Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

I’m learning something the hard way: NEVER RUSH THROUGH BASTING THE QUILT.

ripit3 293x300 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

I spent a lot of time on this little quilt. The paper foundations look like this:

founda1 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

Four foundations are joined to make the block.

ripit6 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

There are about 35 seams in each of the 16 blocks. It wasn’t exactly a one-weekend project.

So by the time I finished the top, I was pretty much “over it.” I was in a hurry to start quilting. I rushed through the basting. I pulled the backing taut (much too taut) and used a minimum of safety pins. I slapped it down and started quilting—I had an idea that excited me so I jumped right in.

ripit2 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway


ripit1 300x120 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

This quilt began developing lumps and bumps and the ugliest puffiness ever. (It was much worse than it looks in the photos.)

I soldiered on, thinking that more quilting would help.

More quilting did not help.

I brought it to the Quiltmaker office, to see what my co-workers thought. One said she’d take it out. Another said she’d leave it in. A third was silent. (Probably a bad sign.)

I really did not want to rip, so I quilted some more. Flatness, my friend, where are you?? Nowhere on this quilt, that’s for sure.

I finally faced up to it. I was never going to be happy with this quilt. I had invested enough time that I didn’t want to finish things up by doing a crummy job of quilting. It was time to rip.

ripit5 300x225 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

A blind hem stitch had been used for the quilting.

I tried a couple of different seam rippers, and found that because of the zigzag stitches which are quite long, ripping wasn’t going to be as bad as I’d thought. I could carefully slide the ripper under each one easily and the entire job wouldn’t take more than a few hours.

ripit4 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

So here I sit: my favorite chair, my favorite music on Pandora radio,  my seam ripper and my quilt. I’ve started frogging (you know: ripit, ripit). One and one-half TV shows later, I once again have three distinct parts instead of a lumpy quilt sandwich.

batt2 Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

You can see from the leftover thread in the batting that I was quite far along with the quilting before deciding to rip it out.

So—here we go again. Sometimes we learn things the hard way.

What quilty things have you learned the hard way? Leave a comment by midnight Thursday, Dec. 30 and I’ll pick a random winner to receive a bundle of fat quarters. The winner is #66 Jessica C over at thebossyquilter.blogspot.com. Congratulations! A fat quarter bundle will be coming your way.

About Diane Harris

I'm an editor for Quiltmaker magazine in Golden, Colorado, USA. For six years, I wrote pattern instructions, product reviews and how-to articles. Then I spent four years as QM's Interactive Editor, working to generate much of our online content. Now I'm back to patterns and how-tos, which is a great fit for me. I still love writing about quilt-related topics for Quilty Pleasures, and I always have my finger on the pulse of the quilting world. I teach a variety of quilt classes and give guild programs, too. Reach me by email: editor@quiltmaker.com.
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79 Responses to Learning the Hard Way Giveaway

  1. Laura says:

    I love reading these comments! I have learned to pin together the side of the two blocks as I move from the design wall (or floor) to the sewing machine. I have ended up sewing together the wrong sides and ripping them out (more than once!) and just one pin helps me tremendously!

  2. Kirsten N says:

    I have learned to measure twice before cutting as I have made a few mistakes not double checking before cutting into fabric!

  3. bonnie says:

    I learned that my best friend in my sewing room is my seam ripper…. If something dosen’t look just right and that happens alot….I hear my mother’s voice in my head saying, if you are going to do it then do it right… so out comes my friendly seam ripper and off we go… I

  4. Mary says:

    I’ve learned each step of the quilting process takes more time than you think it will, and that I need to start things sooner. I make a quilt for each niece and nephew for their wedding, and I have been scrambling to finish hand-sewing the binding on the way to the church on more than one occasion. I’ve also learned that binding by machine is a good alternative!

  5. PeachRainbow says:

    This has happened to me as well, only difference is I never did any thing to rectify it (it was a small cushion cover top).
    The other thing was the last bit of the bobbin thread; resulting in loose and lumpy stitches – after checking everything else I “found” the exact reason for it :(

  6. Donna K says:

    I would say I learned to not procrastinate, but i still do it. :(

  7. VickiT says:

    After purchasing my Viking D1 machine and after taking the four classes to learn all the goodies on my machine including the machine embroidery which I was SO excited about I opted to take another class. This class was to create a quilted wall hanging calendar. If I recall it was a 2 session class but we never finished quite alot of the class from atendees coming unprepared with cut fabrics so they held the class up a lot. We got a lot of the basics down and started the embroidery on the squares but then were left to finish on our own. ACK! I read the directions over and over and called the Viking store manager over and over and each step I was SO excited that I was doing it and it was looking really awesome. I had all the squares embroidered that were supposed to be prior to finishing and stitched with the other blocks and managed to do all this without having to rip anything out so I was very proud. One of the last steps was the actual calendar months themselves and it was explained it would ‘quilt’ the project. I got the first four months embroidery finished and then finally decided to check the back. Ummmm imagine my surprise when I saw all those teeny tiny numbers doing a magnificent job holding the quilt together and each one of those beautfiully embroidered numbers and entire calendar for each month BACKWARDS! UGH Upon closer inspection of the instructions, evidentially the ‘quilting’ was to be only with the top of the wall hanging and the batting and then once the backing was put on the only thing left then was to stitch in the ditch. I couldn’t rip those tiny numbers out so I figured eh -it’s a wall hanging so no one will notice. I’ve learned that when you embroider on a quilt or anything else that the reverse side is always going to be backwards and if embroidering words, it could create a problem for anyone wanting to read it. LOL

  8. Shannon says:

    I am sorry for yourtroubles. That is tough. One of the things that I have learned the hard way is stepping away. If I am working on a project that is giving me fits I need to walk away. I need to take a break. If I keep fighting against the stream I make a bigger mess. When I come back things are better. Hange in there!! Thank you for the give away.

  9. Patty says:

    I also ended up unquilting a quilt for the same reason. Guess the secret is to go slow and do the best!

  10. Sheila Fernkopf says:

    I’ve learned to quilt evenly all over the whole quilt otherwise the backing sags something awful.

  11. Jessica C says:

    I’ve pretty much learned everything the hard way, but to choose one . . . ironing is key. I went through a stage where I ironed nothing because it took too long. I have since learned that it makes piecing SO much easier — that and drawing the diagonal lines for HST. Don’t skip that step if you want your HSTs to lay flat. I’m just sayin’.

  12. Jennifer says:

    I’ve learned the value of putting a new, sharp needle in my machine often. It makes piecing and quilting so much smoother and enjoyable.

  13. Kathi says:

    It was a pivotable (is there such a word?) moment in my quilting journey when I learned that you must measure the length and width through the body of the quilt to determine border length. I have a couple examples of how not to apply borders that I share with my quilting students. It helps them see that quilting skills evolve and that quilters are not just born competent.

  14. Deb says:

    I’ve learned to use lots and lots of pins when basting. I learned to not use thread to baste, because it didn’t hold the quilt together enough. (It could have been I didn’t baste close enough together also.) I had a lot of pleats in the back and didn’t check it until I was over half done. Chalk it up to a learning experience.

  15. Lisa says:

    I have learned a lot the hard way ~ first and foremost, the difference between ironing and pressing, also, don’t sew over pins because it can throw off the electronic machines, check for updates to patterns before you sew them, clean the bobbin area often, use glass headed pins so you don’t melt the plastic pin heads with the iron, change the blade in your cutter frequently and change the needle after every 8-10 hours of sewing. Allow several inches extra of batting and backing so you don’t end up with two inches more quilt top than backing when you get there. Those are the lessons learned I can think of right now!

  16. Nancy Anne says:

    Adjusting the needle when using my 1/4″ foot. I have to move it to the right to get a good 1/4″ seam. I usually discover that I’ve forgotten AGAIN after chain-sewing a large number of pieces which then have to be ripped and re-sewn :o (

  17. Claudia says:

    PS. I love the block you were working on. Any possibility of the pattern? I have lots of stuff that would make a wonderful spiderweb. With anything as small as your quilt seems to be, I spray baste on my design wall, smooth everything out, and NEVER pin.

  18. Claudia says:

    One rule I have had to learn over and over: “Quit when you are tired.” I sewed a collar on a shirt upside down years ago because I didn’t. That was just the first of many re-learnings of the lesson. A friend and I were talking the other night and he remembered his dad saying, “if you don’t have the time to do it right now, when are you going to have time to do it over?”

    One of my favorite “rippiting” tools is a very fine crochet hook. I’m a terror with a stitch ripper (another lesson learned). I think it is a 0000 hook (I inherited a couple). It is so fine but strong, and I can clip a stitch every inch or two, flip the piece over, insert hook and pull. With arthritis developing in my fingers, it is much easier than pulling with my fingers or tweezers.

  19. Vivian says:

    A quote I read in a business article is also so true of quilting “Never mistake a clear view for a short distance”. Never think that just because a project seems easy or says it’s “quick” that you won’t have any problems making it or don’t need to give yourself adequate time to work on it. Don’t assume that just because you’ve made something before or know what you want to do with a project that it will whip up with little trouble.

    It seems to me that those are always the projects that in the end give me the most trouble. Plan for extra time and materials – if a problem arises you’ll appreciate having done so.

  20. Jillquilts says:

    When cutting and piecing blocks or a quilt, always keep the spare fabric with the project! If you need it again do to a mis-cut or mis-sewing, you will always be able to find it and it won’t be used up in other projects.

  21. Angie says:

    Use accurate 1/4″ seams. Don’t let your mind wander, or your 1/4″ seams will not be as precise.

  22. Zarina says:

    Straight line quilting. I made three baby quilts for my three little people aging 2 to 3yo. The first one went quite well. The other two – by the time it ended, the corners are all crooked. I was too lazy and its only small – just left the quilting.

    Then I tried again on a twin size – for ME. I did a minimum quilting and followed other advice (read blog post that come just when I completed the quilting of the three baby quilts) It turned quite good BUT the backing were crooked. Oh well – its mine so just close my eyes and use it (for sleep of course).

    There is one twin size i made after this (hopefully for sale). It was ok BECAUSE its just one direction and not too dense. I have to get back to this to sew at least one line for each block to have that ‘hatch’ look. So dreading that but it has to be done.

  23. SueC says:

    I’ve learned that the tension is especially important on a rag quilt. Thought it would be “fine” but my niece brought back the quilt from college with the seams all ripping! Not fun to mend a rag quilt.

  24. Gwen says:

    To use a flannel board to lay out the block pieces before assembling the block. If I had a dollar for all the times that I
    have twisted and had to resew the block, sometimes more than
    once by turning the pieces and having it turn out the wrong way, I could have most of my quilts professionally quilted.
    I step back and ask myself how many times can you resew a block
    before I get it right. I guess I get my moneys worth when it comes time to try and get something done for a self imposed deadline, and starting the project at the last possible moment in order to get the quilt done.

  25. Darlene B says:

    I’ve learned that before I start free motion quilting, I need to take the time to do a test sample to check for tension issues and to get my hand/foot coordination warmed up.

  26. Gill says:

    The one thing I’ve learned is that when things start going wrong just walk away and come back to it the next day! It does tend to be the quilting when things go wrong doesn’t it???

  27. Rhanda Johnson says:

    Ugh! I feel your pain! One of the biggest lessons I have learned in the 1.5 years of my quilting is that I should stop sewing when I get tired. Inevitably when I am tired I make mistakes. Careless mistakes. Avoidable mistakes. It’s amazing how much better pieces go together after a good nights sleep. :-)

  28. Rhonda says:

    oh been there and done that! and it is so not fun!

    always go with your gut instinct, it usually is the right choice. I have a quilt I did this year and I changed the quilting pattern at the last moment. I do not like the quilt and it will probably find a new home this year. I really really really wish I had chosen the other pattern.

    good luck with re-quilting. it’s a beautiful quilt.

  29. Linda says:

    I used a fabric picked out by a mother for a preschool auction, she was not a quilter and picked out a fabric because it had the school colors in it. I thought a one block wonder would work great since we had 2 fabrics to work with. Later the hexagons were finished and on the design board. 2 days later I figured out an acceptable layout and finished the quilt. Even though they loved it, I thought it was dorky they way the colors and hexagons blended. Lesson learned when making an auction quilt pick the fabrics yourself, or have someone with some knowledge go with. LOL

  30. julie w says:

    I am learning to check that I joined the final seam of my binding correctly before cutting away the extra.

  31. Every thing I do is learned the hard way, lol.
    I tend to jump into things and then realize I should have thought it out first. One thing I learned is to add extra binding. I tend to want to add things when I finish a quilt and extend it into the binding, so this way I have the extra if I need it and I can cut what I don’t need.


  32. MoeWest says:

    As a new quilter, my first lesson was the importance of an accurate 1/4″ seam. Also, when I’m tired and start making mistakes I now know that it is time to stop.

  33. chris says:

    Two very important lessons I have learned: Measure and cut very carefully, oops too many times when I don’t double & triple check. and #2, if it doesn’t feel right when I am doing it, stop and regroup because I will just have to “rip it” if I don’t.

  34. Pokey says:

    I quilt with a domestic machine on a quilt frame. I have too many times started quilting without the tension foot down, which causes a rat’s nest of thread on the back, and some razzle-frazzle UNstitching. I’m getting better about checking that the pressure foot is DOWN. Um, I’ve done this 3.times. so. far.

  35. Lyn says:

    Spending the time to cut shapes precisely really does save time later on. And nothing beats paper piecing (or English paper piecing by hand) for precision….my points are always best with one of these two methods.

  36. Mark your borders if you cut them early so you don’t think later that they are ‘extra’ fabric and cut them up. :-/

  37. Katie says:

    Pins are my best quilting friend. For many years, I quilted with few of them. My mom is a very good quilter and rarely uses pins. She taught me this BAD habit. Somehow her stuff always looks fantastic. Maybe she rips a lot out when I’m sleeping? (Or now that I don’t live at home any more, after I leave from a day of sewing?) But I started a sampler quilt a few years back and decided to really focus on a good quarter-inch seam and thought pinning would be helpful because I could focus on the seam instead of fussing with the fabric. Well, as Gru from Despicable Me says: “Light bulb!” It has made such a difference in my quilting. But I still sew over them (I know, I know, you’re cringing) and every so often I mangle one so I have to stop sewing and get out the pliers, but so far (knock on wood), I’ve not broken a needle! It takes a little longer to pin, but it’s worth it.

  38. Sheena B says:

    I learned the hard-way to NEVER drink coffee in my craft room. A half-quilted KING-SIZE quilt with a couple of THOUSAND quilting pins in it met a mostly full coffee cup in a most unpleasant way. An hour later, a bathtub full of water and me tearfully removing all the pins so the quilt could be carefully washed, dried, ironed and REPINNED so I could finish the quilting on a project that had already taken about two years to get to the point where it was finally being quilted.

    Liquids are now mostly banned from my craft room – the scattered resealable bottle of water does sometimes make an appearance.

  39. Kathleen B says:

    I guess for me it would also involve machine quilting. I never seem to be totally happy with the quilting if I use a different color thread in the bobbin as for the top stitching. Getting the tensions perfect can be a tricky thing. Thanks for the giveaway!

  40. Deb says:

    I have a tendency to “eye-guess” something rather than taking the time to sew a true 1/4″ seam or measure exactly right. In quilting, perfection is the way to go! I’ve ripped out many stitches because I eye-guessed!

  41. robin says:

    I bought fabric for a quilt blocks, but not enough of a certain fabric for the border. Went back to the store 2 days later to get more – out of stock. They said they would re-order, but that took months. Next time – I’ll make sure I have enough of everything!

  42. Sandy A says:

    Love that quilt!

    I learned to measure twice & cut once and READ the directions! Many times I “think” I remember the measurements, only to find I was off by 1/2″ or so. Not fun when you are trying to get block to come out to the correct size! :)

  43. Mystica says:

    I hand quilt because I never learned how to machine quilt. I agree with you about the basting though. I do it on my dining table which is large enough but I also do not keep it flat. After I have placed the layers together I pin it first and then roll it like a swiss roll. Then unroll about a foot at a time, tack it down, then unroll a bit more and tack more. Somehow though this is difficult to do as its a slow job the hand quilting part becomes easier with less puffiness etc. No one said it was going to be easy!!!

  44. Karen says:

    Just because you can’t think straight to figure out the Math doesn’t mean you should trust someone else’s Math. Took blocks from 2 1/4″ to 2 1/2 so should have left the charm block alone rather than cutting it down to 4 1/2″. Not huge but do need to find more fabric to fix it.

  45. Brenda says:

    I am also guilty of not basting enough. It’s my least favourite step, and I’ve had ripply backs and had to pick out the stitches. sigh. thanks for the chance to win.

  46. Barb Colvin says:

    I guess, for me it has been the 1/4″ seam. Before I started quilting I was accustomed to the 5/8″ seam found in making in garments. If I was a little short on fabric, I could fudge in the seam (1/2″ seams will still work). I just needed to mark where I made the adjustment. Can’t do that in quilting! One ends up with blocks that aren’t big enough, seams that fray, or a quilt top that won’t lay flat…no matter how much you iron it!

  47. rebecca says:

    I had to learn the hard way to do a test of my machine quilting and still check the tension on the back before I finished a direction of cross hatching. Loose threads made for an easy tear-out!

  48. Wendy B says:

    I learnt that using the same ruler or brand of rulers is sooo important when cutting…….there can be such a difference in block size in the end and such fabric wastage!!!!! aaarrrrggghhhhh!!!!
    Sugary hugs
    Wendy :O)

  49. Make sure to measure the borders carefully don’t just add the strips to the side or you will get waves.
    Use lots of glue when spray basting – and don’t tape the back too taut or it will spring back when taken off the table so that it will cause wrinkles in the back.
    Use a good quilting needle in the sewing machine when using invisible thread.
    Make sure to close the cover on your rotary cutter it is sharp.
    These are just a few of my quilting lessons learned the hard way.
    Warmest regards,

  50. Regina says:

    My first quilt was made side by side with my sister – and we were doing great until we went to assemble her strips with mine -and mine were significantly shorter! I’ve never messed around with that 1/4″ again!!!

  51. Aimee says:

    I’m used to hand cutting, hand sewing & hand quilting everything. I’m learning a whole new set of skills with the rotary cutters & sewing machine. And some of them I’m definitely learning the hard way :)
    Lesson #1: Rotary cutters are sharp. If they will cut through 6-10 layers of fabric, they can (and will) cut human flesh. Which will bleed for at least 24 hours. If I’m ever tempted to forget this lesson, I have a nice little scar on my thumb to remind me.
    Lesson #2: Machine sewing takes a LOT more thread than hand sewing. If you plan your thread purchase based on your hand sewing usage, you will run out. And it will be 3-4 days before you can pick up some “good” thread.

  52. Katie B says:

    Oh, lots of things! Probably to take my time when cutting and piecing to make sure things are accurate.

  53. Kasey Potts says:

    There’s a learning curve to EVERYTHING– I had to practice using a Go cutter to get the fabric to feed through properly and not end up with rectangular “squares”; It took about 3 quilt tops to figure out exactly where to line my pieces up on my quarter inch foot (left edge of line? right edge? center? Now I consistently use the left edge) and where not to set an iron… I wrecked my old one by knocking it off the counter, off the board, and then off a separate table. This caused it to have hot flashes that melted my fabric. And I’m sure I’m not the only one who learned the hard way not to cut fabric when tired/always check that fingers are out of the way!

  54. Deb G. in VA says:

    I learned that if your seams are off a even a little bit, do not keep sewing, because when your block is finished, it will be off a lot!

  55. Rebecca says:

    Well, good for you for taking the time to start over, I’m sure you’ll be much happier with it in the end. I’ve done the same, not enough pins and it resulted in a big pucker on the back. I’ve also done a pillow-style quilt with minky before without pinning the edges and it ended up looking loose on the back. And my latest mistake was jumping into a new quilting design and realizing part-way in that it was not turning out the way I pictured ~ that will be my next seam-ripper project.

  56. Lisa says:

    Be sure to check for updates to any pattern before you begin working from it. Even the most seasoned designers can have “oopses” in their patterns.

  57. Lisa says:

    Here are a few of my favorites: 1. Before using any pattern be sure to check for corrections online. Even the most seasoned designers have “oopses” in their patterns! 2. Sew slowly enough that your machine can make a nice stitch ~ especially with ornamental top stitching. 3. Maintain your sewing area and equipment and it will be much more satisfying to use it! Change your needle every 8-10 hours, change your rotary blade once you notice it does not cut cleanly, and clean the bobbin area frequently. It really does make a difference.

  58. Linda says:

    I’ve learned to always check my quilting on the backside. Just ’cause the first couple of rows look nice doesn’t mean the whole quilt will turn out that way. Sometimes the bobbin tension gets messed up!!! I had to rip out a whole quilt! I won’t ever do that again!

  59. Carol says:

    I have occasionally used a fabric for the border that I really didn’t like that much and regretted it later when the quilt was finished. Trying to save a little money on borders by using something cheaper and not really what you wanted, is a mistake!!!

  60. Carol says:

    I have done the exact thing myself. But lately, a few nights ago, I attempted to machine quilt a table runner. I thought it would be so easy. I failed to keep an eye onthe back, and about 1/4 through it, I looked. I just got it ripped out and am back to hand quilting. I would love to learn how to do it properly and I need a different foot. Thanks for the encouragement though, and the giveaway!!

  61. Norma says:

    it seems like my biggest mistake this year was some thread tension issues. I didn’t notice until I had done a lot of free motion and I didn’t want to rip it out, thinking it would look better by the end. I was so not happy with it, I should have ripped it out.

  62. Anna McD says:

    I learned the hard way that you shouldn’t piece a quilt on two different machines since you get two slightly different seam allowances. The slight difference is huge when you are putting blocks together.

  63. Alica says:

    I have learned that it is worth it just to “change” change the blade/needle. (As opposed to just thinking it can keep going)THe amount of frustration from using a dull blade is not worth it, and in the long run, the cuts are much more precise.

  64. Marcia W. says:

    Sew with a standard quarter inch seam. If the block looks wrong as a block — it will look even worse when sewn in the row. So, this is why my seam ripper is now my favorite tool. I learned the quarter inch lesson the hard way after sewing a “simple” squares quilt as my first quilt. My late father said it made him seasick to look at it, so we named the quilt “Seasick”. This quilt is so wavy – but it is my first so have to love it!

  65. OMGosh, my biggest learning curve was earlier this year when I machine quilted for the first time (I’ve been hand quilting for 30 years), you need to check and recheck the backing for ripples. Machine quilting isn’t anywhere near as forgiving as hand quilting..!

  66. Jocelyn says:

    I learned the hard way that you have to cut your strips from the folded edge towards the selvage. If not, my strips look wonky and sometimes are not the exact size overall with hills and valleys :-(

  67. A JUST-LEARNED lesson: when you accidentally bump the computerized quilting machine, you MUST realign the pattern. If you don’t, you get to rip out 2 1/2 rows of beautiful quilting that slightly overlapped the previous row. That takes approximately 12 hours. .. no fun!


  68. Brita says:

    You said: “I soldiered on, thinking that more quilting would help. More quilting did not help.” I learned a long time ago — and I don’t always pay attention to those lessons learned — just stop and take it out when you first see an error. The more you soldier on, the worse it gets!!!

  69. Nancy B from Many LA says:

    When putting on borders, MEASURE! I have a wavy quilt top now. MEASURE! MEASURE AGAIN!

  70. lisa says:

    HAHA! I actually spent the morning watchign Snow White with the older of the girls (the youngster runnign in and out and playing then watching) ripping out and re-sewing a table runner I realised as I was basting (so WAY after two borders) that 1/3 of my blocks were 90 degrees off. Oppps, I have it all back together, but basting will wait until tonight or tomorrow. So take your time, double and triple check.

    now take my name out of the running since I just won a giveaway!

  71. Kim West says:

    There are soo many “lessons learned the hard way” that I have learned it is hard to pick just one, so I will list a few of them (in no particular order).
    1. Don’t think you can get by without making your backing taut or putting on very few pins.
    2. Don’t think you can get away with only the fabric in a kit because inevitably your gonna mess up and then you can’t find the fabric or you will have to pay an extremely high price for it.
    3. USE binding clips for your binding. Trust me, it does look better than not using them.
    4. Take the time to measure, measure, measure. See number 2.
    5. Use the right thread. Don’t think any old thread will do. Also the right needle. Use the best you can afford. If your spending $10+/yard on fabric, DON’T use the cheap thread. Your piecing will show a difference when you use good thread.

  72. Karen S says:

    Hopefully I have learned that when something doesn’t “feel” right, I should stop and check everything, and not soldier on thinking, “oh, it’ll be fine” I can’t count how often this happens and sure enough, there was something wrong that needs to be unstitched and fixed.

  73. Johanna says:

    Squaring up. I thought I could just leave out this step before getting together my blocks by sewing in what I thought were straight lines. I ironed the top, then ironed more, then decided that it could be quilted and would never show the bumps. I ended up throwing it in one corner. Half a year later I picked it up and undid the quilting and the assembling of the blocks. I am a big fan of squaring up now!

  74. Karen A says:

    I learned not to iron over water-removable pen marks. Depending on what color the fabric is it can show up right away or the marks can reappear at a later date.

  75. DianeY says:

    I finally learned last year that 1/4″ seams do really matter if blocks need to fit together. I am now quilting the UFO which made me discover this and being up close really points out how off it is in some places. Luckily it’s bright so not too apparent otherwise, but I did go invest in a 1/4″ presser foot!

  76. Pauline says:

    Oh gosh, where do I start? As a newbie, I’ve learnt to always concentrate when cutting, otherwise that ‘extra’ fabric I buy disappears really quick (and the ‘oopsies’ go into the backing). And to actually ‘read’ the instructions, not just skim over them and guess what to do!

    Will you reuse the batting? Can you do this, or is it too quilted to quilt again?

  77. Bobbi Delsing says:

    If you buy a kit….make it as soon as possible (within the year) so that if is short of fabric you may be lucky enough to find it! This has happened to me twice….guess I didn’t learn the first time! lol

  78. I had a similar experience a few months ago. I was quilting a “Christmas Picture” on each block in a Christmas Sampler and didn’t realize until I had done 3 blocks that they were being sewn on upside down. See there were words in a lot of the Christmas prints and I made sure they were all in one direction. When you held the quilt with the words right side up all of the pictures that had been quilted were upside down. Horror!!! I do not envy you. That unpicking took forever, I feel for you :) But I must say, I have learned to take a second and check those kind of things for now on :)

  79. Gerda says:

    Usually I make this mistake more often than you, always due to excitement when I finish a top. I end up rippin’ it back to how it started out as; 3 layers on the loose. So I feel for you.

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