Saturday, February 21, 2015

Life Lessons in Quilting

About 8 years ago, not long after we bought our house, I selected a big stack of plaid flannel fabrics at my local craft store, with the intention of making a throw quilt for the living room. That stack of plaid flannel fabrics has been moved around the house as we've adjusted over the years, switching rooms with me when my craft studio moved, testing out various storage spaces for me. It was not alone. There are other stacks of fabric chosen for very specific things, still lingering in their places on my shelves.
This is Plaid Explosion

I decided I wanted to do something about this, so on January 31st, I gathered the plaid flannel and started ironing. I set out when I began this quilt with two somewhat specific goals - do my best, and don't let it linger. That was 18 days ago, and tonight I finished it! (draft originally written on 2/18) I see places where I want to continue improving my skills, but overall, I believe I met both goals. More importantly, I learned a few things in the process.

Bias Tape Maker Smooths the Process
New Walking Foot Helps Move Things Along

Experience has taught me when to adjust my sewing plans, such as adding that patchwork strip along one side of the backing when I realized it was just a few inches too narrow.
Mistakes Become Design Features

 A few years ago, it would have really burned me up, and I would have kicked myself for messing up the measurements or completely resewn the back to keep to the original plan. Sometimes in life, things don't line up quite the way we expect or wish them to. We can bust our butts trying to backtrack and make things "right" or we can check our resources and skill sets and find a way to adjust. Yeah, when applied to a quilt, it might not seem like an important lesson, but who ever said I would apply it only to quilting? :)

I admit to doing a couple little happy dances as I finished certain stages of it, and again when I could snuggle underneath the completed quilt.

Connecting the Blocks

Bad Math Means 2 Quilts!
Snuggled around my legs
I was thrilled by the stacks of completed blocks, even after I realized they were three times as big as they needed to be (the stacks, not the blocks). Now I'm that much closer to one more quilt. I have enough blue plaid to do the backing, too, and maybe I'll even measure it correctly this time. Anything's possible! But those leftover blocks - it's an easy metaphor for finding the silver lining. I made a mistake, but it only resulted in getting more work done than I thought I was. Not so bad.

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

When Craft Plans Go Wrong

A few days ago, a facebook friend posted this image:

That statement, that simple little lesson, was suddenly very important to me on many levels. Oh sure, there's a bunch of psycho-self-analysis and inner growth happening with this new look on life, but today I'm going to apply it to crafts. Specifically to yarn. This yarn is lovely, don't you think?

I thought it would make a nice scarf or cowl, and I was looking for a crochet project because I like to mix up my crafting from time to time. I picked out a pattern and happily started that first chain of 120 stitches. Let me just say now that it's much harder to "be sure not to twist" when joining a chain than when joining stitches on a needle. At least with the needles, there's something to help guide you.

I haven't done a lot of crochet work before, and had never done anything with chevrons. This cowl is made of a circle of zig-zags, and was an easy to learn pattern so I didn't have to worry about a printed version. I was please at first, but by the time I hit the 4th row, I was starting to worry a bit. I started the 5th row and my concerns became more obvious.

If I completed this thing, I would look like I was wearing an afghan from 1977 around my neck. And like I belonged in that photo shoot with the men wearing crocheted shorts. Oh, you haven't seen that? Well here, it's great for a laugh.

So... I'm frogging those 4 1/2 rows of crochet chevrons and will find another use for the "1970s appliances" colored yarn. Despite the time I spent on it - I won't hang on to this mistake. :D