Friday, February 10, 2017

Mysteries of the (Quilting) Universe

I have been struggling with sewing my En Provence quilt together this week. I really like it when the seams butt in opposite directions and intersections lay flat. But this whole quilt is just a hot mess on the back in terms of seam allowance pressing. I just had to get over that and kept going because it was just not possible to have that outcome. But when sewing the rows together, in some places the seams just don't line up.
Attempt #1

I consider myself to be an accurate cutter and careful piecer, but just look at this seam join. 

If you are a regular blog reader you will know that sometimes this really irritates me, and I have to try to fix it. I take apart a problematic seam, realign the pieces, pin everything in place, and resew the seam.


Attempt #2
Here is attempt #2.
I cannot for the life of me figure out why this is not much of an improvement from attempt #1!
I have a personal rule that I will give a task my best effort 3 times, and then call it "done" no matter the outcome of the 3rd attempt.
Attempt #3


Here is attempt #3.
Does it look improved in any way?!?
After all that effort, it should be lining up perfectly!  Sometimes it just doesn't. And no matter how much effort is put in or how well the task is done, it just doesn't work. Now there's a good life lesson for me!
So, I continue on with trying my best to get this quilt top together, and deal with the frustration when the outcome doesn't reflect the effort. Why is it that some quilts go together so effortlessly and others are so challenging?!?

My friend Louise (remember when we went to see Ricky Tims?!?) is coming for her annual winter visit and we will talk every waking minute for the entire weekend. We will solve all the problems of the world, and we will feel renewed after our time together. 
And maybe this quilt top will get completed!

27 comments:

Gretchen Weaver said...

I don't like it either when seams don't align correctly but with Bonnie's quilts, there are so many seams, it's impossible to lock them into place. All of your photos looks the same to me. Hopefully you aren't planning on hand quilting this quilt. Have fun with your friend, sounds like a great week-end of fun. Blessings. villacrestfarm@gmail.com

The Cozy Quilter said...

I could not see the problem until I expanded the pictures. All I see are your beautiful fabrics playing well together. I hope you have a fun weekend!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

All that bulk just pushes things out of align - you almost have to start these by pressing everything open - which is a pain, too. Enjoy your lovely visit.

earthmotherwithin said...

I wish I knew why! My current quilt has been misbehaving too.

Karen - Quilts...etc. said...

I can see the improvement on #3. with so many seams it is very hard to have them all match I think and I do not know how Bonnie can only make quilts with a zillion pieces in them - I love her patterns but it would drive me crazy - I think I have the same rule as you I try and try again at times but by the 3rd time I say that is as good as it is going to be

Chopin - A Passionate Quilter said...

A quilter after my own heart!!!!! The problem could be in the QST and peaky and spike. Being off 1/8" of an inch can do this. Here is a suggestion that might help. Triple check each section to make sure that all are square and that the points on Peaky and Spike are the same. Check the QST also. THEN, put the QST and Peaky and Spike together - square again, put the 4 patch and HST together, THEN pin the middle seams, and here is what might help..... Sew the seams together and then check it to see if they match. If they do (maybe #4 will be good) continue sewing from the middle of the block outward. Sometimes the fabric stretches.

My biggest problem is "trailing off" at the end of a seam - makes me want to pull my hair out, so I have to check each seam to make sure I do not do that or use my Stiletto which is what I need to use all the time on small pieces. Another tip - I never sew my seams on the fast speed. If I am working on a show quilt the Husqvarna is set on the slowest setting.

Hope all of this helps. Believe you me I have been there so many times before. Hang in there

Chantal L. said...

I can so relate. I get insulted when I can't match the seams. I know I am not perfect but I also know that I can do better so why does it not work that time? Why do I have to restart over for this one when so many were perfect the first time? Time for a little humility I try to say to myself. I'm working on a block with lots of Y-seams. I did three perfect units and the fourth one is ... to be unstitched!! Life's little annoying moments. ;^)

Carole @ From My Carolina Home said...

I understand how you feel, I am the same, often taking something apart and re-sewing it only to find very little or no improvement. Truly, though, this quilt is so busy and your fabrics are so pretty, it won't be noticeable.

Janet O. said...

I hear you! Maddening, isn't it? But I do see improvement each attempt.
If you can walk away from it now, that little glitch is never going to stand out in the overall busyness of Bonnie's design.

Wendy Tuma said...

I'm working on a quilt right now that has many intersecting seams and experiencing a little of the same thing. It bugs me to no end when things don't intersect just right! However, I'm learning to step back, sometimes literally, and realize that most people who will see the quilt will not notice that it doesn't intersect perfectly. So I am learning to let it go. I do try to correct it if I can, but if not, let it go. I agree with Carole that the En Provence has so much eye movement and gorgeous colorplay that it won't be noticeable. Wendy at piecefulthoughts@gmail.com

Monica said...

Someone else who made Allietare mentioned that she was twisting some of the seam allowances so they would butt, and I have been trying that now too. My theory is that the lumps will actually sink into the batting on the finished quilt. I'll let you know how it goes! In any case, have a great time with Louise!

MissPat said...

I had trouble with the QST units (the points were off) and I had to reverse press one seam to make them butt with the triangle in a square unit. And don't tell Bonnie, but I did the reverse press by sltting the seam allowance. Some of the intersections are so bulky, its hard to get the seams to lie flat, but pressing the seams open creates more problems for me than it solves. This isn't a show quilt, so I have no one to please but myself and the average person won't even notice.
Pat

karen said...

I hear ya! My favorite kinds of patterns are when they say which way to press seams so they butt perfectly, or to press open if that's what works. Having said that, your quilt will have so many pieces nobody will notice!

Mary in Peoria Handmade said...

Oh my goodness, I feel your pain. I have experienced the same frustration. I have even remeasured the cutting, remeasured the width of the seam and it all remained a mystery as to why they didn't line up. Recently, I started cutting into a layer cake package I had saved for months because I loved it so much and was terribly disappointed to find out they were not cut at exactly 10 inches! I adjusted my cuts to 9.5 inches. Then of course there are the patterns in the past that are incorrect in their measurements. Oh well, we adjust and move on. You will be much happier after your friendly visit. Enjoy. mary in AZ

Melody A. said...

these quilts are so involved that when it is finished no one except you will ever be able to find this let alone see it !!! your quilt is going to be beautiful!!! can't wait to see the finished version,love the colors! Happy Sewing , take care from Iowa

Sophie Zaugg said...

At least it's not worse ;-) I so understand how you feel ... But I'm sure that when your quilt is finished you won't even notice these details. You have such a nice fabric choice !

Tammy Hutchinson said...

I do see the difference and it is better! I'm in the same place with En Provence...it will be very pretty, but I'm slowing down on the process right now because it is hard. And today I decided my next quilt will have far fewer and far larger pieces. Unless it's applique. :) Plug away, and you will love the quilt because it is a beautiful pattern and because it reflects your efforts!

The Joyful Quilter said...

The 3rd attempt looks close enough to perfect for me!! My motto is... If I don't like the quilt when it's done, I can always give it away.

Mary Bolton said...

Carry on! You won't be able to find those spots when the top is together.

Ellen said...

Your third try looks quite successful to me! I also allow myself 3 tries if a piecing issue really annoys me. Sometimes I just have to do my best and then move on.

Nell's Quilts said...

How frustrating is that! You have so many seams coming together I can't imagine how tough it would be to get everything to lie flat and line up. Love your colours.

Needled Mom said...

En Provence has so many seams that I doubt you will even notice a mismatched one or more.

Kate said...

Some seams are just contrary that way. Just look at it as your one imperfection in the quilt. Isn't it the Amish that have the one imperfection in their quilts? So you'd be in very good company.

Debbie Huber said...

I am having the SAME issue with my En Provence. It is very discouraging.
I am making due, and just putting it together. It is stuck in rows.
Comment as: time4stitchn@gmail.com

Deanna W said...

Easy to say but in the grand scheme of things with this scrappy quilt...that missed matched seam won't even be noticeable.

Podunk Pretties said...

And here I thought it was just me. My enprovence has the same issues. Forgive me, but I'm glad its not just me.

Barb said...

i understand your frustration - happens to me too. It usually starts with the pressing, but it could be anything including the snow moon.
fun fabrics.