good fabrics gone bad.

I was excited about that fabric bundle I showed recently. I think I liked it because it seemed cool and a bit spare. I thought I’d like it with lots of white or gray solids. So when I set out to start a quilt out of those fabrics I decided to add…



Not a good decision (now it looks nothing like what I had in mind when I pulled out that bundle)! I guess I felt it needed a little something extra. So I made up several blocks and really felt meh about it. I should have cut my losses then, but I was being pretty stubborn and couldn’t seem to let it go. I switched from orange orange to slightly less orange, and a little bit pinkish-reddish and even some pale pink, thinking maybe it would tone it down. Not so much. While I did end up finishing the top, I definitely am not a fan.


I’d love to show you the full top, but temps outside have been below zero and strangely enough no one seems interested in going out to hold up quilts…

So, quilt it, or call it quits now? At what point do you decide to give up on a project you’re not loving?

This entry was posted in Fabric, Posts about Quilts and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

87 Responses to good fabrics gone bad.

  1. 1
    Judy says:

    Well, I love orange and my personal opinion is that it fits perfectly with your turquoise and aqua fabrics πŸ™‚
    When I don’t like a top, I still quilt it, making something totally different and mostly, I like the quilt afterwards πŸ™‚

  2. 2
    Audrey says:

    i can see that the orange pulls the quilt away from the January serenity of your original fabric stack, but I like what I see so far. I hope you will quilt it!

  3. 3
    erin says:

    maybe quilt it and then decide? if you don’t love it, i bet you could find a deserving charity to donate it to.

    • 4
      Meg says:

      I agree with Erin. Sometimes the quilting is enough to take a quilt I’m feeling “meh” about into something more extraordinary. And if not? Charities would be delighted to take it off your hands!

  4. 5
    Julianna says:

    Sometimes it just happends. But I love this orange-red-pinkish additions! They for sure add something extra to the rest of fabrics. It may not be as you planned originally, but still looks fab!

  5. 6
    Julianna says:

    I adore it! The quilt needed that pop of color. I have a couple of quilts I quit. It happens. Victoria Findlay Wolfe (took her 15 Minutes of Play class) says to cut up those quilt tops we don’t love and recreate something you do. You might be very surprised.

  6. 8
    Melanie C says:

    Since I have a limited sewing time-if I don’t love it- I move on. I will ask one of my other quilty friends if they want it, if not I give it away to groups who finish quilts for charities. If fact, I just did this with some old tops, kits, and quilt that weren’t my style any longer- it felt great giving them a new home!

    You could always try to sell on Instagram too.

  7. 9
    Mad says:

    I think it’s gorgeous. Finish it up and sell it!!!

  8. 10
    Dominique says:

    Personally? I really like the orange with these gray, blues, teals. But if you don’t love it, as someone else suggested, you may want to move on to something that actually excites you. I am sure someone would be pleased to take it off your hands to donate to a charity.

  9. 11
    Alice R. says:

    My choice would be quilt it as a charity quilt since it’s really lovely just not my taste (if I made a real dog, I wouldn’t do this). My other choice would be cut it up, and use pieced portions in a quilt with lots more colors for a scrappy experiment. Which option depends on how sick of it you are. Good luck!

    • 12
      Cate says:

      I like your idea of cutting it up. I have been doing more improv lately, and I WANT to slice up blocks I make but they always look too precious. And I know that I could do some really interesting things with them. So when you have something you aren’t satisfied with, it’s the perfect opportunity to go wild! And I don’t know what it is about the quilt, but I see what you mean, even though the orange DOES help.

  10. 13
    CJ says:

    I would quilt it and donate the finished product. There are lots of people who could use a nice warm blanket right now! Plus I bet you’ll like it more after it’s finished.

  11. 14
    Sigi G says:

    I really feel the orange is what makes this quilt ‘pop’. It adds that sunset glow after a day at the beach!

  12. 15
    Ruthann says:

    From what you’ve shown I like it. I’d finish it. I’m thinking the quilting is going to make this quilt.

  13. 16
    Gretchen says:

    if you don’t like it, cut your losses now and pass it on to someone else that does love it. Don’t let it become a WIP and haunt you for years. I think I will take my own advice.

  14. 17

    The reason you don’t like it’s because itis different than in your head. There is some cognitive dissonance there. I would finish it because it will lead you to someplace else you have not discovered. There is nothing wrong with it in the design sense, just in what you wanted. It will be a bridge for you.

  15. 18
    Emily T says:

    It seems like you mostly don’t love it because it’s not how you visioned it – maybe pack it away for a little bit, and when you come across it again in a couple weeks or months you will have fresh eyes for it!

  16. 19

    I vote for quilt and donate. Or just give the top away.

  17. 20
    Penny G says:

    Can’t tell what it looks like, but it may just not meet your expectations. You had a concept and then it wasn’t realized. Try to see it as something different as you plan the quilting and set out to make it different. I have trouble with that, but sometimes it works.

  18. 21
    Sidney E says:

    I think it’s beautiful. If you finish it, someone will derive great joy from looking at it, smoothing their hands over the quilty goodness, and snuggling under its warmth!

  19. 22

    Sounds like a great quilt to teach: “how to overcome unfulfilled expectations” or “what is one person’s junk is another person’s treasure.”
    Thank you for sharing your quilting farkle.

  20. 23
    Cindy says:

    I personally love it! It looks comfy and is something I’d love to snuggle up with in those temps!:)

  21. 24
    Suz says:

    I think it is beautiful! Finish it and give it away to someone who will love it and use it. Different tastes make the world go ’round!

  22. 25
    Bonnie Irby says:

    I’d finish it. I know that there will be someone to love it. I think it’s great!

  23. 26
    Whit says:

    I quite like it! Please straight line quilt it and give it to me :).

  24. 27
    krista says:

    I LOVE that addition of the orange! I don’t think it’s ruined at all. But I know what a bummer it is when something doesn’t turn out like you hoped. Just trust me that it’s lovely.

  25. 29
    Sarah says:

    I recently had the same dilemma. Since my time resources and money resources are precious, I did not quilt it. I gave it to someone to practice her long arm skills on. At first I thought I might be sorry about that, but a few weeks (And two new quilts) later? Nope, not at all!

  26. 30
    tirane93 says:

    i like the top! but even if it was super ugly (which is hard to imagine coming from your studio), i’d vote for finishing the quilt. you can donate it to a local shelter or firestation and it will get loved by someone. plus finishing a quilt that didn’t work out like you planned helps you remember the lesson involved – whatever the lesson is. πŸ™‚

  27. 31
    Genevieve says:

    It’s actually a great quilt, but if you’re bit feeling, don’t spend the time quilting it. It’s a lot of work for something you’ve stopped loving. Life is too short! Put it on a shelf, work on a project you love, then look at it again in a few months. If your feelings haven’t changed, donate it, quilted if you can stand it, I quilted if you can’t. A long-armed could turn it into a charity quilt in no time!

  28. 32
    Lynda H says:

    Actually, I have quite the opposite problem – I made a modern block sampler last year with 5 colors that I love, gold, browns, oranges with the background being a “sagey green” and no one likes the colors – they all love the blocks but not the colors, I still love the color combo myself – this year will make the same quilt using more “typical” colors and see what happens.

  29. 33
    Barb R says:

    I’ve had this happen to me. Surprisingly, once an ugly duckling is quilted they take on a whole new beauty. Some have actually turned out to be my most favorite quilts. Surprise! I think someone mentioned putting it away for a while and then take an objective look with fresh eyes. I think then you will see the beauty we all see now. Post the outcome!

  30. 34
    Lydia says:

    I’ve made so many things that didn’t turn out as I envisioned. Some of them just got tucked away. I would find them months sometimes years later and be surprised how much I really liked them. Sometimes we just need some distance from our creations, just because we don’t like them at that time doesn’t mean that they are not good. I know there is someone out there who would be overjoyed with this quilt. You’ll feel better if you finish it.

  31. 35
    Cheryl says:

    I like the pop that orange adds. Sometimes I am not loving a quilt top then once quilted everything seems to meld together better and I like it. If it winds up you don’t care for it when finished, you could always donate it, someone would be super excited to receive it.

  32. 36
    Cheryl says:

    I love the orange. Sometimes I put them away for awhile and feel differently about them when I pull them out for a second look!

  33. 37
    Lauren says:

    I think it looks awesome!!

  34. 38
    Ashley says:

    Well, I think it looks AMAZING as-is, but I totally get you on it maybe not fitting your original vision.

  35. 39
    chris says:

    I have not liked every project I have done at one point or another in the process (there are so many). I say keep going. If when you are done and you still don’t like the outcome.. donate it. πŸ™‚

  36. 40
    Pattie C says:

    I just pulled out a top in finished at least 5 years ago and I chopped it up and made a totally different quilt out of it. It may not be the most favorite things I’ve ever made but it was never going to get quilted as it was so think about stashing it away for a while and then give it another chance.

  37. 41
    Coastal gray says:

    Ok, if you seriously don’t love it……???
    Put it up for sale on Etsy….. I know someone will so love to finish and have it….. I got some blocks that way…. And am loving to finish them…..:)
    PS I actually like your quilt top, and the variations of orange with the other colors…..:)

  38. 42
    Dorrie says:

    I wouldn’t give up on it until it’s quilted, washed and dried. You know quilts take on an entirely new life once they’ve been run through a dryer. . .

  39. 43
    jackie says:

    when we have seen the whole thing, we can judge better, you might like it more from further away

  40. 44
  41. 45

    I just had this dilemma with a bunch of blocks I had made. I posted them for sale on Etsy yesterday & they were sold by the time I woke up this morning. So I would say, cut your losses & either sell or donate the quilt top. Personally, I love the colors you’ve got going though!

  42. 46
    Sara Hill says:

    It looks good, but I don’t like working on things I don’t like either. What if you put it away for awhile and bring it back out and reevalute? A pity to waste what you’ve done. Send it to someone, donate, whatever.

  43. 47
    audrey says:

    Not fun to work on things we can’t feel the love for. Personally I love the cool vintage vibe to your fabrics and color mix though! It looks like something that belongs in a dorm.:)

  44. 48
    Penny says:

    I would quilt it and if you still don’t like it, some one always needs to be warm. GOD bless you, and thank you in advance if you decide to be a quilt angle.

  45. 49
    Lizzie says:

    Funny how it changed! Personally, the pictures grabbed me even before I started reading. I love it! I think you could anyone it and wash it so it gets crinkly, and reevaluate. However, if you’re hung up on it, and you just can’t create, put it away or go with charity or Etsy. If I find I’m hating a project so much it cramps my style, it’s time to move on.

  46. 50
    Mary says:

    Put it away as is, and mark the calendar for a date to take it out, maybe a month from now. At that time, either:
    –Quilt it
    –Cut it up to make something different
    –or discard it. Yes, fabric is expensive, but we all have more fabric than time πŸ™‚

  47. 51
    Barbara says:

    I love the idea of cutting it up and reusing the bits! Personally, I wouldn’t be able to stand quilting something I already didn’t like. Although from what you’ve shown, your quilt top looks great to me!

  48. 52
    Laura says:

    I like your quilt a lot. I think the orange looks adorable with the blues. Don’t give up on it.


  49. 53
    Liz says:

    How about making it a backing for something else?
    If you just don’t love it enough for that, quilt it and donate it to get it out of your home. Let it bless someone else’s home and life.

  50. 54
    Colleen says:

    I was excited to see what you were going to do with that bundle too. I imagined it something along the lines of your December corduroy quilt – loved that.
    I’m sure this one will be another beauty. I think some quilts take longer to be appreciated.

  51. 55
    JCinTX says:

    I love the colors as well. I agree with other posts, you may love it after quilting, if not donate it, you will make someones day! I know a group that would snatched it right up, quilted or not.

  52. 56
    Jenny says:

    Send it to me and will quilt it, bind it, and keep it.

  53. 57
    Lea says:

    I love orange and think it’s a great addition to this masculine quilt.

  54. 58
    LaRue Cook says:

    My motto is, When in doubt, cut it up. I understand that you probably don’t want to cut up a quilt top you spent so much time on, but if you’re not happy with it you probably will never be. It might be pretty cool to cut it at odd angles, then piece it back together with another color strip in between. Who knows what can happen?

  55. 59
    Jeifner says:

    I would sell the top or put it away and come back to it much later. If you quilt it while you don’t like it, I doubt your feelings will change much after you force yourself to stare at it more during the process. The quilt hurt your creative feelings so it should either think about what it’s done in time out, or go to another home πŸ™‚

  56. 60
    Lisa C says:

    There’s no easy answer to your question. You could finish it and donate it if you don’t love it when you’re finished. You could then write off the cost of the fabric on your taxes. Nothing for your time but a small bright spot none-the-less. Maybe it will grow on you – once your mind gets over the picture in your head and sees the beauty you’ve created.

  57. 61
    Rach C says:

    I would finish it off and keep it as a spare quilt for visitors or to sit on the lawn outside etc. It won’t matter if it gets ruined if you don’t love it. Better than using one that you absolutely love. Otherwise I would give it to a charity. There would be many people who just need a quilt and don’t really care about the colours. Either way your time is not wasted. πŸ™‚

  58. 62
    terri henderson says:

    if you dont love it, maybe someone else will. give it away or sell it. no sense wasting any more time on something you do not like

  59. 63
    lauradodson says:

    Personally, I like blue and orange together. I’d wait til you can show the entire quilt like you normally do. No need to rush. I’m curious to see what it looks like held up.

  60. 64
    Katie says:

    I’m pretty sure you lost your mind. I love it;)

  61. 65
    Lindsey says:

    If I didn’t like it I wouldn’t want to spend the money on the batting and the backing material. Why don’t you wait a bit and decide later.

  62. 66
    Sandra says:

    I think you should cut it up some more and re-piece it. Possibly add more fabrics to the mix? That may jazz it up for you…if it’s still “blah” for you, then try selling or donate it (or them, if it becomes ginormous for a single quilt).

  63. 67
    jamee says:

    quilt it! reread the book quilting makes the quilt, if necessary for inspiration. if all else fails, you will have a charity quilt ready to go.

  64. 68
    L says:

    Quilt and give it a good home!

  65. 69
    susan718 says:

    I like it! and it will look even better quilted.

  66. 70
  67. 71

    Duds are the stepping stones to the magnificent. We learn more from our failures than from our successes. It may not seem so but taking risks and failing really is the key to innovation and discovery. If I’m failing with a piece I sometimes I just push it to its worst and take notes. Fantastic work!

  68. 72

    I love it! I’d be happy to take it off yours hands

  69. 73
    Kelly O. says:

    I would be happy to take it off your hands and quilt it up to give to charity… I have done this many times for friends who aren’t “feeling” their quilt anymore… I often use these quilts as a chance to practice my FMQ and try out some new techniques…. you could use it for that too!

  70. 74
    Calee says:

    As a graphic designer (meaning I have one and almost a second degree in color), I am going to say quilt it. You could maybe quilt it with a darker color that would pull away from the orange. You made a nice decision with the orange. I think you might be too close to the project to see it now.

  71. 75
    sheila says:

    Let the quilt be the background for the quilting. Choose a bold intricate pattern and bold thread like bright orange/ hot pink / Aqua Good Luck!

  72. 76
    Jamie says:

    I say go all in & quilt spirals in those wonky squares…in ORANGE thread!

    I think it looks great. But I love all of your quilts. πŸ™‚ Looks very masculine, but fresh.

  73. 77
    Kristal says:

    Quilt that bad boy up and bind it. Put it in the gift pile if you do not like it by then, or as others say donation quilt. There is also the option of a charity auctioning it off , or maybe raffle it off and donate the money to charity. The quilt might not be all you wanted it to be and by the very end you still might not like it , but it is a good quilt with lots of potential.

  74. 78

    FINISH IT! I do not know where you find it to be “meh” but we do all have our different eye for design and color. I love this as I love orange… and I am sure you can gift or find someone who would LOVE to have this!

  75. 79
    Peggi says:

    I LOVE this … but you don’t, so I say either put it away for a couple months and pull out then to see if you feel the same way OR finish it and donate it. If you stash it away, pull it back out and still feel “meh”, maybe a fellow quilter will take it off your hands and finish it.
    Your quilts are gorgeous, love this site!

  76. 80
    Christine says:

    Do you think maybe the quilt has a color proportion problem? Because a small amount of Orange is so domineering, it looks like the quilt isn’t clear whether it’s about orange or about the different blue fabrics. I think it either needs more orange so the blues clearly read as background, or less. You could add an orange border, or decrease the orange to slivers by adding more blue over it- perhaps by appliquΓ©-ing wonky blue diamonds at the block intersections, or by cutting the whole piece on a different grid and running blue sashings to make a plaid effect. Or give up on the orange altogether by cutting squares of blue away and sash them instead with gray, white, or even a dull gold color.
    I’m new to your blog and enjoy your work immensely

  77. 81

    Hi there,
    You know what? I really like this quilt. if you still don’t like it, I would gladly trade you some of my stash fabrics for it!!!
    Lemme know!
    Quilty Huggs,
    Jacqueline in Pitt Meadows

  78. Pingback: To Finish or Not to Finish « Red Patch Designs

  79. 82
    Manuela says:


    someone out there might love it – as you can see in some comments above.

    So why not quilt it in an easy manner and donate it for a good cause?

    It would be a shame to let all the good work go to waste!


  80. 83
    Laura says:

    funny that you don’t like it. I love it! I think the Orange is fun. Quilt it. I totally understand hating
    A project though… I have a few in my closet I might never revisit. If it turns to that, feel free to mail it to me and I’ll finish it for you πŸ˜‰

  81. 84
    Therese says:

    I’m in the “quilt it or tie it simply with a flannel batting and give it a worthy cause” camp. Or if you can’t even deal with that – sell it, I’m sure someone would want to finish it.

  82. Pingback: FITF: january quilt | Film in the Fridge

  83. 85
    dani street says:

    Oh, I love it!! hope you quilt it.

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