Thursday, February 1, 2018

In Control

When I was given my gift of 50 hours a week thanks to my employer deciding that they no longer needed my services, a couple of thoughts went through my head. Would I squander my time? Would I sew all day? What would I do?

I'm happy to report that I'm not squandering my time. I've had a lot of deadlines to get stuff done, I've made and finished a ton of projects - 8 for January alone. On personal sewing days, I've been able to advance a few of those UFOs that are on my list and I'm quite happy with the progress.

The one thing that scared me was the paperwork. ACK - I'm not good with paperwork and am often behind on a lot of things. Why is that? Well, I think I've got it figured out. I used to leave paperwork to the last. If I had five minutes, I would do some paperwork and that's why it always was late. By dedicating the morning hours (9 - 12) to paperwork, things are actually getting done! WOW - how about that! Then I have the afternoon to sew or quilt or whatever I want to do. While I'm still a long way from being caught up, I would say the most critical paperwork is done. And you know what? I'm feeling in control! And I like it!

I'm behind in my e-mails so if I owe you an e-mail be patient, but I've been making group lists and adding people to my contact list (I was never good at that) which makes it a whole lot easier to send e-mails and if I ever change computers again, the contact list will be done!

Now here's the silly part. I don't think I'll get a chance to do paperwork this morning because I have some prep work to finish for the guild meeting tonight (have to finish fulfilling the last order of tuffet supplies and there are six covers to cut and sew.) and there are a few details to finish up a quilt. If there is some spare time, I'll do some paperwork. The silly thing is - I was looking forward to the paperwork! That's bizarre and hopefully, I'll start to chisel away at the stuff in this office space. It'll happen because I WANT it to.

Yesterday was another intense day of quilting and right in the middle of it, I had a dentist appointment. DRAT!  I try to forget about those. When they asked me about any health changes, I told them about giving up the sugar! OH - I've just committed to my dentist that I'm giving up sugar. Now my teeth are shiny clean and NO SUGAR to get them all messed up!

So what was the intense day of quilting all about?  The West End Modern Quilt Guild's submission to the charity quilts for  Quiltcon.  Did it get done? Of course!

Community projects quilt - DONE
 YES -- I know that the quilting is way too dense for a bed quilt, but it could be a bed quilt! There was a ton of negative space and I needed something to tame that top.

Here are some details of the quilting.

Details of quilting - notice the quilted in triangles in colored thread no less

These triangles were stitched in the ditch

These triangles have a fan pattern on them

I'm going to provide a lesson in a minute. Actually, there are a couple of lessons and one of them is for me.

Because of how the quilt was sewn together, I desperately needed to lay it out on the work tables to trim it. Thank goodness the tables were pretty empty. OK - so I did have to move some stuff!

Trimming the quilt
 The ends of the quilt were not straight and there was no border so that made it a bit of a challenge as to where to trim. I started with the straightest edge and using a big square ruler and my long ruler and I went around the quilt.

Then I folded the quilt in half to see how well I had done. OH - there's a few INCHES that need to be trimmed along one side.

After I trimmed that off, I left it like that and thought I would retackle it this morning. I checked to see how square the corners were and trimmed a wee bit more off the corners and a wee bit more off one side and the top. It's as straight as it's ever going to get!

The binding got made as well as the sleeve. I even managed to get the binding sewn on. I was very lucky in the amount of binding that I made. You can see that I had just slightly more than enough by the time I made the join. I think I cut one inch off!  That's a pretty good guesstimate!

Just enough binding

And the binding is now attached to both the front and the back!

Binding is done
That leaves hand stitching that sleeve on, although I've done it by machine in the past and we'll see how the day goes. But because the quilt is so big, I'm thinking hand stitching will be easier.

But here's the lesson. Let's start by having a look at the quilt.

The finished quilt

Do you see something a bit off? Yes - the edges are wavy, in particular, the two side edges. Now, why is that? Please don't feel like I'm picking on the maker of the quilt (or any other quilt/process that I critique). This is a way of us all learning so that if you're making this kind of a quilt, you won't make the same mistake.

The quilt is sewn together in rows. What I strongly suspect is that one row was sewn to the next with no consideration of the length of the strips. I hate to say this but one side of the quilt was almost 4 inches longer than the other side. That happened because as you sew two layers together, they do not feed evenly through the sewing machine. The top one stretches slightly so unless you take control of the situation, and you just keep adding, the top one for each new seam will get longer and longer until one side is significantly longer than the other.

So how do you prevent this from happening? Figure out your row/column length and then make sure that each row/column is EXACTLY the same length. I've seen people afraid of cutting that exact length in case they've made a mistake - well, if you don't make them exact, then YES - you will be making a mistake - wavy edges!  So cut ALL the strips the same length and then pin them together before sewing. I'm NOT a person who uses pins, but in this scenario, I'd have been pinning my little heart out.

Alternatively, this quilt could have been sewn in four sections and that would have helped as well, but same thing applies - those rows needed to be identical in length.

Now here's the second lesson and this is for me or could be for you if you're in the same boat. First, I should have laid the quilt out on the table beforehand knowing that the edges were not straight. I didn't. Upon seeing how wavy the edges were, I could have done a couple of things. I could have ripped the quilt apart right down the center seam - well with a seam ripper. I could have trimmed the ends of each half so they were the same length and sewed them back together. I would also have had to rip the outer two rows off each section and trim them to the correct length and sew them to each section to pull in those wavy sides. I didn't because I didn't realize in time and I had to go with what I had.

This is a lesson then for all of us. Measure those darn borders or stripes - they NEED to be the proper length. And I need to plan a wee bit more ahead so I have time to fix something if need be.

I'll take a picture of it hanging up before it goes out today. I'm sure it's not bad, but I know the quilt will be waving at us!!!!!

On that note, I'm out of here. By this time tomorrow, we'll be nearing our destination for the weekend and I'm super excited about that.

Have a super day!!!


PS -- I almost forgot. I told M that I would post this picture that she took.  I know that there are lots of blood moon pictures out there, but M got up at 4 AM to take the photo. Really??  And my kid goes to work for early in the morning? Never thought it could happen!! Nice photo M!!!!!

Blood moon (M)

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