March 20, 2007

What do you do with your duds?

Do you have them, too?  Those quilt tops that turned out just "blah"?  What do *YOU* do with them?

I had an email conversation with my longarm quilter - her business is beginning to pick up now that she is retired from her 9-5 job (plus, I have given her a number of referrals), and she is trying to work on some sort of scheduling system so she can make sure and accommodate her best customers.  That led me to evaluate my stack of quilt tops to try and prioritize what I wanted to bring her after she finishes my orange quilt.

I really don't have that many finished tops - I am not that prolific a quilter, but along with the 8 or 9 that I would like to take for quilting, there were 4 or 5 that are just total duds and to me, not worth the expense of having machine quilted, nor the time it would take for me to do it myself.  So what to do with these tops?  Is there some organization that I could donate the quilt tops to?

Funny story, I daydreamed all day yesterday about one of my tops that I worked on early in my quilting career.  It was called Mail Order Star, and was, I think, a queen sized top.  The center of the stars were pieced 25-patch blocks - this quilt took me forever, but I really liked it and was anxious to buy some wide backing fabric and get this one quilted.

Yesterday I came home from work and went to my pile of tops in the spare bedroom.  I could not find the Mail Order Star quilt.  I dug through the pile again, then checked the rest of the closet and still could not find the quilt.  Then it dawned on me that perhaps I had put it in the cedar chest upstairs.  Bingo - there it was!  I started to unfold the quilt and OMG, it is the most boring and unimaginative quilt I have ever seen - a definite DUD!  I made it during my Debbie Mumm period - 100% DM fabrics, which, nothing wrong with that, but there is no interest, no spark.  It truly is the most boring quilt ever.  Oh and my piecing was so amateur too - star points cut off everywhere.  I guess I could use it as an example of "what not to do."   But it is kind of fun to revisit one's quilting past.

Another of my earlier quilts is already layered and basted and ready for quilting, although I haven't decided yet if I will take it apart (basted with those plastic tacks) and have the longarm quilter do it instead of me just stitching in the ditch on my machine.  I haven't looked closely at the piecing to see how bad it is, but it's still a pattern and fabrics I love (Lady of the Lake blocks with old-old-old K.P. Kids veggie fabrics), so it's a keeper!


  1. Nice to "see" that you're up and about and feeling better. You were truly "down for the count".
    You should just quilt all of your quilt tops - they are representation of every chapter of your quilting journey. They all can't be perfect.

  2. I was all ready to say "Just throw away the tops you don't like and make room for new ones", until I read Darlene's comment. It really made me stop and think.
    My unfinished tops are folded in a cedar chest as well (our parallel universe thing again). There is an 80's Thousand Triangle top made all in peaches and browns, and a truly ghastly brown and gold sampler quilt that is half hand quilted, and an ugly burgundy and blue log cabin that is quite wonky. Darlene is absolutely correct: these projects are a legacy of our growth as quilters. In addition, the colors and fabric choices, while perhaps not to our taste anymore, are a reflection of what was current at the time we made them. Even if you never do get around to quilting them, they should be kept as a remembrance of how far you have come.

  3. I forgot to add something important. My favorite quilt shop has a policy that if someone has an ugly quilt top they don't want, the shop will quilt it for free and donate it to a charity. There may be other places in one's own area that do the same.

  4. Eleanor Burns travels with hers and shows them off as part of her trunk show comic relief. Some of them are hysterical, like misplaced blocks, and others are nostalgic, like when she and her sons dumpster-dived at OP clothing and she made a quilt of corduroy scraps! I do like the idea of a shop quilting them for free for charity though. I'll have to suggest it to mine.
    I don't have enough tops amassed yet, but I am sick of one I worked on for a year - it looks good, but I'm just tired of seeing it!

  5. Thank you so much for helping me with my question I had for gotten about PIGS too. :o) I am very grateful for your help.

  6. Well if you want to donate some of them please consider going to Linda J's blog and seeing the quilts she makes for the Boys and Girls Ranches. It's such a good cause and the kids get something they can call theri own.
    They donate several hundrds each year and do an amazing job!

  7. Look up your local Project Linus group. They will gladly take your boring tops, assemble them into quilts and distribute them to sick children. Who will think they are wonderful.
    (Project Linus accepts donations of fabric and yarn, too. I think they've gotten some of my old Debbie Mumm.)

  8. Hi, I use them to practice machine quilting and give them to my local battered women and children center. Currently I am the only one making them for the women and family and have been told they get a great response.
    I also know a woman who makes red white and blue veterans quilts and gets a great response.
    In theory I like the idea of keeping my quilts to see how far I have come. But pictures of them work for me, even better if they are pictures of them going to people who really enjoy them.
    I looked through you quilt photos and they are just gorgeous! I am resisting buying any more yarn, he he.

  9. had a boring quilt and she appliqued some objects on hers. It gave it a new life. Ones man's trash is another man's treasure. I like the dontaion idea or altering your original plan to give it new life!