As many of you know, the method of applique that I like to use involves using glue. Actually two kinds of glue...Elmer's glue sticks for prepping my pieces and Roxanne's glue baste, instead of pins, for applique placement. I LOVE this method...but I am still learning so much about it...like yesterday.
I am of the opinion that no matter how good we think we are with a quilting technique, no matter how comfortable we are, we never truly master anything because there is always something else to learn about it. I love my applique technique...it allows me the design freedom I seek and I am usually happy with the speed and results.
If there is a down side to using the glues, it would be the glue removal. I am comfortable enough with my technique that I am now using the bare minimum of glue, both for pressing the tiny turn under allowances to the backside of the fabric pieces and placement (dot-dot-not-a lot...).
The glues are archival quality, meaning they don't contain acids that would otherwise damage the fabric over time. Despite this, I usually soak my applique blocks and borders in water with gently squeezing to remove the glue. Then I press carefully with a dry iron on the back side to dry them and then I trim them to size.
So I waited, anxiously, about glue removal, somehow thinking "fiddle-dee-dee...I'll worry about that tomorrow." It was my Gone With the Wind moment. I distracted myself by adding one more little appliqued touch...a quilt block on the end of the barn, as suggested by Stephanie of The Pumpkin Barn (thanks!),
Oh my God...
After 2 hours of painstaking, excruciating pressing work, my top was flat...almost, and square...sort of. I knew that all my fabrics had been prewashed against fading and shrinkage, I had been mindful of the fabric grain when cutting out my pieces, I had appliqued with lovely silk thread and I had ripped my two borders on the lengthwise grain...what could go wrong??
Ugh...100% cotton piecing thread...
Bowed, "smiling" borders...
Totally tortured corner blocks...I actually thought this "hill and valley" area would quilt out...
I hung it on my design wall and was horrified by what I saw (sorry...no picture...I was too busy throwing up ). The middle actually sagged and it didn't lie flat against my design wall/ugly pink college blankie that usually grabs everything.
But, in denial, I quickly stretched out my backing on the tables, smoothed on my batting, and attempted to make that sucker 2-dimensional again, using my long rotary rulers to try and gently ease the weirdness into a square and flat quilt sandwich. I was dreaming about using my new thimble...it's supposed to "quilt out," right?
On the way home it hit me...this is not acceptable. This slip-shod, half-ass effort is not worthy of all the hours I put into this top. Who cares what a judge or my friends would say or think, I would know that I had not done my best.
I knew that the car tire applique stitches would need to be removed and the tires pinned back out of the way, the borders would have to come off, and I would need to relax the top and tortured quilt corners and re-square the quilt center. Then I would have to rip NEW border strips and finish it a second time, re-appliqueing all the car tires. Ugh...
So I did all the ugly, unsewing last night, looking forward to today when I would start afresh to fix my quilt. And I will fix it and work really hard to make it perfectly square and true yet again. Then I will TOTALLY enjoy the hand quilting experience then and bind and sleeve it knowing that it will hang straight on my wall...in all four positions (since I can't tell what side is really "up" on this sucker).Next time I applique blocks with pieces that over lap, I will baste those few inches of turned under allowances and soak away, press true and trim. Or I will needle turn that little bit. Once I finally decided to face the music and fix this, I was surprising calm. It sucks to be a grown up sometimes.
There are those who don't worry about such things. And for some projects, it is perfectly acceptable to believe in the "galloping horse" view of quilting..."if you can't tell when riding by on a galloping horse, don't worry about it..."
This is not that kind of project and I am not that kind of quilter.