Friday, October 28, 2011

Bloggers' Quilt Festival Entry

Today I'd like to share my entry for the Blogger's Quilt Festival.  


This is my Wonky Asterisk Quilt, which was finished in November 2010.  
Wonky Asterisk Quilt, 42 in. X 42 in.
Every quilt is a journey. Some journeys are smooth sailing and others are miserable and filled with obstacles and disasters. This quilt journey was of the disastrous variety. In fact, it went in the trash can--twice! Eventually this disaster became one of my all time favorites quilts. I learned an awful lot along the way.


It all started with the fabric. You see, I am a fiend for polka dots, so when I scored these Twice the Charm Rolls of Crazy for Dots and Stripes on clearance sale I was ecstatic, but  I couldn't figure out what with them. Twice the Charm is a very oddly sized pre-cut!
Along came Karen Griska's Asterisk Quilt Along. I loved the quilt she designed, and in spite of the fact that my fabric strips were not actually wide enough for the pattern, I went for it any way. Piecing the blocks was a challenge, all those bias edges and so much seam allowance bulk! Try as I might, I couldn't keep everything straight and even, and my little blocks ended up wildly crooked and all different sizes because I'd stretched all that bias. I had a real mess. My blocks looked nothing like the beauties that the other quilters were making. I was totally discouraged, and I tossed them in the sewing room trash can and walked away. 


The next morning I pulled the blocks out of the trash can. I couldn't bring myself to toss them after all that work! I stuck them in a box so I didn't have to look at the ugly little things. They stayed in the box for a long time, but I couldn't stop thinking about them. One day I decided to trim the blocks to be all the same size, which ended up being a little over 4 inches. They were still all wildly wonky, but at least they were square! I still felt bad every time I looked at the blocks. I felt I had wasted the fabric and my time, and all I had was a big ugly mess. Yep, back in the trash can. After a couple days I rescued them again.  


Now I was determined to make something out of them, and it was time to get creative. The quilt pattern had all the asterisks arranged in rows.  Well, that didn't work with my wonky blocks. All it did was draw attention to the fact that my lines didn't even come close to matching up. I decided to add sashing strips in between each block, and between the rows to distract the eye. I struggled with layout ideas, and even had my blog readers vote on different ideas to help me decide what to do.


Now I had this 25.5 inch square, and no idea how to finish it off, and a determination not to spend another cent on it. I added a white inner border, and was clueless on how to make an outer border. Only small bits of the fabric was left from making the blocks. One day I grabbed them up and started cutting narrow strips. I tossed them in a plastic box and mixed them up.
Over many weeks I would pull out this box and sew strips together.  It was rather tedious at first, but became more fun as the strip sets grew larger. My kitty Daisy was a big helper during this process. She would dig through the pile and toss certain pieces on the floor.  She liked to watch them fall to the ground, then she would meow at me expectantly, waiting for me to pick them up so she could do it again. She had never had so much fun!

Eventually I had long strips, but the strips were not long enough for borders. Frustrated again, the project hit a stand still. Finally, I remembered I had four asterisk blocks that weren't used in the top, which became cornerstones, and suddenly I had a finished quilt top!  On impulse, I tossed this quilt in with another quilt I was sending off to the long arm quilter, and I am so glad I did!  Here are a couple close ups of the quilting. 

The quilter did loopy quilting in the center, and quilted leaves on the border. When the quilt came back to me, I discovered an astonishing thing--I LOVE THIS QUILT! It was a long process, but I learned a lot. I learned that sometimes you need to put something away for a while, and come back to it with fresh eyes. I learned to think more creatively and follow my instincts and to trust my decisions. I learned to take my time. 


I learned a quilt doesn't have to be perfect to be PERFECT! 


I hope you enjoyed meeting my Wonky Asterisk Quilt!  Be sure and visit all the Quilt Festival Entries, you'll be so inspired by the quilts and the stories!


Happy Stitching!

54 comments:

Diane H said...

Great quilt, Staci. I love seeing the magic the longarmers can do to a quilt.

WoolenSails said...

WOnderful quilt and story behind it, sometimes it is the things we don't plan that come out the best.

Debbie

Mary said...

Saved from the Trash can. Thanks for sharing. The quilting changed it totally!

quiltingnana said...

I just LOVE that quilt

grendelskin said...

This is one of my all-time favorite Asterisks - and the blocks don't look very wonky to me! I think the frivolous block design, combined with your cheery dots, makes for a very forgiving palette; yours is definitely a winner!

p.s. - your Daisy looks a lot like my Iki!

Sunnybec said...

Love that quilt. Thanks for showing us the close up of the quilting, it's nice to get different ideas.

notes of sincerity said...

What a fun quilt and I love your little helper! :o)

A.J. Dub. said...

I love it! I opened the post and thought "Wow!". So glad you love it too, after all your hard work.

Queenie Believe said...

I'm so glad you saved this one from the trips to the trash for it is a stunning quilt. I love all the color.
Have a great day.
Always, Queenie

Heidi said...

What a shame if you had left it in the trash!!!

I am totally pinning it!!! Just to look at it!

fallingforpieces said...

Such a fantastic reminder to keep at tough projects. What a stunning quilt!

cauchy09 said...

oh, yes! this quilt is quite wonderful! i'm so glad to kept at it.

Dirt Road Quilter said...

One of my favorites! I'm so glad you rescued it from the trash pile! All those scrappy, cheerful dots deserve to be loved. Sometime I think our favorite quilts end up being the ones we struggle with the most...and they seem to be the ones we learn the most from too.

Dirt Road Quilter said...

One of my favorites! I'm so glad you rescued it from the trash pile! All those scrappy, cheerful dots deserve to be loved. Sometime I think our favorite quilts end up being the ones we struggle with the most...and they seem to be the ones we learn the most from too.

Sarah Craig said...

Staci, it really is an amazing quilt! I'm so glad you rescued it from the trash! Just goes to show you that everything can be beautiful in the right hands.......

Linda at Roscoe's Ma said...

This is a yummy, happy quilt! Love it!

Rachaeldaisy said...

What a story!! Its a gorgeous fun happy quilt, I'm glad it lived to tell the tale!!

Carla said...

great post! this quilt is definitely on my 'TO DO' list!

Shannon said...

BEAUTIFUL!! I love it!

Janet said...

This quilt is beautiful, colourful and fun. Amazing that it turned out so wonderful after giving you so much grief.

Barbara said...

I LOVE all the color in this. What fun!

Nicky said...

Fabulous finish! And a story that makes us all want to persevere with our as yet unloved projects!

Wendy said...

I have a quilt wall hanging stashed in a tub under my bed...one i have thrown away several times. I didn't struggle with it as much as you have with this one but I kinda know the feeling. Glad you stuck with yours. It is AWESOME!

Becky said...

Oh, it's fantastic. I'm glad you decided to stick with this one. It's amazing.

Leanne said...

It turned out to be such a wonderful and cheerful quilt! Thank you for sharing your story, it is helpful to know that others have these issues too.

Jessica said...

So unique!! I love it!

Cathy said...

It is fantastic! Who would know the struggles that you went through!?

Snoodles said...

Wow, you were determined! You rock, girl! Love this quilt. I am so into brights and scrappy - just beautiful!

Anita said...

It's beautiful, Staci! I love the colors!

laura said...

lovely quilt!

Andrea said...

is a spectacular quilt!!

MissMary said...

j'adorable

Leslie can't stop quilting said...

What a beauty Staci....way to never give up!!

Karen said...

so glad you rescued this from the trash - it is so beautiful!

Kit Lang said...

What a cheerful quilt! Thanks for sharing. :)

Lyanna L. said...

I have recently learned that lesson as well. Perfect doesn't always equal perfect. =)

But I enjoyed your post - the quilt is so fun!

Amy said...

I'm so glad you didn't give up on it. Your quilt looks fantastic!

Julie Fukuda said...

There is a good lesson here that will inspire others. I'm glad you stuck it out and I do love those polka dots!

Karen said...

I love this quilt and the gorgeous fabric you used. I'm so pleased you finished it. It's so colourful and vibrant.

Nanette Merrill said...

I REALLLLY love this. Gotta make one. Love all the photos.

Katie said...

It's such a wonderful quilt, I'm so glad you rescued it from the trash! You did a great job figuring out how to make it work. Aren't kitties the greatest helpers? Daisy is a cutie!

Miki Willa said...

I, too, love this quilt. The excitement of the colors and the polka dots make it come alive. Good thing you rescued it and kept going. Sometimes, things that make us the craziest while we are working on them end up being our faborites.

Sarcastic Quilter said...

First things first, GET THAT GARBAGE CAN OUT OF YOUR SEWING ROOM! Seriously... keep only a tiny bowl for threads. Scraps to the floor when cutting to be cleaned later and only a box for when you have troubles wtih your blocks. Because girl, this quilt is friggin' gorgeous! I love, love, love it! I love polka dots, love polka dots and stripes and I don't think this would have looked half as good if it was all precision like the others in the QAL. Honestly, Stripes and dots ALWAYS go their own way? You should have known that when you bought the roles. -wink-

So glad you rescued it twice and finished it off. It's great.

Jennifer @ Ellison Lane Quilts said...

I absolutely love this quilt- it is so much fun and just perfect - SO glad you kept going on it.
Thanks for sharing your process- it is always nice to read about imperfections and changes of plans- happens to me a lot! :)

Valentina said...

Staci: my first reaction was a gasp! "What a gorgeous quilt!" then another gasp "you did what? Twice?!" LOL
I hope you learned your lessons well, because wow: This is a GORGEOUS Quilt! And having your kitty help you... sweet! The best quilts are the ones we make our own, inspired by others, but all ours. I am so glad you persevered, and now you have inspired me to have a go! Spotty dotties and stripes are my favourites too! And I believe I have some blocks in my 'under construction' bin I am ready to have a new fresh look at! Thanks for the visit, and I'll be back... can't get your orange blocks out of my mind! :)

Vicki @ DottyJane said...

Great save!! It's really a beautiful quilt:)

Shari said...

What a great quilt! It certainly pays to persevere - finished is better than perfect! The quilting just finishes it off nicely...

Mary@QuiltGenius said...

That's a lot of dots! It is absolutely lovely. :)

Mary
http://www.quiltgenius.com

Little Island Quilting said...

I cannot believe this was heading for the dustbin! This is one of the nicest quilts I've seen so far in the BQF.

Habibti at Home said...

Great quilt!! I love poka dots too and love watching your kitty play in your pile of pretty fabric.

Sherry said...

What a delightful quilt - Love it!

Deb said...

Oh you are such a noddy! That quilt is gorgeous! I can't believe you threw it in the trash.

Melissa P said...

Perfection is highly overrated. Your quilt shows how much more is at stake than perfection. Learning experiences are far more valuable than easy perfection.

Martha said...

What a lovely quilt..so fun and colorful...and you sure had a pretty assistant to help you. Thank you for sharing.