Finished: Napoleon plus-sign quilt and some lessons learned















I finished this quilt — at long last — a few weeks ago, but for a variety of reasons wasn’t able to get photos until last Sunday. A drained battery led to a long nap, so I didn’t take these until late afternoon, catching the golden-hour light photographers love. I can see why they do. Even with my limited skills and the fact that I shot in a somewhat somnambulant state, the colors in these photos are probably the most accurate I’ve ever gotten with Lola (my Nikon D3200). I still need to work on my compositional skills, but hey, one thing at a time.

After 10-plus years of quilting, this is the first one I’ve ever made that was large enough for my queen-sized bed. The drop from the top of the mattress to the frame is long, and any quilt has to be at least 108-inches wide, before washing, to cover everything. Each block of the plus signs is six inches finished — a wonderful size for showing off large scale prints and leaving room for plenty of variety.

Since its completion, I’ve washed the quilt once, and while the shrinkage was minimal, the red dye ran, even though I used three color-catchers. Thankfully, the color ran pretty evenly, and only on the black/tan bird toile, turning it kind of a mauve color. I prefer the original tan, but at least it doesn’t look too out of place. Maybe it will come out with future washings. The experience has definitely inched me closer to the pre-wash club.

Though it’s far from perfect, and it took forever, I love how the straight-line quilting turned out. So clean and simple, and a great choice for a such a busy look. But here’s the thing. While I’m very happy to have a quilt that fits my bed and certainly glad to have another finish, overall, I’m not really that keen on this quilt.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, I looove me some plus-sign quilts, whether they appear stacked together like this one, or with each plus surrounded by a background. And I do think the individual fabrics here are quite lovely on their own. But I had my doubts about this project from the start, and that definitely wasn’t a good sign.

The problem is, my taste has just changed too much since I bought this fabric more than a decade ago. With no solids to give the eye a rest, the quilt is too busy for me, and I’m tired of the jewel-toned color scheme. My style now is much more contemporary, bold and graphic, but you’d never know that looking at this quilt. In fact, I’m not sure you could tell that about most of what I’ve made and posted here.

In the past year, as I’ve dealt with moving to a new state, starting a new job, selling two houses and buying another, and getting involved in other activities, I’ve given a lot of thought to how I want to use the limited time and interest I have in making things. From now on, unless I really love the fabric/yarn/pattern/floss/combination/etc., I’m not going to make it, even if it means selling, donating or throwing things away mid-project. The rest of my life is too short to spend time on things I no longer like just because I once invested time and money in them or because I could donate the finished project. I’d rather let go of the supplies now and let someone else have the enjoyment of making something they love. The other truth is, I really don’t need all this stuff.

Of course, mistakes happen and directions change, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned here is to trust my instincts and when in doubt — don’t.


Linking up with Amanda Jean at Crazy Mom Quilts.




2 thoughts on “Finished: Napoleon plus-sign quilt and some lessons learned

  1. I understand your sentiments about making things that are no longer in your taste, but I like the quilt. It is beautifully made, so it’s too bad that you don’t care for it. Like you, I prefer a more modern aesthetic. I should really consider your new mantra about things I no longer love. Maybe I’ll start donating some of my outdated fabric to my guild. I imagine the elderly little ladies who may not be able to afford new fabrics would gladly take them off my hands.

    1. Thanks so much for the kind words, Mary, and good luck with updating your stash! Oh, and I should add that I love the bright plus sign quilt you made, and I’m quite jealous of your longarm. 🙂

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