Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fixing The Train Wreck...

Sunday, while quilting "Welcome Home"....I had a bit of an accident - - a TRAIN WRECK of an accident! And I was commiserating this fact (While keeping any "cursing like a sailor" type adjectives out of my posts)on the Quiltville Friends Page on facebook.

What happened? Weeeeeeeeeeeellll...best as I can tell, the machine was humming along while I watched, and it hit a thick spot. The needle snapped, but the machine keeps going, and that broken needle shaft just kept poking holes in the quilt, breaking the fabric threads and making a general mess of things while I fumbled for the OFF button and got the machine to come to a full stop. It doesn't just instantly stop...it's got some momentum going, you know? And whammo. TRAIN WRECK.

This prompted a whole discussion on how I was going to fix the train wreck. Applique something? Well...there really isn't any way to do a "recognizable" something that close to the edge, but I could add a strip and wonky that area up as if it was originally pieced that way.

I could then quilt OVER the added area just as if it had always been there from the start. And that's what I did.

First, I went back and finished quilting the whole quilt. Took it out of the machine, and squared it up.

I found a 3.5" scrap strip of red that was just the ticket. I left myself a bit of raw edge, so that after stitching (yes through the whole quilt, the hanging sleeve was going to cover everything anyway)I could turn the raw edge right where the seam between the two blocks was.

After the strip was sewn, flipped, pressed and the raw edge turned and pinned, I simply appliqued that one turned edge in place along the block seam.

After removing the pins and pressing again, I took the quilt to the mat and trimmed off the excess strip even with the quilt edge.

Load Bernina with the fuscia thread, snap on the free motion quilting foot, and fill in the newly added area with stitching to blend in with the previous quilting. This was a challenge! My home machine skills are not as even as my compuquilter!! Good thing it was in an area where my herky-jerky stitching will not be THAT visible. Besides..the quilt now has a STORY right?

I already had my binding picked out...a black with a tealy-blue vine stripe. Cool. Put the binding on the quilt, going right over the train wreck area to further disguise it!

Apply Hanging Sleeve...which does a perfect job of hiding where the broken needle shaft had pushed pokies of batting through the broken thread holes. Yep...Hanging Sleeve to the rescue! (Isn't this a cool batik too? It's been in the stash forever. It has kind of a rough texture, so I'm glad to find it a home!)

Shot of quilting detail! I love this panto! This is "Paisley" by Darlene Epp. I had just finished quilting the LAST quilt for the book with this pattern and loved it so much I couldn't wait to use it again on the "Welcome Home" quilt. It is quilted with Fuscia...yes Fuscia...which blends into the reds well, and travels through the other colors quite nicely too!

I love looking at my life through fabric! Because of this train wreck, I was able to get up close and personal to what I had put in this quilt clear back in October...

I made this spacer section out of leader/ender 4 patches..and look what is in here! That pink calico that shows up every once in a while in my bins of precut squares and pieces. I made a DRESS out of this for my 2nd date with my hubby back in May of 1981. When I got married, the scraps came with me. You've come a long way baby!


  1. Your post has made such an impression on me. Wow! Bonnie.

  2. What a great come-back, Bonnie. And what a story you quilt now has. How appropiate for it to happen on the Wonky house though! Wasn't a train-wreck - it was a house-wreck on Wonky house quilt :)

  3. Great save, Bonnie! Every quilt needs to have a good story to go along with it, and this one certainly does!


  4. It's a fabulous quilt...train wreck and all :)
    So many "life lessons" could be pulled from this story!

  5. What a great fix, Bonnie - good lesson for all of us have those "train wrecks" too :o) Hope to see you at Odyssey -

  6. OOh, that would have been terrible if the needle broke somewhere in the middle!! You really did a wonderful job fixing the wreck and a great story to go with a lovely quilt. Love it!

  7. Good job! Like the saying goes "...I don't make mistakes, just opportunities." ;-)

    Love the thread idea too! I'll have to remember that!

  8. The good news is that with the train wreck being on the border, it is a much easier to fix than in the middle of the quilt! Great save, love the quilt!

  9. Great save!! I have that same sleeve fabric, bought for $1/yd many years ago. I bought BUNCHES of it because of the price, and have almost used it all up... only a few scrap strips remain. I LOVE your house quilt!


  10. No derailments if you're around, the trains will need to find somewhere else to wreck. Great fix, wonderful quilt!.

  11. Yikes! I was holding my breath for you while reading this post. Great job!


  12. You have such Grace in the face of adversity!
    I knew you could fix it!
    So...there are some disadvantages to computer driven quilting. Even though you were right there.
    Beautiful quilt.
    XOXOXO Subee

  13. Wow - what an ordeal! Great save though. Once when my daughter was 5 or she cut right though the top of the quilt along the edge after it was quilted so I quilted her name right on top of where she cut so we always would know who did it! We still laugh about that today. Best, Lisa

  14. Wow - what an ordeal! Great save though. Once when my daughter was 5 or she cut right though the top of the quilt along the edge after it was quilted so I quilted her name right on top of where she cut so we always would know who did it! We still laugh about that today. Best, Lisa

  15. Yikes! And a great save!

  16. i hate it when that happens. ugh. you are extra lucky it was along the edge and only had to applique 1 side. great tutorial on what to do though-- thanks for sharing!


  17. Amazing save Bonnie! Looks like it was planned.

  18. What a great save...i'm looking forward to seeing the new book, when is the release?

  19. I have similar elephants! I need to work them onto my backs. cw

  20. Great save! To every quilt there is a story (and they aren't always pretty....)

    BTW...love the elephants!

  21. Quilts fixed, how about the machine?

  22. Hey, at least it was on the edge! It didn't chew up the middle of the quilt! : )
    Nice save, tho. Looks good!
    I guess you won't be leaving the room anytime that thing is on automatic from now on.
    If it's computerized, it seems like there could be a "fix" in the program to stop if the needle breaks...

  23. Oh, wow! I see my green house with the Queen of Quiltville right there in the middle of your photo!

    SO glad you "saved" the day ... and that you have good memories stitched into this quilt!

  24. great save and what a good lesson for all of us. Fushia thread, remember Freddie Morgan says Red is a netural. love the quilt!!

  25. Thanks for sharing your story about how to rescue a broken quilt. This weekend I am washing a lot og old shirts and skirts, and preparing them for a "Bonnie-quilt"

  26. Pure genius! Good for you for finding a way to make it work out. And yes, won't the quilt mean so much more to you with that story attached to it?


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