My New Best Friends

Ever have one of those projects that no matter what you did, things were not going to work out?  This latest customer quilt has been my latest challenge.  It seems like no matter what I do, I can’t get the mojo flowing with my quilting.  My thread keeps breaking, I’ve gone through 5 needles, my machine has a mind of its own and tries to go one way when I am trying to move it another.  I swear, it’s as if I am arm wrestling it – I’ve gotten bad headaches from wrestling with it.  So, my thread art has turned out to be CRAP!  You can’t even tell what some of the drawings are. They say that is you are having a bad day at quilting, to just stop and walk away and come back to it fresh the next day.  Well, you can only do that so many times before you decide you’ve got to get the quilt done and back to the quilt’s owner.

The customer wanted the leaves to extend out into the green and black borders, so I thought an insect would be cute here.  This is supposed to be a fly.  It looks like a tangled mess to me.  So, I will be ripping that out with one of my new best friends.  The other insects look like they need to go to Weight Watchers, but because I have already spent over 30 hours on this quilt, they are just going to have to content eating on the fabric leaves of this quilt.  I feel like I have failed this customer because so much of the quilting looks like scribbling.

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One of the things that happened while I was working on this was I ran the needle through my finger.  It’s healing nicely now, but it sure hurt when it happened.  And, no, I did not get blood on the customer’s quilt.  I jerked my finger out from the needle before it had a chance to drip – that was the first thing I thought about before I felt the pain.  OW!

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I was trying to sew a circle into the green square with this itty bitty template.  Can you see how the finger got caught?

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After my finger got caught I immediately ordered a different circle template made by the Gadget Girls.  It has 3 different sizes of circles and looks like this.  I thought it was a bit expensive, but after hurting my finger and the frustration I got from making twisted, wonky circles around that little disc, the cost was worth it for this new “friend” (tool).  You can find them  here.

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And, as you can see, I have much more room to grip onto the template without my fingers getting in the way.  I LOVE this template!

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This is about as close as I was able to get to a perfect circle on this quilt, with my machine fighting me like it was.

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But, I have a few threads to pick out (along with that stupid looking fly in the first picture), so I will be using this new tool.  I love my little blue seam ripper that is about 3 inches long, if that.  It has a tiny piercing point that slides nicely under the thread.  But, it is small for my big hands.  I found this one made by Dritz at my local Wal-Mart for $3.97.  It’s got the small point, but the handle is bigger than my little blue one and is also ergonomic to fit well into the palm of my hand.  I think it is my new best friend.

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With this tale of woe, please don’t misunderstand me.  I believe that in every good or bad thing that happens, there is a lesson.  Although I struggled with this quilt (and I’m not done yet… but almost!), I found out about a better tool and better way of doing things with the circle template.  I also learned that less is more.  Less is many times better than more.  I should have left the fly out of that area.  I also found that when I quilted pebbles into the green squares (which you don’t see, because I picked the stitching out with that “picking” tool shown above), it made the quilt look even messier.  And, with each quilt I work on, this one included, I find things that I like to do with quilting and new ways to approach quilting.  So, even with a punctured finger and a mad quilting machine… it’s all good.  I think when I’m done with this quilt, it’s time to give my machine a good cleaning and check her timing.

Author: cowtownquilts

Professional longarm quilter and thread artist in the Kansas City area.

1 thought on “My New Best Friends”

  1. Well, Ida, you’re not alone! I am so new to quilting and using my machine…….this info is very helpful and encouraging to me! I have a quilt (one of my own, I am not ready to quilt for anyone else yet-if I ever get there!!), it’s a mess…….and now am trying to decide to rip it all out and start over or just finish it and call it a lesson learned……..until I decide, I will load another quilt and use my pantos – THOSE I can do!! Thanks for the info and letting us know that into EVERYONE’s life a little ‘unquilting’ must happen…….

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