A Crafter's Life

The “Downsized” Quilt

Today a thought popped into my head: “tierneycreates is a quilter’s blog, perhaps I should post something about quilting!”

The Original Plan

I completed the binding on a “log jam” (free form log cabin block piecing) quilt I am putting the in the July 2016 Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show (SOQS) called Modern Bedtime.


It measures 63″ x 72″ which is short of a Twin size quilt and more like a large Lap size quilt.

This quilt was meant to be a King size quilt. I originally made its dimensions 98″ x 100″. I worked within the limit of the dimensions of acceptable quilts for entry into the SOQS (a maximum of 104″ on any side).

Last year the quilt I sold at the 2015 SOQS was a large Queen size quilt and I thought I would have a better chance of selling another quilt in the show this year if it were also bed size. I thought: “Maybe there won’t be a lot of large Queen/King size quilts in the show; so if someone attending the show was looking for a large bed size quilt my quilt would be available for consideration!”

Below is a photo of how the quilt started out. The original design had the log jam pieced center floating in a large khaki border. It is draped over a King size bed and you can see there is a nice drape (which I trimmed down to meet the less than 104″ on each side limit for SOQS).


The Universe however did not want this quilt to be King size (or Queen size, or Full size, or Twin size…).

Disaster Strikes!

Something very bad occurred when I pieced the border, I am not sure what exactly as I have been piecing/sewing borders on quilts for many years.

The long-arm quilter discovered that the borders where extremely uneven when she loaded it on her professional quilting machine. Not just uneven, they were “majorly wonky”! She tried to fix it but the borders were so strangely pieced she could not fix it without disassembling a large amount of the quilt.

Additionally, there were several other strange and embarrassing quilt piecing errors (I am too embarrassed to mention these).

What the heck happened? I do not make mistakes like this! I do remember that I was in a hurry to finish up the quilt to get it to her to put it in her queue of customer quilts for the SOQS (she gets very backlogged with customer quilts prior to the SOQS). I was always working long hours on a challenging work project and very tired at the end of the workday.

Perhaps I should not have engaged in “Piecing While Tired” (PWT).


I had a painful phone conversation with the very kind and patient long-arm quilter as we tried to figure out what could be done about this quilt. She had tried removing one of my borders and trying to fix it for me. I kept thinking: “I am so disappointed in myself, I so wanted to sell this quilt at SOQS as a King size quilt”. I wanted so badly for this quilt to work out as I had planned.

Then suddenly I decided to just let it go. I asked the long-arm quilter to just cut off the offending borders and finish quilting the quilt.

Modern Bedtime (2016) by Tierney Davis Hogan, quilted by Betty Anne Guadalupe

I trimmed off the left over borders, put on the binding and have embraced the quilt as it. I am still showing it/listing it for sale at the SOQS.

Life is a balance of holding on and letting go – Rumi

Warning: Never work on a quilt while tired and stressed from work! Lesson learned!


I am working on something exciting right now but it is a secret. It is a piece for an invitation only special juried exhibit. More to come!

14 thoughts on “The “Downsized” Quilt”

  1. IMHO you have come up with the perfect solution. Those vibrant log cabin squares are so great in themselves. The khaki border was going to kill the effect and appear to be added just to get to a certain size. Yep–exactly what happened. So Modern Bedtime looks like a huge success in its downsized size. I love it!

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  2. I haven’t had that happen, but I often make a border for a quilt (or at least a bunch of blocks for it) that I don’t use. I make medallions, which are defined by borders. So often I just have to try something and then see if it works, design-wise. If not, there is always another solution. Sounds like you found yours.

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  3. We all have quilting disasters. It’s what we do when it happens that makes all the difference. You turned your misfortune into an outstanding masterpiece that I absolutely love. This new quilt will have a much better chance of going home with someone than the original version.

    Being a professional long arm quilter myself I have encountered many obstacles with my customer’s quilts. I’ve even had to send one home for rehab. In the end her quilt turned out spectacular and she learned a great deal from the experience.

    Keep your chin up and press on!!! You are an awesome quilter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Cindy! I was thinking of you as a professional long arm quilter that you might connect with this story. I can imagine the diplomacy it takes (as my long arm quilter showed) to tell someone: “Um…your quilt it screwed up” !

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