Saturday, February 18, 2012

A Challenging Snowflake

I am excited to share the finished mini "Snowflake" quilt for my tabletop quilt stand. This project was a challenge (to say the least). Earlier this week, I made time for an hour of sewing time is very precious to me, and I made a point to stop working for an hour to do a little quilting. I have had the kit for this mini quilt for quite some time - it is a called Snowflake TIP (TIP stands for "totally inclusive project") by B's Caprice (a local Iowa designer) - they make kits for fun little quilts that fit my 12" tabletop quilt stand perfectly. This mini quilt had a unique design addition - after piecing the quilt block and making your quilt sandwich (backing, batting, quilt block), you add a piece of organza to the top to give it a pretty shiny sparkle. One of the local quilt shops had a model on display and I really liked it...the sparkly organza gave it a nice snowy winter look.

So with my hour, I sat down to piece the quilt block - as you can see, there are multiple quarter-square triangle units, so I followed each step in the directions very carefully to piece everything properly....taking my time to ensure my triangles had nice perfect points. After making the quarter-square triangles, you assemble them with solid squares to make the four corner blocks - okay, no problem, quilting 101 (or so I thought). Following the diagram in the directions exactly, I pieced all four corner squares, pressing properly - I trim them to exact 6" squares - now I am ready to add the sashing and center square...when low and behold, they don't look right...something was off...I look at the corner block diagram and I made them exact...the problem - the assembly diagram had the corner blocks pictured differently - yep, the diagram for the corner blocks was drawn incorrectly - the pattern directions were wrong - ugh! All four blocks would have to be completely taken apart and redone - I was so frustrated - I just left it sitting on my cutting table where it stayed for several days.

Talking with my friend Lorrie at lunch on Wednesday, I shared this story with her...I told her I was at a loss: do I try to take out all the stitching and fix the blocks? - do I throw it all away and start fresh with some fabric from my stash? - do I buy a new kit and start over? - do I just trash it and forget about it? - I really wasn't sure what I was going to do - the kit was $16.99 and I would hate to just throw it away. I should also mention - the designer doesn't list a website address, an email, or a phone number on the kit, so I could not easily contact them for advice (and of course, the shop where I purchased it- that had a model on display - failed to mention the major error on the pattern). If you are a quilter/seamstress, then you know, once you start using the seam ripper, your pieces become wonky and can lose their shape...I wasn't sure if I would be able to get good points and straight lines if I removed all the stitching and tried to use the same pieces. Lorrie gave me her advice, and I went home still uncertain if I would ever complete the project. However, our lunch had found me in a happy place and that evening, I took all four blocks apart, carefully removing all the stitches. I then pressed each of the pieces using (my favorite) Mary Ellen's Best Press starch alternative, hoping that would help the pieces keep their shape.

Finally today, I sat down at the sewing machine and re-pieced the four corner blocks properly - looking at the assembled quilt diagram and not the "incorrect" corner block diagram. I managed to piece the entire block and only have a couple triangles lose their points - not too bad, I was pretty pleased! Here is the block before adding the organza...

After quilting and binding, I was actually pretty happy with the results...and I was proud of myself for not just throwing it in the trash. There are a lot of sewing projects in my to-do pile and it would have been very easy to work on something new - but there is a sense of self-satisfaction that comes from finishing this particular project. The organza on top really is a nice addition - and it was a new technique for me, which I may try again in the future. So now I will happily change the Valentine quilt in my stand to this Snowflake quilt...and there is even still snow on the ground! Thinking about it - it would be fun to design a St. Patrick's Day block for the know, in my spare time...well, that might have to wait until next year...


  1. Very pretty Belinda; I am glad you conquerred this project so you can not feel guilty (which I know you would). You are such as inspiration. Enjoy your weekend. Hugs, Mary A.

  2. You've done a great job on your quilt block. I love the addition of the organza, which gives it (in your pics at least) a muted look. Can you share a picture of it in the tabletop stand?

  3. Wow! What a fabulous addition to your mini quilt blocks! And yes, I would love to see a pic of it on the tabletop stand!


  4. So glad you made the effort to fix. It turned out absolutely gorgeous. You can really see the difference with the organza on it. It was worth the extra effort. Lorrie