Monday, April 13, 2009

You get what you pay for...or when Murphy's Law takes control

I'm pretty sure when my niece Becky sent me a quilt top she had been working on for her mother-in-law she wasn't expecting my procrastinating tendencies to flare up. Just ask my daughter-in-law--who wondered why it would take me months to make a simple valance for Charlotte's room. Yeah, well that's a post for another day...

I'm usually a really good listmaker because it is so satisfying to cross things off of said list. However, sometimes that just isn't sufficient motivation for me if it's something I'm not sure how to do, maybe not such a fun thing to do, whatever. Then it can sit around, staring me in the face, never letting me forget it's there, basically saying "just do it and get it over with." But I ignore it and do something else.

So back to Becky's quilt top. And if you aren't a quilter, just move on because this will be boring. If you are a quilter, it will probably still be boring but maybe you have also become close friends with your seam ripper over some other project. This quilt will indeed be a treasure when it is completed. Becky had carefully made blocks using vintage hankies and had actually even put two borders on the quilt top. I think the problem may have been that it was set on point, which means you are working with fabric on the bias, which makes it really stretchy, with a tendency to ripple instead of lying nice and flat. She sent me the quilt top months ago, maybe even over a year ago, to see if there was something I could do with the borders to make it lie flat. This is the "you get what you pay for" part.
I opened the box and carefully went through everything she had included (although apparently not carefully enough, because I sure forgot what all was in there), then put it back in the box telling myself I would work on it "soon."

"Soon" turned out to be months later. In the meantime, I needed some white fabric for something. Looking around my sewing room I saw some white fabric that looked just perfect so I cut a big chunk out of it, although at the time I remember thinking, "Hmmm...what is this fabric doing here?" I should have investigated that thought a little more closely. The fact that it was sitting on top of the box from Becky never crossed my mind.

More months passed by. Becky inquired whether it would be done in time for Mother's Day. Mother's Day? You mean this Mother's Day?

Here's the thing: it wasn't even a hard "fix." It just involved taking both borders off, trimming some of the quilt top to get rid of the ripples, measuring and sewing the borders back on.

Enter Murphy's Law. If anything could go wrong, it did go wrong every step of the way.

First of all, our local quilt shop always has a New Year's Day Sale. Everything in the store 25% off. Remember that white fabric that I cut up? In retrospect I thought that was probably what Becky had intended for the back of the quilt. I didn't really investigate the contents of the box before deciding that I would just buy more white fabric for the back and use the cut-up stuff myself for something else. So that's what I did on January 1. Bought yards of white fabric for the back.

Fast forward to March.

I think Becky had already taken both borders off, a floral outer border and a white inner border. See--it's been so long that I don't remember if she took them off and put them in the box, or if I took them off.

Measured the center of the quilt. Cut the side floral borders the correct length. Sewed them on. Decided it was too "busy" and needed a thin plain white border separating the quilt top from the floral fabric. So the floral borders came off...again.

Duh. That's what that white fabric was for, the white that I had cut the chunk out of. Fortunately found more scraps. Measured white border fabric, sewed it on sides. Then realized once I put the white border fabric on all four sides, it messed up the measurements for all the floral borders. They were now all too short. Fortunately I found some scraps and was able to add more fabric to make them the right length, discretely of course. You can hardly even tell...

Took everything out of the shipping box and found.....yards of white fabric for the back. How could I have missed that in the first place?

Called my friend, Liana, who will be machine quilting it. Begged and pleaded with her to please let me bring it to her ASAP for safe keeping. It is now in the hands of a true professional. And she promises it will be done by Mother's Day. However, it does have to come back to me for binding. I hope Murphy and his Law will have moved on to someone else by then.


05 08
JHNickodemus said... #

Whew! But its done! Yay! Looks good! Looking forward to seeing the final project!