Wailing and Gnashing of Teeth

March 16, 2010 at 10:33 pm 1 comment

I really thought that I was going to get a whole lot of quilting in this weekend.  Apparently though, it was fortuitous that I recently read “The Yiddish Policemen’s Union” by Michael Chabon, so I could be reminded of the Yiddish proverb, “Mentsch tracht, Gott lacht.”

In English:  man plans, God laughs.

Since the office was closed Friday, and my husband was at a miniature wargaming convention all weekend, I thought I was going to have two solid days of quilting Friday and Saturday.  I had plans Sunday with Rhonda and Wendy for a mini stitch-in, so the grandiose part of my brain that churns out the unrealistic expectations had me visualizing completing the quilting on Convergence Birds in time to be hand-sewing the binding by Sunday afternoon.

But when my mom found out I was going to be a gaming widow all weekend, she invited me to their house on Friday.  We had a delightful visit (and homemade vegetable pizza with pretzel dough crust!) and both my brother and my youngest sister were there, which was a very pleasant surprise.  However, between the late start I got in the morning, bad traffic, and then my reluctance to cut such a pleasant family gathering short, I got home at about 10:00 pm.  No quilting Friday.

Saturday, I had a short list of household chores and food prep to accomplish before I could mentally release myself to quilt.  I had also planned to run a couple of errands and go to the gym.  However, we had a (second) full day of soaking rain with terrible wind gusts that made me really not want to leave the house.  So rather than either gritting my teeth and going out in unpleasant conditions, or making a command decision to scrap the errand-running altogether, I dithered.  I made my various plans contingent on one another, and ended up as just a big entropic mess.  So while I did eventually clean and cut vegetables, prep the pulled pork barbecue, bake banana muffins, clean the bathroom, and put away the snowman decorations, it was very late in the day by the time I did.

I got some quilting in, while listening to the director’s commentary on “The Lost Boys” (RIP Corey Haim!)  While I was originally just going to quilt the center Convergence area in an all-over design, as Ricky Tims recommends in the book, I realized upon looking at it on the design wall that my seams were more straight-ish than straight. Whether this happened as a result of carelessness when appliqueing the bird border or if there had always been issues, I’m not sure.

Convergence Birds top

It may not be obvious in miniature, but those seams were waving like a flag!

So I took a page from longarm quilters and did some ruler-guided ditch quilting.  I used the blind hem foot, which has a modest rudder coming out of the middle (less dramatic than the one on the edge-joining foot), set the needle to stitch right next to the rudder, and guided the foot with a 3″ x 12″ Omnigrip ruler, adjusting the quilt top to keep the seams straight.  It’s not perfect, but it’s much better than it was.  I used MonoPoly by Superior Threads so the ditch quilting wouldn’t contribute to the visual design.

I sang with choir Sunday morning and then had a lovely lunch and visit with Rhonda and Wendy, during which I sewed twisted cord onto two more cross-stitched nativity figures (3 down, 6 to go.)  We really need to make it a priority to do stuff like that more often; I always feel so motivated and renewed afterward.  After they left, I gamely trooped back up to the studio.  While there were only a scant few hours of weekend remaining, I was confident that I could complete the quilting of the bird border.  After all, at this point, I was feeling rather accomplished.  I had chosen a fern-feather no-mark overall design and had experimented to find the best color of Bottom Line to use as my quilting thread:

Auditioning thread

The fuchsia in the upper left didn't show up, but the light green was visible without being obnoxious.

I had quilted for about twenty minutes, completing three big ferny feathers with echo quilting and little spirals, when my thread broke.  Odd, I quilt with Bottom Line all the time and never have problems with it.  Hmmm.  I turned the quilt over to the back and found…

AAAAGH!! Giant knots of thread!!!

AAAAGH!! Giant knots of thread!!!

One advantage to using a different color in the bobbin than in the top is that it’s easier to see where the problems are.  In this case, the giant thread knots are made of light green top thread, rather than fuchsia bobbin thread, but the tension looks pretty good otherwise.  So I have to do some experimentation to find out if it’s a) the tension; b) the needle; c) a bad spool of thread (hey, it could happen); or d) an unknown unknown. But I have done nothing so far, except to spend TWO AND A HALF HOURS ripping out the bad quilting.  I got it all ripped out Sunday night, went to bed, and I haven’t been back in the studio since.

I hope to have a chance to rectify that tomorrow.  However, if I can’t seem to face Bird Convergence, if it seems too much of an impasse, I can always pull out Lemoyne Stars.  I talked to Diane last night, and she gave me a great idea on how to sew the pieced border on before cutting the Bad Border, so I don’t have to worry about getting the measurements or the math wrong.  After all, why work on a problematic project when there’s another, less frustrating one waiting in the wings?  And I wonder how I ended up with so many UFOs…

And now, in tribute, one of the best scenes from “Lost Boys.”   Michael and David didn’t sparkle one bit.


Entry filed under: Time Management, UFOs. Tags: , , .

The Final Word on QFNJ: The Judges’ Comments Happy National Quilting Day! (belated)

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Jeanne McCuean  |  March 21, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Hey neighbor,
    After watching Julie and Julia last night I decided to check out your blog this morning. Amusing and entertaining- the movie and your blog. Sounds like you get to go to lots of fun fabric events!


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