It all started out innocently enough, I got my pieces all nice & pinned to do these pretty little blocks in the center of the first round.
Easy enough, right? I thought it should be! I got my pieces pinned on & sewed them down, then turned it over and found this:
I think I cried a little inside. I can't remember at that point (a lot has happened since then!), but I don't think I knew anything was wrong as I was sewing, so it was quite a surprise to see. I fiddled around with my machine for a while, trying to figure out what the issue could be. I can't remember if it was before or after this that the bobbin casing accidentally got put in funny, and the whole thing jammed. But I got that put back in correctly, and all seemed to be fine. Then at one point I checked the backside again to make sure everything was going together correctly to find that my tension was way screwy. Even now, I can't figure out what's really wrong with it, except that I have to keep the tension at an 8 ("normal" is 4, and it only goes up to 9), and it makes this horrible clunking sound with every stitch. I can't tell if the noise is coming from the bobbin or the part that moves the needle up & down, so I'm not even sure what to check. I've pulled off the plate covering the bobbin & pulled out the bobbin casing to make sure everything is (relatively) cleaned out & where it belongs. Everything looks okay, so I'm not certain what to do. I don't even know where to take it to have it checked & serviced since it's just a measly little cheap-o Brother machine. But it still sews fairly decent, even if it makes a racket, so I guess I'm just hoping it'll pull out of whatever is wrong. It's made funny noises before & seemingly fixed itself, so maybe I'm hoping for a miracle here...
Anyways, pity party over - sewing machine issues were only half my problems (although, I'm sure they didn't help the "operator error" issues), the other half was, well, just me I guess.
Like I said before, I had a hard time making a truly wonky block for Beth in March, and I was trying my best to keep this one perfectly square & even for Elizabeth. "Perfectly square & even" is HARD. Boy is it harder than I thought.
Let's start with this brown part here:
Looks pretty much perfectly square right now, huh? Let me tell you, it's not! After I sewed on the first two pieces, the other two sides were a smidge short. But too big of a smidge to just use them as they were ("smidge" is a technical quilting term, you didn't know that?). But I didn't want to cut two new pieces, even though Elizabeth sent plenty of fabric (thank you, Elizabeth, I love you for that!). I was trying to conserve as much as possible since she wanted scraps back to use to make more blocks. So I decided I'd just trim the sides (evenly on both sides - I was thinking, at least a little bit) and everything would be good. Except that I forgot to trim the width of the other two sides, so suddenly it was 1/4" wider one way than the other, but of course I didn't realize that until a few more rounds in. Doh.
And then...then there was this:
I got all excited about piecing that bit in between the stripes of yellow. But somehow, somehow, it got curved. How in the world did it curve?! There should be the same amount of yellow along that full strip. ARGH! Obviously I didn't realize it right away. Of course. And, of course, when I was getting ready to sew the next piece on, that corner was sticking way out, so I trimmed it off. Didn't think "oh hey, maybe it's sticking out because there's a problem!" Nooooo...I wasn't thinking that clearly (remember, through all this my sewing machine is clunking away like an old-timey car), so of course by the time I realized there was a problem, I couldn't do much to fix it.
Out came my friend, the seam ripper. We're close. :)
I think I ended up ripping out & resewing the seams around that area (I got so frustrated I quit taking pictures - Bad Blogger!) at least five or six times. And once I finally got it fixed (eventually completely replaced the yellow strip I had trimmed), of course the other yellow piece (top piece in the picture above) was too short. Go figure. Too short by the amount of the seam allowance, so I hoped I could just put in a little piece (again, sorry for no pictures) that I thought the seam would pretty much fall right at the seam allowance so you wouldn't be able to see it. Do you think it worked out that way? Of course not! Out came my trust seam ripper again. We became the best of friends working on this block. :)
I put on another new piece of yellow, resewed all the seams around it that had been torn out for the 20th time. And, oh, how I wish I were exaggerating by a lot! And finally, finally it was happy.
Just please don't look too closely at the back, it's a disaster area with all that piecing. And this thing is kind of a monster, about 15.5" square. As close to square as I could get it, at least, considering that little snafu I mentioned earlier. Can you see now how the two brown rounds aren't quite even all the way around? I totally meant for it to be that way. ;)
I hope Elizabeth likes it, in the end I definitely do. Even after all the blood, sweat, & tears, I think it ended up worth the work. Except, I think the one thing that amazingly didn't happen was to stab myself with a million pins. So no blood on this one. :)
Until next time...