Thursday, 19 February 2015

Measure. Rip. Match. Rip. Measure. Cry.

That pretty much sums up my big rookie mistake this week.

I know better.

At 70 inches square I had to seam the back for Kaleido so I decided I needed to match the elephants in that center seam. I was in the zone, on auto pilot, just cruising along... no worries. I measured out the first panel and split it at 80 inches. I found the repeat and Voodoo Duck & I pinned very carefully so that the little critters would be complete, ya just cant have chopped up elephants running amuck on the back of a quilt, now can you? When I got to the end of the first panel I snipped the selvage and ripped off the second panel. What I had left over should have been about 1 meter, but it looked longer. Hmm...maybe I should measure, the cutters at Avonport wouldn't have been that generous, would they?

Oh God. What had I done? My backing was too short by about 12 inches. I had set the first panel up beyond the top of the uncut yardage when I started pinning the match... I should have set it down a full repeat on the longer piece of uncut yardage. I know better. This wasn't my first time on the match-it-up-merri-go-round.

Lucky for me I was able to salvage the 5 meters of adorable elephants with a simple fix; a decidedly "modern" fix. I've recently read a few definitions of a "modern quilt" as there seems there to be some confusion in the quilty world as to what makes a quilt modern. The definitions explained that the identifying tag often lies in the use of vibrant solid colours, it's in the big bold patterns or lack there of, it's in the abundance of whitespace, it's in innovative and original design, it's possibly liberated or free pieced, and it probably has a pieced back.

A pieced back. That's the defining element, the common denominator among all the definitions I have read lately. So, this error of mine was a defining moment for Kaleido. If all the elements on the front of this quilt aren't quite enough to push it to the modern side of the playground then the quick fix I put into play on the back certainly does.

I've never been a huge fan of pieced backs, never really gave them much thought to be honest, but here one is in living colour saving the day. After a bit of head scratching I decided that an insert of patchwork using the triangle template from the pattern on the front and some left over Kona goodness could give me the 10 inches I had lost in the repeat. So I cut & sewed, and cut & sewed some more. Then I pinned & sewed, and pinned & sewed some more. Then I stood back and decided it would have to do, so I loaded it up on the frame before I changed my mind. Keep moving forward, don't look back.

Save the elephants.


  1. It is all about the pieced back...or so the story goes.


  2. I have always loved scrappy pieced backs - just ask my long arm quilter!! Only one has ever given us serious grief . . . and we both know better than to use THAT plan again. Things just have to be square and flat and straight . . . LOVE your elephants!

  3. Fabulous! Great plan for the the elephants and the colours!

  4. Great save! Can't wait to see it finished.

  5. Yes! Save the elephants indeed! Kona triangles to the rescue!