Sunday, April 28, 2019

Don't believe everything you hear or read

How many others are like me? When you were younger and not as smart, you believed everything you read. Right? If someone took the time to write it, it must be true. NOT!!! I learned that somewhere along the line. I wish I knew that when I was about 10 but that is one of life's lessons that you have to learn on your own. No one can tell you that.

That goes for patterns in the quilting industry as well. I'm teaching a class from a pattern (to be nice, I won't reveal the pattern maker's name) but she's Canadian.

We are doing several blocks a month and there is one block that just wouldn't work. I had no idea the instructions were wrong, although when I got to the first diagram, I thought things looked a bit wonky. You start with a square, add a few bits and it should be a rectangle according to the diagram, but the instructions say that's it a square and the resulting piece is a square. Hmm - that should have been my first clue.

Anyway, I proceeded to make the rest of the block and it was crazy all the way through. I had pre-cut all my pieces so I forged ahead. This is what I got.

Funky blocks

The two on the left were done according to the instructions - well sort of. Like I said, it was weird as the diagrams did NOT match the writing. Nope - I don't like those blocks. So I tried again, this time making a diamond from the square. That worked better in the top right, but look at those points - they all got cut off. That's not right either. Then there were not enough green strips cut to insert into the last block so that was a total wonky thing.

I e-mailed the designer telling her that I thought there was a mistake in the pattern. A day later she replied - "Nope, there's no mistake in the pattern."  Really??????  There are in fact TWO mistakes in the pattern. All of them in the cutting instructions and ONE word in the written instructions. Why can't people own up to a mistake??? Now the written instruction did word it so that it might not be considered a mistake, but that leaves the cutting totally up to the student with no guideline.

So I redid the block using my own calculations. Start with a rectangle and then trim as per the pattern diagram. Add the triangles that fit much better. Imagine putting bi-rangles (triangles created by cutting a rectangle on the diagonal) on a square? It didn't look pretty. I thought I had a picture of my first attempts, but I can't find it.

The background triangles fit nicely on the diamond

Then as I continued with the instructions, the block was PERFECT with all the points intact.

The block came out perfect

Now the quilt is modern and some blocks are improv so it doesn't really matter. What matters is that the designer said it was OK when in fact it wasn't. The instructions for that block did not match the diagram and there were two mistakes in the cutting. Once I made the changes, the block went together like a charm.

I must apologize to my class for not figuring that one out sooner. Sorry!!!!!

I'm always talking about learning experiences. Learning new things is often the topic of my blog posts. Well, I have something to share with you that I learned yesterday.

So, last week, I got a warning on my cell phone that my data was used up for this month. WHOA! How the heck did that happen? Was it because I was traveling so much? I dug into the online bill for the daily usage for the past month. Hmm - it appeared that the two biggest days were Sundays when I was at home. Now, how the heck did that happen??

I know how. There are times when I'm out and my phone is trying to connect to the WiFi but for whatever reason, I don't or can't connect. I must pay attention to when this happens. So I turn the WiFi off which then forces the phone to use data. Then when I get home, I forget to turn the WiFi back on. I know that I've lamented that there isn't an option for the phone to automatically turn the WiFi back on.

OK - so I've had my data off on the phone for the last couple of days. It was time yesterday to get that fixed and understand what is happening. I had tried the day before but that was total frustration. I couldn't find a phone number on the Bell website so I tried using the LiveChat. That was great until they asked me for very specific information like password and account number in order for them to help me. I wasn't logged in at the time. Anyway - that was a disaster.

Yesterday, I got smart about the process. I logged into my account so I would readily have my information at my fingertips and it allowed me to browse through the bill and the usage at the same time as I chatted with the agent. I'm not a huge fan of LiveChat (it's just typing in a window on the screen) because it does take a long time - longer than if you do it via the telephone.

No worries. I was in a good mood and wanted to solve the problem. Turns out that I already have 3 GB of data. I thought I only had two. My tablet has 1 GB of data. The tablet can pull from my phone data if needed, but the reverse won't work. OK - so the phone has 3 GB of data. That was news to me. Now to figure out how to configure everything and can I save money?

Even though there's a special on the website for $110 a month (I know - that's an obscene amount to pay for a cell phone), I don't qualify because that price is for new signups. I'm paying $5 more a month. I let it go because I was tired at this point. Our LiveChat session lasted ONE HOUR!!!

What else did I learn??  Well - lots. Did you know that you are supposed to set the BILLING CYCLE on your phone? Yes - I never did that - I guess I assumed that it was automatically set. I knew the option was there. So now the billing cycle in the phone is set to match the real billing date. There's a warning when the data level reaches a certain level. I knew that and mine was already set. It was set to 2 GB and I've left it there. Once I reach the 2GB, I know that I have 1 GB left.

I found another setting in the phone that once the phone reaches 3 GB (I set that level), the phone will automatically shut the data down so I won't go over my limit and rack up huge charges. That is great!!!!

But I also found another setting (in the advanced settings) that will turn the WiFi back on for those locations where you frequent the most - like HOME!!!!  That's exactly what I wanted, but didn't know that the feature actually existed!!!!  WOW - that was cool.

Here's the thing - because the billing cycle in the phone and the real billing cycle were NOT in sync, I wasn't really over my data!!!  That's hilarious!  However, I'm glad that it happened because I was able to figure this out and now I'm a very happy camper. That's why I didn't drive the guy crazy by trying to get that $5 off my phone bill.

So, if you haven't done that, you should set it up. You have the features in your SmartPhone - you might as well use them. I know that there are many more features in the phone that I haven't touched yet - but all in good time. Oh yes - there is one more feature I found. If you want to shut off some apps from using data, you can do that as well. I know there are loads of apps on my phone - most of which I never use. I really should delete them, but I can at least turn the data off so if they by chance are sucking up my data, I can shut them off and they will only work with WiFi. That's called the Data Saver feature.

I have a Samsung Android phone. All this stuff was found in Settings, Connections, WiFi, Advanced (which is in the top right with those three little dots). The other place is Settings, Connections, Data Usage. That's your lesson for today - now get your SmartPhone and make those changes.

I had another private class yesterday. And I learned something else. Did you know that there are embroidery machines out there that ONLY do machine embroidery?? They do NOT sew. I had no idea.

It's not my brand obviously or I would have known that. Anyway, I got her fixed up on two different things and now she has a LOT of homework to do! 

Embroidery Machine 

I'm still trying to tidy up Studio U. It's actually not in bad shape, but I've been moving this mess of wool around for months. Time to deal with it. It was given to me in a box of wool years ago. I had pulled it out several months ago to make something. It looked like a decent piece of wool. Only when I opened it up, it was mostly a bunch of scraps. Hmm - and there it sat like that. I had no idea what was in the bundle. Time to get this cleaned up!

Bundle of wool scraps

There were two sizeable pieces in the bundle. I kept those and the rest went into the pet mat bag. Seriously???  Why would someone have kept this? The bundle above I mean. I should have looked more closely at it months ago.

Two nice sized pieces of wool

I'm doing more organizing but I need to find my index cards so I can label everything. I had the darn cards just mere days ago. I put them somewhere safe and now I can't find that safe place. Once I get that done, I'll show you. I'm quite happy with the way things are in Studio U. This week, I NEED to get the work started on Studio B. I've put it off long enough.

Call me obsessive, but I keep finding fabrics that were stained from the water leak. I started to work on a magazine quilt that isn't due until June. I know - what planning on my part! These are white strips that are badly stained in some parts with blue.

White strips of fabric stained with blue

Back to the sink with the hot water and Dawn. OK - I couldn't help myself by putting the handle of the Easter Basket back in the mix to get rid of that last little stain. And there was a stain on one of our Santa Sacks that I missed last time.

Soaking in hot water and Dawn 

I'm happy to report that all the stains came out. Well, almost all, I think there were parts of a couple of the white strips that were under the Santa Sack and not completely submerged. Anyway - doesn't matter - the strips are much better than they were.

Because they were dripping wet, they went on the drying rack and outside.

White strips - now clean and drying
They are now ready to use for the magazine quilt. 

The strips are dry and ready to use
 Fortunately, the fabric is Northcott Toscana which is relatively thick and with the paint that sits on top, it has definitely prevented any fraying. Those strips have been washed twice and minimal fraying.

The only problem is that I broke the leg off my laundry rack when I brought it in the house!!!  I guess I'm due for a new one. I've had this one for years.

Oops - the leg broke off the drying rack

Now get that SmartPhone out and make those changes!!!  But look at your bill first so you know the amount of data that you have and the billing cycle. You'll never go over your data!

Have a super day!!!!!



  1. I used to do a lot of sewing for Hamel's quilt shop and made up samples of patterns. There is one pattern designer that I finally refused to make samples from. Her instructions are written so poorly that I figure that she designs the quilt and then writes the cutting and piecing directions but, am sure she never actually gives it to a tester. One time, I did make a quilt from a Patrick Lose design and carefully cut all the pieces first and same thing as you... called for a rectangle when I only had a square? Went over the cutting again, looked at the diagrams and totally incorrect. I actually mailed Patrick Lose company and scanned all the incorrect measurements and spelling mistakes! Turns out the pattern was actually designed by someone I know here in Western Canada and she was designing under their name. I pointed the errors to Hamel's so they could include an errata sheet with the pattern in their kits. But, I never did hear back and know if they corrected their pattern. I was upset for all the quilters who would have purchased that pattern or kit with that many errors in it. Makes you wonder?

    1. Oh you are so correct!!!!! It bugs me that we as the tester,sample maker know there is an issue. Haven't these people heard of pattern testers??? Thanks for your feedback!