September 24, 2013

Keep it Moving...

Whenever I discover that there is a chip or smudge in my rarely painted nails, I figure I can just keep  my hands moving and no one will see the goof.  The same goes for when I let myself go too long between salon visits and the "snow on the roof" is visible in the part of my hair.  With a rub of brown eye shadow and my hair down and moving with me, no one notices the flaw.

Then there's my recent quilt.  I'm not quite sure how much I can flap that sucker in the breeze so that no one notices the flaws.  Can you see the mistake?
There's no such thing as a project in progress without a cat involved in it somehow.  Charlotte wanted to be sure there remained plenty of wrinkles as I tried to smooth the quilt on the floor.

 I'd like to think I'm being to hard on myself, but what a bonehead move on my part.  This photo explains it all...

This note was added AFTER I realized the mistake I'd made, having put the blue tape on the machine the last time I made a quilt, about two years ago, without a note as to why.  Oh my.

Having a new quilt pattern and all of the fabric I thought I'd needed got me in a great and creative mood.  Well, as creative as you can be when you are working from a pattern someone else designed with the fabric matching that used in making the pattern sample.  Just the act of measuring and cutting and assembling requires a lot of focus, leaving the brain unable to fret about other things in life that may not be going so well.  For those who don't sew, this won't mean a thing.  For those that do, I'm sure there will be a lot of chuckling going on in a minute.  This fancy, shmancy Bernina my husband bought for me a few years ago has a great new feature - the hole in the foot plate is a full 9mm wide and with the push of the little white button on the front, the needle can be bumped left or right of the usual center position and remain in place until the machine is turned off (it re-centers when the machine is turned back on).  Since I was using a wide presser foot and quilting with the usual 1/4" seam allowance, I wanted to use the right edge of the presser foot as my guide so that I could clearly see it.  In my infinite wisdom, the last time I made a quilt I simply dropped the needle and tapped that little white button until it was positioned so that it created a perfectly placed 1/4" seam with the fabric lined up along the right side of the foot.  Follow me?  Of course, I was brilliant and put down the blue painters tape, with the left tape edge marking the 1/4" seam edge IF the needle were centered, and the drawn line marking the 1/4" seam edge if the needle were bumped to the right twice and the fabric lined up with the edge of the presser foot.  Only this time around, I forgot the part about bumping the needle over (thus this new note to my goober self).

When I started to put the first pieces together - the black and white horizontal striped section stitched to the vertical coloured and white stripes - I was horrified to see that the colored strips were significantly more narrow, by about 1-1/2 inches.  How could that be?  I thought, "dumb directions!" and double checked the math.  The math added up.  My quilt squares didn't.  I flipped the quilt over and started measure the seams and realized they were larger than 1/4" because I, the nitwit that forgot why the 1/4" mark isn't at the left edge of the tape, had used the foot as a guide without moving the needle to the right.  Every bloody seam hogged up another 1/8" more of less of fabric.  Lots of strips meant the loss of lots of fabric.  O.M.G.  I could either take apart (how many components are there?  Thirty?) every assembled square, or just cut the black & white segments to fit the width of the thirty that were too small and call it a flippin' crib quilt instead of a lap quilt.

Lesson learned.  I learned how to make a crib quilt.

There were other mistakes and errors along the way, but I am simply going to consider them as learning experiences, make notes so that I don't repeat those mistakes, and consider this is just part of the re-learning curve. 

While I'm looking at these photos again, I should point out that Charlotte is not a poodle as her tail would suggest.  She is usually a long haired cat that suffered with the most miserable knotting of her fluffy fur, so she was subjected to what the vet refers to as a "lion cut."  Alas, the lion's cheeks were trimmed a little lopsided, so she looks like her head is tweaked a bit toward the right.  Her cut also provided a stunning view of her need for kitty Spanx.  How can a young cat that has never had kittens have cleavage like that?!?  She puts most dairy cows to shame.  We are trying to exercise her and help her with nature's tummy tuck, hoping she doesn't notice things like my son spotting her for the first time after she got home, doubling over and laughing so hard that he merely bounced with no sound coming out.  Poor Charlotte.  The indignity of it all!

Tomorrow I start on the back of the quilt.  At this point, I don't see any point in continuing the silly practice of skipping wine while I sew.  Clearly, it couldn't have hurt.  You just can't tell from this photo that the top row of black bars is narrower than the others.  I need to flap that quilt a little faster, THEN I'll take a sip.