July 9, 2016

Practice Does NOT Make Perfect (yet)

The last few weeks were disastrous for trying to get any artwork done or even going back to my beading class.   I knew I wouldn't make the next class because of family birthday plans, but was thrown for a loop when my father died that night, having only learned from a Facebook post by his family member that he was in serious trouble medically.  After weeks of drama, there were the additional distractions of a failed irrigation system in a drought (we cut back a lot, but are trying to keep trees alive), finding that we had a leak in our pool that could have resulted in the electrocution of my future son-in-law and then a bee hive and swarm that showed up right after (thank goodness!) our July 4th barbecue and fireworks show, along with working on a destination wedding just four months away.  The plumber did as much as he could to fix our irrigation problem before the bees got too grumpy, I managed to get a bee guy out within the hour, and postponed all of the repairs to the pool and yard until next week.  Harrumph.  I am totally buzzer-phobic, so I'm glad this was resolved quickly.

Too scared to go outside for another day or two (the suggested time to avoid the angry bee area by the bee dude), I figured I'd take advantage of the fact that the husband is out of town and have the house alone.  Time to start cutting out that quilt he wants!

It shouldn't be this hard or confusing.  I've been sewing garments and stuff for the house since I was a kid, plus I have made quilts before.  Not many, but I figured I'm experienced enough as long as it doesn't have curves or require crazy piece work.  Alas, I have been away from it long enough that it is NOT going well.  The directions are a little squirelly.  I love Kaffe Fasset, but someone did not do a thorough job of writing the instructions.  Some steps are left out, including one bit of information about how may pieces of a particular color of fabric to cut.  Yikes!

I made things worse by going on the internet and surfing videos for advice and finding a "shortcut."  The "shortcut" wasn't well executed by me, and so I made some costly errors.  The pattern calls for cutting about a trillion triangles and piecing them together to look like pinwheels, and then putting those pinwheels together to form the quilt top.  The shortcut showed how easy it was to just cut bigger squares instead of a bunch of little triangles, put the two bigger squares right sides together, sew around all four sides, then make two diagonal cuts and voila!  You open each of the four pieces and have four sets of the triangles together!  I did a lot of math to figure out the proper size of the squares.  OK, I thought I figured out the right size.  I was wrong.  Over and over again.  I have used all of the bad words in the bad word bank and wasted about a half mile of fabric.  I even practiced with ugly older fabric to test the process.  And test it again.  And tweak the needle position on my machine.  And trim the squares, sometimes ending up with a rectangle.  Or ending up with a square the wrong size.  Sigh. 

Time to crank on some good music, whip out the rotary cutter and start trimming the already cut pieces to make them workable.  At least I'm not just watching TV or having long, drawn out discussions with the cats.  And I'm glad to be doing something creative, even if I started out doing a bad job of it.  With practice, maybe I can perfect the pinwheel.

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