Friday, December 17, 2010


Welcome to my little corner of the internet. Sit, sit! make yourself comfortable. Can I make you a cup of tea? How are things with you lately?

I feel I should explain the thought behind the title to my blog. See, I have this little habit. Maybe you have it too? I take on projects that are, perhaps, mildly ambitious. Let's use this month's project as a handy example.

I decided late last month that I was going to make a quilt for my mom for Christmas. Nothing too big, or fancy. Just a simple nine-patch for 13 squares, and 12 plain blocks to fill in and make a five by five grid. It's just a lap quilt, something like 45 x 45 inches. I picked up an adorable snowman print for the large blocks, and coordinating red, green, and white fabrics for the nine patch squares. I spend a few minutes with some graph paper figuring out layouts for the nine patch blocks, and to make sure that I know how many blocks and strips of what size to cut out of my fabric. It is late November and I am feeling mildly smug.

Note: this is my first ever quilt. Smug is just asking for problems.

A list of things that didn't quite go as planned:

Cutting out the squares. Wow, that took something like five times as long as I expected it to take, and a trip to work with my cutting mat and fabric to make use of the delightful kitchen table that is long and waist high (entirely more useful than mine).

Washing the fabric. Hmm, the pieces were so flat when they went into the washer, and so incredibly wrinkled when they came out. What happened there, dryer? I only washed fabric and towels, so how did these things come out looking like existential origami?

Sewing together the squares. You'd think that having a couple pajama bottoms under my sewing belt would prepare me for a bunch of short little straight seams, right? Um. Ok, first off, I now have a much longer list of "if I do this it makes my machine cranky" than I had before. Also, while calico and broadcloth may both be 100% cotton, one is lighter than the other and will require many pins before the seams don't bunch up. Also, while the squares my have all been three inches, and the seams all a quarter inch, somehow sewing them together as a nine patch will have all the corners not matching up. More pins. Many more pins. As a matter of fact, the entirety of the 200 count pin pack is looking like a good amount.

The actual quilting. All right, I knew this step was going to take a bit. I'm hand quilting this, with the little squares getting cute little designs (red = hearts, white = stars, green = spiral) and the big ones get a snowflake. This is the part where being an optimistic lunatic really comes into play.

I started the quilting on Monday. It's now Friday. I have one week to get this finished up. I figured out that if I stitch one large block and 12 small ones each day, that I'd get done with the blocks on the 23rd, which would give me a Full Day to quilt around the outside and get the binding on.

(A wee pause while experienced quilters laugh goes here.)

Assuming that I could keep to that schedule, I'd have five large blocks done (there were a couple extra that would get added in to my planned amount as needed) and 48 small blocks done. I have four large blocks and 43 small ones done. This seems like I am close to my goal amount, and I am, but it is the reflection of every non-working waking moment spent huddled over the quilt and poking my fingers with the needle. Optimistically, I'll get this sucker done in time. But I'm going to have to concentrate and knuckle down like an absolute lunatic to get there.

This is an oft-repeating pattern in my life. I make lofty goals, set unrealistic time tables, then work like a fiend to get them accomplished. I'm an optimistic lunatic!

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