When I committed to making a quilt eleven years ago, I knew I wanted to jump in with a queen-sized Double Wedding Ring. It was a bold choice, bordering on stupid. My mom sounded concerned, but she didn't dissuade me. (Thanks again for hand sewing that scalloped binding, Mom!)
One of the books I picked up with the Double Wedding Ring pattern also had instructions for a Storm at Sea quilt. I was sold. All straight piecing with the illusion of undulating curves seemed like a sweet deal.
After ten years, when I was recovered from (mostly) hand piecing and hand quilting the Double Wedding Ring, I decided I should pick up where my quilty dreams left off and begin a Storm at Sea. I rounded up over ten yards of fabric with extra to allow for mistakes and increasing the size. Then I logged serious hours to cut more than the 1,367 pieces called for by the original instructions.
I use my mom's Bernina 1630 Update '96 sewing machine. She's had this machine since I was twelve, but this time last summer I was googling which way the bobbin should spin. Hooray for online PDF manuals!
This machine is all about the computer. You depend on the screen and the rollerball "mouse" to change its settings. I didn't have a 1/4" presser foot when I started piecing the Storm at Sea, so I just moved my needle position to create a 1/4" seam. It worked great.
Until I turned the machine off.
Just because my sewing machine thinks it's a fancy computer, doesn't mean it is one. While it retains some contents of memory when you turn it off and on, needle position isn't one of them. Somewhere in the middle of a marathon block piecing session, I realized I was sewing a 3/8" seam instead of a 1/4" seam.
I had pieced so many of the 195 blocks called for in the original instructions that I decided to soldier on and piece the rest of them with 3/8" seams. I figured the only consequence would be that my quilt would be smaller, so I would need to cut and piece more blocks to make the quilt as big as I wanted. That didn't bother me, because I was already thinking of making it bigger to go on a queen bed with bigger drops.
Now, after a year of reading quilt blogs everyday, looking at patterns, and making six quilts, I realize that everything has to come together with a fairly high degree of precision . . . especially when there are points involved . . . and solid fabrics . . . with a high contrast white and navy situation.
My favorite quilty quote is "If you can't see it while riding by on a galloping horse, don't worry about it." I'm usually more of an "It's just crafts" and "It'll be FIIIIIIIIINE" kinda gal, but the whole point of this quilt is the illusion created by the seams lining up just so.
|uneven sashing rows with blocks that don't line up|
By the time I started assembling blocks into sashing rows, it was clear I was in trouble. I thought I could ease a few seams and everything would settle together without any major issues. I played with four sashing rows, sewing, ripping, and resewing the seams between the blocks. Significant size differences began to show immediately, though.
|squished points and way off seam with the row above|
It's not just a matter of having slightly squished or slightly floating points. We're talking about losing a 1/4" off of a point and seams not lining up by an inch by the time you get to the end of a sashing row. Assembling a couple of large squares with sashing went just as badly.
Here's what the original quilt instructions describe:
• Finished size: 76"x88"
- 42 large blocks
- 56 small blocks
- 97 sashing blocks
I'd love to make this a queen-sized bed quilt with longer drops, though:
• Ideal finished size: 100"x112"
- 72 large blocks
- 90 small blocks
- 161 sashing blocks
Here's what I have pieced:
• Large blocks: 42
• Small blocks: 56
• Sashing blocks:
- 73 fully pieced
- 44 half pieced
I have extra fabric, and I have some extra pieces cut. I would need to do more cutting to make a bigger quilt, though.
A Request for Your Guidance
So now what?
• Do I rip out all of the seams and start fresh with my 1/4" foot?
• Do I rip out all the seams and use foundation piecing to guarantee success with my next attempt?
• Do I fudge it the best I can and hope those floating and squished points aren't so noticeable in the washed quilt?
• Should I scrap the whole thing, buy new fabric, and start again?
• Should I just forget making it bigger, because this is not the pattern for adding extra rows?
• Is there an option I haven't considered?
Surely I'm not the only one who's ever screwed up a quilt this badly, I would so appreciate any suggestions on how to move forward at this point. Please don't be shy about leaving a small novel in the comments field, clearly novel-length writing is the thing today ;-)
Many thanks for your input!
I'm linking up this tragic tale with Freshly Pieced, Sew Much Ado, Someday Crafts, and Rae Gun Ramblings.