Comedy of Quilty Errors

The challenge in our guild this year is to make a small quilt with the theme of Celebration for our guild’s 40th anniversary year. These little quilts will be displayed in March for National Quilting Day on the third Saturday. We are provided with a fat quarter of the challenge fabric with the instruction to use at least a quarter of it, and as much as we could. You know what they say about best laid plans, LOL, and my brain was misfiring when I began cutting fabric. I showed you my design idea last time, and needed 8 pinwheels 4-1/2-inches square. OK, so 8 x 4 half square triangles for the pinwheels meant 32 HST units. So I needed 16 squares of light and 16 dark. I put the fabric on the cutting table and began cutting 5-inch squares to make the HSTs. Yes, that was my first wrong choice but I didn’t realize it then. Of course, you cannot get 16 squares that size from a fat quarter, but that didn’t dawn on me either. At the end of cutting, I was short two squares, so I pieced together the bits left over, all the while scratching my head as to how I ran so short. Then my brain short circuited again, thinking I needed only 16 squares (instead of 16 of each) and I only sewed 8 squares together, leaving the other 8 squares on the table. That turned out to be a good thing.

I laid out the design, and it wasn’t until I laid out the pinwheels that I realized I cut them too big. The whole pinwheel was to be 4-1/2 inches, not the HSTs! Oh holy crap on a cracker. Now I have cut up the entire fat quarter, and pieced together bits for more than I can use given the parameters of the challenge. If I go with my original idea, the center will be too small in proportion to 8 large pinwheels, and the perimeter will exceed the limit. So, what do I do now?

OK, I have four so I’ll use only those. I sewed them together.

OK not too bad, but the butterfly no longer has the space I wanted for it. Plus, it is beginning to look like a two-fabric quilt will be a bit boring.

As I pondered weak and weary, out of the corner of my eye, I noticed the remnants of the shooting star fabric I used on a Safelight quilt. Oh, wow, the turquoise and purple stars were a perfect match for the challenge fabric. Plus the black background adds drama and contrast to the design. As I often say, there are no mistakes, only design opportunities!! I placed the elements on top of the fabric to audition it.

Wow, I love it! The contrast is fabulous and iit really enhances my fireworks idea.

So, now to do something with the rest of the fabric that won’t be too much, and stay under the overall 140-inch perimeter limit of the challenge. The larger squares reminded me of making no waste flying geese. But I had to reverse engineer the math to get the smaller squares right. You cut the larger square 1-1/4 inches larger than the finished goose width, so I measured the square and subtracted 1-1/4 inch to get my width. Then I divided that in half to get the height, and added 7/8 to get the smaller size square to sew on top. No, I’m not going to give you all those measurements, they were weird sizes.

I marked the backsides of the small black squares, and constructed 16 geese.

Now that I have all the elements I need, I can put the top together.

More on this when I get farther along. I won’t have any sewing time this week, so it will be next week before I get back to it. Have you ever had a bad cutting mistake turn out to be a design opportunity?

26 thoughts on “Comedy of Quilty Errors

  1. lynn and bourgeois

    That is a great adventure Carole. After one’s heart seems to stop when finding a problem, then our minds set about to make it work, the problem, I mean, and therein lies a great life lesson. We can give up, or get going. Thanks a bunch

  2. Julie

    What a great save! The shooting stars are so fitting! Trying to be patient waiting for the finish. I know I’ve had measuring & cutting problems and run out of fabric but none of them were for something special so I guess they didn’t leave a specific memory for me.

  3. A great save Carole! I’m looking forward to seeing how this all turns out. Will you be able to use the butterfly? Hope it can find its way in, even as an appliqué.

  4. manasotavacation

    Wow…good save. I would have just tried to rent a tractor to get the field ready for cotton seeds, etc until I had a FQ of that fabric to start over!!!!

  5. Joan Sheppard

    I agree with Mary (first comment) I really like paper pieced quilts because I start with a certain size block and it doesn’t matter how I cut the fabric, I can trim away. Although this week must be the weather as I had to “back out” “reverse sew” three blocks when I realized I forgot to use the focus fabric on them and couldn’t figure out why they looked so different! It’s a Maze Quilt and there is only one stand out color row in each 15 strip block. Should have been so easy……..LOL

  6. Linda B

    Reading instructions, for me, is a challenge. I have to make a test block to see if I am on the right track. Sympathize totally with your experience!!

  7. Jo Anne Seccurra

    Love the contrast with the shooting star fabric. The value changes bring this to life. Yes, I’ve had a number of “happy accidents” in my quilting journey. We gain more brain cells when we have to figure out what will work. You get an A+ in perseverance!

  8. Sue H

    Way to pull it out, Carole! You managed to recognize a design opportunity and took it. Looking forward to the finish on this one. Bravo!

  9. Jean McKinstry

    Years ago my Mum told me the true story of another lady who was an experienced seamstress. She was sewing a dress, and found she was short of fabric for the sleeves. Voila!! she found a piece, cut out the sleeves, then realised she had used a skirt piece instead!!! Love the stars against your teals, beautiful, specially with the centre embroidery block.

  10. Melanie

    Great save, Carole. I’m loving it and your post. I’ve made more “redesigns” than I can count, but fortunately, we are not deterred! LOL

  11. I’ve had one just this week! Trying to make a quick (there’s the first mistake) Valentines table topper and could not keep straight who was 4 5/8′” (really?!) and who was 5″. I ended up cutting down some, then my snowballs were off, but in the end my whole project will just be 1/2″ smaller everywhere and only I will know! But it has been a frustrating project. I like the dark your are using.

  12. Arlene T Reed

    Oh yes I’ve made a big mistake in cutting. I leave it alone, sleep on it and come back to it the next day with a clear head and then figure it out. Most of the time it all works out. I love the colors you have chosen, can’t wait to see it completed.

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