textiles · exploration · misadventure

Backing Up A Bit


Nope. Totally not straight.

Nope. Totally not straight.

I’ve started sewing with a vengeance, and as posted earlier, have started my first quilt.

I completely don’t know what I am doing, but since I totally ignore good advice at my own peril was excited, I decided to make my first quilt, oh, four times as big as the beginner quilt in the Craftsy class I’m watching. Go Curvy.

It’s actually been a lot of fun, despite all kind of surprises along the way. Like, I have problems cutting things to size. Like, I cannot sew two patches together without mismatched edges, even if the two patches are the same size. Like, I cannot do basic math, and so go to the store for backing fabric three times.

Also, once the fabric was already cut out and stuck to my impromptu design wall, I saw that what I’d chosen didn’t have enough variation in value, and the quilt was insipid.

Value= relative darkness and lightness, and is an important consideration, one I’ve had success with in knitting. I LOVE the range of values in my crochet granny square afghan, and one of the best tools I’ve found for assessing value is the black and white photograph, an easy setting on a modern digital camera.

While picking out fabrics for this quilt, I used this setting. See?

Unfortunately, I forgot to ensure I had something of both extremely dark and light value in the same photograph, so I could assess the range of values in the fabrics I chose. The result? Too many values very close to the same shade of grey.


After ransacking the stash for a replacement for the solid yellow. Better:

When I started sewing patches together into blocks, I got another surprise.

I have a bone to pick with quilt tutorials that make the whole “matching seams” thing seam SO easy. Oh yeah, just smoosh ‘em together and the seams will lock and voila, perfect seams.

My wobbly ass!

I spent as much time matching seams as I did sewing patches together. I spent hours finding online technique resources, and I ended up precisely pinning—or trying to pin—every bloody seam. Don’t ever let anyone tell you this is easy. It is not. In some instances, I mismatched my patches by one thread, and they were visibly off.

I’m a beginner; they don’t need to be anal-retentively perfect, and I assume I will get better at it with time. But reasonably close. Sorta kinda, even.

Do you guys already know this? Or is it just me?

15 thoughts on “Backing Up A Bit

  1. OMG…what a GREAT TIP! I never thought of taking my fabrics to b&w to see the range in value! Thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I had the same problems when i started


    • That is so good to hear, Donna, as I’m hoping this is just beginner’s flailing, and I’ll get better as I go. Are you an experienced quilter, then?


      • No still basically a beginner i do not really have the patience for it but something I had wanted to try so I work on one when very bored. My sister is a pro though she taught me but I don’t love doing it like she does. She is working on ones with photos on them now.


  3. Great quilt Robbee!! I love it, just the way it is. Heck, if it was perfect, it would mean it was sewn by a child in China. Are you using a cutting board and rotary cutter? Perfect seams start with perfect squares, and a good sewing machine. I noticed your stitches on that one pic are really uneven. Is that your sewing machine? That will make all your seams mismatch. Sorry…I stole the good machine…. 😦


    • Yep, I’m using a cutting mat and rotary cutter. I *know* my cutting needs work, and it isn’t surprising to hear the sewing machine may play a part. I should really take it in for a tune-up. It’s decent, but not first tier. Using the walking foot would help, right? That’s just for sewing the quilt sandwich, right?

      And yeah, not sure what’s up with the stitches there! I noticed that, and tried to sew as consistently as I could, but I kept coming up with stretches of shorter stitches. And I *did* use my walking foot here.


  4. Pingback: Finishing | curvylou

  5. Pingback: Right Angles Are Hard | curvylou

  6. Pingback: Will to Live | curvylou

  7. Pingback: Quarto | curvylou