.  Another pinwheel? An applique? An hourglass block?  In the end the blocks sat in a drawer for a few months.

Over the summer I wasn't very inspired to sew.  It wasn't just because summer activities beckoned.  I just couldn't think of anything that I really wanted to work on, and there were no ideas at all percolating in my brain.  At the same time I missed sewing. I finally decided I needed to just push through and finish a few things and see if "clearing the decks" would spark a bit of inspiration.  This project definitely needed to be "cleared"!

My boss at the shop suggested a 3 x 4 block setting with some sort of diagonal element tying the two halves together, so I played around with a few layouts, with different shapes to fill in the extra 4 blocks.  What I came up with was OK, so I sewed it up. Next I struggled to decide what to quilt.  I wanted something simple that wouldn't compete with the pinwheels.

You can guess that I used my trusty walking foot again.  My first thought was to quilt parallel vertical lines top to bottom, but in the end I decided the quilt needed a little something more so I switched to horizontal lines behind the light pinwheels on the teal/yellow background. Then just a wee bit more: how about diagonal lines in the yellow slash?

By this time I was liking the quilt a bit more, but still wasn't excited about it. I had planned to use "faux piped binding" to bind, just to add a little something extra to a borderless quilt.  The tutorial gave me a wider binding than I usually use and it ended up covering up points on the edge of the quilt.  At 10:30 pm, I was frustrated, back to the "hate" part of the relationship, and I took out the seam ripper to take it off, trim the binding to a narrower width and sew it back on.  But, at 10:31 pm I decided ripping could wait until morning and I went to bed.

In the morning, rested and refreshed, here's what I noticed:

Cute kitty cat faces peeking over the edge of the quilt.  Oh yes!  The binding stayed just as it was!  Those cut off points were really not central to the quilt design anyway.  They were just part of the background.

And there we go.  The kitty cat binding saved the quilt.  It was just the right width and cuteness to pull it all together for me.  I'm back to "love"!


  1. That is serendipity the way the peeking kitties worked out. : )

  2. Sorry for the struggle but the ending is just fairy tale like. All's well that ends well. Gorgeous finish. Congrats! ;^)

  3. I like how it came out, and you're right, that kitty binding is terrific. How can you not love that!

  4. You certainly pulled it all together! I love it!!! (lynnstck[at]

  5. I love how it all turned out, and I think your quilting brought it all together! ---"Love"

  6. Sometimes it pays to sleep on a problem. I really love your finished quilt.

  7. Oh those ARE adorable! Rosie likes them too I see. :-) I found the Susie's magic binding which has the faux flange in it also is too wide for my tastes, so I cut it narrower on the last quilt and was very happy. Now, I THINK I know where I wrote down what measurements I used! This is a pretty quilt; I totally agree with the colours being delicious all together but something falls apart within the blocks...but as a finish, it is just wonderful now with the binding and quilting!

  8. Very cute! I hope your sewing mojo is coming back. I never did sew that quilt with the kids this got too busy but I have need for a baby quilt in December so..... I will be making the star one next month.

  9. The new plan gives it that certain spark! It's amazing how small changes can make such a difference. I saw a demo at a quilt show last year on how using different fabrics can make a huge change and one would never even realize that it is the same pattern! Great job!

  10. Well done on plugging away at it. The quilt has turned out lovely and those kitty faces are just perfect. xx

  11. What a pretty quilt. I love the diagonal element and all of the interesting details, including the faux flange binding. (Plus, greens of all shades are a personal favourite.)


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