Friday, August 13, 2010

Quilt Like A Champion Today

That's how I felt this week, anyway. Like Super Quilter. Not that I sewed a whole quilt in "single leap," but I kept at it very steadily. I even found 30 minutes before work most mornings to start sewing the squares into strips. I could get almost two done in 30 minutes.

I found a system to piece together the blocks into pairs, and then into bigger chunks until I had a strip. I only had to take out a few seams because I put things in the wrong order, on the second one (where you stop watching as closely as you did the first one) and on the last one (where you get too cocky). But not bad.

With my steady progress, by the end of the week I had all the squares sewn into strips:
Even as I took this picture, I thought I should probably look at it closely because you tend to see things in pictures you miss in person. But I didn't listen to my gut. More on that in a minute...

Meanwhile, when I started sewing strips together, I decided to give up my quarter-foot with the guide on the right:
And went with my regular foot so that I could drive closer to pins (but never over).
To get the quarter inch seam, you just move the needle over to the right until it is the right distance from the edge of the foot. This way the whole foot can drive over the fabric and give you more control, and you can just match the edge of the fabric with the edge of the foot which gives you more accuracy. That's how I go, anyway.

I skipped the pins while I was sewing the blocks together, but I put them to use for the longer seams where I have to match seams.

And while we're talking about seams, let me say for the record that, yes, I am pressing all the seams open. I know that's not the traditional quilting way. (Neither is machine sewing if you want to use that argument.) I come from a sewing background where most seams are pressed open. It makes a nice flat seam that is less bulky.

Then I had people tell me that in quilting you press all seams to one side. I tried it for a while. And it is true that it helps you to match seams because you can nest a seam pressed one way against a seam pressed the other way. You can match the seams by touch, and it's very reliable. However, the seams "lean" in different directions and still don't make a straight line even when they match.

On top of that, the open seams have fewer big jumps in thickness which helps while you're quilting. So I'm sticking with open seams and no longer apologizing for it.

Now, back to my quilting. Last night I started sewing the strips together. I did pretty well with  matching the seams and got some nice matching points like this:

I also got one craptastic looking one:

So I dutifully ripped it out and fixed it:
That looks better, doesn't it?

Then I sewed one more set of strips together. When I ironed them I found four or five points that had to be redone. So I put it down and went to bed.

Tonight I ripped out the offending ones and resewed them. They all came out matching the second time. (More pins is better.)

That's when I hung it all back up on the design wall and actually took a look. The two strips I had just sewn together were sewn together along the wrong edges. No matter which way I tried to rotate them in my mind, it just didn't work. Dang it!!

I ripped out the whole seam (yes, the one I had just fixed for betting looking points) and put both strips up on the design wall to make sure I put them together right. But something still wasn't right.

I didn't walk away for a bottle of Mike's Margarita until I saw that I did the same thing with the first set of strips!!! (It helped to wash down the humble pie.)

When I actually looked at the picture I took (shown above), I finally saw that I had put the bottom three strips on the design wall upside down and didn't notice. Argh!!

Once again, it's important to remind myself that this is not brain surgery...if I do it wrong the first (and second) time, I can take it out and do it right and no one will ever know the difference.

Also, if I like to quilt, why shouldn't I like to do a whole quilt twice? (That one sounds a little less convincing to me too.)

Until next time, then, listen to your gut and double check your work!! (And I will too.)

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