Quilt Problem Solving

Last Fall I was contacted by Renee. She lives in the Milwaukee area and she had a quilting problem. She’d begun an adventurous project, sewn quite a few portions together and then had to stop to have knee surgery. When she went back to it – it was a mass of pieces and she couldn’t make heads nor tails of it.

She invited me to come and see what we could do with her jumbled pile of pieced wedges. When I arrived I began by reading over the pattern. This only confused me more and I felt a little overwhelmed as to what to do next. Then I started looking at the wedges and realized they were numbered, and marked left and right! I told Renee how great it was that she had done this and then I said “let’s lay out what you have so we can figure out what you have left to do”.

With the first layout it was evident she had already done a large portion of the piecing. Whew!

We just needed to figure out which pieces were missing. A sense of relief filled the kitchen (from both of us :-)). We discovered there were 2 more shorter wing portions missing at the top, but we decided they weren’t essential and she could substitute 2  purple background wedges.

The tail portion was missing from the labeled pieces, but portions of it had already been made. Renee was short a few of the “chunks” the pattern called for, so we set up her machine and patched together what was needed from her leftovers. Even though placement of the gradation was not exactly the same as the original pattern, she had enough to get ‘er done .

At this point she felt confident she could piece it together, so we had a lovely lunch and I went on my way. She continued to work on it and got the wedges sewn together:

next she appliquéd the body:

and her Phoenix was ready for the quilter!

I waited a few months to share this post because I wanted to end it with a photograph of Matt and his quilt. Here’s Matt and Grandma Renee after he  got his Phoenix at Christmas. 

She said he was one very happy young man, and added:

“Actually we all thought it looked perfect on our fireplace, so guess what?  I’ll be making another one soon!”

Atta Girl Renee! I’m sure you won’t have any problems with the second one now that you’ve figured it out!

So my advice to anyone who is trying to get back into a previously started project – lay out what you have done before you do anything else.


11 Opinions

  • Shellie said:

    Wow!! That’s spectacular!! Well done!!

    I have a similar story. Several years ago, I started to make a Fiesta quilt with many New York Beauty blocks. It was way beyond my skill level! But I persevered and put it together as four rows. But then I misplaced them for a few years. By the time I found the rows again, my skill level had improved and I was able to finish the quilt. It now lives high on the wall in our living room for all to see. I learned to persevere and not be afraid. And sometimes you just have to put it aside for a while and do something else. By the time you come back to it, it will be easier to finish.

    Reply
  • Lynn said:

    Have a similar story. Started a tumbling block quilt. Pattern called for 9 colors. I chose 27. The pattern did not use y seams but instead had precise placement of triangles. I put it aside for over a year. Took it to the shop where I had taken the class and asked for help. Margaret and I spent the day finishing it only to come home and show it to my husband who said, “There is something wrong with this.” The piece we had completed that day just needed to be turned to be correct. Success!! Now my daughter’s and loved.

    Reply
  • Kim Hilt said:

    That is quite a awesome quit. I’m sure her grandson is so happy with the hard work.

    Reply
  • Bernadette Martin said:

    So how is her knee doing?

    Reply
    • clkquilt admin

      Renee replied: it was double knee surgery and I am doing very well. Both knees are working like nothing happened.

      Reply
  • Cheryl Parker said:

    Cool quilt. I purchased a quilt in progress, with lots of little pieces. I need to sit down and figure out whats done and what isn’t done. I did get the pattern book with the pieces.

    Reply
  • Sue Richer said:

    I have a number of unfinished quilts and have done the same thing. Fortunately I have been able to figure out the ones I have restarted. However, I also found a pattern for a Christmas table runner I would like to make again. I must have used WVTC’s Tri-Rex ruler since I don’t have one. I have not been able to buy one where I am vacationing and wondered if there is any way to “adapt” one of the rulers I do have. I do have a 90degree Easy Angle ruler. Thought of ordering one but not sure which is the correct one for this pattern.

    Reply
  • Denise Dykstra said:

    STUNNING quilt! And I can see how it took a friend to help figure out the puzzle. I’ll bet you are good at jigsaw puzzles!

    Reply

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