Wednesday, April 11, 2012

quilt surgery

This quilt has been in progress for a few years, quite literally, but this is the first time I've shared it here. Over a month ago, I pieced the back, and since I liked that so much, I decided to rework the front, which I wasn't completely sold on. And this is how it goes in my world!
This is the top, before. The green and red (bottom) sections were bothering me. Some of the green fabrics were too drab for my liking. Some of the red fabrics weren't red enough for me. Since I had gone to the trouble of adding the borders already, the last thing I wanted to do was to chop it all apart and reconstruct it. I decided to do a little quilt surgery instead.
I got out my stitch ripper and carefully removed the green section. (This was very nerve wracking, by the way!) I made a green slab of fabric to replace it and used the original green section for a cutting guide. I carefully pinned and sewed the new section into the gaping hole in my quilt top. I did the two ends first, then each of the sides, pinning each step of the way. It came back together really, really well! I was surprised, delighted, thrilled. So, I decided to do the same for the red section. It worked equally well the second time, which, quite frankly, surprised me. I thought it was a one time shot. So glad that it wasn't!
This is what the quilt top looks like now. Last night when I was looking at these photos I had to wonder if it did any good? Or if I took one step forward and two steps back? Today, I think it DID improve the quilt top. (Feeling kinda wishy washy, I guess!) I love the fabrics now, and I'm curious to see how it looks all quilted up.
Speaking of the quilting...I'm "straight" line quilting with my free motion foot. Seems counter intuitive, doesn't it? I'm finding that it gives a wonderful "organic" feeling that I can't seem to achieve with a walking foot. It's been a fun experiment that is yielding great results. Love it when that happens!

I'm linking up with Lee of Freshly Pieced for WIP Wednesday.

43 comments:

KristyLou said...

Yes, it did make a big difference. Good for you for fixing it to your liking rather than finishing it or leaving it unfinished forever!!!

beth lehman said...

I would love to push you like Elaine does on Seinfeld and say "SHUT UP!" I have just been pondering the idea of straight line quilting free motion style!!! Please tell me more... Could you do it over an entire quilt? (I see you are doing smaller sections here.) Did you start using a seam for a guide-ish? Love this idea!!!! The top looks great!

Audrie said...

You definitely made the right decision! I've had to do surgery on a couple of quilt tops too... sometimes when I can't move forward with the quilting, I think it's because I'm unsettled about how the top looks so I need to rework it. It's gorgeous btw!!!

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

straight line machine quilting is the only style I like in that method - crisp clean straight lines look so much better than swirly things - in my opinion.
Karen - a hand quilter :)

Teresa F. said...

You made the right decision. I love your quilt.

Alli said...

I'm impressed that your grafted pieces fit so well! Good job! I think your quilt surgery was totally worth it -- the new green and red parts definitely look brighter. :)

Jenny said...

I thought I really liked the Before quilt, but then I saw the After, and I agree it is fresher and more cheerful!

Sara said...

It is amazing how much difference that (small?) change made. Very cute! And the straight line quilting is just perfect for this.

Karen said...

Its always great making a quilt prettier by our own standards. Its great that you accomplished that and well, I must say as now this pretty quilt is Gorgeous and not a UFO! Congrats on the great job!

Hugs, Karen

ircabbit said...

Sometimes quilts just need surgery! Personally piecing is my favorite part of the quilting process, so I'm not going to proceed to basting, quilting, and binding unless I love it.

I like the change, I think the revised blocks fit better color-wise with the rest of the quilt.

Mary said...

I had to do that surgery twice last month. I was amazed that it worked on both quilts, too.

It is amazing what different eyes see. The red didn't bother me at all. The green only slightly. I could have lived with it. But, I have to say I like the change you made.

Cheryl Arkison said...

I'm so glad you found a way to make it work.

Susie at ProsperityStuff said...

Wonderful! I love that you're reworking the quilt so that you LOVE it. Funny how sometimes it works that way ... just a few fabrics can make all the difference. Great work & thanks for sharing.

capitolaquilter said...

Love the redux and that you held off until it worked rather than move forward when a design doesn't feel right. Totally want to try FMQ organic straight stitching, sounds intriguing.

Natalie said...

This quilt is BEAUTIFUL! I love it.

Sara said...

I always say "I am doing quilt surgery" to myself all the time! So funny you brought that up! It is SOOO true though. Our scalpel is the seam ripper and the fabric the bandages perhaps;)

I have had to add a strip in a weird spot too before and yes it does work out well and gives you a new sense of accomplishment.

The straight lines are really gorgeous.

Live a Colorful Life said...

Haha, I SO agree with Beth Lehman's comment about Elaine/Seinfeld. I think the changes were definitely worthwhile. A good lesson in what a difference even a subtle change in fabrics can make.

Cherie said...

I like the new prints they have more life in them than the other ones. I also like the mix of white in there too =D

Amy said...

I like the change you did to it! the aqua color is real nice.

Margaret said...

It's lovely! I like the quilting as well. Is it your own design?

Suzanne said...

Wow, I never even thought of this as an option. Good thing you did it though because as sure as I am breathing, one day I'm going to have to do this too. I just know it.

Karen said...

Well done, it's never a waste to rip out if it still bothers you to the point where that's all you see. I've done straight line quilting free motion before. Other than it taking forever.... it's great.

Deana said...

Love it! Can't wait to see it quilted!

Aliceart said...

Wowee, I am so jealous of your (perfect, it seems) ability to free motion quilt lines! Your surgery trick will be a good one to remember.

Bridgit said...

LOVE it. The surgery made all the difference. And thank you SOOOO much for taking us through your process. It really helps me feel more confident in mine.

Julianne K said...

Its beautiful! I love the quilting!

I got my book in the mail yesterday, its awesome...so much great information! Thanks so much!

JennX said...

Is it awful to say it looks waaaay better?! It does- brighter, crisper; too much yellow in the reds and greens before not it's not so muddy. I'm sure you'll agree ( :

Mama Pea said...

I read somewhere that you should do your straight line quilting with your free motion foot. It's good practice and it's easier to go different directions when you need to. Makes sense! I think it's looking great!

Lieve said...

Indeed, it looks much better.
I will try to remember your tip on quilting straight lines with the free motion foot.

raima said...

Wonderfull abstract designing! i really like it, keep it up

gifts to pakistan

PunkiePie (Jen) said...

Wonderful way to use up those large pretty scraps we have hanging around. I may have to follow suit.

Samantha said...

Gorgeous! Glad to hear your patient came thru the surgery so well ;-)

Ric Rac and Polka Dots said...

Oh, I love it! You were so right to listen to your gut and change what was bothering you. Very good idea!!! I always do that, which is why some things sit forever waiting till I can figure out what to do with them! I can't wait till my studio is done so I can start sewing again!
Hugs,
Julie

Leslie said...

this quilt is so awesome. i love it.

Kelly O. said...

looked great before now it's simply gorgeous!

quilt happy said...

you have inspired me to get busy thanks

angela said...

You are a quilt Ninja! Can't wait to meet you in person next month.

Terriaw said...

I can't believe you cut up a finished quilt top to rework it! Well, ok, yes, I can understand. You have to love it to really love it, if that makes sense. And why finish something you don't love.

I thought it looked pretty cool before, but I like the new and improved version too. Well done, dude!

Lisa said...

Love the color changes. I love the bright colors. I don't think I am brave enough to pick the middle out, but you did a great job. You did great.

Amanda said...

I think it looks much better too...especially the green section

Sew Create It - Jane said...

Looks fantastic now...love the quilting..wow!

Shauna said...

Totally agree with your quilt surgery! By replacing the green and the red, you have transformed the quilt. Love the quilting too!

Lily said...

It took lots of courage to rip off and redo, amazing job! Welldone Amanda!!!