Thursday, January 5, 2012

My sad little UFO

I haven't been quilting long enough to have a stack of them, as some people seem to have. I only have one, but it weighs pretty heavily on me.

This is an alphabet quilt I started for my daughter.

When I was pregnant with her and planning her nursery, I settled on purple pansies. I'm not sure how or why, but I did and it was gorgeous. I painted her walls a periwinkle, and set about finding appropriate purple pansy stuff. Which wasn't easy. But I did. A lamp, a clock, a stuffed Hello Kitty, some decals that I put on her garbage can and on white letters that I attached to her wall above her bed. The biggest find was a fleece blanket. I cut it down to about 4' x 6', bought some coordinating fleece and a huge zipper and made a giant pillow for her floor. It was the size of a rug, obviously, and gave her a great place to play on her hardwood floors. The pattern was an adorable teddy bear surrounded by purple pansies. Add white furniture and fixtures, and I was very pleased.

The problem is that kids change so darn quickly. In the time between me planning this quilt, and getting this far, she went from a toddler sleeping in a toddler bed and not knowing her ABCs to a pre-schooler sleeping in a twin sized bed singing the alphabet more than I even wanted her to. And that pre-schooler had different ideas about what should go in her room. Princesses and Scooby Doo overtook the pansies.

This all happened in about 6 months time.

I have a list of problems with finishing this quilt. The biggest being that it no longer represents who she is. Another being that since what you see is only about 30" x 45", I can't figure out an attractive way to add enough borders to make a twin size quilt. And finally, I've made a mistake that tires me to think of re-doing.

I had never done sashing on the diagonal before and miscalculated how long to make it. I have enough fabric to re-do, but it's hard to find the motivation when there are so many other issues with the quilt.

But on the pro-side of finishing it, I do absolutely love it. I think the fabric and syle are beautiful. I think I did a good job of appliquing the letters. I've tried to talk myself into finishing it as a wall hanging. I've tried to talk myself into finishing it to sell - I simply can't do that. It has too much meaning to me, representing her toddlerhood the way it does.

When my friend Mandy was over a few weeks ago, I was showing her a quilt top my grandmother had made but never quilted, and she encouraged me to finish this thing - to not let my daughter be showing this to her friend 40 years from now and lamenting the fact that it was never finished. She's right, but for now the pros & cons seems to be balancing each other out & it just sits here. A sad little quilt that hasn't quite gotten to be.


  1. It IS a lovely quilt top! And for someone who hasn't been quilting for very long, you did an AWESOME job of applique!!! You should finish it!

    We all have those occasional projects that halt our progress. But, don't be afraid of it. Just take one day this month and tackle ONE issue -- for instance, the problem with the sashing. Either redo it, OR make it do. I just discovered your blog today thru "Finish It Up Friday," so I haven't read enough to know if you are a perfectionist or not (though with such perfect letters on that quilt, I'd guess you are). So, if you are, then you will want to redo the sashing. So one day this month get your seam ripper out, tear it apart and put it back together. OR, this is a patchwork piece, so you could just make a "perfect patch" to fit into the area where the sashing is too short. From your photo, it seems to be a small area, so I'm guessing that once it is quilted, it will hardly be noticeable. You can make progress on this quilt, you just need to make a decision on which direction you want to go.

    And remember, there isn't always a right way or wrong way in patchwork -- in fact many beautiful quilts have been created by people who made "mistakes" in their calculations, but then "made it work." ;-)

    Hope that makes sense.

    And I hope you have a great weekend!

    Mamma H

  2. It is a lovely quilt....finish it will be glad you did! There is a Finish-A-Long starting over at Quilter in the have to link up by Saturday midnight for the first quarter FAL....I'm finishing up a quilt top I made over 20 years ago.


  3. I have a suggestion for you for the sashing. Let me see if I can explain it. Instead of pulling it all apart. Just rip a few stitches of the sashing on top and stitch on another strip to the end of that sashing. Now you have a longer sashing. Does that make any sense? If not, email me and I will try to explain by typing on your picture.

    I sure hope you finish this for your daughter. While she may not be interested today...there will come a day when she is. Thanks for linking up.

  4. Rhonda, that does make sense. So much sense that I'm not sure why I didn't think of that already. Thanks. That does make it a much smaller project.

  5. Good luck with finishing that up! I still regret not making my son a train quilt when he was 3, and really loved trains. I spent too much time planning it, and should have just dove right in. Your quilt is beautiful, I think the suggestion to add to the sashes is great, then you can make it a twin sized quilt. I have a few quilts people made me, and love them. (everyone makes mistakes, I am sure no one except you will care).


  6. I like what the others have said...every quilt has something the quilter wishes she would have done around a bit and try out different ways of making it work and then finish it. You will be so glad, because once upon a time, it was who and your daughter were. A precious time of your lives full of lovely memories!