Pokemon Quilt Part 1 – Best Laid Plans

We have a little munchkin in our group of car club buddies, the grandson of one of the directors, and he is a die hard Pokemon fan. I find little card packs for him from time to time, but we haven’t seen him in a year due to you know what. Sometimes, I’ve found something else fun in Pokemon like a book or a special pack with a coin, and I am always on the lookout for other stuff for him. When a panel of Pokemon characters showed up on a fabric sale site, I had to grab it.

This was going to be easy and fast. The panel really didn’t lend itself to cutting up, so the best choice was to add a border and go. I chose a Pikachu yellow blender print, and used the same for the backing.

Loading it on the longarm, I threaded the machine with white cotton thread.

And off I went! I noticed a bit of drag on the machine, but didn’t see anything on the top side that was worrisome. I should have looked closer. The stitching is really uneven.

But I kept going. First row done, and I snapped a couple of pictures.

Still not looking closely, and still with a bit of drag, but I convinced myself it was fine for a kid quilt. I kept on quilting.

I ignored all the signs, until I was about two pantograph passes from being done, and the drag on the machine increased. Then I looked at the backside more closely. Uh-oh.

Yep, the entire backside of the quilt was awful. The tension was off on the bobbin, and frankly I am surprised that there weren’t more broken threads to deal with. That would have alerted me sooner.

Of course, if I had really checked the backside after the first pass, I would have seen this. Then I would have known the tension was off, and only had one row to take out.

So now, all of that stitching has to come out. Yes, all of it. I cannot give a gift with this shoddy work. This means skinning the entire quilt and doing it over. So much for best laid plans. Instead of spending my virtual retreat time making binding and putting it on, now I will have to spend hours and hours picking out all the stitching. Retreat was a good time to start as it was the next day. I needed something fun to share during the day. I got this youtube link from a friend earlier this week, and I played it for the virtual retreat group. It is really delightful, and I’ve watched it several times now. Just click on the photo below to see it. Turn up your sound, the singing is fabulous.

During retreat, we chatted about lots of things, from cooking and holiday meals, springerle rollers, movies and holiday traditions, more fun videos and lots more. I got started on ripping out stitching.

I worked on this for the entire six hours of retreat on Thursday, and got about half of it done. I think having some chat time while pulling threads made a tedious task a lot less onerous.

More time spent on it Friday, and then again on Saturday. So far I have about 12 hours into ripping, and I still have about 15 inches of stitched quilt left to do. With luck, maybe I can get the frogging done on Monday. Then, if I can get it requilted, bound and shipped by the end of the week, maybe he will have it by Christmas. One can only hope.

What are you working on this week?

37 thoughts on “Pokemon Quilt Part 1 – Best Laid Plans

  1. Oh my, I feel your pain. The same thing happened to me on the Autumn Jubilee Quilt. I was about halfway through the quilting before I notice a real problem. It was my upper threading. Somehow, it had gotten tangled up top. I usually check my back often, but I didn’t really notice anything until I changed another bobbin and oh my what a mess! I started taking it out and realized that even the quilting that didn’t have noticeable eyelashes on the back still needed to come out so I just folded it up and put it in the closet for another day when I had a fresh mind to tackle it. So sorry you are having that trouble as well. Maybe it will go quickly for you.

    1. ME too!!! My Autumn Jubilee is still on the quilting machine, and I have “ripped out” the stitches that were bad. It was my “first ever” quilting on my frame, and now it has hung there for 3 weeks. I will get back to it after my Christmas stitching is finished. Don’t give up on it. 🙂

  2. That is so frustrating when the quilting doesn’t go according to plan. The boy will love the quilt whenever he receives it. Happy stitching or I guess I should say, happy frogging!

  3. The video is TERRIFIC! So fun and funny. Thanks for the bright spot! So sorry for your quilting trouble. It’s a pain to have to fix it, but you will be happier in the long run. What cute fabric it is!

  4. OMG! I hate when that happens. Then dealing with all of those little threads snips all over the place afterward. Arrrh!
    I’m playing with the embroidery function on my Bernina & making mug rugs. Today I’m going to try Deb Tucker’s Everlasting Star free ornament pattern. Yesterday, Chex mix & peanut brittle. Putting boxes together to mail to my brother & daughter/granddaughter.
    Miss you my friend.

    1. Yvonne

      Oh. My. I feel your pain!

      When the bottom thread is laying that flat, I use a seam ripper to cut it every few inches, then pull the piece out, leaving the top thread whole. I find it quicker and a lot less messy than skinning. Stiil, you are almost done! YEA!

  5. Rita C.

    There is nothing more frustrating than a bad bobbin tension. It actually caused me to quick sewing on my oldest machine. I got it fixed and gave the machine to my daughter in the downsize. Sad thing was, it was a very special surprise gift to me on Christmas in 1973. I was making my own clothes, and my parents surprised me with it (I was using my mother’s machine before that). You’ve got waaay more patience than I have. I would’ve searched for more fabric and just written that quilt off.
    Love your video!

  6. Linda B

    We all feel your pain! Hope you can get it finished sooon! I finished my whimsey applique wall hanging and enjoy seeing it each time I walk by. Sewing border strips on an appliqued dresser scarf or table runner, then will be adding that to my tops to quilt. Doing these things in between wrapping presents and writing Christmas cards and listening to Christmas music on youtube!

  7. Brenda @ Songbird Designs

    I so hate unstitching!! Sorry for your problems, Carole! That YouTube video was great and so the way we do things now…unfortunately! We ventured out yesterday to our granddaughter’s Christmas dance recital. I was amazed at how well the seating was arranged for social distancing and everyone was wearing masks. Even the girls on stage had their masks on. I’ll be posting a few pics on my blog this week! My plans for the week are to stitch some more on the border of Sunshine Cove month 5, and to make some of your apple bread for my kiddos to take with them on their Disney trip. Maybe have for breakfast Thursday morning before they leave. The littles still do not know they are going. I wish I could see the surprise on their faces!! Guess pics will have to do! Hope your week goes better and you get all the unstitching and restitching accomplished!

  8. karenfae

    so sorry to see you have to deal with that! such a lot of unstitching to do – glad you had others to talk to while you were doing that.

  9. Sylvia Anderson

    Oh Carole, here you are being such so thoughtful and kind, and something like this happens to you. I can’t even imagine having to pick out all those stitches, and how long it’s taking. I think I would have probably looked for another panel and started all over again, because I do not have that kind of patience, unless I could have put it aside for quite some time, and then gone back to it, at a much later date. lol I bet the look on that little guy’s face, will make it all worthwhile.

  10. kathyinozarks

    oh what a bummer!! so sorry about that-He will love it when ever he gets it
    I am doing some christmas cookie baking and making chocolate popcorn this morning

  11. Sherrill

    My VERY FIRST quilt I ever had longarmed wound up quilted with a BIG pleat in the back (which I wouldn’t have thought to look for). When I went to my binding class, the teacher pointed it out and suggested taking it back to the longarmer and having her fix it. WELL, she started taking out the stitches and then decided to return it to me (with lots of ‘unstitching’ left to be done) along with my refunded payment I’d given her!! Back then, I sat down a couple of times trying to make headway but never finished. It’s still around here somewhere in a state of partial quilted-ness. Ugh.

    1. Joan Sheppard

      It happened to me too recently – 2 quilts came back with identical pleats. Both were at an edge so I took them out, but this also happened when I did it myself. It was a traveling show sample and I had zero time. So I hand stitched it down like I would do if it was a tear. No one at the show noticed (or to polite to say anything) and the homeless shelter was happy for the donation. They get a lot of my “samples.”

  12. Lovely and thoughtful gift…..proving no good deed goes unpunished!!! I am so sorry…..what a PAIN. Mercy. Hope you are able to get it in the mail in time, but he will love it, I’m sure whether it’s 12/25 or 12/30!!!!

  13. AJ

    Wonderful post. Thanks for showing us that everyone has oops (I’m sorry that this oops is taking so long to fix). I loved the video – it’s a great combination between serious and fun and gets the message across. Thanks for sharing it with us. P.S. I found another video done by this group on Covid-19 which is also great.

  14. Patricia Evans

    Oh, dear. But I’m really surprised you didn’t look underneath earlier. Bonnie Hunter had the same thing happen not too long ago, but she said unstitching went fast because of the loose tension on the bottom. Any way, you’ve tackled the problem. It’s time to move on.
    I saw that video back last spring sometime, early into the lockdown here in NY. Now we’re being threatened with another lockdown, but people are so tired of it all that it will be hard to get compliance. Regardless of what everyone else is doing, we stay home.
    Nothing happening here quilt-wise and I’m unmotivated to decorate. Can’t wait for spring to get back in the garden.

  15. Ughhh! I don’t quilt but this very thing put a stop to my sewing years ago. I just never could get the machine to do right and even had it to the ‘shop’ a time or two.I may be looking to start again as I really want to teach my grands to sew but we will see. A new machine is in the mail !!

  16. Tina W in Oregon

    I hadn’t heard the term “frogging” before when it comes to unsewing! Where did it come from? Regardless, I’m sorry you had to rip out all those stitches.
    We’re getting our first snow of the season this morning but unfortunately it’s supposed to turn to freezing rain later on.

  17. Your Pokemon Quilt is going to be so adorable when you are finished. You made great progress “skinning” during the fun quilt retreat you hosted. I thoroughly enjoyed quilting with you virtually. Thanks for sharing the musical video. I missed that at the retreat. So perfect for 2020 holidays.

  18. Julie

    What an adorable panel. You can take comfort in knowing so many fellow quilters have suffered a similar situation & share your pain. Soon you’ll be back on track & a quilt that meets your standards will be presented to very happy child. Imagine the delight! Your frustration will have been worth the effort. I’m planning the border for my after quilt made from Two Step leftovers.

  19. Jean McKinstry

    Turn up the music and keep unstitching!!! Loved the video, and am sure I will see something different every time I look. What a talented group, the person who co-ordinated, edited, put it all together, an inspiration to us all to stay safe. Love the panel, despite the reverse side.

  20. Joan Sheppard

    Amen Jean – That video was AMAZING!!! Now I have to watch it again – the lady making the popping sounds with a container of Lysol Wipes, the kids with the puppets, the haircut, everyone is doing something! Silly and joyful and TRUE. Thank you so much for sending this.

  21. Tami Von Zalez

    If you have quilted for any length of time, it has happened at least once.

    That Pokemon panel OMG. I bet there are no more around. I would even like that one. Pikachu is my favorite.

  22. Thank heavens you had the retreat to talk you through a bunch of the ripping. He will love it when it comes, it would make a great Happy New Year gift. That song was so funny and cute, and very well done! 🤪

    1. Marilyn Chachere

      Bless you, my child! I really don’t mind ripping; but, I think this would be a ” little much “. For a grandchild, I would do it! 🎅

  23. Sandra B

    Oh no!! So sorry you had that happen! Hopefully the task of taking out all those stitches will be completed soon, so you can start over….I am sure the recipient of the quilt will love it whenever it gets to him….
    I saw that video back in the spring and loved it….that first day, I kept watching over and over, and every time it made me smile…I still watch it every couple of weeks and never tire of it…and, like someone else said, I too keep seeing things new! Love it!

  24. Oh bummer! I have to say this is why papercraft draws me. Mistakes are much easier to fix (and cheaper). It will be so cute when it is done. Pokémon really keep being popular with new generations.

  25. Melanie

    This week I am working on a quilt for my little mentor child who is 8 yrs. old and loves mermaid things and unicorns. I found a mermaid panel last summer and knew it would be a good start for a quilt with a beach/sea theme as she LOVES the beach (even on rainy days, she begs to go to the beach). Ha. So I’ve got 2 borders with sea horses, star fish, shells, fish and sea plants fused down and ready to go, 2 more borders will make a quick quilt that I think she will love. So much fun!

  26. Vicki Huffman

    Thank you for making the Pokemon quilt
    My grandson was the biggest fan. He passed at the age of 13 and now i make I spy quilts for St Judes patients. I have made over 70 and everyone has as many pokemon blocks as I can find..in his honor
    He had many Pokemon themed quilts while he was with us and enjoyed them each and every one. He knew all of the characters and how the evolved
    Dont give up.
    Pokemon fans are die hard fans

  27. kattails

    Funny you should ask what we’re working on this week!!! I, too, am working on skinning a quilt. I haven’t had the strength of heart to sit at it for 6 hours yet though. It’s a wedding quilt for a nephew. I am quilting elaborate feathered wreaths in 20 blocks… everything was going smoothly, the top looked gorgeous so I didn’t check the work on the back during my first pass as I usually do. I absolutely HATE picking out machine quilted stitches. I’m almost ready to scrap the quilt and start again. I won’t, but I’d like to. I’m just heartsick.

  28. I have to say I really enjoyed the retreat and was pleased that chatting helped ease the misery of “unstitching”. I am happy to report that I never heard one swear word from Carole!! 🙂 Honestly, you have the patience of a saint, and I know when you go to re-quilt this lovely project, you will do it with a smile. And, if the gift arrives a few days late, don’t worry! Kids LOVE presents and love that Christmas continues for days.

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