Monday, August 20, 2012

Taken Aback

Last winter I retrieved a "never finished" quilt top from the year before, fixed some piecing errors, added a border and skipped anything more I had planned.  I wanted it DONE, kept it simple, layered it, and quilted it.  I pride myself on no UFO's.

The quilting was a chore.  The fabrics fought me.  The metallic/silk thread sounded bad when I quilted and did strange things right before my eyes.  It was distracting and I didn't enjoy it.  The background fabric with tiny piecing added huge knots of seams underneath.  The sewing machine broke, a spring fell out as it tried to get over the lumps.  I kept quilting.  I didn't need the presser lifter, I had the knee one to use.  The lever kept falling off and landing on my quilt.  I kept going, I wanted this thing DONE.

Knowing it already had problems, I spent way too much time quilting it. 

After it was finished and I dipped and swirled it in tepid clear water to remove marking, I had more problems with a hand dyed fabric that bled.  Then there were some skewed tiny triangle pieces from the quilting process so tips went in all directions.  Generally I thought it was not the best, would keep it for a class sample maybe.  I haven't even given it a name.  It is a Delectable Mountains pattern, about 43" square.  Detail of quilting, below, and from the back.

Last week while doing some photography I needed a warm neutral backdrop, and saw the back of this quilt rolled up in the corner on the floor, in total rejection.  I picked it up, pinned it to the wall, backside showing. 

I was so taken aback!  I love the back as a wholecloth and I have left it hanging on my wall and enjoy it so much.... from the back.  I think this fabric might work for a wholecloth design and might give that a try on another quilt. 

Meanwhile I'll enjoy the lumps and bumps of thread here and there on the back, lots of traveling where the thread build-up is a bit much, but the look of it is very pleasing.  Somehow the feather fronds look so elegant "in reverse." 

Lesson:  Try to make the back look as good as you can.  You never know when it will be the front!

Hope your Monday brings you a tiny bit of quilting time, and maybe some fresh veggies.

Oliver was actually yawning here, after I woke him for his birthday photo, but he does look extra fierce!


Gramma Quilter said...

So beautiful. Pat yourself on the back for and awesome finish, as far as i am concerned. Thanks for sharing the journey!

Linda said...

How wonderful that you discovered the back! Quilts are a lot like friends. Some look better when facing the door!
(I'm not really serious about that! I love my friends.)

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks Gramma Quilter, and I did feel good for at least finishing the poor thing. Linda, you really made me laugh! It's like making sure your back isn't awful because that's when they take a picture of you, showing all.

Happy Cottage Quilter posted this comment but it wouldn't go thru:

I love this story. What a great recovery from the lonely quilt. Sort of like the ugly duckling turning into a beautiful swan. Thanks for sharing.


Katherine McNeese said...

I thought OLiver was gagging over the brussel sprouts...until I read on.
My Siamese rescue eats tissue, plastic, and any other type of paper products eat can find. I have to hide it well or he will find it. No TP in our bathroom! LOL!

Quilting Babcia said...

Our quilts never cease to amaze us, do they? What a tremendous amount of quilting and care you put into this, never giving up - and you have your reward, plus a beautiful surprise "back" on your quilt! I'd love to see a photo of the entire old front/now back of this - the little photo you showed looked lovely to me.

Doreen said...

It took more than a moment for me to fully realize that the first photo was actually the back of the quilt! The quilting is amazing! It appears like a rich damask....just glows in the photo! So inspiring! Hugs, Doreen

Lynette said...

LOL - Diane, your reject is amazingly beautiful. I would LOVE to be able to create such a masterpiece. We're delighted with the animals in the detail shot - very, very cool.

Karen said...

Diane, I have learned so much from you and hope to one day see one of your quilts in person. Thanks for all the inspiration and guidance you give so many.

Diane Gaudynski said...

Thanks for the comments! I post photos so my learning can become yours, but it's nice to hear good things. I should have been more careful with the back quilting (I usually am) but I was frustrated and in a hurry so it's just ok. Using contrast thread also shows everything, so keep that in mind for the front of the quilt too. I'll bring this quilt to my upcoming classes in Des Moines and the museum in Paducah in October.

The back does look like damask, or something very old, a textile from a museum or in an old trunk. However, the fabric is thoroughly modern, from Caryl Bryer Fallert's line for Benartex called Gradations, based on her hand dyed work. When I told her I used it in my quilts ("Blossom's Journey") she said it was perfect "for the glow." I agree! Even on the back, it's nice to glow.

Featheronawire Sally Bramald said...

I remembered one of the very best quilters in the world told me it was OK to show the back of one of my quilts, oh yeah, that was you!

Diane Gaudynski said...

Feather on a Wire - I thought of you when I discovered the back and now really have to laugh at myself!! I am following my own advice, and this one isn't a show quilt like yours, but isn't it strange how it turns out that the back draws you in and the front, meh?

Quilts and cats have a mind of their own.

Cynthia said...

Oliver looks so cute with the veggies. We just got a rescue cat a couple of months ago, and are finding out the most fun things about her. If I leave a bowl of cherries on my table, they become her personal soccar balls.

The quilt turned out wonderful. What a piece of serrindipity.


Tammy said...

Hi Diane,
Your quilting always amazes me, it is absolutely stunning. I really enjoyed your story of the chore quilting this little quilt was. I think it looks gorgeous front and back, lumps, bumps and all.
Happy Birthday Oliver, great photo of him enjoying his brussel sprouts. said...


Louise said...

Hello Diane - such beautiful quilting. I have studied your book continuously and practiced on countless small samples. Now I am finishing a quilt which has been far too long in the making!! I long to produce beautiful quilting - do you think there is a breakthrough moment for novice quilters?
By the way your book is fantastic and has really influenced my quilting - I only wish I lived close enough to attend one of your classes.
Best Wishes

Ivory Spring said...


That quilt is absolutely gorgeous!!!! I am taken aback too...