The Single Girl and the Five-Year Break

Guys. Don’t ever take a five year break from a quilting project.

 photo file_zps2da3272f.jpg

This is my Single Girl Quilt by Denyse Schmidt. I’ve had it in a plastic bin in the dark reaches of my basement since 2008. Why? I couldn’t remember. I started cleaning my sewing space this weekend and decided I wanted to finish this project. I rarely use my dining room, so I figured I’d  set up my Singer Featherweight and make that a quilting area. That way, I could work on it when I felt like it and didn’t feel like it would be in the way of other sewing.

But, guess what? My quilt is a mess. Allow me to explain.

I don’t have one single square complete. Even the ones that look complete, like these four, are missing the white outside border/backing in the lower right quadrant.

 photo file_zps674ad33f.jpg

Most, don’t have a section made to be able to complete the block (they are sewn in quadrants).

 photo file_zpseedc511e.jpg

Or, don’t have entire halves to sew

 photo file_zps8fbab009.jpg

And, more importantly, I have three (?) color palettes going (dark brown, light pink, dark pink)

 photo file_zpse37c9263.jpg

I laid these all out today so I could figure out what’s going on. It seems I need to take a quadrant each and go to the quilt shop. I don’t have a lot of these fabrics left and I need to buy some material in the ‘right’ color zone to finish this out.

 photo file_zpse7f42a14.jpg

But, this does remind me about the one thing I don’t like about quilting. Picking out fabric. I get so incredibly overwhelmed. I tend to just want to buy a kit or let someone pick it all out for me.

So, again I tell you, don’t take a five year  break from a project.


  1. Picking out the fabric is my favourite part! I hate the sewing of the little pieces. I do find though, that I have to leave “Anal-retentive-Erin” at home so I can be a little looser with the definition of what “goes/matches” at the store. That’s a beautiful pattern you chose. Can’t wait to see it completed!

  2. I really like what you have so far. Know what you mean about feeling overwhelmed, though, as you do have a lot going on vis-a-vis the prints. It might help to limit your choices. Maybe pick one or two solid colors that go with your color scheme and then three or four prints that work with those solids. Then a couple more prints that are a bit more “contrasty” with the solids. Anyway, bet it’s gorgeous when you get it done.

  3. I had a quilt top like that once. I got rid of it. However, since that’s not an option that you’re considering, I wish you the best of luck getting it wrapped up, because it will be a pretty quilt when it’s all finished. 🙂

    I have similar issues with going into quilt stores–maybe just take your pieces in and have the quilt store ladies pick out stuff that coordinates for you? They probably love that sort of thing (assuming they’re not SUPER busy.)

  4. Take what you have finished so far and use the pieces in a skirt, or a vest, or make pillows out of them, or give them away to a quilting friend, and start afresh. Much the easier course, and you’ll still feel all virtuous for having done something with these lovely bits of pieced work. Then you can buy a kit, or get a salesperson to help you buy fabrics all from a collection — they’re automatically coordinated for you.

  5. Wow, picking out the fabrics is my favorite part. I wonder if I could make a career out of being a “fabric selection consultant”?

  6. The thing with quilting is to turn your problems into opportunities. So you don’t have enough of the “right” fabric to complete this. What if you took the 3/4 completed circle and add another 3/4 circle to the missing quadrant? It would look like the circles are overlapping each other and make the design different from anyone else’s. The beauty of quilting is that it doesn’t have to fit anyone’s body and you can have a lot of freedom to try new things.

  7. My first quilt took 4 years, start to finish. My single girl took a while- I decied to do a king size! All out of vintage sheets! And then I spent 6 mths hand quilting it! All I can say is ‘hang in there’! Can you mix em all up and make it really random colouring etc? There’s potential in that tub o’ quilt heehee

    • I’m actually going to ‘make’ my mom quilt it. She looooves to handset. I’ve never sent anything to the long arm quilter before either. I think where I erred was wanting to go from twin to queen size without thinking it all through! I do still have some scraps that’s can hopefully squeeze the rest from, thanks for the encouragement.

  8. I know I have some of the fabrics in your quilt. I also know I have way too much quilting fabric that will never be used in my lifetime. I’d be happy to share. Email me if you’d like some of my stash!

  9. I’m with the “love picking out the fabric” contingent. I also really like the piecing. The part I don’t love (and why I don’t have a completed quilt) is the actual quilting.
    I do love your fabric choices! That’s going to be a gorgeous quilt.

  10. Don’t get me started — I know this lesson all too well. My sister’s wedding quilt is still in progress, and she has been married now for more years than I care to count! I did pick it up awhile back and joined the blocks together to form the second-to-last row, only to discover that my interpretation of a 1/4″ seam allowance had somehow changed. The new row ended up two inches shorter than the other rows! Not good.

  11. I love using jelly rolls or other precut fabric packs. It takes out all the guesswork of matching fabrics- its all been done for you. I am not a big quilter, but have made soem beautiful ones for wedding presents. All were done with jelly rolls. So easy and looks so good when you are done. Try precuts

  12. I, lazy quilter that I am, like Joannes orecut blocks with finishing and backing kits

  13. I have to congratulate you on picking up that project after FIVE YEARS. That is quite an accomplishment. You could easily have decided to give. Or worst yet, to continue postponing it for another five or ten years! And now, imagine how happy you’ll feel when it’s finished?!!
    I guess, the reason I’m responding so strongly to this post is that I currently have, ahem, “a couple” unfinished projects that are really nagging at me. But you are inspiring me to get them out of the way!

  14. Only 5 years? That’s just a breather at my house. I LOVE picking out colors and patterns. And starting quilts. Apparently I’m allergic to finishing. I’ve got one right now that I can hear calling me clear from the studio. I nearly hope it rains all weekend. I could maybe get the top done (I think there’s 6,000 pieces all cut). Then I can send it out for quilting. I really can’t stand the quilting. Especially on a queen size.

  15. I really want you to finish, because when you started this quilt it inspired me to make one too, and I did finish. So you can too! Though I cheated on the quilting and hired someone to machine quilt it. I knew if I tried to quilt it on my own I would NEVER finish.

    Since the Schmidt designs are so deliberately irregular, don’t torment yourself about coordinating the fabrics. If they don’t quite coordinate it will look even better. Actually, I think you’ve got an opportunity there to do the background pieces in mismatching shades of white/off white/beige that could end up looking super cool.

    Hang in there!

  16. Oh my gosh… I understand. I made this quilt in queen size two years ago. In fact I’m laying on it as I type this!

    I don’t think you’re in too much trouble here. Your circular sewing looks neat and I bet it will come together really nicely. When I was in the middle of this project I thought I had just wasted lots of my money on something that I had unintentionally destroyed. Buuut, I kept piecing it anyways and much to my surprise it came together. I did the quilting myself, but i went with the straight line instead of what Denyse specifies.

    I look forward to seeing your finished product!

  17. I’m so happy that I’m not the only one. Five years! Me, too. I started a quilt for my niece when she was born. She’s 7 now … and still quilt-less.

  18. Hey! I have so much quilting fabric that I don’t know what to do with it all. I remember when I first started quilting I overheard someone at a fabric shop saying that they will be dead before they use all their fabric. I thought that was awful. BUT, I think I’m there. Anyway, if you would like to send me an email showing me your colors, I’m happy to gift you what you need. I think we have similar tastes (Anna Maria Horner, etc.). Let me know at:

Comments are closed.