Sunday, October 30, 2011

Thinking Outside the BLOCK! A Mystery Quilt - Project Number 12

I took all the pieces out of the bag and started sewing, again. Looked like I only had 4 more blocks to complete. I have been working on this quilt on and off for a couple years.  So I was on a mission to finish it this time.
I was stitching along, making great progress. It was Minutes for Me: 15 minutes on Wednesday night and 25 minutes on Thursday night.  My husband fell asleep in the chair on Friday night, so I stitched for about an hour! I pressed the center intersections of my four patches. It made them lay nice and flat.  
Didn't feel good on Saturday, as I had my flu shot on Thursday afternoon.  I always swell up at the site of the shot. I took an antihistamine on Friday night to help with the reaction.  I moved kinda slow, but I managed to sew on and off all day Saturday. I even got four loads of wash done and our sheets changed! Pretty good.
It was looking great!  I was so pleased. At this point it looked like I had enough pieces cut to form another row, so I kept sewing...
I had to individually make some four patches to create three more blocks.  
Cool all the blocks were complete! Yippee!   I was so happy!
Oh no... some of them don't line up!
Oh no... some of them are bigger and some of them are smaller! 
I could not just square up the blocks at that point, because the seams won't match up when I sew them together! There is almost a 1/2 inch difference in the sizes!  Oh no!
I do know why this happened.  
Let me explain... 
This quilt has been taken out of the bag about 5 different times during the past 3 years. Each time I sewed a few blocks together and used a different sewing machine.  I have three sewing machines.   
My first Janome sewing machine is 15 years old and I love it the best.  It has even "almost died" twice! The second time it almost died, was when it locked up completely. I cleaned and oiled it and was going to give up on it. Before I put it away, I tried moving the hand wheel one more time and it moved! I have now been sewing on it for the past two years.  I use it as my camper sewing machine.  It is a Janome 4000 and I love it!
I also have a Janome 6500. I love this machine too. I don't always take it to a retreats as it is too heavy.  It usually sits on my dining room table.  It is perfect for stitching bindings on customer's quilts to spread out the whole quilt on the big table.  I sew my 15 minutes at a time on it too - Minutes for Me!  This machine is about 7 years old and runs like a charm!
My third sewing machine is a Janome 3000.  I bought it when my Janome 4000 almost died the first time, about 10 years ago.  My 4000 sewing machine was in the shop for more than a week (something was wrong with the bobbin casing). I needed a sewing machine, but I couldn't afford to buy another 4000 machine, so I bought a step down version of it.  I like my Janome 3000 sewing machine and I take it to retreats, as it is lighter then the 6500. It sews great. So far, no problems with it, but it also doesn't have all the hours of sewing that the 4000 and 6500 sewing machines have on them.  Those minutes add up fast when you sew all the time!
I did not include a photo of the Janome 3000, as it looks just like the Janome 4000, only it has less embroidery stitches.
So needless to say at this point, every time I took the mystery quilt out of the bag to sew, I used a different sewing machine, depending on where I was --- at home in my dining room, at a quilt retreat, or at the River in our camper.
I know you are suppose to start and complete a quilt on the same machine, even if they are the same brand and you use the same 1/4 inch foot, you still shouldn't switch machines.
But I did! 
Now I have a problem...  

What are my choices?
  • Put the blocks back into the bag and never take them out the bag again.  Then when I die someone else can figure out what to do with them. This would be an option, if I didn't like the colors, but I love the colors.
  • Stretch, press, starch, and pull each block.  Then stretch as I stitch them together and try to make them fit.  That is not a choice for me, as it will not look good!
  • Make two little quilts --- one with the larger blocks and one with the smaller blocks. That's a good choice!
  • Add a new design element using uneven lattice strips and off set them to create a completely different effect.  I like this choice best!
I am going to solve my problem by using creative problem solving, because I can think outside the BLOCK!  
First I will line up all the blocks by size.
The smaller blocks in one row and the larger ones on the next row and then alternate the rows.
I believe even the intersections will still look cool and the original pattern will still flow through the quilt design, thus creating an unusual connection of the blocks. 

I like it!  I like thinking outside the BLOCK!
What do you think?
What would you do?
How have you solved a similar problem?

I cut the strips and started sewing. I will take photos of the process and share the re - construction of my quilt. Tentatively, I plan to have the quilt top complete with photos by Tuesday night and will share it for Hodgepodge Patchwork Tuesday, as tutorial.
You may have had this happen to you and you may want to try it!

Thanks for following along...
P.S. I am planning another type of similar project in January, but this is a quilt top, I started and I do not like the colors or the pattern.  I used a really cool fabric in it, so I am going to completely transform it into a quilt top I will like. 

Linked with:
My Original LIST of UFO's from Oct. 18th
Life in Pieces: 15 minute Challenge Tuesday - Nov. 1, 2011
Today's Creative Blog: Get Your Craft On Tuesday - Nov. 1, 2011
My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia: Tuesday's Treasures - Nov. 1, 2011
Freshly Pieced Work In Progress Tuesday Nov. 2, 2011
Savy Southern Style: WOW Us Wednesday - Nov. 2, 2011
Somewhat Simple: Strut Your Stuff - Nov. 2, 2011
It's Sew Stinkin Cute Linky Party-Nov. 3, 2011
Picket Fence: Inspiration Friday - Nov. 4, 2011
2805 Potpourri Friday - Nov. 4, 2011
Quilting in my Pyjammas: Favorite Things Friday - Nov. 4, 2011
My Repurposed Life: Catch as Catch a Can 51 - Nov. 4, 2011
Confessions of a Fabric Addict: Can I Get a Whoop Whoop? - Nov. 4, 2011
Roca and Company: You ROCK #8 - Nov. 4, 2011
Stuff and Nonsense: fridays unfolded #40 - Nov. 4, 2011
Homemaker in Heels: Weekend Craft Soiree and Blog Hop - Nov. 5, 2011
Sew Many Ways: Sew Darn Cute #39 - Nov. 6, 2011
Pieceful Life: Little Quilt Monday - Nov. 7, 2011 (I linked here, because this can even happen when making mini quilts - so I shared my solution.)
Sew Happy Geek: Manic Monday - Nov. 7, 2011
Canoe Ridge Creations: Sew Modern Monday - Nov. 7, 2011
Chef in Training: Tuesday Talent Show - Nov. 8, 2011


Vroomans' Quilts said...

This is why I just use one machine for piecing - one for quilting - one for specialty threads. BUT, I love your solution to your problem and I think you are going to have a beautiful, one of a kind quilt!

Miss Hillbilly said...

Oh Marcia, your idea is a great one!! This will be so pretty and unique!

Marié du Toit said...

That was good thinking and a real original solution to the problem.So now do not tell anyone about it anymore- just say it is an original quilt!

Benta AtSLIKstitches said...

Oh Marcia, did you cry? I would have. The fabrics are fab, and although I rarely like blocks with HSTs I love the design. Thanks for the info, at least I have learned from this!

Linda said...

I love this quilt! Everything about it. The colors and the fixed up pattern you designed to fix the size issue. Fabulous!

Pat said...

I love the colors! Very creative solution!

Kate said...

Great save. I've had two BOM where I had to fix individual blocks in order to get them set the way I wanted. In both cases, I rippied apart all the seams and restitched the blocks. But it wasn't a whole set, jost one block per BOM.

The Thompsons said...

Way to be super smart and creative. I take my hat off to you. Nice. I love the colors by the way.

Sharon, aka Bootersmom03 said...

I love it! Someone told me that every quilt should have a few mistakes to make it unique!! Way to make it your own! New follower via Savvy Southern Style!

Lynette said...

Wow!!! Oh, so gorgeous!! (and what Marie said) ;D

Pattilou said...

Great solution! I love the color combination too! I've had that problem when taking my Featherweight to class or when my other machine has been in the shop. They do come out differently depending on the machine used! Funny isn't it!

Sarah Craig said...

That's definitely a creative solution to the problem! And so much better than putting it back in the closet! Whoop whoop!!

Katie said...

good luck finishing. I love the colors.

Unknown said...

Excellent solution! The blocks are so beautiful it would be a shame to put them aside. Besides, it adds a touch of uniqueness to the it!

Shay said...

Great solution to a problem that would have almost made me throw up if I had discovered it after all that effort.

I love the way you've put those colours together and it would have been such a pity for it to have ended up in a bag never to see the light of day.

You go girl!

Miri said...

I've never heard of a problem using different machines-very interesting. Your redesign is looking good.

Paulette said...

I think you came up with a great solution! Love those colors together, and it's going to be a beautiful quilt.

Anonymous said...

Great solution! Your sashing choice is perfect & your quilt will be unique!
Whoop Whoop!

Honey at 2805 said...

What a creative solution to your problem! The quilt will be beautiful!

Thank you for sharing you outside the block solution at Potpourri Friday!

gail@My Repurposed Life said...

I really know nothing about quilting, but I think your quilt is going to be beautiful!

gail@My Repurposed Life said...

I really know nothing about quilting, but I think your quilt is going to be beautiful!

elizabeth said...

What a great post! I haven't ever made a mystery quilt, and I like your solution to your problem : ) I am glad you linked up to Little Quilt are always welcome, there really aren't any rules!! I sometimes use different machines to piece, I need to check my stitches.

Rebecca said...

I have all sorts of "oppertunities" to fix stuff.... Icall it
"Design on the fly"

Susie at ProsperityStuff said...

I love the way the blacks and whites look with the teals! Beautiful piecing, and great solution!