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Thread: Have you ever deconstructed all your pieced blocks?

  1. #1
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    Have you ever deconstructed all your pieced blocks?

    Sometime ago I purchased a pattern called Scrappy Duo. I excitedly purchased all my fabric and hemmed and hawed over the background fabric. I finally made a decision, put all the blocks together, finished the smaller quilt from the leftover pieces and, uh, yeah, quite underwhelmed about the background fabric. So underwhelmed such that I'm considering ripping the background fabric off and replacing it for the larger quilt. I love the pattern; just not the background fabric choice that I struggled over.

    How many of you have done this? I've brainstormed over how I could minimize the "bleh" fabric and am coming up with nothing, zip, nada.

    Please share your experiences and remedies!

  2. #2
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    I have done this. It's tedious - but a good job while in front of the TV - assuming the program is only so-so and you are not truly into the program.

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    According to the Darlene Speckmann - the lady that named Peaky and Spike - if you are not happy with something now - the chances are you will not be happy with it 20 years from now.

    If it is still at a comparatively easy stage of the process to change it - I would.

  4. #4
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    Could you post a picture of your quilt? If we see it, we may could offer other suggestions. It is a pretty pattern. I am assuming that this is the pattern. https://elizabethsquiltprojects.blog...of-sewing.html
    Sew a Little, Love a Lot & Live like you were dying!

  5. #5
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    ​If you plan on taking it apart, clip or cut every 3 to 4 stitches along your bobbin thread. This will allow you to pull the top thread out and you won’t distort your quilt pieces. A quick press with the iron and your pieces will be ready to sew again. Good Luck!

  6. #6
    Power Poster Onebyone's Avatar
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    I have one that is looking blah after I have all the blocks made. What I was thinking I don't know. A sashing won't work it will just highlight the blah blocks. I have them in a box ready to take to the guild free table. Someone will love them. I don't want to look at them anymore.
    I believe giving what I can will never cause me to be in need.
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  7. #7
    Super Member hobbykat1955's Avatar
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    Yup recently did it to a quilt I finished when I was a novice...It was a Family History Quilt and pieced 16 inch blocks and some full 16 inch blocks...15 all together with SID to quilt. I did some small Ohio star blocks for corners on some of the blocks and cut off the points, never used batting just put a heavy weaved fabric on the back...12 yrs later this being an important quilt I pulled that baby all apart and redid every block with stars, and sashing between each block w/a nice border and sent it off to be professionally LA'd...It came out gorgeous and now is an heirloom...

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    I haven't unstitched a quilt but I have made several that just didn't work. Those, I quickly finished and gave away. There is always someone who liked them.

  9. #9
    Super Member rryder's Avatar
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    Yes, I have taken a quilt apart. Another thing that can be done is to use fabric paints to change the look of the background fabric.

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  10. #10
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    Why not finish this and donate it. Make a new one with the different background fabric you want. Seems like this would be more satisfying.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by bearisgray View Post
    According to the Darlene Speckmann - the lady that named Peaky and Spike - if you are not happy with something now - the chances are you will not be happy with it 20 years from now.

    If it is still at a comparatively easy stage of the process to change it - I would.
    Just an FYI, her name was Doreen Speckmann. I went to junior high and high school with her. I never knew she would be famous one day. Unfortunately, she died quite a few years ago. I saw her on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson and was so surprised to see someone I knew!

    Leslie

  12. #12
    Senior Member Quiltah Mama's Avatar
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    I have never dismantled an entire quilt, but I sure have done my fair share of seam ripping in my years of sewing. If I ever made a blah quilt, or a quilt that I looked at when finshed, thought to myself "what was I thinking", I would donate it and make another one that was more appealing to my eye. I'm a firm believer in that not all of us have the same eye for color or taste in quilts, so even if I feel "blah" or "what was I thinking" about a quilt, there is someone out there that will like it.
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by audsgirl View Post
    Just an FYI, her name was Doreen Speckmann. I went to junior high and high school with her. I never knew she would be famous one day. Unfortunately, she died quite a few years ago. I saw her on Simply Quilts with Alex Anderson and was so surprised to see someone I knew!

    Leslie
    Thank you for the correction -

  14. #14
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    I'm usually too lazy to backtrack too far on a project, but have once or twice changed my mind and redone one fabric that wasn't used a whole lot.

    Maybe it could be rescued with some special quilting with variegated thread or with the addition of some appliques. Or another idea might be to find a different fabric to use as cornerstones or a border that would somehow make that background play differently. I love Watson's idea of fabric paint, but would have to wonder how that could be controlled so that it wouldn't bleed into adjacent pieces. Crayolas can be used and provide a pretty stable color, but it would probably be more work than changing the fabric because you have to press the wax out with an iron and paper towels. A really wild approach might be to dye the entire piece in a pastel shade that would not only change the background but put a new "spin" on all the other colors. You'd have to be brave and devil-may-care to try that! I'm thinking of something along the line of tea dying. Probably there are good tutorials online for that process.
    “You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~Maya Angelou.
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  15. #15
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    No, I've never unstitched all the blocks of a quilt in progress. Can't imagine. I think I'd cut my losses, give it away as is, and start anew.

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    Fortunately I would only be ripping the blocks apart as the whole quilt has not been sewn together, but I've decided I'm adopting the "finish it and donate it" and "someone will most likely love the colors" attitude. We have a women's shelter here; maybe this would be a good home. You all have been great and I'm so happy to be a part of this group. Thank you so much!

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    Yes, I have endured that experience. In the end, I was glad I did because I did not "waste the resources". I was glad I did it; however, I hope I never have to think about doing it again. You probably need to 'finish' the project one way or another.

  18. #18
    Super Member SusieQOH's Avatar
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    I have done so on old quilts when I wanted to rescue some of the fabric.

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    Doreen was a fun lady. She's not totally gone if some of us still think fondly of her. And peaky and spikey still live on, too!

  20. #20
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    Back when I was a baby quilter, I made a top that disappointed me because it didn't look exactly like the quilt in the book. I had wanted to use the same fabrics but of course couldn't find them, so I substituted some that were similar. When the top was done, I didn't like it because it wasn't the same and I was a moron, so I gave it to a friend who makes quilts for terminally ill patients. She quilted it and showed it to me before taking it to the hospital, and it was soooo beautiful!! I was very sorry that I had given it away, but happy that it was going to a good cause. Lesson learned - don't give up on a quilt until it's done done.

  21. #21
    Super Member GEMRM's Avatar
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    I did a mystery quilt two years ago that my poor fabric choices meant the feature blocks didn't show the piecing well at all. I had too little contrast between my background (black) and print (black and multi-coloured). The print had too much black space and thus you didn't see the piecing/final design (think Maple Leaf block).
    I intend to rip out all those blocks and replace with a single block of the print.
    Lesson learned - I don't like mystery quilts where you don't know how the fabrics will come together. I've felt like this for awhile, but this one was the reinforcement of why I don't like mystery quilts.
    It sat forlornly on the shelf because I didn't want to finish it like it was and didn't know how to correct it. I even tried decorative stitching around the design of the block to try and emphasize it to no avail....now it has a date with Jack the Ripper....
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  22. #22
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    Sometimes in the course of a project we learn all we can or do all we want... I believe in consistency so try to do all of one stage of a process at a time, since I mostly make bed sized quilts that can be a lot of seams. When I was making my storm at sea a number of years ago, I put on all of the skinny triangles to the big diamonds the wrong way. Picked it all out and did it all again -- including putting them on wrong a second time! LOL I keep reminding myself as I correct things that the other option is to not make the mistake in the first place so learn by how much I hate taking things apart to do it the right way next time.

    But sadly, my vision issues are making it harder and harder to see seams. It is not worth my time at this point to take apart an existing project. It might, however, be a very good time to start over!

    Keep in mind that most masterpieces are not made the first time... painters may make multiple copies of a painting until they get just the right one. Photographers take thousands of off shots just to get the one good shot.

    I would say donate it. Someone with a vision maybe able to do something with it. That might include cutting it up or quilting that plays up to the strengths or in other ways. But my advice is you learned that you want more contrast and life is short so move on to a fresh start

  23. #23
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    Oh, Keep it! If it is your first one, you can tell yourself if you are getting better on the second one. There is nothing wrong with doing this. I kept my first one and then knew that the second one was much better. That is how you can know you are getting good.
    Last edited by QuiltnNan; 05-01-2019 at 09:19 AM. Reason: shouting/all caps

  24. #24
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    Mysher, I know the block by other names but is this the Scrappy Duo by Fons and Porter? I did a little searching and looking.

    I was thinking that maybe if you haven't put the blocks together yet you could add another border around the blocks to add more contrast or to fade out the background a bit more. Either another mitered edge or a standard lattice. Obviously you will add to the size so figure out how many blocks you have to mess with first.

    Otherwise, if you really want to fix the project, taking off just the background triangles from the blocks and replacing them wouldn't be so bad. Sometimes a little portable project while you are watching tv or waiting is actually sort of pleasant.

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