Monday, June 30, 2014

DWM 6/30/14: Embarassing

Updated Wed. 7/2 to link up with WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced. If you're visiting from Freshly Pieced, I'd love your input about how I can fix this.

Here's what's on my design wall today: probably the ugliest quilt top I've ever made!

I started with this collection of fabrics, but it all went downhill from there.
The problems have to do with value and proportion. The value contrast between the teal and everything else is much too strong. Plus, the value contrast between the stripe and the background is not strong enough.
Compounding the problem, I chose to make multi-fabric Churn Dashes instead of all the same fabric, and the result is choppy. Only after I had made 12 of them did I realize this.
So I added a few solid Churn Dashes, thinking it would help. (By the way, this is a much more accurate photo of the teal color; it really isn't as dark and blue as it looks above.)

The sashing print doesn't contrast enough with the background. The overall effect is that the background and the sashing are all the same value. The proportion of light and dark is off balance, with pops of too-dark against too much too-pale light.

I'm disgusted with myself because I should have known better. I should have played in EQ before wasting all this fabric (2-1/3 yards).

The only thing I can think to do to salvage it is to cut most of the outer blocks off and add borders. This changes the relative proportions of the lights and darks so it's not quite so bad, but still not great. I have enough of the stripe and the teal for borders, and I'm leaning toward the stripe. With 4" borders added to this center, it would finish at 46 x 46" for a kid's donation quilt.

What do you think? Any other suggestions for salvaging it?

Linking up with Judy at Patchwork Times; check out everyone else's much prettier projects over there.


  1. Big sigh...I think we've all done this ...idea seems great in our head but doesn't translate well. Sometimes the best thing we learn from a quilt is I'm not doing that again. It will make a nice donation quilt. Go start something new..that always makes me feel better.

  2. It would have been better if you'd selected a different fabric for the sashing. Maybe red?

  3. I think we've all done that at some point. Your solution would be OK, but it might be easier to replace the sashing as Anonymous suggested above.

  4. well, lots of light space is good for showing off the quilting!

  5. Ok I like the quilt and I think the polka dot was a fun and subtle addition. I would finish it up and try some new quilting on it and donate it. Be interesting to see what you do.

  6. You poor thing! I feel your pain. I suggest bringing in some bold solid fabrics in shades pulled from the polka dot and stripe to give you the contrast you're missing and to balance the strong teal. There is nothing embarrassing about this quilt top, by the way -- sometimes the best quilts come out of creative solutions to problems. Yes, the quickest fix would be to rip out the sashing and replace it with a saturated solid fabric, like a red. But you mentioned that you have EQ software, and it's NOT too late to put that to work for you. Get a straight-on photo of one of your churn dash blocks exactly the way it is, import the image into EQ, and make sure the image size is adjusted to the actual size of the block. Then you can play around with different quilt design options and just fill blank quilt blocks with your photo of your churn block. Since you have to take this top apart anyway, why not play around with turning your churn dash blocks into the center of a larger block, incorporating more bold, solid color into the outside of the block? Even solid red sashing posts would have helped. One more idea for you -- what if you carefully cut down the center of your sashing with a rotary cutter and ruler, and added a wide stripe of solid red between the two halves of striped sashing? Your churn dash blocks are beautifully executed, very precise piecing. I think you're going to come up with a solution that you love once all is said and done. Good luck with it!

  7. What I would do - is de-stitch each of those little white cornerstones, (yeah, I know that's a kind of a hassle, but I think it would rescue the top) and substitute in a solid color - one of the colors in the polka-dot. Then find a striking floral print with the same teal and that color for a 5" or 6" border.

  8. I'm with Rebecca. Every room needs a bit of red, and the same can be said for a quilt! I had a similar issue once and I rearraged the blocks and added a red diamond and ended up with a fabulous quilt. I was thinking to add a small stripe of red to outline the sashing, but if you keep the firs lay out but the inner sashing could be red and then add an outer border or red. It's a fun challenge. Good luck!

  9. I love the idea of cutting down the middle of the sashings and adding a thin red line. Would be WOW!

  10. Oh dear....I just had to laugh out loud when reading your post because I feel your pain. I have a stack of the world's UGLIEST churn dash blocks packed away because I just can't deal with them! Yours are sooo much prettier than mine....I know you're going to find a solution you'll be happy with. I can't wait to see what you come up with. (and so sorry to laugh). :)