Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Beauty from a Tangled Mess.

This lovely, bright quilt, sitting so softly under my sunroom window, had such a tumultuous beginning. I bought the fabric as a jelly roll (Spring House by Stephanie Ryan) while taking time off earlier this year. When it arrived, after umming and ahh-ing for a little while, I decided to pre-wash the fabric strips in a lingerie bag, well because I pre-wash everything, and I knew I'd be mixing this (and the one I bought for Evie's bed) with my stash. 

BIG MISTAKE! You can imagine my devastation when I opened the wash machine door to find the fabric that I had bought for some therapuetic sewing, vomitted out of a tear in the bag and sitting in a sluggy, tangled mess!
The photo above was taken after I pulled it all out, painstakingly cut it all apart and hung it over the airer to dry. It was one of those moments where you have to work really hard not to beat yourself up. You're not stupid. You couldn't have known. It's ok, it will still be beautiful. You can make something wonderful out of this, Jodi...was the mantra I tried to stick to instead.

So even thought I'd just invested money in precision cut 2.5" strips, I needed to choose a quilt design that didn't need the seems to meet! I settled on a zig-zag pattern and sewed together groups of four strips, then cut across them on a 45 degree angle. I added some Soul Blossoms by Amy Butler and some white because jelly rolls always sit a bit flat for me. And then I kept cutting and adding and unpicking and re-sewing until I had the size I wanted.

I decided on a close zig-zaggy quilting style. After finishing a few quilts lately with straight stitching, this seemed to take FOREVER! But in the end, I'm so glad I didn't short-cut it. I love that it works with the patchwork rather than cutting across it. It's like it creates movement and harmony all in one.

I finished the binding with a zig-zag stitch, inspired by Rachel's tutorial here. (Though, I only read the tutorial after and realised mine was different!) I sewed the binding on the front, folded it around the back and then stitched with a small zig-zag on the front, like you would with straight stitching. It was fast and effective (I didn't miss any binding on the back!) and I'll definitely be using it again. Sorry I don't have more photos to show what I mean!

And then it has sat in my studio for weeks waiting for the right mix of weather and help! And when it finally came, Evie wanted to join in too. :)

I think it's becoming a bit of a theme this year that through quilting, I'm learning more and more to be kind to myself and to roll with the punches. To let disaster lead to creativity. To be hopeful, patient and trusting. I did have to breathe deeply through some of it! But the end result is a pretty quilt, that can actually be used and enjoyed, rather than still some idea I abandoned months ago when it was a soggy mess. Another beauty out of tragedy!

This quilt is for sale in my new online shop, which you can now access through the 'shop' tab below my header.


  1. This is an absolute beauty. Beauty from a beast of fabric sluggy, tangled mess! I much prefer this zig zag design over one where the seams (and therefore zig zags) DO match - so win, win in my opinion. And the greens together - pure awesome. Love this one!!!

  2. The quilt and Evie are gorgeous, and look how much personality this quilt has. Love it. :)

  3. This is a gorgeous quilt - so sunny and cheerful. I nearly always find there's some point in a project when everything seems to be going wrong and I feel like giving up but if I stick with it it somehow comes right in the end. I'm beginning to see that as a sign it's going to work out ok. It's also often a point where the project turns in a new creative direction that ends up being better than my original plan...

  4. It's absolutely beautiful! I love the colours!

  5. What a nightmare! The end result is beautiful though!

  6. Gorgeous! Which designer is this fabric by if you don't mind me asking?

  7. Beautiful! I would have been sorely tempted to throw the whole mess in a box and forget about it. Way to go!

  8. Beautiful quilt! What line of fabric was the jelly roll? I just love pink and green/aqua quilts :)

  9. It's a gorgeous piece, made even more poignant because of its conception! Like yourself, I ALWAYS prewashed. EVERYTHING. But now I don't. Now I depend on the cold gentle cycle of the machine after finishing and I always hold my breath when the fibers are saturated.
    Be gentle with yourself!

  10. I quite often mess up in a small way and find I like it even better once I dig myself out of the hole I manage to find myself in! Well done for persevering however Evie steals the show!

  11. I have totally done this with precut fabric! Unfortunately mine is still sitting in a tangled mess. It has been years since I've attempted to salvage it. Mabe your story will motivate me - after all your results turned out GORGEOUS!!!

  12. Your quilt is beautiful and the quilting itself is perfect! Loved your story about how it all came about--the good and the bad ending up in such a lovely piece of work. Thanks for sharing.:)

  13. That really is beauty out of disaster.

  14. It's a beautiful quilt and a good reminder that things don't always go as planned and we need to be ready to adapt, a good thing to keep in mind for all us moms out there.

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I so love your comments! I read all of them and reply when I can. If you don't hear back, I'm lost under a mound of scraps or outside jumping on the trampoline with the kids. Jodi. xx