Thursday, August 15, 2013


This took me longer to finish than I thought it would, due to about six weeks of pregnancy-induced nausea that made me not really want to sit at a sewing machine.

What's that? Sewing machine?

Yes yes, onto it, though we all know you skipped to the picture first.

Drum roll, please!

[fake drum roll]

I give you . . . .


If you look closely, you can tell both husband and I recently had colds.
(AKA the drugs on the night stands)

Every white square on this ridiculously HUGE quilt (about 7.5' by 9', ask me how easy it was to sew this beast together) holds a unique rejection letter from an agent or editor (I believe there are 49 of them). No repeats! (I could have done a whole row on Nelsen Agency rejection letters alone, but I never graduated above their standard, so they have only one square.)

The quilt even includes a rejection from Marlene. ;)

Now, the process:

First, only a sucker cuts her own squares. I used a knit (I think it was a knit?) fabric that let me rip 'em instead. Saved time!

This is me being dressed only from the waist up.

This is Husband helping.
Next I had to print out my selected rejection letters on printer paper (had to type some of them up to do this) and cut them out. Imagine my glee when I realized I hadn't gotten iron-on prints, but prints you have to actually sew around the edges. +2 hours of work to this project, at least.

Now, I didn't know this, but there is a TON of ironing involved in making a quilt. Especially when you have an easily-wrinkled fabric and printer ink that needs to be ironed in order to set.

Then I had to lay out the pattern. Pretty simple, white-black-white-black. Though I did organize diagonal rows by rejection letter length. And I ran out of room in my office to lay out the squares. That was fun.

Right: I had to pile the squares up in order and give them numbers so I
remembered what went where.
Then I had to sew the buggers together.

Three rows done! Each row had 11 squares.
9 rows total.
....and then my 1960's sewing machine busted, and the price it would cost to fix it was roughly the price of a new sewing machine.

So I got a new sewing machine. It came with a CD. So high-tech.

Cue getting nauseous right . . . here.

[Six weeks later]

I finished sewing the rows and had to lay them out over the batting and whatever you call the under-fabric. (I am obviously not a seamstress.) However, there was one problem.

The quilt was too big to fit anywhere.

So I almost took it outside to work on, despite the fear of creepy crawlies getting stuck in my batting. But then, thankfully, if we moved the table into the corner, the quilt just barely fit in the kitchen.

I did a lot of sweeping beforehand. Is "beforehand" hyphenated? Hmm...
Then I lucked out and found out that my church actually has a quilting frame in stock. You know, because old ladies like quilting and whatnot. Husband helped a lot in setting that up. Actually getting the huge needle and yarn through the seams required work gloves, pliers, wax, and Pandora Internet Radio.

Ain't he cute?
Then I had to sew up the hole I used to turn the thingy inside-out (uh... see YouTube?) and voila, done.

The quilt is definitely flawed, especially since some of my fabric bunched at one of the seams... but that's okay! You know why? Because it's a QUILT OF FAILURE ANYWAY.

And it will be very warm come winter. :)


  1. Oh my you have been working hard, what's it like to sleep under 'a quilt of rejection?' Looks good though.

  2. Cool idea. Rejection should be allowed to keep us warm. Ha, ha.

  3. Wow! That's such a creative way to use those rejections. Enjoy your quilt and hope you're feeling better.

  4. Awesome quilt! I'm glad you found a good way to use those rejections.

  5. Haha! Well, I guess you don't have a cubicle on which to hang them anymore. ;-) I love the way you've been able to handle rejection along the way.

  6. Wow this is a great project! You should make pillows with your ACCEPTANCE letters next!!

  7. That's quite a project, way to embrace it.

    Boy, I return from my unintentional sabbatical from blogdom to find you've had quite a month! Congrats on the book sale and the baby! Enjoy what free time you've got now, because you have NO idea how much of that the baby will eat up. My best advice on the writing: give yourself permission to take a maternity leave from it. After a few months where you don't hold yourself to unachievable standards, you'll fall into a schedule and be better able to get back into it.

    Congrats again!

  8. That is definitely worthy of acceptance. I always thought failure would be cold, but that will be nice and warm. I don't think you'll even need any heat for your place. Just wrap the quilt around. Great job :)

  9. What a great repurposing of those rejections! You've got a great attitude about them; that's for sure. :)

  10. You are so awesome. This is so awesome!

    I smiled through this whole post. You'll be able to carry it with you to author talks and be a motivational quilter speaker!

  11. You officially win the award of taking lemons and making lemonade. What a fabulous idea!!!

  12. Oh, that is truly amazing! What a wonderful idea. I can see why it took a while to put together.

    Have a great weekend!

  13. Rejection Quilt? Good luck getting lucky in that.

  14. I love this idea! And I love that Charlie made a monstrous quilt!

  15. Oh wow, what a fabulous project! I can't think of a more perfect way than this to embrace your rejections. Love it!

  16. This is awesome. Imagine if you used every rejection letter!

  17. Loved, loved, loved this idea. Bravo for seeing the silver lining! :-)

  18. This. Is. Amazing. I'm so impressed - I too have a love/hate relationship with my sewing machine and you're in those early icky/nauseating stages of pregnancy (congrats!) Now, will you be making an 'acceptance' quilt when you get picked up?

    BTW, I could have easily filled every square (front and back) with my rejections...

    1. P.S. I meant 'picked up' as in a book deal(s) :)


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