Thursday, March 21, 2013

Ok, so I do make rookie mistakes, but that's ok right?

When I saw this pattern, all kitted up and ready, with a life sized example in the store to drool over, I HAD TO HAVE it.  So home it came, and I've been waiting for other projects to fall off the radar before opening it because I knew that when I started, I'd have to keep at it until I had it done.

I thought I had it all under control.
I spent nearly a day just cutting fabric.
I couldn't wait to start making those pieces dance.
The first 8 blocks came together rather nicely.   
They measure 12.5 " square

 The second 7 blocks came together well too.  
So, by the time I moved on to the pieced sashing blocks, I guess I was getting a bit overconfident.  Remember the first two blocks were 12.5" square?  
Well, these sashing blocks are supposed to be 12.5" long. 
Unfortunately, mine weren't.
 Not even close.
They were 13.5" long, and nearly .5" too wide.
I didn't notice until I tried to attach the flying geese units to each end.  They weren't wide enough.
That's when I realized that all 28 of the units I had made so far were not right.
Needless to say, "I was not amused."

I admit, I lost sleep over this one.  I contemplated adding a small border to put between the blocks since they obviously wouldn't be matching up now.
I tried coming up with anything that would "fix" the problem.
I even called the quilt store to see if they had some of the fabric so I could just recut the pieces and start over - they didn't.

So, as much as I hated to admit it.  I'd have to pick all 28 of them apart and resew them.

Yes, I had skipped the basic part about CHECKING THE SIZE after making the first block to be sure I HAD IT RIGHT.  Yes, I'm yelling, but that's what I do when I make a mistake that I know I should have not made.  But, I am human.  Sigh.

You see, when I'm making half square triangles by the method of sewing across the squares twice and then cutting them in half along the line, I have to have the needle set at "7" to get the right space between the pencil line and the stitching to get them to come out the right size.
When I return to sewing that scant 1/4" straight seam, I have to have the needle set at "6".
I didn't.
So, to put this in perspective, look at this picture.  The space between these lines of stitching is the difference between the setting of "7" and "6".
Barely the width of a pin.
Unfortunately, when it adds up over this many seams, it adds up.
And it makes a big difference.
So, even when all the points match up perfectly, it can still be wrong.
Dang. (The family friendly edition of what I really said.) 

So far, I've spent two days picking and resewing, and I have half of them fixed.
And I'm feeling better about it now because I know it was the right decision.

I'm just really, really glad that I starched the heck out of the fabric before cutting it or those bias edges would have been so fragile.  If anything, I've learned that:
1. Measure twice, cut once
2. Read the pattern, especially when it says "proof to .... size"
3. Making a practise block is NEVER a waste of time.
4. Starch is my friend
5. Humble pie is a great learning tool.

I love this pattern.  I love the fabric.  I am going to love the finish.
And all that picking will be totally worth it.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Embroidery Birds

This winter has been really goofy so far.  I usually have mood problems when the season turns gray, but this year has been awful.  Dreary wet days with no snow on the ground and just cold mud are not my favorite.  I don't mind if it's cold, but I love the snow.  It brightens up the world.
On that note, my quilting passion is on a slow note right now, so I've turned to some embroidery to feed my craft hunger.
I'm not a fan of redwork, and cross-stitch I wasn't in the mood for, so I picked up some crewel work.  I just copied photos from the internet, enlarged them on the printer, outlined the main parts with a sharpie and then traced them onto cotton chambray.  The soft blue fabric makes an excellent background as it can be sky or water.
Once the patterns was traced, I fused a light weight interfacing to the back of the fabric.  This not only gives the fabric more substance, but helps to hide the threads from the back of the design.
Once the embroidery was done and pressed, I made the backing from fabric fused with heavy interfacing and used scraps of quilt batting in between.  Then I bound the edges just like a quilt and added a hanging sleeve.  They brighten my day!

My mom is celebrating her 77th birthday tomorrow and she's a bird lover too.  Maybe I'll just wrap them up!
So, what have you been working on?