Tuesday, March 4, 2014

When things go wrong...

and they generally do, you've got to try your best to fix them, right?

So, someone once asked me how I think, well more like what goes on in my brain when I get an idea. Hahaha... a lot of people ask me this so I must be an odd thinker.  At any given time I have a million and one ideas floating around, along with some serious notes, as well as a stray thought or two.

So a few years ago, I saw a hand-painted piece of fabric from Puteri Noor on eBay.  I just had to have it -- it totally explained how I think.  This is what goes on in my head during what I call my thought process.  I purchased this amazing piece -- here is a photo:

So, by now you're wondering what the When things go wrong title is all about, right?  Well, hold on to your britches, it's going to be a crazy ride.  But no, not yet, nothing went wrong, yet...

I decided to use up some black sateen that I had sitting around so I made really cool wavy borders.  Do I have a picture of them, no.  Why?  This I don't know, I take pictures of everything, why not the really cool wavy borders?  Don't worry, you'll see them later, after the stuff goes wrong.

The borders are on, it looks really cool, I start quilting.
Oh look, the wavy borders!

Fun feathers!

Just a few threads to bury.

Still, nothing wrong at this point.  And it really wasn't a *wrong* it started out as a should-have-known-better.

Here goes:  So I'm quilting along and life is good, pretty feathers, lots of fun swirls, everything looks exactly like the plan in my head.  Until... I should have changed needles.  Well, rewind before that.  I should have not loaded and started quilting this at 11pm.  I should have waited to get some black batting.  Should've, could've, didn't!  So as I was quilting along and using an old needle, toward the end of my quilting in the one corner you can see bits of the batting.   INSERT HERE:  should have known better (on three counts)!  Too late now!  So, what should we do about this.  Well hindsight being 20/20 we should have left it alone!  Yep, that would have been fantastic, a few little pokies of batting would have been wonderful.  But no... we did not do that.  We = me and the voices (stupid ideas) in my head.

Brilliant Idea #1 - Use those wonderful fabric pens to paint the batting holes... hmmm... this is taking way too much time, and it's not really working.

Brilliant Idea #2 - Paint the areas where the batting is showing.  Hmmm... okay, just might work. Wrong.   This happened:

What the heck!  When I painted the sateen turned brown!  What?... black paint turned the fabric brown.   Hmmm... let's try washing the quilt -- wait for it to dry... nothing, scrub the painted areas, nothing.  This quilt was getting uglier by the minute!

Okay, let's try this again - mix up some black tie-dye and paint it on those areas.  What!  It's getting lighter yet... oh, this is not good!

A normal brain would just stop at this point.  Not me, hey, how much worse can this possible get? [insert evil cackling here] a whole lot worse.  Okay, mix up oodles of the black tie-dye and paint the entire black border.  Had to fix it right?  Wrong!

I look like this
The backing looks like this

And the front is now various shades of black

Crying, yes.  Giving up, no!  I am going to make this quilt beautiful again if it kills me!  I take a day away and decide that since the dye is not working maybe I should go the other direction... yep, you guessed it - bleach!  I splattered bleach all over the black borders.

Well, it worked, and didn't look half bad.  And how do you know when your mistake has been corrected?  When the quilt tells you so -- check out that heart in the bleach splatters!

 So now that the issues with the front of the quilt have been corrected, it's time to deal with the back.  Yep, remember that photo up there of the dye bleeding through to the back.  This was the hardest fix yet, how to correct that without having what I do come through to the front.  This was a dilemma!

After a few trips to several stores, I returned home with this:

Fabric paint for upholstery.  Who knew?  Yes, if this were a perfect world I would have done a sample piece, but the only thing I have is the quilt.  In the picture it is still wet.  At this point I didn't have a lot of hope as the outer areas were still much darker, although it did dry to a much more even tone.

Well... it worked, it covered the black dye on the back of the quilt.  BUT... there's that dreaded but! The black upholstery paint bled through to the front of the quilt on all the white areas!  The majority of the white areas were now grey and all the bright colors appeared dingy.

So, since I had no more tears left for this quilt, I grabbed some white paint and did the last fix -

No, it's not perfect, but it's done (well almost, the binding still needs to be finished).  But I laugh, the quilt is titled Thought Process because I felt it showed how I think, but really, the entire quilt was a Thought Process!  Here it is in it's almost finished state:

It was truly a learning experience.  And the one really important thing I am learning is that finished is better than perfect!


  1. Judy MorningstarMarch 5, 2014 at 8:00 AM

    What a challenge! I think it looks quite wonderful now. All the struggles and attempts at fixing the problems has added layers of interest to the piece. Good thing the centre was so precious, or it might have ended up as a dog blanket, eh? The white paint at the end brightened it back up again. Good on ya!

  2. If you decide that you really don't like it.........I have a place for it in my house. Evil Grin.

  3. Enter it in a show somewhere. You will probably win Best of Show!

  4. Karen, I held my breath all the way through! So happy you pulled it out at the end. My brain works in almost the same way, but I end up with a dog blanket, not a masterpiece.

  5. Came out great!!! I always new it would!! You had to get there your way!! It is so you and your thoughts! Ps.. It is perfect!

  6. First off, it is beautiful!!! I bet you will never make this particular "mistake" again, however, your preserverence to complete the project will probably result in a whole new category of fabric art. Dyeing, bleaching, and then repainting adds layers to your project that I am sure others will want to copy on purpose.

  7. It is gorgeous even with all it's challenges. Truth be told I would have packed it in and just sat down and cried and thrown it out, thanks for sharing you showcased some repairs I would never have thought of and also that perseverance does pay.

  8. WOW! I am happy to have learned from your mistake because you documented it so well. Thanks for not giving up and for always providing turned out unique, unbelievable and I love it.

  9. Sometimes those ??mistakes?? turn out to be better in the end anyhow... and we've learned a lot from them, too. :\