Saturday, May 25, 2013

Details.

Sometimes, things go swimmingly.  Your points all match, your sewing machine makes you feel like a rock star, all your tools are enhancements to your work, and your skills grow by leaps and bounds.

Other times, not so much.

In the interest of always keeping things real, I'm sharing some of my recent Not-So-Great Moments in Quilting.

These blocks, for instance.

I signed up for the Lucky Stars BOM at Don't Call Me Betsy and had not yet sewn a stitch. I love the precision and results of foundation paper-piecing. I've done a lot of it and usually get pretty good outcomes... I finally cut out all my fabrics, making sure I had a good mix (it's mostly hoarded Lizzie House, some Rounnieres, and a little bit of Architextures) of values and colour.  I wanted to do the smaller size of blocks because I didn't have a specific project for them and therefore, didn't want to commit scads of fabric to it.  I trim religiously and didn't rush the piecing but seam bulk affected my results.  After a couple of goes with the seam ripper (and its paper-tearing consequences), I called them "close enough" and washed my hands.  These are not perfect but Seester is always telling me to quit picking on my own stuff.  I'm letting these ones go.  I'll try harder with the rest. (It's not the patterns - they're great - this is totally a problem existing between sewing machine and chair...)

Then I was prepping some quilt-as-you-go stuff for  a guild meeting at the end of June.  It was going well, I thought, until I went to put my free-motion/darning foot on the machine.  And that little pin that keeps the foot steady, makes it go up/down, and rests on the needle?  Gone.  Nowhere to be found. And of course, I lent out my spare foot to a guild-mate who'd never tried free-motion. Blast.

I went rummaging.  Paper-clip?  Nope.  Too bendy.

I found a picture-hanging nail!  Much sturdier, with a little stopper, too.  Nope.  Too short to reach the needle bar.

Longer finishing nail.  Perfect length - reaches the needle bar. Sturdy.  Sew, sew, sew, happy as a clam, Ka-chunk.  Why? The nail keeps sliding back through the hole and off the needle bar.

Final solution?

I found a refill eraser for a mechanical pencil. Nail through eraser, through hole, through picture hanger. Worked like a hot damn.  So there's your emergency darning foot fix.  Does in a pinch.

I've since picked up a new spare.  I don't trust that eraser.  Something about its very nature tells me it'll try to undo what I've done... ;-)

Ciao for now!


PS:  I am having a really difficult time with getting my photos to look right ever since Flickr did their update...  Anyone else get it figured out yet?  They just don't seem to show up the right way on the blog, as if the resolution is off.  I tried it using bigger pics, too, but I'm stymied!

26 comments:

  1. frustration!! I have one of those months also. I finally got a couple of projects done today. DONE! Yes, I am thrilled.

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  2. We all have those times. And we're all our own worst critic too. I'm certainly guilty! I don't use flickr to add photos to my blog so can't help you there, but really your photos look perfectly clear to me.

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  3. Love your pp blocks! I find those style of pp'd ones incredibly difficult to get perfect too - I think there is some secret no one is telling us. As for Flickr, I have found I can't centre my photos on my blog - how do you share them? I do the HTML thing, and I didn't notice a difference in resolution - but that also just might be me not being observant ;o)

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  4. I *HATE* the new Flickr! I don't use it to post photos to my blog though. I use Picasa. Re: the Lucky Stars BOM, I'm finding seam bulk to be an issue as well and I'm making the larger blocks. I made one of the 6 inches and though, oh no, no way :)
    Yours look lovely.

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  5. Just saw your BOM's on Flickr, and I think they look just fine girl!! I do agree that the seam bulk is certainly nasty though! I hate everything about the new Flickr format, but I don't use it for blogging, so I can't help out there. Looking forward the QAYG tomorrow. :-) Great fix, by the way!

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  6. What a bummer, but good on you for sticking with it.... I'm so frustrated with my machine right now, I've basically given up on quilting for a bit. I think your blocks look great!

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  7. I love your blocks, can't see the "issues." I'll bet that sewn into a quilt top and quilted, you won't see them either!

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  8. Except for the general irritation with pretty much everything flickr changed, I haven't noticed anything weird about how pictures are showing on my blog (and without knowing how you think they should look, I don't see anything off about your pictures here). But geez, that change at flickr... does not make me a happy camper.

    Love the blocks up top - the colours are a lot of fun!

    Also, love the darning foot fix :D Very creative.

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  9. That's pretty inventive... I would probably given up on the foot till I got another one. Good for you!
    Carol

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  10. Really had to pretend they were my blocks before I could see anything at all wrong with those blocks! I think you're too close, tho' I know what you mean about paper piecing-so nice adn sharp that when it doesn't quite go right it's so disappointing, and for me at least there seem to still be plenty of pitfalls. A most inventive solution for the foot issue-well done

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  11. I know you talked a bit about the problems with your blocks, but hey--I just can't see any problems. They look fabuloso to me! And I think you should get the Quilter Handyman Certificate for how you jerryrigged your quilting foot. Really clever. When there's a will, there's a way. . .

    I find the whole Flickr experience generally frustrating, so try to avoid it as much as possible. Not much help there.

    Elizabeth E.
    opquilt.com

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  12. Love your star blocks. Also love your quilt as you go block, lovely colours.

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  13. Hi Carly! Your blocks are beautiful and perfect - they are hand made, remember! But I know what you mean. You were really handy with the missing piece! It seems to be that we all hate the new flickr. I load my photos straight from my computer's 'outside memory' to my blog, so no problem there, but I don't like at all flickr's new look, it's slow and difficult to find the 'tools'. Have a great Sunday! x Teje

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  14. I'm getting the same issues with my Lucky Stars BOM, each of the paper pieced sections look great but there are some really bulky seam joins that are really tricky. My finished block sizes are a bit out, nothing some block borders/sashing can't fix but would like to figure that out.

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  15. I know it doesn't help when someone says you are being tough on yourself and your blocks are beautiful but you are and they really are - please keep going as they are amazing and a reminder that you made them - we're not perfect either! Great job on the foot :)

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  16. From here your blocks look fantastic!

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  17. You're brilliant! I would have had to wait for hubby. I don't mind paper piecing, but the bulk is a problem for me too. Your stars are lovely

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  18. Had to smile at your inventive solution for fixing the missing pin on that foot, Carly. I'm going to file away that bit of cleverness in case I end up in the same pinch at some point... ;o)

    I know where you're coming from with not being completely satisfied with the results - sometimes it's hard for me to "let go" when seams don't match the way I want etc. That's when I try telling myself, "Perfect is the opposite of being done". Makes me laugh, if nothing else. Like so many others have said before me, your blocks look awesome (especially loving your fabric choices). Perfection is over rated. ;o)

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  19. Ha! Great fix! Way to be resourceful :)

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  20. Wow! Super innovative with your machine repairs!!

    So I'm not sure what's wrong with your quilt pieces at the top - when I looked through them I had a quick flashback to the ORIGINAL Tron movie from the 80's. Remember that little thing that flew around and said only 'yes' and 'no' and it changed shapes when it spoke? That's what your quilting reminded me of - I don't think that's a bad thing??

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  21. Try using a 60wt polyester thread such as Superior Bottomline, available from Cottonmill Threadworks. You will be amazed at how it reduces bulk in paper piecing. I've started using it in all my piecing and love the results.
    Joyce

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  22. Your blocks look fabulous! I never would have thought of that solution! Keep being amazing!

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  23. Wow, your blocks look gorgeous. I love the colours your chose! You are very McGyver'ish. ;-)

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  24. "...between sewing machine and chair..." Girl, you know I've said this before! Can I steal this quote for my blog? I'll think about giving you credit of course! ;-)

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  25. This is kinda making me leery of doing the paper pieced star blocks. Since I haven't started them yet. Totally impressed with your fix-it solution, although temporary. I would never have come up with anything that creative...

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