I have a confession to make…

…deep breath…. here goes….I am a messy quilter.  You may not be able to tell from what I have put up on the site but in the last couple of weeks the truth has become harder and harder to ignore.

So what has forced this revelation…. Quilting Bees. Over the last couple of weeks I have been getting quilt blocks from around the country – I was “Queen Bee” for both ScrapBeeLicous Bee and Do.good.stitches Hope Circle.

So here is the evidence, as I see it.  Exhibit A…. a block received for the Do.good.stitches Bee.

Exhibit A

Please note the neat seams.  The lack of loose threads. The overall precision and beauty of the back of the block.

Now Exhibit B…. my Icky Thump block for the same quilt.

Exhibit B

It is down right embarrassing.    In my defense I taught myself to quilt and never knew that you should carefully cut threads.  Since seeing my fellow quilters blocks I have started taking more care with my threads but I still trim my paper piecing with scissors.

With these startling revelations and confessions, there is only one saving grace…. you really can not tell from the front of the quilts.

quilt blocks

When setting this block for the Bee, I did not realise that most of my fellow Hope Circle had not paper pieced.  I believe I drove a couple of them to drink.  It really did not occur to me that there are people out there that have not tried paper piecing –  I wrongly assumed that it was a technique commonly used.

I set this block because it was an easy block to do, but very very effective.  Some of you may recognize the inspiration from a post earlier in the year.

Paper pieced block

I made this block using Julie at 627handworks free Icky Thump paper piecing pattern.  I loved it so much and was determined to make a full quilt in this colour way.

Icky Thump blocks
The quilt  is coming together nicely… I am still awaiting a few more blocks in the post and then I can put the top together.  The finished top will be 4 blocks wide x 5 blocks long…. and fabulous.

58 thoughts on “I have a confession to make…

  1. thank you so much for writing this. i JUST realized i needed to trim loose threads… after I quilted and saw red thread peeking through white fabric. WHOOPS. I agree, though – as long as it’s not white, it looks the same from the front. and, i had the same experience during august when everyone was sending me their blocks… i was like, i DO NOT iron like this! hahahahahaah.

    my package is on the way to you!!!!

  2. Oh man, I broke my bee when I requested a paper-pieced block. I still haven’t received them all, and my month was July. o.O It was my first bee, so I didn’t know any better!
    I taught myself as well, and the back of my blocks look quite a bit like yours. 😀

  3. I used my ruler and rotary cutter to trim mine down (after folding the paper back the other way of course) but I am guilty of not always checking to see that I have the right seam allowance with these paper pieced blocks. I always want to conserve fabric because I hate fabric waste. The quilt is stunning! I think it’s probably the prettiest quilt I’ve ever helped make for DGS

    • Natalie I must admit the rotary trimming is too much like hard work for me…but it looks so neat. But I agree about how pretty this quilt is turning out. Everyone did such a wonderful job making the blocks.

  4. I try to get mine super tidy, but they definitely end up a bit ragged on the back, haha. Whatever, it’s getting sandwiched!! I’m self-taught too, so I definitely have some room for improvement, I think.

    I’m still working on a couple little blocks and then I’m mailing your blocks for last month – I’m so so sorry to be so behind 😦 I have swap deadlines piling up/passing me by and I have so little time to sew lately.

  5. Gasp! I am completely disillusioned! No, seriously, what does it matter about the back? Your fronts are more immaculate, things line up more perfectly, and that’s the thing. I confess I like a neat back, but I’m just an anal retentive… I’m loving the colour combination on this quilt; grey and aqua are two of my favourites.

  6. The really great thing about quilting is that you never stop learning! Our friends and quilting partners all have some special technique they can share and we can certainly help them as well. It’s an awesome experience!

    • I love the challenge of the Bee blocks. Every month I am “forced” to make blocks I would not normally make and I LOVE it. It drags me out of my comfort zone and I learn so much. Bees Rock!

  7. I’ve been looking for a pattern for a quilt for my mom, and I’m pretty sure this is it! I’d even seen the Icky Thump block up at 627 Handworks, but the color palette you have here sold it for me. Sweet! I’m eager to see how this turns out. The blocks you have so far look great!

  8. This is a beautiful pattern! I think the front is all that matters! I use a 1/4 inch ruler for paper piecing when I paper piece, it helps me trim the extra and I also use it to help line up my next piece to sew. I’m not nearly as proficient as you though, so I would say stick with what works! 🙂

  9. I’m a messy quilter, too. We should make a club 🙂 I’m pretty sure some of my do. Good Stitches circle members think that I set out to drive them to drink whenever I am quilter, but I really don’t! That’s part of the fun of Bees anyway, right? Trying new techniques?

  10. These look fantastic too! As a fellow paper piecer, I too am often surprised at how many people haven’t tried it (or worse, dread it!!).

    Oh and I totally trim my fabrics back with scissors – would take way too long to go to the cutting board at the other end of the house to trim every seam!!

  11. Oh my goodness, this post cracked me up!! In my almost 20 years as a quilter (self taught), I’ve never once paper-pieced. It’s my goal for next year, but also one of the reasons I’ve never joined bees, I don’t want to fail. LOVE how the top is coming together and the colors are perfect!!

    • Jenn you have to join a Bee… It is so much fun, so challenging but so rewarding. Do not worry about failing…there is no such thing in quilting. Both of my Bees are so supportive and encouraging.

  12. That’s what I thought too, until one of my lighter quilts thread showed through the cloth on the front of the quilt. I thought I was quite meticulous in cutting off the threads as I go. Guess not.

  13. Fabulous doesn’t even begin to describe this!! Stunning would be better, jaw dropping better yet.
    As soon as Julie posted this pattern i wanted to make a whole quilt, and these colours are just perfect! Super jealous!

  14. I’m probably fussier than I need to be, but my blocks look like the top one. For PP blocks, probably it doesn’t matter, as the foundation assures sizing, right? (I haven’t paper pieced, but I get the concept!) For blocks that aren’t foundation pieced, it doesn’t matter what the block looks like on back, but accuracy does impact the overall look. I’ve done a lot of work on group donation quilts, where any number of people have made blocks. Often the ones that look best on back also are pretty accurate. The reverse doesn’t necessarily hold true — those that look great and are sized right on front don’t necessarily have neat backs!

    Still, it’s a beautiful block. I think it’s great people are willing to take on the challenge of a new skill. It’s gonna be beautiful!

    Thanks for the true confessions. Always fun!

    • I think you are right about the precision of the front of the block being reflected in the precision on the back. At least with paper piecing my precision is almost assured…which is more than I can say for my standard piecing, but that is a whole nother confessional.

  15. I am a messy quilter also. I try to keep the back of projects looking neat.. but I get in a hurry and want to get them done.I used to worry like what will the quilter think when they look at back of quilt to load on a frame.. I agree some of are self taught, only learning as we go. But thank God for the technology we have today for sharing things on the computer and youtube videos. I love the block you using for this quilt. I could see how awesome this would be in many different color ways. I have only foundation pieced a few times and the most is my spiderweb quilt I have in the works.

    • I had not thought about what the long arm quilter would think of my mess of blocks. I gave only had one quilt quilted by someone else and I think I now need to send her an apology note. Lol.

  16. Your work is stellar. If you are content with it, then I say – rock on! I wish that I could loosen up some and drop all of that darn trimming, etc. as quilting might be more fun! One thing is certain – your eye for design and color is magnificent! I ran right over and copied the Icky Thump pattern. What’s an Icky Thump? lol

  17. Your piece looks just like my work! I think unless you starch the bejeepers out of the fabric before sewing, you can’t help but get ragged edges whether you rotary cut or scissors cut.

  18. Beautiful Quilt!

    I love paper piecing myself. I took a class from George and Virginia Siciliano and learned foundation piecing from them. George specializes in miniature quilts and is really adamant about keeping the back clean only because he does such small pieces making lots of seams; the back isn’t clean and trimmed down, it adds lots of bulk. Because this is how I was taught, this is what I do.

    However, it really IS the front that counts. And if it still looks fabulous from the front, then don’t sweat the back. It’ll be hidden anyways.

  19. I challenged my bee with a paper pieced block too–I assumed that if I, as a relative newbie, had taught myself paper piecing, everyone could do it. In the end all the blocks turned out fine and some people even made two!

  20. I was glad to take on the challenge of paper piecing (never in all my years!) for your bee request, although I think I did too simple a block due to fear. Joining bees has made me self conscious about the quality of my work that I am sending out – it’s so true, it’s really the end result, and quilting hides all flaws! I love how your bee blocks are coming together – it’s going to be a fabulous quilt!

  21. My blocks always look like that!! Occaisionally I amaze myself by producing one that looks surprisingly neat, but I couldn’t tell you how that happens or what I do differently. I really relate to those open seams how do people get them so tidy? Anyway your blocks are wonderful on the front so I wouldn’t worry 🙂

  22. That was incredibly brave to admit and, the quilt is gorgeous!!! I am also self taught and was a super messy quilter. My quilting has gotten cleaner just from continually quilting. Also, Best Press is your friend for bee blocks. It will keep them all stiff and straight and flat in the mail. Thanks for sharing! Cheers!

  23. I try to be neat (I am a Virgo you know) but there is a limit for how much neatness I do on the backside. No none is ever going to see it – right?
    Ha, there is only one brand of sizing to be found here in Sweden – as far as I know… Lovely Sunday to you.

  24. Pingback: December Block Lotto | Madison Modern Quilt Guild

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