“Heed My Warning” Quilt

Well I’d given up, and was fine with that, but then I made the mistake of telling the birthday girl that this was her belated present and I’d be a few more weeks coming up with a replacement. She insisted though that she have it, even in its incomplete state (which is my fault because the photos I actually posted were the best shots of this disaster) but.. how can I say no to this face? I went ahead and gave it another go. I picked up where I left off on the quilting and this time I got out my walking foot even though it broke my needle-holding screw thing last time I used it. It was going well for a few minutes. I’d had the brilliant idea to only quilt every other row which I hoped might save me from the drastic shift that was occuring. I thought I was going to maybe actually pull this one out when this happened. First one little piece of the walking foot fell down on to the quilt while I was sewing and then the whole thing just sort of disintegrated.* Still I did not give up. I finished up the alternating row quilting with my regular foot, threw the quilt in the wash and then laid it out on the floor to see what was what. oh. my. god. yes, that bad. have to period.it.out. The nonquilted rows are SUPER puffy, which was probably to be expected, but one row was so bad it was hilarious. Tim looks at it and says, hey it looks good, what’s the problem, then tugs at it trying to get it to lay flat. That’s when he realizes it doesn’t, you know, lay flat. It was sticking up like 6" tall and that was not its only problem. Seams were popping open, the stitching I’d torn out had eaten away at the already worn fabric leaving awful snagged lines, the shift had huge mountains of batting in some places and absolutely none in others. Seriously, the worst sewing job I’ve ever done. Ok, maybe with the exception of the jogging suit I made for my sister in the 7th grade out of stretchy knit jersey. No, this is worse.

But you know what?  It’s actually so bad it’s good again. I’ve embraced its awfulness and I LOVE it now! I got out my bubble jet set and present this to you now as a learning experience. Heed My Warning!

more helpful advice.

here it is in its full glory. I folded over and sewed down the tallest puffiest row.

here’s a shot of the puffy

from chaos, patterns emerge. the back actually looks kinda nice.

* ok, I got this p.o.s. on ebay and now I’m stumped where else to look for a walking foot for an older model sewing machine. anyone have any ideas? I have a Bernina 801 from the 80s. The listing on ebay for this one said it was adaptable but obviously that was not the case. I can’t find anything that looks right listed on ebay or anywhere else.

50 thoughts on ““Heed My Warning” Quilt

  1. Alisa says:

    I hate to admit this but it’s kind of nice to see that you are human. This project looks like what happens to me on a regular basis. Your stuff is always so perfect. I’m just sorry that you had to spend so much time on it. Ug. There’s nothing worse that hoping that you can make something work, for hours and hours. Then in the end, not really being able to pull it off. On the other hand, if you made 20 or so quilts like this, the look would catch on. Maybe someday someone would make a Gee’s Bend-esque book about them and people would try to copy the puffy batting look. Maybe.

  2. jenn says:

    my walking foot recently fell apart as well. in the middle of a quilt for my niece a night before her shower!! argh! the new one I ordered from Keepsake quilting. I live about an hour from this shop and it is really nice. I haven’t received it yet so I can’t tell you how it is but everything else I have bought from them is great. I think you may have to buy a special bernina adaptor though…I remember reading that in the description. the website is http://www.keepsakequilting.com/KQShopping/index.asp? in case you wanted to check it out. I think your solution is just wonderful! I usually just fold up the ones that have issues and hide them somewhere…that one is too pretty to hide!!

  3. Amy says:

    Trust me, find a Bernina walking foot. I poked around online and, while you can get them on eBay, I’d recommend calling your nearest Bernina dealer and tell them what you need. I believe what is currently referred to as the “old style” Bernina feet may not even be what you need. I have a 930 from the ’80s and the “old style” feets, they don’t fit so much. 🙂 Maybe those are referred to as the “old school” feet. Stay away from the generic feet on eBay that are billed as Bernina feet. There used to be a wonderful sewing rummage site online with want and sales ads, but it appears to be gone. BTW, the quilt is CHARMING so don’t be deterred. AND THANK YOU for the spool animals idea, we have a little menagerie as a result (to go with four caterpillars and mixed flowers, ah, spring with young children).

  4. Tami says:

    I love all the little quilting advice ribbons that you made for this red-shirt quilt. That just makes it all the more sweet. Glad to see that you didn’t toss it out the window after the first go-round. Sorry to hear about the walking foot. 🙁

  5. Bunny says:

    Have you ever tried a roller foot? sometimes it keeps the fabric from dragging. I know most descriptions say it is for thick fabric like leather and canvas, but I used mine for quilting straight lines like on your quilt. It seemed to deal with the thickness better. ( I have never had a walking foo so I can’t compare the roller foot to it)

  6. joanna says:

    this brought a smile to my lips and a tear to my eye. i just kept thinking i know this story, i know this feeling. lol! the one (many) gone arwy that you end up loving anyway and sometimes all the more. i think the quilt is great and it has inspired me to get thrifting.

  7. Amy says:

    I’ve made some pretty icky mistakes on charity quilts I have done for the Linus Project (rushing) and I have always thought to attach little notes to the quilt as an explanation and life lesson. These things happen. After all, something bad has happened to the kid too, otherwise, they wouldn’t be getting the quilt. Anyway, I LOVE the little printing right on the fabric. Brilliant. I will have to print some up for future mistakes. Thanks.

  8. Mary says:

    I find the imperfection of your piece infinately more wonderful, interesting and heart felt then any MArtha perfect (and yes I love Martha) creation. The idea of leaving the journal of your creative process on the piece is fantastic.

  9. jac says:

    The colours are great! And I love the way the backing fabric has sneaked onto the bottom right corner of the quilt top … I often like my backing fabric more than the front!

  10. hannah says:

    this quilt so deserves to be embraced! but it does feel a little bit like dorothy peeking behind the curtain, and finding a little old man instead of the wizard. i mean seriously hillary, your stuff is always PERFECT! i do love this quilt, the notes are the best.

  11. Amber Lee says:

    What a clever idea with the notes. I love the design of this. It’s cool that you finished it, that you did it no matter what. It is something that you conquered you know. You did it.

  12. Stephanie Cullison says:

    I have to agree with everyone else on here. The quilt is even more charming with all it’s quirks and it is very heartening to know that you too have hard days ;o) I have not embarked on any quilting endevors yet…but have had several weird sewing “incidents” of which we will not speak of.

  13. Luckybeans says:

    LOL! I can’t tell you how much better it makes me feel to see even an amazing craft-goddess like yourself getting fed up with her sewing! And yes, it *is* a rather nice quilt despite it all, isn’t it?

  14. Amber says:

    S U P E R F A N T A S T I C
    And I mean that, I really do. Very, very different from your usual stuff, which I really do adore, but a good reminder to those of us with simple clean aesthetics that sometimes it works to just keep going.
    Also, a totally brilliant move to add the little quotes. Adds to the design, lets you release a little of your frustration and disappointment without being bitter or self-deprecating, helps turn it into a laugable, loveable, charming piece.
    Thanks for sharing!

  15. Courtney says:

    You know, not that you show the whole thing, you can see it really was heading in a great direction. I LOVE the words you’ve added to it. Now it is more a work of art than a quilt. Hang it on the wall in your craft room for inspiration…or uh, warning. Sounds to me like you were suffering from “speed-crafting while my toddler naps.” It’s a terrible affliction!

  16. cherylc says:

    I think that might be one of my favorite quilts ever. I love text on quilts anyway, and the way these notes came about is very cool. It’s too bad this doesn’t fit the time frame for whiplash, because I think it fits well. Or maybe it does, because the notes were put on at the end of the week? Anyway, I really like it.

  17. laurie says:

    this is the first time i’ve read every single comment to a post. projects-gone-bad always fascinate me, particularly when i find that they are not mine. i think you’re solution (the printing) is by far the best save i’ve come across!

  18. Rachel says:

    Go to your nearest Bernina dealer. (Bernina machines need Bernina brand feet. The machines are very picky.) If they don’t have the correct foot in stock, they can order it for you. It won’t be cheap. However it will work like you think it should.

  19. Jana says:

    Thank you so much for your free downloads, I am about to make your adorable bunnies now! I already made two pointy kitties, one is kinda sleepy (not enough stuffing!) and the other is perky and precious. I will send you the photos on your group as soon as I figure out this camera.
    I admit to being a wee wonderfuls addict that DOES NOT COMMENT… but I wanted to let you know that your blog brings a smile to my face each time I view it, and I am so grateful that you did not choose to “hide your light under a basket”… for truly what you bring to so many is a gift.
    thanks!! happy easter!!

  20. LLA says:

    OK – it is official, you are now my new idol! The way that you pulled this totally clever creative solution from the jaws of disaster??? Brilliant. Simply brilliant!
    I bet the recipient will love this so much more than if it had turned out as you had imagined it….

  21. Anita says:

    Watch out Gee’s Bend! 😉
    I concur with the rest of the crowd, find a Bernina dealer & have them order a new walking foot for you. You won’t regret it. But you might regret buying a generic one.

  22. Linda says:

    It makes me feel so much better to see other people having quilting mishaps! I love that you have such a sense of humor about it and that you came up with a way to make it into something cool. I love it too!

  23. pk says:

    Brings back awful memories! 30-some years ago I almost threw out the sewing machine WITH the @#$%jammed quilt still in it. I used my words that day, but not the good ones. Luckily my husband got it unjammed. It was not my last quilting disaster…
    Went (for the first time! after 30 years of quilting) with some friends to the Rosemont show last weekend – we all agreed that perfection is nice to see, but unattainable for many of us, and it doesn’t matter. We’d rather get a quilt made with love than one made for a juried exhibition with perfection as the ultimate goal.

  24. Kitty says:

    Ouch! As soon as you mentioned your walking foot had disintegrated I thought “I hope to goodness it wasn’t a Bernina” a replacement is going to cost you £££ or rather $$$. If you were UK based I would recommend Jaycotts as they are good at matching feet to machines.
    On a more positive note – your quilt is lovely just the way it is.

  25. Samantha says:

    Yours is a WONDERFUL quilt! I love your use of color, and the labels are great. I just saw the Gee’s Bend quilts in Atlanta last week. And in both cases I like to see the hand and eye of the quilter as opposed to picture perfection!

  26. marie says:

    I ADORE this quilt! I can be such a perfectionist that I drive myself crazy! Sometimes the best results show up along the way to our intended destinations. 🙂

  27. Vicki says:

    Um… did you baste it before quilting? You can get curved safety pins at the quilt shop for basting all your layers together so they don’t shift while you’re quilting.
    I love your site and made a few wee bunnies last week.
    Oh and I have an ugly quilt that I love also, it is made of doubleknit poly squares that were scraps from the pants suits my Grandma made for herself. 🙂

  28. Nancy Carpenter says:

    I’m a quilter and have a Bernina. Parts from other machines just do not work on Berninas. I currently live in Grand Rapids but moved here from Lisle, IL. I read about when you went to Pieceful Heart in Lisle. Now you need to try Stitches ‘n Stuffing in Naperville. It’s a fabulous quilting store with great fabric (and a little alcove with toys for kids to be amused) and unbelievable patterns but it’s also a Bernina dealer. It’s where I got my machine. It’s on Ogden Avenue in Naperville. They will be able to help you with the walking foot (they’re expensive … probably about $100 … but you must have one to do straight line quilting). They probably have what you need but if they don’t, Bernina of America is located in Aurora and they have a close working relationship and will be able to get it for you. Good luck (and thanks for your blog … I enjoy it.)

  29. kate says:

    Oh no!! I have just become the high bidder on a bernina walking foot off ebay after being told I must have one for my new quilting im doing and now im panicing as my machine is a 807 from 1975 which still sews great by the way I just never thought weather the foot would fit the machine now I hope I dont win it. drats my search will have to go on with more research into it.

  30. shelley says:

    I was wondering if anyone is having problems with brand new Bernina? I just bought one, and the bobbin winds uneven and the buttonholer does not work. I have to take it in for repairs and have not sewn on it yet. Just for the first lesson.
    Help. Did I buy the wrong machine?
    Love your quilt.

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