Friday, December 5, 2014

The Tale of the Yellow Chaco Liner

We quilting bloggers like to write about the techniques and skills that go into the creation of our quilts. I know that I approach my quilt making as an art, and I’m happy to tell anyone who is willing to read my blog about it! At the end of the day, though, I’m making a blanket. I see quilting as a utilitarian art form.

I have never sold (or tried to sell) any of my quilts. All of them either live here at From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters or have been gifted to a friend or family member. As a result, my quilts are just as much about the recipient as they are the creator.

With that in mind, I want to tell you the story of quilt #3.

In the spring of 2013, I decided that my friend Miss L needed a quilt. This present would be both unexpected and meaningful. The problem with this plan, however, was that I had never made a quilt before.

So I did a test run, sewing a quilt top of big squares and quilting with a simple cross-hatch. I moved on to a baby quilt. With two quilts under my belt, I approached my third with confidence. Using Joelle Hoverson’s Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts, I chose to sew my own version of this quilt for Miss L …

Cutting Corners, from Last-Minute Patchwork and Quilted Gifts

The tote bag, pictured below, incorporates the same fabrics I used in the quilt. The center rectangle was the floral, from Rashida Coleman-Hale’s Koi collection, and was surrounded by borders in the navy solid and the black dot, from Zen Chic’s Comma collection. (In the end, I bound the quilt with a fushia solid, visible in the second tote pic below.)

Photo courtesy of Leland Ave Studios

I marked the quilt with my trusty white Chaco Liner, from Clover, and a yellow version of the same tool, which I had bought specifically for this project. I love Chaco Liners. I find them easier to work with than white pencils or Hera Markers, and I never had a problem with them until I washed this quilt.

I did not follow the manufacturer’s recommendation and test the yellow Chaco Liner before use, and it washed out of the floral print but not the Zen Chic fabric. I was devastated. I did unspeakable things to that quilt in attempt to remedy the situation. I used commercial stain removers. I used a homemade hydrogen peroxide mixture. By the end, the yellow lines remained, and due to my interventions, some of the colors in the floral had begun to bleed. Sigh.

Here’s the thing: I gave the quilt to my friend anyway. It didn’t meet my expectations as the product of my creativity, but it still had a purpose to serve. The heinous yellow lines did not affect its performance as a quilt!

Plus, I made this quilt especially for Miss L. It was an expression of my love for her. Keeping it for myself because it didn’t turn out as planned was not an option.

Granted, I was too heartbroken to take a picture of the quilt. It doesn’t appear in my list of finished quilts here. But my friend was clearly touched by this gift, and that eclipsed the mishap with the yellow Chaco Liner. So there was a happy ending after all.

Actually, there were two. I had enough scraps for a tote bag, which I gifted to another friend just recently. I didn’t know at the time, but this friend was having a rough spell. (Children + illness = long days for mamas!) I could have buried both the yellow-marked quilt and remaining fabric bits at the bottom of my fabric stash. I’m happy, though, that I followed through with gifting the original quilt project and then made a second project that features the same lovely fabric combination.

Photo courtesy of Leland Ave Studios

Amy, over at 13 Spools, recently encouraged her readers to embrace their mistakes. The example she gives, however, is more of a design decision that she ended up disliking. Mine is more of a marking-tool malfunction, a mistake that could have been avoided. Can you relate to one or the other? I’d love to hear your experience along either vein and how you handled it!

Linking up to Finish It Up Friday and Let’s Bee Social ...

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  1. Great share! It's so hard to have an unexpected hiccup in a project, especially one that takes so much time to create, AND is meant to be a gift for a friend! I think you definitely made the right choice in giving the quilt anyway, since a lot of times, you are the only one who will see the mistakes. I fortunately haven't had any big project mishaps (that I can remember--I may have blocked them from my memory), but I also haven't made THAT many quilts yet. The only "oops" moments were with totally wonky FMQing in a couple of quilts (only I would notice, as everyone tells me), and the bag I just finished, which had a few last-minute "design elements" and wobbly stitching due to the fact that it was my first bag ever. I actually wrote a blog post a while back called "An Unexpected Element" from my wonky FMQing mistakes for a gifted baby quilt:
    It happens!

  2. Michelle, that is food for thought - thank you for sharing. Once, I had trouble with marking pens taking the dye out of the fabric and almost did not gift a quilt because of it. The nice thing is, the people we give our quilts to usually do not look at them as critically as we do ourselves. "From Bolt to Beauty world headquarters"... LOL too funny!

  3. What is it about yellow marking devices? I won't go near them anymore. I haven't found a yellow yet that doesn't stain or show through when it shouldn't. White and medium blue tend to be my go-to colors, and red or dark blue work as well, but yellow is no longer in my repertoire! Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm so glad I'm not the only one who has dealt with this.

  4. That is so heartbreaking, but glad your friend is enjoying your quilt. Whenever it says "test" like you I typically opt not to! Lesson learned.

  5. I have been using a blue Frixion pen for marking with great success. My sister sent a top to me to quilt and there was a lot of dark brown fabric so I used a yellow Frixion marker. Uh-oh! It left lines that looked bleached. I was (and am) so bummed. Fortunately my sister understood, and I only marked a small area so the quilt wasn't a total lost. Once she gets the binding on and washes it, we hope those marks come out. But, I won't be using that yellow marker again! :)

  6. Ack! I just bought a yellow liner this weekend. I've been using marking pens but wanted to switch to chalk. Maybe I'll trade it in for pink...

  7. While it is true we all make mistakes, I really do embrace them as a learning experience. The majority of the mistakes we make are so insignificant and will likely never be noticed by anyone but ourselves. The others give that quilt a little personality all it's own!

  8. I'm often reminded by a time my husband and I were going crazy trying to get new cupboards installed at our house. They weren't lining up. I called my grandpa, a career carpenter, and he came right over. We tried a few different things to remedy the problem and he finally said 'you are the only people who are going to notice that your cupboards are not perfect - no one else ever will.' Whenever I made a few stitches too long or too short I think of his words. I've never given a quilt and had someone say 'good grief look at those long stitches there.' I think he was right.

  9. I have used FMQing and/or decorative stitches on my machine to cover up mistakes. That's the only use my decorative stitches usually get. It depends on how large the area is and whether or not it would improve the look or mess it up. My friends and family who receive quilts from me never ever ever mention mistakes. If I gave a "perfect" quilt to someone they would think I didn't make it. LOL.

  10. Your quilt was made a received with love. You both have friends with the best priorities.

  11. Good thing you gave it anyway! I just had a terrible experience with a *magic disappearing* marker... it didn\t all go away, not with water or the iron. Luckily there was only a small purple mark, and in a corner. I am hoping it Will disappear with time, or air, or ... magic.


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