*Apologies to Dave Eggers for stealing and abusing the title of your book (which bored me silly!).
Remember the quilt I started making for Alice for Christmas? The top of it was beautiful. It looked like this.
When it came time to actually quilt it, I got nervous. I know why. The other quilting projects I’d worked on were just for me. They were fun. I was new. I was learning. I went in with an attitude that spoke of not caring if I messed it up because I was just mucking around.
With Alice’s quilt, I was not mucking around. I was serious. And I felt serious. I remember calling my mum the morning I was going to start saying ‘I think I’m over-thinking this. I feel so nervous.’
And you know what? Those nerves didn’t help. Look what happened to the strip I’d sewn into the back.
Staggeringly bad warping. I did everything right. I pinned the quilt heavily, I did all that taping the back to the floor and smoothing it out that you’re supposed to do but nothing worked. I knew as I started sewing those straight lines that it was wrong, wrong, wrong.
The front looked nice.
But even though Alice is not yet three, and has nothing like an eye for perfection, I just knew I couldn’t live with the quilt with that horrid warping. I hope she’ll have this quilt for a long time – I don’t want it to be poorly made. I’m a newbie. It won’t be great. But it really shouldn’t be that bad either.
So I sulked for about a week (and I did really sulk – one day my mum asked me what was wrong and I said I was feeling down and we worked out that this bloody quilt was depressing the crap out of me).
The one night I sat down and begun unpicking the dozen or more lines I’d worked down the centre of the quilt.
Such a big job. It took me about three evenings. I figured that really, if she is to have this quilt for a long time, what’s a few evenings of ripping out? One day I can tell her I did that and maybe she’ll smile and think I’m crazy but it’s ok.
One night I got over zealous with the seam ripper and I nicked the quilt and there’s a hole but I’m going to applique or patch the hole and it’ll be ok.
Honestly the day this quilt is done I will feel like I’ve climbed Kilamajaro. It’s not even that big, as far as quilts go, but it’s been painful. I’m determined not to throw it in a cupboard and forget about it though I realise many would. I just can’t. I will just hate myself.
If anyone who’s got a clue can advise me how to avoid such hideous warping again, I’d be so pleased. One thing I’m doing is getting rid of the bamboo batting I was using. It’s way too slippery. I’ve bought some cotton/wool batting and I hope it’ll be better.
Oh and another thing? It’s no longer Alice’s Christmas quilt. She didn’t know it was coming so I’m not going to kill myself getting it done. I’ve knitted her something and bought her some books. That’ll be fine. Life’s too short to live with that kind of stress.