I love my hobby. I'm just not very good at it. Oh, I produce nice things. They look good in photos, the recipients really like them and I generally enjoy creating. It's just that this hobby is all about math and accuracy. These are two very difficult concepts for a fly by the seat of your pants kinda girl. Math.....all I can say is thank G-d for calculators and those of you that figure things out for us numberly challenged.
Accuracy, this, THIS is my downfall. I used to think that equipment had alot to do with it. After all, using the correct tool for the job goes a long way to a better product. It's just that there are soooo mannnyyy tools out there to do the same thing.
I used to have a Kenmore machine. I loved it. It didn't hold the tension nicely for machine quilting and "it pulled to the left" when sewing a seam. I didn't get an accurate 1/4". Hmm....perhaps a new machine will help that. Enter the Janome 6600.
Half square triangles. I've tried making squares, sewing down either side of center, then trimming to get perfect 1/2 sq. triangles. Effective but time consuming to draw the line and then re- trim. Enter the Angler....Works well but a PITA as every bobbin change requires you to move it. Draw a line on the bed of the machine to achieve the same effect.....AHhh, so, so. Cut half square triangles...both to size and larger to trim down. Hmmm...time consuming to touch the same piece over and over and over. Buy corner trimmers so that those silly dog ears don't disappear in the machine.... All of this leads to frustration and quilts with squares & rectangles.....gets boring.
Now I want to work on Judy's quilt for an hour project. Yikes! 54-40 or fight, Peaky & Spike, whatever you want to call them, these little blocks are buggers to get accurate and they MUST be accurate. She suggest, to use the tri-recs tool...Hey, I have that. It's unopened but I have it. Let's pop that baby open and create perfect blocks. Everyone else raves about it. Surely I can do this too. After all, I have the tools, the machine, the fancy thread......I try one block. It's supposed to finish at 3 1/2". NOT! It's 3 1/4" This is not accuracy. Sigh, re-realize the first line of this story, "I'm not very good at this," and try again. Enter the Marti Michell templates.
Yeah, we had a demo at our guild meeting just at the right time and I bought them. Then I went to the LQS and bought more. Finally, I, yes I will have an accurate method of making half squares, Peaky & Spike, ect. All the corners are trimmed at the same time you cut the blocks. The possibilities are endless. Sounds good to me. My mind reels with the possibilities. Agonize over fabric choices. Buy more fabric. Agonize some more, and buy more fabric. It defeats the purpose of stashbusting but I am so excited because I am going to make perfect blocks. I have the perfect tool now and I deserve new fabric. (Hey, just so it's clear here, I'm not knocking or endorsing tools or the methods others use. I just want them to work as well for me!)
insert a very long, defeated sighing sound.................................................... My blocks are not perfect. I made one full sized block with the MM templates and one with the tri-recs. The MM is MOST accurate. The entire block is only off by a scant 1/4". and the center diagonal is very close to perfect. The tri-recs (second attempt I might add) is off by a full 1/4" and I didn't even bother to assemble the full block as my P & S blocks are off by that 1/4".
This is so absolutely frustrating. OBVIOUSLY, It's not about the perfect tools. OBVIOUSLY, I am the problem. I just want to find the method that works for me. Why is it so riffin' raffin' hard. I cannot figure out what it is that I do wrong...consistently I might add, that creates that lousy 1/4" discrepancy. I really think it's a bit from column A and a bit from column B....a bit my cutting, template/ruler placement, where I sit in relationship to the machine, a thread off here and a thread off there but.......It is so discouraging. I am tired of spending money and storing things that ....well, quite honestly don't seem to help me.
Where does this little rant lead me? Nowhere. I'm still going to go back in and slog my way through this quilt. (I'm going to use the templates and try moving my needle one notch or two) I'll try another project next week and the week after that. But when a new tool shows up promising to make me a better quilter.....well, who knows. Maybe I'll just sigh and keep my checkbook in my pocket.