Monday, June 17, 2013

Gettysburg Quilt

This quilt pattern was featured in a current issue of McCalls Quilting.
Log Cabin blocks are a long time favorite of mine and since this design also includes Ohio Star blocks, I knew I wanted to make it.
The fabrics are from my rather large stash of Wuthering Heights and Double Chocolat
by 3 Sisters for Moda.
I finished the quilt top and before boxing it up to send for machine quilting, I spread it out and took this photo.
I did not notice that on the left hand side of the quilt, [as pictured] one 'log' block was 1/4 turn 'off'--spoiling the orderly contrast of light and dark which defines the various settings of Log Cabin quilts.
Marion, of Knox Hill Quilts, often posts photos on Face Book of the projects
she is quilting for her clients.
The moment I saw Marion's photo of my quilt on her long-arm frame, I let out a squawk of dismay!
Its not that unusual when doing a 'layout' to place a block incorrectly--but usually I catch the mistake!
I knew that I couldn't enjoy the quilt with that blatant error--it would be like walking into a room and seeing a large painting hung sideways in a prominant place!
I pondered how I could 'fix' my mistake.
My first thought was to trace the quilting pattern in the area of the block, then pick out the stitching, pick the seams holding the block in place and put the block in correctly, trace the quilting pattern on and follow it with my machine.
None of the above was feasible!
I couldn't make a clear tracing of the graceful pattern.
I would have disturbed stitching in four adjacent blocks.
Plan B: create a duplicate block, hand whip-stich in place, flip the quilt and requilt by machine from the back side.

The duplicate block immediately comforted me to some extent as the pattern was now correct.
I made only a few stitches with the machine before realizing that I couldn't turn the bulky quilt and execute smooth curves.
I did the only possible thing at that point.  I located the block from the back, popped the whole wad into my hand-quilting frame and spent the next four hours laboriously stabbing through all the layers.
[Bear in mind that I was trying to needle through the many seams of the underneath block which were running counter to the seams in the correct top block.
Only another quilter can relate to this woeful tirade!]

The head of the needle often poked through my rubbery thimble.
I had to use the tiny pliers which J. gave me to pull the 'loaded' needle through the layers of fabric.
I broke a needle;  my right hand felt as though the fingers were fused into a claw shape!

Hand quilting, even when nicely done, produces a softer more 'dimpled' surface, while machine quilting creates a pattern which seems to glide over the quilt top.
You will note in the right hand block the difference.
There is also a very faint shadow of the colored fabrics under the off-white.

While I am still annoyed with myself for missing the 'wrong way' block,
I can live with the correction.
I finished applying the binding this evening and spread the quilt on the king-size bed . [The quilt is queen size.]  Even knowing which sequence of fabrics makes up the corrected block, I had to walk around the bed twice before my eye caught the reworked area.
I suspect that the 'eye' for layout is a right brain/left brain issue.  Even working from a charted layout I struggle a bit with this process.
Note to self--PAY ATTENTION!


  1. Oh what a stunning quilt and I love the colours/fabrics used. I can imagine your despair when you saw your mistake and I can quite understand you HAVING to put it right. I think you made a very good job of it and anyone who didn't know of it, would never notice.

    Job well done! I wish I could make a quilt so quickly . . .

  2. Your quilt is breathtakingly beautiful, I'm so happy that you are satisfied with your "fix". It is truly a masterpiece. I love your fabric choice and nothing says "home" to me,more than a log cabin quilt.

  3. It is still beautiful, despite what you call a mistake :-)

  4. It looks perfect to me! Beautiful colours. I love it.

  5. It is absolutely gorgeous ....the design is stunning.xx

  6. It looks perfectly beautiful to me! But being a bit OCD, I can understand you wanting to fix what you perceived as a flaw. The Amish always make one block a little "off" because the believe only God can make perfection. I never have to worry about perfection with my quilt making. Ha!

  7. I can emphasis, - it's like making an error in threading a warp, - the error will always pop out to trouble you, but as time passes I am more and more with the Amish! Beautiful quilt!

  8. I think it looks just perfect Sharon, well done .xx

  9. Sharon, I was going to say the same thing that Jane did above - about the Amish! I think it's beautiful - I love the pattern and the colors.