January 22, 2012

Ball and Chain

Do you ever have one of those quilt projects that you can't wait to get back in your sewing room to work on? The quilt I'm working on is NOT one of them.

Don't get me wrong - I love the quilt, but this has been a very difficult project from the start. I already owned the pattern when I discovered an online quilt shop offering it as a Block of the Month. I signed up and chose the reproduction fabrics option. I was thrilled with the first package of 3 blocks that arrived and made them immediately. Then the blocks got stuck in a box as I moved on to another quilt and Golden Memories became a UFO. That was in 2007.

Fast forward to 2011, which became a year of finishing some UFOs for me. Since I was working on a couple of other BOM projects from 2007, why not this one? One big challenge were the log cabin blocks. Those are 1-1/4" strips, people! I don't really like repetitive blocks like these, so I decided I would finish them first, and then I would treat myself for finishing by doing the more fun sampler blocks.

I finished all of the log cabin blocks and started in on the sampler blocks. I finished the first 3 in 2007 and couldn't wait to make more. Number 4 went off without a hitch. Number 5 had some fabric issues and as I later discovered, so did most of the rest of sampler blocks. I spent many, many, many hours pawing through my stash to try and come up with pleasing fabric combinations. It was exhausting!

I spent most of November and December working on this quilt and was so overjoyed to get all the blocks done. When I started to sew the rows together, things weren't fitting together very smoothly. Some of the sampler blocks were a bit too big, but I tried to fit them in. I knew if I had to struggle with sewing them together, I wouldn't be happy with the finished quilt.

So, I put the quilt aside, worked on some kaleidoscope blocks and then decided that Golden Memories was wrecking my mojo. I didn't even want to go in my sewing room. I had to tackle the quilt top and I had to win! I ripped out 2 rows of blocks and then put the blocks back up on my design wall. I measured every sampler block. There were 7 of them that were 1/4 inch too big. Too big! You might think I would have noticed this sooner, but since they fit together in the first place, they had to be the right size, right?

The worst offenders were the blocks that had many pieces - some had almost 80 pieces. So I spent the last week homebound because of the snow and I've slowly been remaking the blocks. I'm still avoiding the sewing room because it's not been fun for me to find 7-1/2" blocks to replace the ones in the pattern and also to make that many more fabric choices.

But I will persevere. This quilt will not get the best of me!


  1. good luck! i have a quilt (or two!) right now that are my nemesis...and i'm feeling the same...THEY WILL NOT WIN!!!

  2. You will get the best of this quilt. I know it. Keep up the great work! :)

  3. Oh No :(
    That does not sound fun at all. It's amazing you have stuck with it...I would have given up long ago I am sure!

  4. I am amazed at your perseverance. I would have balled that project up and shoved it under the bed. However, the fabrics are pretty and when you think of the work and fabric you have put into it--and of course who wants a five year old problem project hanging over their heads? The over all effect of those colors and the complexity of the blocks is wonderful and the quilt will be gorgeous when finished. I am curious, were the blocks all designed by the same person, or was it one of those BOMs where the blocks and finishing kits are designed by various shops or designers? Remember the problems I had with that one Civil War BOM I was doing? That thing would not go together properly for love or money. I have been leery of BOMs ever since.

  5. Ok. I hear ya. But wait a minute..... that quilt is STUNNING!!!!!!!!!! Clear your head, take a deep breath and look at that photo-- try and "get away" from the hassle and look at what you've done. It's so so so so pretty. It's..... a magnum opus. You look at it and see "pain in the &$%". I look at it and it truly takes my breath away. Like child birth, years from now you'll forget the pain and love the finished product and probably do it all over again. It's SO pretty-- hang in there. ~robin... welchrobin@hotmail.com

  6. Amen to Anonymous Feb 10, 2012 06:30 AM. I too think your quilt is beautiful and worth the hard work of finishing it. I too have a UFO BOM and after reading your blog on yours I realized why I too have not finished mine. Thanks for your words. I am going to put mine on the sewing table and finish this bear of a BOM.