Monday 27 September 2010

Suddenly I seem to have a social life (and another baby knit to complete)

I suddenly realised today that I hadn't posted in an age.  This is quite unusual, not the huge gap between posts (that happens quite often) but that I hadn't realised there was a gap.  I have been busy this week!  I am hardly ever busy except for in a self imposed crafting manner.  When listed as individual items it looks quite pathetic, but you have to remember, I have no social life and spend a couple of days recovering from most activities.

Tuesday:  My quilting class started again. (more about that later)

Wednesday: Lunch with a friend (where I was informed I had another friend who required a baby knit)  I feel like I'm destined to be knitting for babies for the next 2 years at this rate.  The only thing keeping me sane is that I don't know that many more women who could get even more pregnant than they already are, unless they are having twins. (I really shouldn't tempt fate I know, especially as two of the pregnant women are identical twins).

Thursday:  Knitting group which happens every Thursday, so this wasn't unusual, except for being tired after going out on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

Friday:  The dentist.  Its not technically a social event, but it required me to leave the house so I'm including it!  Apparently my teeth are fine, like they usually are, but it is nice to be reassured nonetheless.

So with all the busyness, I have been tired and sore, but not in the least bit bored.

Going back to Tuesday and my class.  It is good to be back at quilting class.  We are starting on the fundamentals of cutting fabric with a rotary cutter and piecing with the sewing machine. 

This weekend I set myself the task of completing my homework.  I was proud of myself for starting well in advance of the Tuesday deadline.  However, I don't think I really left myself enough time.  I was enjoying myself cutting my strips of fabric for the assigned block (log cabin) and sat myself down at the kitchen table, with my iron on one side, and my cutting mat on the other and my sewing machine in front and I started sewing, trimming and pressing.  It was all going mighty fine until I got to the end of the block and measured it.  My block was 1/2" too small all the way round.  I cursed out my poor teacher and did the maths and realised that the maths was ok and it was my sewing that was to blame.  Well strictly speaking it was my sewing machine that was to blame.  Apparently my sewing machine does NOT like to sew 1/4" seams.

My sewing machine needle only has two positions, central and to the left.  It does not sit to the right and therefore the edge of fabric, when a 1/4" seam is being sewed, sits smack bang in the middle of the right hand feed dog.  Because the fabric is not sited evenly over all the feed dogs it pulls, really badly, to the left.  To sew the seam, that nearly all quilt blocks require, involves me pushing quite firmly from the left towards the needle, stopping frequently to straighten the fabric and swearing a LOT.

I don't know what to do about this frankly quite major problem.  Most of the blocks we will be making in patchwork will require me to sew seams on the sewing machine.  In order to keep up I won't be able to do them by hand.  I don't know what to do to fix this problem.  If anyone has any suggestions, that work, I will fall down to the floor and give thanks to the kindness of the universe in sending you to my blog.

After ripping up my first really wrong block and doing lots of experiments with pressure to apply to fabric etc I finally managed to put together a block that measured the right size by the end of it.

As you can probably see the "logs" in my log cabin are not very straight.  I managed to get the correct final size by measuring the block after each round of logs was attached.  I then cut it to the right size using a square ruler.  So the final block is square but the internal lines are all a bit wonky. (The weird wonkiness of this photo is caused by the camera angle NOT my block being askew)

I still have another block to make which is made up of four smaller blocks with 1" wide logs.  I am practically in tears thinking about what a nightmare these will be to sew.  I'm thinking of begging my OH to give me my Christmas present a few months early (I'm getting a sewing machine).  I think he may be aware this begging will be coming soon after my mammoth swearing and wailing sessions this weekend.

I hope to get my next block completed in time for the class on Tuesday but I don't know if my body and my sanity can take it.  I'll let you know how it goes.


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