Thursday, July 24, 2014

Quilt Along Block #9, Clothesline

Finally finished! The clothesline block has always been part of the plan, and I do think it turned out awfully cute, but oh my goodness! What a headache in the making! More about that later.

If I had to choose what I like best about this block it would be the pink and green mini-quilt. It's a real quilt! Pieced and everything! I only cheated on the border. It's satin stitched. The little blocks are just 1/2" square, and I loved making it!

But on to the problems. Sigh...

It isn't that the block is hard to sew. Even though it has so many little bits and pieces of laundry, it goes together just like the others. Or, at least it should go together just like the others. Not for me, though. Not this time.

It all began when I ran out of stabilizer for my applique. I was in a bit of a hurry, so I grabbed something inexpensive from a nearby craft store. I thought it was similar to a more expensive stabilizer I'd used before, but when I opened the container, it was altogether different. Not in a good way, either! Word of warning - do not get the water soluble stabilizer that feels like a plastic bag! It sticks to the bed of the sewing machine and totally messes up the length of zigzag stitches!

I stopped everything and went out to the quilt shop to buy some good stuff. More expensive, but so worth it. This one is a tear-away and works beautifully.

Stabilizer, though, was only the first of my problems. Next came the thread issue. I have thread in every color imaginable.

Only one portion of my thread collection. 
I matched something up with the jeans fabric and appliqued away. This was the first mistake. the thread was very, very old, and rather poor quality to start with. I should have thrown it out long ago!  It broke after sewing just a couple of inches and the tension was all off. So, I finally tossed it and decided to use something different - maybe not quite so close a match. Of course I had to do a bit of stitch ripping, but I hadn't got very far, so it wasn't a horribly big deal. That might have been okay, but the new thread didn't show up at all for showing the pockets and seams on the pants. The next best thread I had was navy blue.

It wasn't till I had done all of this sewing with a very short triple stitch, that I realized how awful it looked!

What a mess!

An hour and a half later I had it all unstitched, but the jeans are looking a bit the worse for wear. I might have been better off drawing those lines with a permanent marker in the first place. I definitely would have been better off simply starting over!

Well, it's too late to do any of that now. The block is finished and it stays as it is! A small imperfect piece won't ever be noticed in such a busy quilt. Will it? Nope. Not going there at all. It's fine. So there!

Truth be told, my sigh of relief at having it finished was huge. The block is done, the pattern made, and aside from the mishaps and mixups it really was loads of fun.

This quilt is really coming along!! I may move blocks around, but it's not looking half bad! What shall we add? We only need one large block and one or two small ones, depending on the size of the larger one.

There is only one little niggling worry about the clothesline block.
That other yellow sock ...
         the one not on the clothesline ...

It had better be in here somewhere!

Unless the washing machine ate it.


  1. So cute, what patience it takes to deal with little pieces. Very lovely outcome

    1. Thank you! I'm so glad you like it! My mistakes with thread and stabilizer slowed things down, but the rest went together very easily. The applique pieces aren't so terribly small, and the mini quilt is made in such an easy way that it whips together in minutes.

  2. This quilt is going to be so good with all these wonderful blocks. It may have been a bit of trial-and-error but it was so worth it.

    1. Thank you, Patchsmith. Next time I do a quilt-along, though, I'll have it planned out in advance. I like what you are doing on your blog with following patterns from a common source. Much easier than designing on the fly and hoping it all comes together.

  3. If you use the stabilizer again, put a piece of tissue paper on the back, you can take it off when you are finished. This goes for any type of backing that sticks to your machine.

    1. So true! Why didn't I think of that? If I have some tissue paper on hand I might now feel like I have to throw our that whole roll of stabilizer. I I'd better buy tissue paper because it's all been used on gifts this summer. Thanks for the reminder!

  4. This is so cute, I think the pants look fine...but how did u do the clothes pins...for the picture they look so real... beautiful job...

    1. The clothespins are so easy - just black thread and a very narrow zig-zag stitch. They would probably look even more real with light brown thread, more the color of the real thing. Glad you like it!

    2. The clothespins are so easy - just black thread and a very narrow zig-zag stitch. They would probably look even more real with light brown thread, more the color of the real thing. Glad you like it!

    3. No, I was wrong! I double checked. The clothespins are made with brown thread, and they definitely are stitched in a small small machine zigzag stitch.