I’m supposed to be sharing with you all today my finished quilt top for the Yuma Quilt-along being run by Gotham Quilts, but I couldn’t finish it. The pattern is great and it’s a pattern that is really spectacular when done right, but I just could not for the life of me get this quilt to work. I’ve lost my sewjo.
It happens. I wish it didn’t, but when life gets a little crazy and I feel out of control the thing that tends to suffer is my ability to see the potential in my fabric stash. I’ve been feeling a bit “off” for a few weeks now but I’ve been pushing through trying to sew my way to inspiration. It’s not been working and it’s just making me feel worse.
This winter has been particularly harsh for our family. Our son has been on and off sick since April and it’s meant that I’ve had to take more time off work then I’d like and it’s also impacted on how much I’ve been able to juggle my other commitments. He’s currently laying on the couch trying to recover from his latest bout of illness. On top of it all I’ve been sick, travelling and working the day job as well which hasn’t helped.
I’ve been pushing myself to the limit and not looking after myself and my sewjo has paid the price.
Sometimes when I’m under a lot of pressure I hit gold, but there’s other times when I just can’t catch a break and unfortunately my version of the Yuma quilt paid the price.
I started with the fabulous range, Birds & The Bees by Tamara Kate for Michael Miller, and thought I’d use it as the main feature in the quilt. I wanted to use solids I had in my collection and so I pulled some Kona and tried to find a match. For some reason I had it in my head that this would be the perfect time to use colours that I normally wouldn’t gravitate towards. I wanted to step outside my comfort zone.
It didn’t work.
While the colours I picked in the solids were all found in the print fabric together they just didn’t work. The magic of the pattern is in the crisp delineation of the triangles. It’s all in the angles. But my fabric selections just made the pattern way too busy.
I cut the pieces, put them on the design wall and then spent the next 3 days avoiding looking at it. Every time I stood in front of it I felt sick. It hadn’t worked, I didn’t want to spend any more time working on it and I had the clock ticking down to when I’d have to write about it.
It was stressing me out. Big time.
I hate disappointing someone. I hate wasting fabric. But more than anything I hate losing time with my family on something that doesn’t make me hum with excitement.
I was standing there in front of the pieces of this quilt and it struck me. Life is too short to make things that make you unhappy. I would rather not deliver on something then take the time away from my family to make something that’s sub par. Life’s too short for bad quilts!
I felt such a weight lift when I made the decision not to force it. I decided instead to look at the lessons this taught me and move on.
This quilt top suffered from me not being able to wrap my head around where the piecing sits in the construction. The quilt pattern is great, and it’s free which given how much time is spent on designing, making and writing up the pattern is a real gift. But I printed mine in black and white – big mistake!
The quilt diagrams are done using the example quilt fabrics and they tend to blend into each other when printed black and white and can make it difficult to work out what goes where. I spent a lot of time trying to go back between a photo of the quilt on my iPhone and what I was trying to do. It didn’t work for me and I know I would have made different fabric placement choices if I could have gotten it straight in my head.
I’ve become a big fan of quilt patterns that include a line diagram so that you can colour it in and work out the placement prior to fabric selection and cutting. It’s a massive luxury because patterns are so labour intensive, but for me it really helps and so I appreciate them when I get them.
I’ve also learned that when I’m not feeling it, that’s not the time to “try something new”. You really need to be in the right head space to experiment and I wasn’t.
I love the really clever use of repetition in this pattern and when I worked it out I actually went “Ooooohhh” out loud in my sewing room like an excited math nerd. It’s clever and with the right fabrics you could have some real fun with it. It shows a subtle sophistication to the pattern that I really like.
While I might not have been able to make my first attempt (oh yes, I will attempt it again when my sewjo comes back to me!) might not have worked, there’s been some amazeballs versions of this quilt made already. (Check out the hashtag on Instagram!!!)
My favourite has to be this version by Chris on Made by ChrissieD – she made it in all solids!!! Be still my beating heart! Not only is it fabulous, but the smart ladies at Gotham Quilts are now offering it as a kit! (Click here to get the details.)
If you’d like to see some amazing quilts that have been made by people who’ve clearly not misplaced their sewjo then check out the bloggers listed below, you won’t be disappointed! You’ll find links to the free pattern, tips and tricks for making it and some awesome inspiration to get you working on your own version in no time.
Yuma QAL Schedule
17 June – kick off blog post on Gotham QuiltsWeek of 22 June – made by ChrissieD click here to find all my Yuma QAL posts
Week of 29 June – Faith and Fabric
Week of 6 July – Daydreams of Quilts
Week of 13 July – Lisa in Port Hope
Week of 20 July – Sunflower Quilting
Week of 27 July – Roar Haus
Week of 2 August – Gnome Angel
10 August – Life Under Quilts
12 August – closing blog post on Gotham Quilts and start of linky party
19 August – linky party winner(s) chosen