Ugly Sewing and Contest Winner

I’m almost embarrassed to put up a photo of something I made today but I thought in the interests of learning and growth I’d show you. It’s a quilt block and it came together so very badly that I’m really not sure what I was thinking. Look. I made it as a contribution to the Quilts for Queensland project. Somehow, I think I’ll be having another go and chalking this one up to experience.

Really ugly wonky block

It was a pattern my mum sent me when I said I was going to have a go at blocks and having made something a little like it with my table topper, I thought how hard can it be? Well apparently quite hard if you want lines to go where they’re supposed to go and colours to look a little less like a dog’s breakfast. I learned a valuable lesson here – a few swatches of fabric on the floor that seem to go well together don’t necessarily work once they’re pieced together. It’s awful really! No balance at all but more disturbing is the complete wonkiness of the lines.

I think I have a lot to learn. But I’m having a laugh at myself really. Time to go back to basics and read up on cutting and piecing techniques. Now I’ve made it once, I’ll know how to avoid mistakes like that one odd red triangle there. How did that even happen? Any quilters who want to point me in the direction of good tutorials or books please speak up!

In happier news, I worked my fingers to the bone today to finish my doily. The final ten rounds took me the whole afternoon and now I just need to do the crochet edging and block it!

I also have a winner of my contest. Thanks for all the kindness and generosity in your comments. That was really sweet. Happily I can announce the winner is Pinry! I got a little thrill when I saw her name came up as I started to think of the lovely things I can gather together as a prize. Give me a little while, Pinry while I get it all sorted!



23 thoughts on “Ugly Sewing and Contest Winner

  1. oh very exciting (winning, not your dissatisfaction with the quilt block!)! thanks so much, bells! perhaps you could use your practise quilt block as the lining for a small purse, so the fabrics can be glimpsed but not the main part of a project?

  2. Pingback: Better Blocks « Bellsknits

  3. Oh don’t be hard on yourself , I say A+ for effort and guts to show it when not entirely happy with your results ! šŸ˜€

    Quilting takes patience, thinking out and luck and like everything, you have to start somewhere. I’m sure your knitting looks completely different today to when you first started out, I know mine certainly does…lol

  4. On seams, there is only one word – PINS
    On books, it may be worth the investment of $46.00 to join the Canberra Quilters ( as they have an extensive library that members can use for free.

  5. don’t be so hard on yourself!!!!!!! I think for your first one it’s pretty good! My first quilt was so embarrassing! When I piece mine i put my pins horizontally on each side of the seams I ‘m joining and sew over them so that my fabrics don’t shift a little which can happen and keep your joins a little bit off

    there are also a few really great books if you can get them at the library or want to get serious. They are so helpful and start from the beginning but have loads of patterns for all skill levels. &

    So I love the block layout and would just use 2 colours – 1 white and 1 coloured. Here are some great blogs for quilting too

    lots of great tutorials on each!

  6. Oh, Helen…thanks so much for posting this. I tried to start the little patchwork apron for my friend’s daughter a few days ago. Words are insufficient for how awful it went. So badly, that I’m actually considering taking a beginning sewing class before I attempt it again. I seriously thought I qualified as beginner/intermediate. Now I realize I’m a strong candidate for the remedial class. šŸ˜‰

  7. I’ve always worked with a colour wheel when it comes to fabric, but I always avoid yellow. Yellow has BIG public relations problems with quilters. It’s either too bright, too pastel or too mustard-y.

    Try complementary or opposites to feed off each other? Oh, and very brave of you to post it!

  8. I haven’t done pieced together blocks myself, so take my advice with a grain of salt–but with as with anything else of this nature, I think it requires precision, precision, precision.

    As for the colors and design, I’d take a look at some 2D design books and art, first. What works in the pieces you like? What doesn’t? I don’t think it’s as easy as just color matching. I think an eye for design will help the most, and you get that by really looking at designs (and this includes other quilts) that work, and those that don’t, and thinking about why.

    • Am definitely heading back to the books and getting lots of ideas from there. It’s the only way to learn. I’m no good with more than two colours at a time!

  9. First of all, I’ve seen much worse. You have darks and lights and the essential pattern show up well. If it holds together, that’s all that really counts, and it will be gorgeous in the dark when someone is cold.

    If I want my seams to match, I start pinning at the seams and cut away the extra at the ends.

    If you want the squares to be the same size, remember to keep the seams the same size, too.

    A rotary cutter will make all things equal. Just stack and slice.

    As for colors, cut yourself some slack. You develop a sense for it. Very few people come to it with the muse full-grown.

    Yay Bells! Sew on!!

  10. Well done on putting in the effort at something you are still getting the hang of. It does get easier as you do more piecing. Quilt making can require a lot of precision both in the initial cutting of the fabric and in the sewing together with accurate seams, not to mention the colour issues. Once you get the hang of it all you’ll be steaming along and we’ll see Alice in all sorts of patchwork outfits šŸ˜‰
    Congratulations to Pinry!

  11. I was a quilter before I was a knitter. Sometimes I feel like getting it all out and giving it a whirl again. Maybe someday! It is good for us to always be learning, don’t you think? Good for you!

  12. Well done for posting a not-so-great finished piece. On my list of “things to do” is to make a quilt but I’m so intimidating by all the wonderful, beautiful pieces that I see around the blogosphere. It’s nice to see someone else who is starting out and finding it not necessarily as easy as just “sewing the pieces together”.

    • I’ve got all the naivete in the world. I see instructions that say ‘just sew pieces together’ and think oh yeah, I can do that. Obviously I can, just not well (yet)!

  13. Oh well, as you say, it is a learning experience. I would love to be able to quilt but have also had some bad results. The difference is that I am not so brave as to try again!

  14. I think this is the patchwork and quilting equivalent of your first garter stitch scarf: never give up, never surrender!!! I can’t wait to see your doily!!

  15. As a non sewer, the more sewing I see the more I appreciate how hard it is to do it well. Having neither the patience or skill myself, I admire your determination to learn more and get it right. I’m not a huge fan of the quilt generally, but the best ones seem to be those that understand something about colour matching I will never get. I suspect this is something that will come more naturally over time too. Learning to knit was like this too, remember. Now look what you can do!

  16. Definitely a good learning experience! Growth as a Seamstress (or Quilter!). The use of colour in patchwork and the alignment of seams is one of the reasons I haven’t yet attempted this type of work! But one day I shall, and I’ll be able to learn from your experiences, hurrah!

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