Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Reports of my suckitude have been exaggerated

As I tried to express a few posts ago, the Labyrinth quilt top which I recently completed was particularly frustrating for me because I was so sure that my skills had improved to the point where that particular pattern should not have been difficult at all. While it was more intricate than anything I had done to that point, it was still rectangles and squares, and should have been, if not a breeze, then at least a task that would not make me run to the computer to look up new and ever more scandalous curse words.

And, as you may have seen in the pictures, things did not go so well. Fortunately, I had an inkling about how to make up for the errors as I went along, and the whole thing turned out pretty good, if somewhat frightening on the backside. I did some experiments with the leftover fabric, and I can say definitively that my pieces were cut perfectly and the black fabric was a waste of money. The solid black fabric was so poor that it warped and distorted with every stitch, and further with pressing, thus creating all of my problems with those blocks. And while, yes, the result looks good from the front, it will probably have structural problems and may fall apart if washed or used as a quilt should be. It may remain in my pile of unfinished projects indefinitely as a result.

Months ago, I had started this quilt:

From The Bitchy Stitcher


and put it aside as I got distracted by other projects. Once the cursed Labyrinth quilt was completed, I picked this one up again and finished it in a matter of days.



It is very nearly perfect, at least by my standards, which are admittedly quite loose.

Then I decided to tackle another quilt, a bit similar to the Labyrinth, that I found in this book:



It's the one on the cover and it's called "Birthday Presents." There's a lovely multi-colored version inside, made with batiks, and I wanted to try it with just tonal marbled fabrics, in similar jewel tones. These kinds of bright, almost solid quilts were what I imagined making when I started this venture almost 1 year ago. I had some marble fabric that seemed sturdy (at least it held up in a couple tests I did) and I had flat quarter packs in values of blue, green, purple, and yellow/orange. I chose a purple and a blue to start, and cut my strips as I have been doing, and set about to put the first block together.

It was pretty late that evening when I started sewing, but when I saw what was happening, I had to keep going, had to finish the block and see if the magic continued. It did.

Every seam aligned perfectly. It was like when Ikea furniture comes together without having to get out the rubber mallet. I didn't have to ease stitch anything, and furthermore, everything ended up the right size. I didn't have tails hanging over the ends because I had not done my seam correctly or had cut imprecisely, or both. It was the loveliest thing I've ever seen come out of my sewing machine.



I stayed up late again the next night so I could get all the fabric cut, and then I began sewing in earnest, whipping out 5 more blocks in a day and a half.



And every one has been as good as the first. My seams are accurate, my points all pointing where they should. No problems, no issues, no frustrations other than wishing I could just sew all day, every day. Which is not exactly fodder for comedy, unfortunately.

So, if this unbridled improvement continues, I may have to close down this humble blog, as I am generally more motivated to write about my failures than I am my successes (there may be a topic for some future therapy session in that). Or perhaps I will rise to the challenge and manage to eke humor out of mundane competence. Either way, I am feeling very, very content.

I can quilt.

15 comments:

floribunda... aka Julie said...

the blocks are beauteous and I love the fabrics! maybe a new name for the blog is in order?

Vicki W said...

You can't shut down the blog so please try curved seams or Y seams next please!

Linda said...

Oh Vicki, that's just mean (though it made me lol)! I think your new quilt is stupendous. So happy you've found your groove for now and I'm sure you'll be able to find humour in what you're doing!
Lurking Linda

Noodles said...

Oh lalala! First of all, yay you! I just absolutely positively LOVE those eureka moments. Second: I love the finished UFO! So fun! So bright! And finally: You keep rocking on with your bad self. And if you keep up this talk about shutting down the blog, I *will* march my little self up to your neck of the woods and create some kind of sewing machine mischief to make you think otherwise. Or something. (Cue maniacal laughter.)

Liz Schaffner said...

Doesn't it feel great when everything works out !! Don't get overzealous ...you will have "bad" days...we all do but it is good ones like these that make up for it.
Please don't close your blog...It is the chuckle I need!
Have you tried hand appliqué yet ..or machine appliqué..that will open a whole new world for you!
Liz

Quiltbug said...

The blocks are spectacular. I'm thinking I need to look for that book.

Joyce said...

Congratulations on nearing perfection. I find that using good fabric makes a huge difference. It's well worth the extra cost. Please don't shut down the blog. I'm sure there will be some failures in your future...

Cathy said...

You are really becoming the quilter. As ready I realized that there were no swear words and did not hear any frustration in you voice. Don't worry this will pass, it won't always be this easy.

cornbreadandbeansquilting said...

Hey! Way to go Megan, give yourself a pat on the back for a beautiful finished quilt top (love it!) and some way awesome blocks.

Now I know you can find something to "bitch" about,you've got kids, a job, and a diet... so you just stop that crazy talk about leaving the blog.

Andi said...

Love it!

Rachael Adele said...

Good job on this one-- I started one of this pattern, only all red and white fabrics, and put it down. Maybe I should pick it up again...

Melisa @ Sweet Home said...

Great job! Quilting is just like anything else - all it takes is practice! Take Two is my very favorite of Terry Atkinson's books - she is a terrific designer with very well written pattern instructions. Keep plugging along - I enjoy reading about your blog.

Jandi said...

Congrats! I have to say I find your competence almost as entertaining as when things go wrong. And don't worry, there is always some horrible pattern to try that will drive you mad and leave you using Google Maps to track down the pattern designer so that you can throttle her.

KateKwiltz said...

I just bought that book for that very same quilt! The UFO is fantastic -- it's a very happy quilt, great colors.

And that's just how it works -- you wake up one day, and just like that, you know what you're doing. Just run with it!

Sunna Reyr said...

Practice, practice, practice, yikes, annoying but so true. That quilt will be beautiful, I also like the four patch top you finished. I'm happy for you.