Hooked on Needles

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Candle Mat Swap - HELP!

So I joined this Candle Mat swap hosted by Quilting Gallery using a design by the wonderfully talented, super creative, ever so kind and generous Sandi Anderson of A Legacy of Stitches. As it turned out, Sandi and I both used the same charm pack to make our mats. It's Adoring by Sandy Gervais who, as I may have mentioned once or a hundred times before, is my very favorite fabric designer of all time.

I made my mat for the swap and decided to finish the edge with something a bit more fancy than regular binding and then I machine quilted it with gold thread. Now I'd like to show you some pictures of the mat and then ask you some questions about it. I want your honest opinion and any constructive criticism you can share with me. Ready? Ok, pictures first, then questions...

Candle Mat completeFinished top, before layering and quilting

Candle Mat completeOne corner detail, hand embroidered with gold thread for ornament
top and green blanket stitch around ornament

Candle Mat completedetail of another corner

Candle Mat completefinished mat, trimmed with green cording around the edge and
machine quilted with gold thread

Candle Mat completeclose-up of one corner

Candle Mat completeanother corner

Candle Mat completeanother corner

Candle Mat completeback of mat

Candle Mat completeclose-up of back

Ok, so now that you've seen it from all sides and angles, here's what I want to know:

Is it good enough to send as a swap gift?

The swap rules state "Your finished piece must be quilted, bound securely and labeled on the back." I will label it, but my concern is the "bound securely" part. Does this edge finishing method count as being "bound securely"?

There is some bunchiness in the fabric as a result of machine quilting after finishing the edges. Would you consider that poor workmanship and be dissatisfied with receiving this mat in a swap because of it? Any advice on how this could be avoided would be appreciated.

Do you think the cording on the edge makes it look too much like a deflated pillow?

Give it to me straight! Would you want to receive this as a swap gift? If not, please tell me why. I can take it!

I'm seriously considering making a different one to send, but I need to know if I'm being overly critical, or if my concerns are valid. Thank you for any insight you can provide!

Happy Stitching!

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  • Okay, Mary Grace, we have known each other almost two years thanks to blogging and I am here to tell you right now that your mat is perfect to send off to a swap partner. The way you bound it is just fine, in fact, I love the cording and do not think it looks like a "deflated pillow". The detail on your ornaments is better than mine. But.........if you are not satisfied with it, then you should make another one. I would be happy with receiving this mat so I think it's good to be concerned but you might be overly critical of your work. Note that all of this is just my humble opinion. :-) I love anything that someone takes the time to stitch.

    By Blogger Sandi Linn Andersen, At October 23, 2010 at 10:42 PM  

  • I love your binding. I think the bunchiness may be a problem.

    By Blogger Janet, At October 23, 2010 at 11:44 PM  

  • I love it! I think it makes an excellent swap gift.

    By Blogger Sweet P, At October 24, 2010 at 7:32 AM  

  • Dear Mary Grace,

    First of all, I really like the way you embellished the ornaments, and I like the binding. It is different and makes it look more like a furnishing than a quilt. It probably also makes it a bit heavier, which is good for a mat. It looks "bound securely" to me! And your piecing is excellent! Do you starch heavily before piecing?

    Buuuut, I don't like the bunchiness, and the stripes along the edges seem to slant, probably in the direction the cording was stitched on. Without being able to look at it more closely, I would probably take out the cording, stitch in the ditch down the stripes, maybe add a bit of stipple around the ornaments to make them stand out and reduce the bunchiness, then re-add the cording. Or you could hand quilt around the ornaments, then add a quilted tiny ornament or two alongside them. I would also stitch in the ditch in the center block, or quilt the ornament motif I mentioned earlier. (can you tell I'm a heavy quilting fan?) This should fix it without having to redo the whole quilt.

    Then I'd be pleased to receive it!

    By Blogger Cynthia Gilbreth, At October 24, 2010 at 10:02 AM  

  • You are SOOO talented with the needle! I love the color palette you selected.

    By Blogger Decor To Adore, At October 24, 2010 at 12:24 PM  

  • I am not a quilter but in my eyes this mat is perfect - I would be thrilled to receive it. The fabric is beautiful - love the ornament embellishment.

    By Blogger annemarie, At October 24, 2010 at 3:57 PM  

  • Ok - I'm not going to be much help b/c I think it looks great ... but - I will say this - go with your gut. If you are uncomfortable with it then see if you can tweek it. Good luck!

    By Blogger Adrienne, At October 25, 2010 at 7:33 AM  

  • I would love to be the recipient of this candle mat. I think it is very lovely, and did not see any bunchiness. That would not bother me at all.

    By Blogger Ellen, At October 25, 2010 at 8:11 AM  

  • Love your design, and you probably know I'm a fan of unusual binding techniques. Question, though. Do you use a walking foot? That might help keep the edges from shifting. But I will add, I didn't notice the issue at first. I had to go back after the comments, and really look for it. And like the others said, you really have to go with your own feelings on something like this.

    By Blogger Karen M, At October 25, 2010 at 1:25 PM  

  • My two cents for what it is worth. I love it!! Anyone who takes that much time and puts that much effort is an A+ in my book. But it seems to me if you are aksing that many questions you are not happy. I would be with a swap such as yours but you have to be happy to give it.

    By Blogger Jane's Fabrics and Quilts, At October 25, 2010 at 8:01 PM  

  • I'm a little late on my comment, but I just wanted to tell you that I know exactly how you feel and what you are going through to be sure your mat is perfect. It's lovely as is, but I agree with what several other commenters have said, in that you should fix whatever has you so concerned. You won't feel good about it until you do.
    I love the edging and especially love the needle work you did on the ornaments. And, of course, the fabric is great. If the bunchiness would make a candle tip over, than fix it. You did a beautiful job.

    By Blogger Joanna, At October 26, 2010 at 5:52 PM  

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