Another One Bites the Dust

Like most quilters, I have more fabric than time, so I recently decided that I don’t need to finish everything! Much of what I do in my studio is experimental, and some of it “fails”. I put that in quotes because failure isn’t a bad thing, it’s just an indication that I’m trying new things. It’s natural that some experiments work out and some don’t.

I recently took a class in making map quilts (over here, at Creative Spark). My first attempt has gone out with the trash already, but the important thing is that I tried something and learned from it. The second attempt is going much better and I’ll eventually finish it and show you.

And here’s another experiment that’s working out pretty well. I pounded these leaves in a class years ago and finally dragged this out and quilted it both by machine and by hand. I’ll face it and show the finished product eventually…

My next experiment is the one that’s biting the dust today. I was inspired by this quilt (in part because it’s entitled “From Hell to Breakfast” and I haven’t heard that expression in years).

I started with orphan blocks and decided on a palette of turquoise, blue, and purple with lime accents. It started out pretty well, but after a couple of days it just looked entirely too random.

Choice: try to fix it or toss it. I left it overnight, then decided to toss it. Granted, it has some nice elements. However, I don’t think it will ever “gel” and I’m not one to throw more work into something that’s going sideways unless there’s a good reason. I made this to learn something, I enjoyed it, and I did try a few new things. Good enough. It has served its purpose and out it goes.

One of the things I learned was how to make this block, which was intended for use in this project but hadn’t made it in at the time the project was tossed. So you see, here is the start of another project! Ha!

And one little soap box moment, please: Some acquaintances say, “Just make it a donation quilt” when a design isn’t working out. I say, “If I don’t want it, why would I give it as a gift?”

What’s your opinion?


25 thoughts on “Another One Bites the Dust

  1. I am feeling every bit my age these days, and have decided I need to throw away a few more ufos. Otherwise they just inspire negative feelings when I come across them while searching for other things…..

  2. Some things I make are just to experiment and or to play and so some end up in what I now call the parts department for future additions to other projects. I have inherited a friends and my Moms stash and have found such projects…some could be made into a bag … like the project you show….or yes we don’t need to save everything 😊

  3. My question is, “what do you mean by ‘out it goes’ or ‘toss it in the trash.” Is that LITERALLY what you do?! Put the hunk of fabric in a garbage back and sit it on the curb with the rest of your kitchen scraps? If so, I would never consider doing that. At the very least, I’d use my rotary cutter to chop it all up, and drop it into a fabric bag that’s beside my sewing machine. When the bag is not quite full, I sew closed the end, and it’s taken to an animal shelter for an unwanted dog or cat to sleep on. But still… I’m more inclined to hang onto pieces and see if they might be incorporated into another project. In fact, at this very moment I have a large quilt top – about 60″ X 72″ – that’s folded up, never to be finished in its current state. It’s a huge improv disaster. Still, all that fabric… I can’t part with it and one of these days plan to cut it up and repurpose it for another better quilt.

    • Good point! Actually, rejects go either into the bin for future art quilts or into the donation bag for the Reconsidered Goods store where craft supplies of all kinds are recycled.

  4. I love that you said, “failure isn’t a bad thing, it’s just an indication that I’m trying new things. It’s natural that some experiments work out and some don’t.”
    Creativity is stifled if one feels afraid to “fail” or try new things.
    I’m in the process of accessing what I have in my bins. My first attempt was to just throw it all back in the bin and save it.
    Your post has given me a new energy to look at the bins again.
    There might be someone else who might like what I no longer like; or have a purpose for it. We have a store where crafts and supplies are recycled, so I am getting a bag ready.
    Thanks for you post.

  5. I’m with you, if I feel is isn’t working, why would I finish it and give it to someone. I like the idea of flourishing palms, save them up cut them into pieces and sew them into a pillowcase for the local shelter. May need to pull out an old pillowcase.

  6. I love the turquoise, navy, lavender combination….so maybe something else in that combination someday. 🙂 I tend to agree that I wouldn’t send what I didn’t like myself. although I know there are things that I will see as not acceptable that others will see in a more favorable light. But probably I wouldn’t feel good about sending a quilt or product I didn’t like myself.

  7. The orphans quilt has such energy! The controlled palette is very effective. Design is subjective. It may not appeal to you but a recipient may love it. Conversely you might love the donation quilt you made because you are pleased with the way the blocks or the colors work, or your quilting went without a hitch, or you successfully tried a challenging technique — but when it’s in a stack of quilts at a giveaway it doesn’t shine. That’s not your worry!………The “no” for a donation quilt is poor workmanship: sleazy fabric, unsecured seams, sloppy binding As for “throwing out”: I bag up scraps and not-suitable-for-quilts fabric and take them to the textile recycling bin at the public works department.

  8. HI Nann! Thanks for your comment. I was just thinking of you because my DAR acceptance came yesterday! And I absolutely agree–sleazy fabric, poor workmanship, don’t donate that anywhere. Best wishes for the holidays!

  9. So many fun and interesting things in this post. I need to get braver about shuffling the “failures” or, uninteresting quilts, off to some other place/space (now I need to see if we have a textile recycling place in our town). I have offered some to others and agree that keeping them around clogs up the works. I was also interested in how you described that piece that wasn’t working. Tonight, once again, I sat through our Guild’s show and tell, and wondered why people were making what they were making — most of it was because “it was in the stash,” which to me, is not necessarily a reason.

    And I’m jealous that you did the Timna Tara maps class! It’s on my radar, as I’ve always loved her map creations. Thank you, thank you for this post.

  10. A quilt I started a long time ago still sits in my ufo pile because I messed up the back badly while quilting. You may have given me the courage to let go or maybe see if I can make a couple doll or pet quilts by cutting around the ruined part. Thanks for talking about this sensitive topic. Between your posts and the comments I’m learning a lot

    • I had a “finished” quilt a few years ago that went in the UFO pile because I just didn’t like the way it turned out. Eventually I cut it up into place mats. That was a lot of binding, but the pieces didn’t look nearly so bad when the quilt was cut up smaller 😀 Good luck with re-purposing your quilt.

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