Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Charm of Imperfection

Today Lynn at Sew and Home resolved my "skipped stitches" issue. She suggested I try a Schmetz No. 12 instead of the Singer No. 11 that I'd been using. In fairness to Singer Needles, it was a old unused Singer needle I had been using and while I can't imagine that "old" would make a difference in needles when it was unused, I bought some new Singer needles just in case. I haven't tried them and won't as long as the Schmetz is working like a charm. And it is. Not a single skipped stitch! Amazing! This is a good thing to learn.

So, this afternoon I've completed the next step of row sewing with mixed results. My first strip went quite out of alignment meaning the green strips got further out of alignment as I went. I carefully pinned the whole strip but  right away the fabric started bunching up as I approached a pin and I didn't seem able to "ease" the fabric. What a struggle. I was very disappointed with my first strip. In retrospect, I will also bet that since it contains the first pieces I sewed, perhaps my quarter inch seams weren't as good in the beginning. One can't expect to match up already imperfect sewing - or cutting, for that matter, though I know my cutting was good. I will look more closely at that strip to see if it's worth resewing any of it. I can tell you that my Mom would have each green strip lined up PERFECTLY. There would be no wonkiness allowed. None whatsoever. I am not my Mom. Obviously, though people say we're the spitting image. I have so much less patience for picking out seams and I'm a certainly more willing to accept the "charm of imperfection". *grin*

Things did get better with my next set of strips. While not Mom perfect, they are more matchy matchy. I learned to stretch the pieced strip a bit as I pinned it to the grey strip. This helped a bit (though I'm not sure it would have helped with the first strips I sewed anyway). I also learned to hold the grey fabric a little more firmly while sewing, though this might prove to be a bad idea in the long run. I worry that it will make my strips a bit wavy, which might throw my overall quilt top off a bit. We'll see. This is a beginner "learn to quilt" experience, after all.

I also learned that I can sew both on the left and the right of my needle. I don't know if everyone does that but when I realized that I had used poor judgment in not leaving extra "dog ears" of sashing at BOTH ends of my strips, I could really only start sewing from one end - the end where there was no wiggle room - and since I want to have my pieced strip on top so I can make sure my seams get sewn flat, the only way to do that was to sew backwards from what I'd been doing earlier. I made a new quarter inch line with tape on the other side of the needle and sewed all my strips this go round like that. Either everyone is adept at this or my little bits of ambidexterity turned out to be useful, though I still prefer sewing on the other side of the needle.

On to sewing the ever widening strips together. Cross your fingers for me. I fear that things are at risk of going wonkier on me as I go.
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