Tuesday, July 17, 2012

My Latest Mistake

As I have mentioned before, I love the entire process of making a quilt. Every step is absorbing and rewarding. I like washing and ironing fabric before I bring it into my studio, I like the cutting, the sewing, the quilting and the binding. Here on my latest quilt, however, I goofed. This fabric is supposed to be snow white--it was snow white when I appliqued these 83 skeletons onto it. But the morning I had a date to take it to the quilting machine and quilt it, I realized I had not made a backing for it. That's when I went wrong.

Standing in the corner of my studio was a pole with a 12' x 12' piece of black brushed denim I had bought one time to use for a background on some photos. As I said, I always wash all the fabrics before they come into my studio. But this one had not needed washing, since I was going to use it only for photography. Anyway, I forgot that little piece of information in my hurry to get to my quilting date. I quickly cut the black down to backing size and ran out the door with it.

To make matters even more interesting, when I posted a picture of the finished quilt on my facebook page, an internet friend offered to buy it, instantly. Wonderful! He would take possession of it in September. I could therefore take it on my lecture trip to the east coast and show it off before I sent it away forever.

Back home, however, I noticed that the humidity in the east had made something peculiar happen around the edges of the quilt: the black color seemed to be running. That was when I realized how badly I had messed up. Wondering just how bad it was going to get, I made a little sample using the same fabrics and sprayed some water on it. The black bled through immediately.

I tried many methods to try and get the backing to stop giving off dye, but in the end I had to admit that the quilt was ruined, and would never be the quilt I had envisioned, the quilt I had in fact made.

There might be some way to salvage it yet, to make it into something I can live with. But for now my plan is simply to start over, remembering all the while how much I enjoy the process and how thankful I am to have the opportunity to make an even better version of my idea. I just have to remember not to grit my teeth.

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