A few years ago I had a summer off work, which seemed like the right time to take on a big quilt project. I had no experience, but plenty of enthusiasm and bags of fabric scraps from my grandma, my mom, and my friends. I organized the scraps by color family, pieced a 45-strip square block from each color family, and separated the blocks with denim. I used cotton batting and a vintage bedsheet for the backing.
Then I moved to Oregon. I brought the safety-pinned pieced quilt with me, and every once in a while I worked on hand-quilting a block or two. I have an old quilt from a great aunt, so it wasn’t hard to see that my stitches are BIG and SLOPPY on the whole hand-quilting-scale. When I was about three-fourths finished, I looked at the whole thing and felt an overwhelming sense of “UGH”. It looked amateur, and not in a DIY folksy way. In an inept, inexperienced way.
I kept the hand stitching in place, ran the whole quilt through the sewing machine (block-by-block), then ripped out every last hand stitch. And people say I’m not patient! But I AM used to ripping out knitting projects and restarting. I like the final look, plus it’s fun to have my mom and grandma point out different scraps and describe their past lives – i.e. my mom’s dance dress, my aunt’s first school dress.