Tuesday, 6 October 2015

UFO Emma

I started this three years ago, before I started blogging, when it was a BOM in the Dutch quilting magazine "Quilt & Zo". I posted about it several times at the beginning of  2014, but never showed a photo of the whole thing, as far as I'd got.

Well, to remedy that here it is after two years of solitary confinement in a cupboard.

Emma (the Queen Regent of The Netherlands one hundred years ago), crumpled straight out of the box.

It should be square. It looks square enough. But it isn't as I discovered when I sewed on the next border!

These four pieces (the star border)  have been on and off twice, and I don't know what's happened to the sashing pieces. They are probably still rolled in the box.
In desperation I tried to trim the completed section to square it up: BIG MISTAKE! They still don't fit, and what's more, they are no longer the same width.

The previous border (lozenges and triangles) didn't fit properly either, and had to be forced to meet in the corners:

the diagonal corner seam does not hit the outer corner!
So why after all that hard work English paper piecing and appliquéing is this a UFO in the first place?
  • I didn't pay attention to the quarter inch seam
  • Something was wrong with the tension or the needle or the thread (but I still use that thread) because at the end of every long seam the top fabric stuck out beyond the bottom by a good three quarters of an inch. So what did I do? CUT IT OFF! I was too inexperienced to recognise and fix the real problem.
This was all so discouraging that I had to put it aside and move on. Either that or remain stuck with this problem and never touch patchwork again.

Now, as Val asked about UFOs, I dug it out and had another look. I still don't have an answer, but maybe one of you does!

Please Val and linky party guests, give me some ideas.

I'm linking up to 
Val's Quilting Studio
Click on the button to see more UFOs, 
and give some encouraging suggestions for making UFOs into WIPs!

Happy sewing



Christine Barnsley said...

Not sure I can offer any advice Marly but it would be a great shame not to finish it, so I hope someone else can help. It is a beautiful quilt and you have worked hard on it! Good luck! Christine x

Judy@Quilt Paradigm said...

This is so beautiful!! How many borders do you have left to put on the quilt? I noticed that your corners are mitered, is this possibly where the problem lies? I've done mitered corners a couple of times, had beginners luck the first time and not so much luck the second time! Avoid them like the plague these days! LOL Maybe the solution is to redo those corners?

Gina said...

My advice wold be to unpick it to a point where it is square. Measure and adjust the borders accordingly. Even if you have to put thin plain borders in of different widths or the odd plain block to make life easier.

paulette said...

Gorgeous quilt! I agree with Gina...you will forget all about the 'picking and re-doing' after your heirloom quilt is finished and on your bed! It's a beauty!

Laura said...

I'm not sure I can help you fix it, but I wanted to know you are not alone. I just finished a quilt that is more a rhombus than a rectangle, and trying to square it up just made it a smaller rhombus. UGH!

I've also had my share of problem borders. http://sewingoutofmycomfortzone.blogspot.com/2012/04/coping-strip-blues.html

Don't worry about making your quilt perfect. Just finish it the best you can, learn from it, and make your next quilt better!

Maartje Quilt said...

What a troubles for such a beautiful quilt. I agree with Gina. Hope you will finish it soon, but all your work deserves a finished project. Have fun finishing this beauty. I am sure the auteurs of the Dutch magazine would say: 'Als het niet kan zoals het moet, moet het zoals het kan!" (If you cannot do it like you should do, you should do it like you can do!!'

Cath said...

Would be a shame to do all that work and not finish it...Sometimes you just have to accept that it is not going to be perfect...say it is a learning curve...I think the imperfections give it a more antique look....go with that!

Dasha said...

That is a simply gorgeous quilt. Don't toss it in the cupboard unfinished again. The simplest way to fix it would be to add a border all the way around to square it off. You may then need to make a few more star blocks to come to the right size. The mitered corner looks wrong, so I suspect that is one place you have gone wrong. Without looking at it in person, I can't really help you any further, except to encourage you with a huge round of clapping for the lovely work you have already done.

knettycraft said...

What a wonderful UFO... and how beautiful the finish will be!

Valerie Reynolds said...

HI Marly! So glad I inspired you to relook at this one....as it's beautiful...even if not perfectly square. I tend to side with Cath above and just say sew her together and get 'er done! I have found that after quilting and washing....so many of our mistakes we see as we make it disappear.

Vivian said...

I agree with everyone else, this one is a well on its way to wonderful and all the beautiful hand work you did should not go back into "the hole" (love that image!).

Are you wedded to the original design? If you are comfortable with this going from "replicating..." to "inspired by..." it will give you room to make changes that will turn your "issues" into "design decisions". Also remember, the great thing about antique quilts is they were all about making do and were not afraid to just whack off things to "make it fit".

For our modern sensibilities (all blocks must be whole) maybe the solution is to add coping strips where necessary: some thin spacing borders added can help bring things up to size or change the size either between the sections or just around a few blocks as needed to get the sides or center where you need it to be. If the difference is under 1/2", borders of slightly different sizes/widths won't be that noticeable (or let them be noticeably different and say "it was designed to be asymmetrical").

Also don't be afraid to add additional blocks of a different design to break up a side allowing it to be re-sized by re-design. "Floating" blocks (appliques blocks with a lot of white space around them) can be cut to odd sizes to add necessary spacing without it appearing that they are odd. Also later on, beautiful quilting or trapunto can fill any open space turning "bare" into yet another design decision.

I say relax, have fun and collaborate with the quilt rather than let it force you to stress over it. It'll be great whatever you decide to do!