Making the Most of a Mistake | Inside Quilters Newsletter

I’m going to share another of my older pieces with you. I’m not sure when I made it but it was sometime between 2004 and 2007. I was taking a class to be certified as a teacher for Jenny Haskins. This pretty little wall hanging was one of the projects.

The Finished Quilt

It has lots of detail. There are decorative stitches galore and embroidered buttonholes with ribbon laced through them.

007 Making the Most of a Mistake

Pretty Details

The prairie points are a fun touch too.

008 Making the Most of a Mistake

Prairie Points Made with Two Different Fabrics

But somehow in the construction process, I misunderstood the directions. I don’t remember anymore what went wrong but it was in this area where I was adding strips to the center. It looks fine now so I figured out a way to make it work on the front of the quilt.

0032 Making the Most of a Mistake

This was the problem area.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said this before but, just in case you missed it, here it is again.

When we are sewing/quilting and make a mistake we have several choices.

1. We can pitch the project, discard it … but I almost never do that.

2. We can unsew. Sometimes that’s the easiest solution. But sometimes that means hundreds of stitches and I’m not patient enough to do that.

3. We can add something to another area of the project to distract the viewers so they don’t notice the mistake.

4. We can cover up the mistake with embroidery, applique, ribbons, buttons, etc.

Some of my favorite projects are those where something went amok and I went with choice #3 or 4. That’s the case here. The mistake became a creative opportunity.

By the time I had fixed my construction mistake, I had several rows of decorative stitching on the back and it was starting to look kind of pretty. The backing fabric was just ivory cotton but I was using peach thread in the bobbin so it was the beginning of a subdued, romantic looking quilt back and I went for it.

I had a couple of big pieces of machine embroidered free-standing lace and dozens of tiny free-standing daisy-like flowers.  So working from the back, I attached the lace. I used mono-filament thread in the bobbin so the stitching is not noticeable on the front.

0041 Making the Most of a Mistake

The Quilt Back

The big pieces of lace made a great focal point for the back of the quilt.

0063 Making the Most of a Mistake

Beautiful Machine Embroidered Lace

And the tiny flowers sprinkled over the rest of the quilt are a fun finish. This is a close-up of the area that was problematic when I started.

0051 Making the Most of a Mistake

Detail of the Problem Area

I made this quilt in three different colorways and over the years I’ve given the other two away. But not this one – it’s a favorite because I made a mistake.

And now I have a funny story to tell you. I’ve recently moved and I’ve spent every spare minute for weeks and weeks, first packing and now putting things away and trying to get my house organized. I pretty much ignored my sewing room because that is a hobby after all. Then, last Wednesday, on my drive home from work, I suddenly realized that I have to make two graduation quilts by the middle of May. I “suddenly realized”??? What, didn’t I know that I have grandchildren? Grandchildren who are graduating? Did I forget that I always make graduating grandchildren a quilt? I’d thought about it early in the year. I know what color both of them want their quilts to be. I knew I had quilts to make but it seemed far away in the future. So now I’m looking for something fast and fun to do for the two quilts. One is for a granddaughter who is very much a tomboy. She wants something lime green and navy. I’m looking at something like McCall’s Quilting’s Stellar.

Stellar Making the Most of a Mistake


Or maybe QN’s Gumdrop Twist.

gumdrop Twist Making the Most of a Mistake

Gumdrop Twist

But then I think … 2 quilts, 6 weeks. I need big blocks or big patches. Denim Waves might be a better idea.

Denim Waves Making the Most of a Mistake

Denim Waves

Part of the fun of quiltmaking is the design part. I hope I can make up my mind soon because I really, really have to get moving. I’ve sorted out a whole stack of navy and lime green fabrics so I have begun. Right??? But it’s time to be cutting and sewing, not just daydreaming about what pattern to use.

So now, until next week, be sure to visit Quilters Newsletter on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, Google+ and our website for the latest news, quilting fun and ideas. There are new Web Seminars on, and classes, courses and workshops on Craft and to check out.

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