Saturday, February 4, 2023

The quilt that keeps on giving

You know, there are days when it seems nothing goes right. Well, that was NOT yesterday - at least not in the morning. This is a story about a quilt. The quilt does not belong to me, and I'm not picking on the owner -- it's just one of those quilts that well -- it just doesn't want to get finished. 

This is a giant quilt - it's 99 by 109.5. I was making excellent progress yesterday -- I was ahead of the game, and by lunchtime, I had started quilting the quilt and had a couple of rows done. By 4 PM, I was over half done. This will be easy, and I can relax in the evening. 

Sigh................ famous last words. I went to advance the quilt, only to discover that the stitching line was perilously close to the last line, and I knew that wasn't right. It hadn't started out that way. So upon investigation, I spotted the problem, and it had NOTHING to do with the quilt or the customer. It was an operator error. 

The quilt is fine, but it required two hours of back-breaking ripping. GRR!! Those are moments when you want to walk away and hope that the ripper fairy will visit. But alas, I knew she wouldn't, so I continued on. And after two hours, it was done and ready to continue. With the software, getting it back on track was easy, and I was away. 

However, when I went to advance it to the next row, I couldn't get it to work. It wouldn't line up, and I was frustrated, so I did something I'd never done before. I shut the machine off and left it overnight. I always finish a quilt the day I start unless it's custom, which I rarely do. Shutting the machine down halfway through a quilt is not a big issue, and many long-arm quilters frequently do this.  

When I awoke, I realized my mistake last night, and OH MY -- how easy it was to get the pattern lined up. Again - total operator confusion. So far, there is no issue with the quilt -- just the operator. 

Well, as I was ripping out last night, I spotted this. 


YES --- that is an open seam. Well, it's not even an open seam --- there's no seam allowance! And when the stitching went over, it went right over that spot. Thankfully, I was standing there and knew, so I guided the machine over. Otherwise, this would have been a big issue. That was NOT an operator error, and I only discovered it because of my goof. 

The stitching went right over the gap

Since DH is away, I fired up the long arm this morning, hoping to finish the quilt so I could share my quilt of the day. And things were going great, with the end of the quilt in sight. 

The end of the quilt in sight

Except it's NOT. The backing is not long enough. Think about it -- most quilt backs are 108" -- this quilt is 109½". I should have measured; I thought about it but then gave credit to the customer. DUH -- that was also an operator error. I guess in my mind, I assumed it was 120" wide, as some backings are. 

The backing is short

Well, there's JUST enough along one side to cut some off and sew it onto the bottom. Not a job I look forward to, but it has to be done. If I had done that before, it would have made it very tight to quilt that quilt. Bottom line -- this backing needed to be bigger, and I should NOT have quilted it without some tweaking! 

So live and learn --- between the customer and myself, we were quite the pair in making a mess of this quilt. My goal is to get it done after my classes today. I was hoping to quilt another quilt this afternoon, but that will not happen. 

Yep -- it's a bit chilly outside, and this was the temperature yesterday. 

A tad chilly

The good news is that it's "warmer" this morning. While the temperature is still -19, the windchill is only -22. The temperature did NOT stop us from walking. Those girls were begging to go out and didn't complain once. Not a single lifted paw in sight! And I went for another walk in the afternoon to get a total of 13 KM for the day. The wind was biting when I went out in the afternoon, but only in one direction. I turned the corner, and all was good. I realized I was out in my dollar store gloves, and my hands were fine! 

I finished listening to Atomic Habits. OH --- the book's ending is the best, and I couldn't agree more with the author. People fail at things like keeping a habit, learning something new, or excelling at something because they can't handle the boredom that accompanies those achievements. How true! 

I've often said that people need to be COMFORTABLE with amusing themselves for long periods if they want to do anything "exciting." Imagine spending 8 hours of the day for 10 weeks riding your bike across Canada. I didn't listen to music or talk much to others while riding. Nope -- I watched the scenery and had excellent discussions with myself, and I let my brain wander. 

Walking at least 2½ hours every day for years could be boring as all get out, and I could listen to music or audiobooks, but I choose neither. Instead, I watch the neighborhood. I watch the traffic and the idiots in the traffic. I let my brain wander, and I solve the world's problems. 

I work long periods by myself in the sewing room, often without audiobooks or music. Again, I let my brain wander, and it's amazing what I come up with. 

This is what is lacking today. I see people stopped for mere seconds (driving a car and getting to a stop light). They have to check their phone. Why? Why do we crave the need to be entertained by a device every second of the day? That's a habit we need to stop!

Anyway --- it's a good read, and I heard someone say that when they finish reading the book, they start over again. They were talking about the physical copy, and I see where that would be useful. Your brain can only handle so much new information at a time, and rereading it would be very helpful to truly grasp all he is saying about habits. 

I have no other books on my audiobook shelf now, and I'm not going to get one. I need a break, and so does my brain. 

Three more quilts that I picked up from Diane. It sure is nice to have Diane handy and that she keeps sewing for me. I can only imagine what her neighbors think as I bring bags to her house and leave with bags. 

Three more community project quilts

Hopefully, none of you have a stash as large as mine. But even still -- if you wish you had a Diane -- why not become a Diane? Do you really need to make that quilt you're making now? Why not choose some of your "ugly" fabric -- the stuff you keep passing over and pick a simple pattern. Make the quilt; if you don't want to, then DONATE it. You got the pleasure of sewing and got rid of some unwanted stash. 

You may be bored doing this yourself, so invite a friend, and you will work on a community project quilt from your stash. You have NO IDEA how free I feel now that I've basically given up ownership of that stash. It was like a ball and chain on my ankle; now I'm free. I'm dealing with the mess, but it's a physical mess, not an emotional struggle. Make small ones for Project Linus, so you can practice your machine quilting! It's better to give a completed quilt than a quilt top! 

I bagged up the FORTY-FOUR quilts that got donated to Project Linus. That's HUGE, and I'm so glad to get them out of my house. 

Project Linus quilts are ready to go

The living room grew twice its size (OK -- it didn't) once all that was removed. 

The staging area is almost clear!

And everything that needs to go now fits on Lexi's kennel. Yeah!!!!! DH will be so pleased to have his chair back. He uses them all, so it's not like that's the only chair he would sit in. 

All that remains to go

I got some more embroidery done, and everything was going very well, like the quilt. Except when I needed to do that ripping, I couldn't do both, so I shut the embroidery machine down. But I'm in good shape to restart later today. 

By the way -- I don't know how you store your embroidery threads, but this system works for me. I LOVE that ALL my spool sizes are in one spot. I loved my previous system, which worked for years, but it wasn't working so well when I started to venture out into larger spools. This is great! Notice my wording - system! James Clear (Atomic Habits) is fond of the term. It's not the habit that's not working; it's the system in how you want to make the habit that isn't working. It's easy to find a thread and return it to the box, so my system (and habit) will work just fine for storing embroidery threads. 

System to store embroidery threads

I didn't get a single embroidery project done, so I still have three to finish, but I made good progress on one, and it should take at most 20 minutes to complete. That will leave two more and one other project I must finish for Monday. Hopefully, those will go fast as well. I hope all the fiddly bits are taken care of! Once this quilt is complete, that's it for quilting until I'm back next weekend. 

So back to the Virtual Challenge. I completed my miles for 2022 and ordered the medal on January 4. It didn't come, and it didn't come. So I contacted customer support, and we checked the tracking, which I couldn't get to work. The package had sat somewhere for almost 3 weeks before the tracking kicked in. 

Guess what arrived in my mailbox yesterday? My medal! 

I was trying to remember what it was supposed to look like. But it's a fancy one. 

Conquer 2022 medal

See how it opens up? I didn't know that! As I was doing something yesterday, I was thinking of these medals. Remember how we used to say -- "do you want a medal for that?" That was when someone was boastful of an accomplishment. I WANT a medal for walking and cycling 6,600 KM last year. Most of that was walking, as I didn't get time to get out on the bike, but it did include spin classes. 

Challenge 2022 medal

I must undo the strap and fix it, so it hangs nicely on my rack. I don't know if I'll have time today, but I'll try. 

The strap needs to be fixed

Poor Lexi has been out of sorts. That darn table is on the sofa, and Dad is NOT here to move it for her. I felt sorry for her last night at dinner and removed the table. I swear she got off the sofa this morning! She has undoubtedly become a princess! 

Thanks, Mom! About time!

I've prepped the two classes for today, and the two clubs tomorrow will take less time to put together later tonight. 


Has anyone noticed how much more daylight we are getting now? I'm excited! And the sun yesterday was glorious! By this afternoon, it's going to be balmy! Compared to what we have now, it will seem that way. 

Have a super day!!!!


1 comment:

  1. You spoil your customers. Back when I sent mine out, she checked the top, batt, backing and if it didn't measure up to her expectations or required a seam (a batt once), I was sent home to rectify it and then deliver when ready. It was a 90 minute roundtrip plus the time with her for inspection so I only made that mistake once.

    Happy Saturday!