Monday, June 7, 2021

Help! My fabric is shrinking

 I've been sewing for many years. You would think by now that I've learned everything there is to learn. And you would think that I don't make mistakes. Hardly! I've barely scratched the surface of what's out there, and I make mistakes EVERY DAY. 

Here's a couple of observations that drive me crazy!! 

1. "Wow! Your stuff is perfect!"  I get this a lot from people. My stuff is FAR FROM PERFECT. Points get chopped off, seams sometimes don't match, and colors - well, sometimes they don't work as they should. And I make stuff up as I go along. 

2. "Wow! You do so much!"  While this one might be true, it's because, for the last 20 years, it's been my job to make stuff. I am one of those "lucky" ones whose hobby is also their day job. Trust me, sometimes, it's not fun when there's a deadline, and you're sewing because you have to, not because you want to. 

3. "Wow! You have an amazing stash!" Yes, while this is also true, that stash is also a headache. It's taken me loads of time to amass it and keep it organized. It takes a LOT of space in the house. Never mind how much money is invested there. I could have taken some great vacations with the amount of money tied up in that stash. And at some point, I have to get rid of it. 

Anyway - you get the point here. The grass isn't always greener on the other side of the fence. I LOVE what I do, but it's a job! And as I mentioned, my stuff is far from perfect. But here's where I differ from a lot of people. I'm a pretty confident person, and I am willing to make up a story about my quilt that turns the bad parts into good. I'm willing to learn from the mistakes, although it seems that I continue to make them! And I'm good with that. Life is just too short to be roadblocked when it comes to things I want to do. 

I know that I've mentioned this before, but the best advice I ever got was from my grandpa. He told me, "walk like you know where you're going, even when you're lost!" Sage advice has stuck with me for years. 

The other thing about making mistakes - if you screw up, it's fabric. It's a few dollars (well, maybe more now), but we are NOT talking heart surgery where a screw-up can kill someone. This is FABRIC, and it's our hobby, and it's supposed to be FUN. If it's not fun, then you need a new hobby!!!

Why am I telling you all this? Well, I had a "fun" day yesterday. First, I dropped off a bunch of stuff with my MIL, so that'll keep her busy sewing for a  LONG time, I hope! She's good, and she's fast!

Then I decided to get some sewing done. I didn't work on the magazine quilt with the impending deadline because I needed some time to do "just for me!". 

This is what happened. 

I was trying to get the twig row completed on my All in a Row quilt. It just wasn't happening. I don't know how many times I had to rip out these very SIMPLE blocks. What was the issue? I wanted all the seams to nest on the back. Well, that took forever, and then when I was pressing it after it was totally together? MISTAKE in the rotation of the blocks. So one half of the row was one way, and the other half was the other way. MORE RIPPING!!! 

A ripping good time

I persevered. It wasn't pretty, but from the front, it looks great. All the seams nest on the back, and I'm calling that row DONE. I'll share it later this week. 

OH - on the way home from MIL's, a quick stop to get some refreshments! Which size? Oh yes - the regular one, please - the one with the 570 calories. Can you believe that DH had the gall to call me scrawny the other day. Seriously?? I haven't lost any weight during the pandemic. I'm hanging out in my 5-pound buffer zone. I might be scrawny compared to him! But I'm still the same. I might be leaner, but loose T-shirts hide a lot of sins! 

My snack!

Once the twig row was under control, I decided to bring out another project. As part of our embroidery club, several of us decided to work on a larger project. Particularly one that needs to be finished. So I dug this one out. It's a Kimberbell design. 

Oh my, this bucket of fabric has been hiding upstairs in Studio U for a couple of years. I think I saw an e-mail in the box dated 2018. So it's older, but not ancient!!! I taught it as a class somewhere. 

Bucket of fabric for the Kimberbell project

Some of the sections were together, but some were not. I had to remove the stabilizer on the back of this block, trim it down and cut the threads to make the fringed flower. 

A block that needed to be trimmed

I had to trim some pineapple blocks. This is one of the little ones. 

Trimming a small pineapple block

And here's the large one. 

Trimming the large pineapple block

I had a patchwork in the hoop block that I've been using as a demo. It needed to be trimmed, and that got done as well. Oh boy - I think all the blocks are now ready to sew together. 

Trimming the patchwork in the hoop block

I started to press this block and WAIT A MINUTE - the fabric is shrinking. What's going on??? 

The fabric is shrinking!

Oh, shoot - I forgot this was on a water-soluble stabilizer, and this is what happens when you press it with a hot steam iron! It shrinks up!! 

So, I had to rinse that block out, and thankfully, it was fine once it was dry and pressed. 

The block was saved

This gave me a flashback to a class many years ago. A student was at the ironing board and suddenly yelled that her fabric was shrinking! WHAT??? We all rushed over, and this is what we saw. 

Oops - the fabric really did shrink!

Indeed her fabric was shrinking. The green is 100% polyester!! The other two fabrics are cotton. That's what happens to polyester when you press with a hot iron! It melts. I asked if I could keep this as a sample. 

OK -- so back to my quilt. I got all the sections together and put them on the wall. 

The quilt top

Hmm - these are pretty insipid colors for me. I love the quilt, but not the colors. This was an experiment in coloring for me. It's not a total fail, but I'm less than thrilled with it. 

Then as I was really looking at it, I realized that I've made some goof ups. What? Well - have a look. 

Hmm - like fabrics touching

All those places I've circled have the SAME fabric touching. You think I would have paid a bit more attention to that. And I'm noticing that the block in the bottom row - green, yellow, and white is supposed to be like the other blocks in the quilt. Well, that's not a huge deal - but the greens are touching. 

And here's another dilemma - what the heck am I going to put on for borders? I think I was supposed to use that plaid on the right, which I LOVE, but there's barely any blue in this quilt. 

So what to do? Why I'm going to fix the stupid quilt! Not all the bits - I'm not crazy. See in this next photo how the kite and the watermelon have the SAME backgrounds. Too bad - it's staying that way. But the red check is the same as the background for the pineapple. The red check piece is easy enough to change. 

The solid piece of the red check goes!

The background of the flying geese and the wording is the SAME, and the value contrast is not great on the words. Too bad - it stays that way. 

No contrast in the wording

So I have replaced several pieces of fabric this morning, and it was easy to do by auditioning other fabrics right on the quilt. I'm replacing one of the grey bicycle fabrics in the top left with a burgundy. Much better. 

Auditioning fabrics

Then I realized that I still have to applique the drink straws in place. 

Drink straws need to be appliqued in place

More drink straws to applique

Well, this just goes to show that not every quilt is a 100% success. I love this quilt, and I may make it over just to show how you can make a quilt that is OK versus a spectacular quilt. I know - do I really need to remake it to prove that point? I'm not sure. 

Here's another dilemma to ponder. Someone saw one of my quilts and wants to make it. It's a family member who will appreciate it, and I happen to owe them a quilt - that's a LONG story. Should I just gift them this quilt and be done with it? It's one of my favorite quilts (I designed it). While I love the original, I'm not doing anything with it. ACK!!!!  Well - I think I'm about ready to offer it to them—one less quilt for me to move around. God knows I have way too many. BUT I want to hand-deliver it, and that means we need to get out of COVID fast. 

Well, there you have it. I'm far from perfect. But the difference between many other people and me - I don't have time to dwell on the mistakes. Just fix them and move on. And if it's less than perfect, I'm OK with that. I'm not perfect, so why should I expect my quilts to be perfect? And perfect according to whom???  No - life is way too short to dwell on that. Get moving!!!!

As I ordered one pair of running shoes, signed up for Quilt Canada, and signed up with my new team to do a cross-Canada walk that starts on Canada Day (July 1). More on that another day!!! We all live close enough together that we can get photos from time to time of our team!!! I can't wait to start!!! Sign up for Quilt Canada, and then we can compare notes!!!!

Oh -- I have to say that yes, it's hot, but not unbearable. Why? The trees in our backyard are amazing. We sat outside for dinner, and while the temperature was feeling like 39, it was nowhere near that temperature in the shady backyard. Do I love my backyard? You bet!!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. 

Have a super day!!!!



  1. I was hand stitching binding last night and came across a tiny pleat. Yes, it stayed and I worked with it. Perfect no but I would use it so it's good enough!

    Happy Monday :-)

    1. Elle --- You gotta love that relaxed style. I so wish I knew that when I started. My quilt teacher was relaxed, but to the point of being sloppy and that didn't agree with me. Relaxed, but still take care - that's my new motto!! Have a great week.