What did I do wrong? That is a rhetorical question. I know what I did, and I know how I fixed it. Here are a few of my Dear Jane lessons learned. Samplers are all about learning (right?), and Dear Jane is a sampler quilt.
Not enough contrast
This was one of my early blocks, when I still thought I could use everything in my French General fat-eighth bundle. I now know that a little bit of contrast is a good idea. (This should have been obvious, I know!) I have now set aside the cream fabrics that are too similar to the background cream fabric; they will come in handy for some other project, I am sure. A few blocks were a bit borderline, but I decided that just this one had to be remade. The others were at least pale grey and cream rather than cream and cream. Luckily, it was a dead-easy nine-patch.
These easy blocks were made very early on. I made two in the same red fabric as doing so was economical on fabric, and it was easy to strip-piece the small nine-patches. Then, every time I looked at the blocks laid out, my eyes were drawn to the only two blocks that at first glance looked identical. Because it is a simple block to redo, I did so, but this time in a different fabric to make the similarities less obvious.
I can do better
This block was a challenge, but it is one of my favourites. I am sure I could have lived with it as is, but part of the reason I am enjoying making this quilt is that I learn as I go. I felt I could do better, and I wanted to try again to see if I could improve. The first version was made just by careful measuring, rotary cutting and piecing. The second used foundation-paper piecing, and I am happier with the result. My first attempt reminded me of myself after a big dinner: a bit rounded and bulging in the middle.
I cannot decide which I love more: foundation-paper piecing for machine sewing or silk thread for hand sewing.
I just wasn’t a fan
I don’t know why I didn’t like the first version. I could not identify one sensible reason. I just didn’t, and it kept bugging me and drawing my eye. I would not have remade it if it were not another easy and quick block.
Yes, I know Brenda Papadakis’s fourth Dear Jane rule: finished is better than perfect. I also learned another new quilting ‘rule’ at the WAQA retreat at Swanleigh in May: the four-foot rule. If you cannot see a problem with your sewing from four feet away, there is no problem. I agree with both of these rules, and we all have a degree of tolerance for errors in our work. I only allowed myself to revisit these four blocks because this week I hit the 100 blocks mark. Hurrah!
Fear not. Nothing will be wasted. All the rejected blocks have already been set aside to be made into pincushions (especially the one that is slightly bowl shaped as it will wrap around some pincushion stuffing nicely). I needed some new pincushions, really.