Monday, August 21, 2006

Sneaky Sewing Machine Tricks

This is a Stack & Whack quilt I've shown here before. I was teaching a S&W class once and I had five or six quilts there to show. I had stressed the importance of making a perfect 1/4" seam and making sure everything lined up so all the points would meet.

I noticed my dear friend, Becky, who was just a little more than an acquaintance at the time . . standing at the back of the room talking to someone else and they were looking at this quilt and whispering. So, I asked what was wrong. Becky was very quiet back then and she said nothing. I thought she had a question and didn't want to ask so I continued . . finally, she started laughing and very reluctantly said "your points don't match". Well, thanks a lot Becky! But, as with everything I do that may appear to others to be a mistake, there's a reason why those points don't meet! No, I do make mistakes and I'll usually admit to my mistakes but this one was really not my fault.

In order to get a perfect 1/4" seam allowance on my trusty Bernina 1230, I use the No. 0 foot and change the needle position one step over to the right. There are probably easier, better ways to get a 1/4" seam but that's what I've used for years and I'm pretty pleased with it .. til the electricity goes off! That's what happened when I was making Vince's S&W quilt . . sewing along, half the blocks done, the electricity goes off.

Shortly thereafter, the electricity comes back on. I didn't realize that when the machine came back on, everything was re-set to default which put the needle in the center position. I sewed and sewed and then when I started to put the blocks together, nothing matched. What the heck? I couldn't figure it out. There's not much difference in the width of the seam allowance with the needle in the center position or the needle one step to the right but when you have eight seams across the width of a block, multiply that little difference times 8 and you get a big difference. OK . . do I rip all this out and start over? This is a quilt to be used by my husband so I just went on and did the best I could . . which wasn't all that good.

Fast forward about five years to yesterday. Do you think I remembered that when the electricity goes off, the machine re-sets itself? No! I did not remember and had to rip out a few seams. I'm going to remember that from now til my sewing days are over though!

I did get all the blocks done for Katlin's quilt and I have enough of the quarter square triangles to make 20 more blocks (that's 80 QST's) with the stars spinning the opposite direction. Marcie at Patchalot More told me that there are several quilts, including one almost just like the one I'm making, in the Nickel Quilts books so I looked at those last night. I won't have any trouble coming up with ideas of what to do with the other blocks. In fact, I'm thinking I might make another quilt just like Katlin's to give to the wrecker company owner's wife (per my dad's request). Dad was supposed to be finding out her favorite color and so far, he has not. I just don't see how anyone could not love this quilt, but I'm kinda partial to these brights so maybe I'll just wait til Dad gives me her favorite color.

Judy L.

No comments: