Thursday, July 28, 2011

Look Ma! Pins!

Quilting progress! I finished all 12 strips for my quilt top today! I had a few minor setbacks. One being my morning machine problem and then, just when I was moving along quite nicely in the afternoon my machine started skipping stitches. Thanks, Mom, for teaching by example. I remembered to check the underside of my stitching regularly to make sure it looked as good as the top. I only had to restitch a few seams after the problem was resolved. A phone call to the shop and Lynn's suggestion that I switch to a new sewing machine needle solved the problem. If my machine hadn't just been fitted with a new needle, I might have thought of trying that myself but, apparently, new needles can sometimes be duds. Lesson learned.

Other distractions were the crew of workers that were crawling all over our roof today. They finally came to finish the shingling - cedar shakes at the front and some asphalt shingles at the back of the house. The main part of the house was reshingled a few years ago. Of course, as they got going, they uncovered a few more wasp nests and had to take care of those before they could continue! Yikes! There was so much hammering that one of my framed handkerchiefs fell off the wall taking a dining room lamp with it. Amazingly, nothing broke! I took the rest of the framed handkerchiefs off the wall for the time being. Didn't want to press my luck. The cedar shakes sure look nice on the house. I'll like them even better when they've greyed. The work crew were listening to music that took me back. A little Pink Floyd Dark Side of the Moon and Black Sabbath Paranoid. Ahhhh ... the memories. Not that I was such a rocker when I was a pre-teen but those were two of the first albums I ever bought myself ... along with Donny Osmond's Greatest Hits and The Partridge Family I Think I Love You. I had diverse tastes. What can I say. I still do it seems.

The other unexpected interruption to quilting has been some back pain. What's with that?! Aside from a little bit of back pain during and after pregnancy, I've never had back pain. This is mostly in my upper back. It started bothering me during my marathon weekend of rotary cutting all the fabric for two quilts. Too much standing and leaning over the dining room table probably ... and concentrating and cutting. And now sitting at the sewing machine ... also at the dining room table ... is bothering my back, too. Annoying. It might help if I were to use a better chair and a lower table. I've had to take several breaks during the day to ease my back.

I had hoped to get all the seams of my strips pressed tonight but that will have to wait. I'll bet standing over an iron pressing little seams would only aggravate an already irritated back. I chose to take a break this evening and go with Kevin and his parents to see the building (the new SARCAN processing plant) that has been absorbing Kevin's life for the past year. Once the building is finished sometime in August, hopefully, then there will be the challenge of moving all the machinery from the old processing plant to this one. A big job. I thought my organizing and managing a successful move out and back in of my library so that the flooring could be replaced while keeping all the books and shelves in the right order was remarkable. Let me tell you, it was NOTHING compared to the thought and organization that has gone into the design and management of this building, all done by Kevin. I'm very proud of him.

What I've learned on this leg of my solo quilting journey:
  1. It's awfully nice to think about quilting and not think about cancer.
  2. It's good to regularly check the underside of your seams to make sure your stitches are good.
  3. Having a photo map of your quilt layout is even more important than I had initially realized. I referred to my photo all day and it saved me a lot of time and headache. I was so careful when I stacked my rectangles in the correct order and yet, somehow, one of them ended up out of place and later two whole rows got switched. If not for my photo, I wouldn't have caught that. And once I got sewing sets of twos together, things easily got muddled and the photo was so useful.
  4. Having two pincushions has been a treat. One by my machine and one where I lay the fabrics out. As one empties and one fills, I just switch them around. I like it. While I didn't need pins when sewing the rectangles to the little greenish pieces, I did find I needed them when completing the strips. So there, Mom. I pinned!
  5. It helps to use a pin or a little pointy thing to hold the fabric together at the end of a seam. Either it's my machine that wants to pull one of the fabrics to the side near the end of a seam or all machines do that and you just have to learn to control it. It's probably something experienced sewists don't have any trouble with at all even if they are using less than stellar machines.
  6. For convenience when doing a big sewing project, wind a few bobbins so you've got some on stand by. I'm over half way through my 2nd bobbin and I have a lot more sewing to do.
  7. Assume crazy things will happen. One of my little greenish pieces went missing. I have no idea where it could have gone and I know I cut it. The way I cut I could only end up with an even number of them and so how I ended up with an uneven number ... short by one ... I have no idea. I did some looking around but gave up and just cut a new one. It disappeared like some sock in the wash ... into the "hozone" (haha). A mystery.
  8. Relax your shoulders when cutting and sewing and try to set up things more ergonomically for your back's sake.
  9. And ... very important ... it is so nice to have the support and help of more experienced quilters --- quilters right here in my community and quilters I've never met but who voluntarily connect from out there in the blogosphere --- all who take the time to encourage a beginner such as me. They've been most helpful. That's you Nora, Susan, and the helpful folk at Periwinkle Quilts. And thanks Laurel, too, for your encouraging comments. I know you sew ... or you used to. If you're interested, we could do a quilting bee together some time.  
And now to bed to dream quilt designs.
Posted by Picasa



  1. Well done! A very successful day, I would say! Hey- another Partridge Family fan! David Cassidy was SO cute! And that missing piece??? Could you have picked two pieces up at once and sewn them into the seam together? i did that once and laughed about it for ages! Or is it in your pocket with your hankerchief? Or up a sleeve when you took off your cardigan? I wonder whether it will miraculously appear! Sweet dreams!

  2. so glad to hear such good quilting progress!!! you are going great!

  3. I'm your newest fan! Hi, this is Jacque (Snoodles from Lilypadquilting) and I am absolutely thrilled to have found your blog. Your story on the sidebar touched my heart, and I am honored to have you registered with my team for the giveaway campaign! Your photo in the banner is so cute! And I love your quilt in progress!
    Jacque in SC

  4. Suz! You were right about that missing green piece! It ended up piggybacking on another one and now it's sewed right into my quilt. A double. Funny! I can't believe I missed it while sewing over it ... TWICE! I didn't find it until I was pressing seams open.

    Thanks, Mary, for the encouragement! I find it's getting trickier the further I get. Wahhhhh ...

    Hi Jacque! Thanks so much for your kind comment and for visiting my little blog. As I said in my email to you, I'm hoping this blog will become less about cancer and more about quilting.


Sorry for the word verification thing. Without the comment spammers are relentless!

Thanks for commenting!