Practice makes …better

For the last few months, when I was way too busy to do anything crafty, I indulged my need for creativity by watching YouTube videos on quilting, and looking forward to having the chance to put some of what I learnt into practice (oh, and by buying fabric.  Lots of fabric. (See, this is why I should never be let loose on a new hobby – I do have a *slight* tendency to the obsessive…))  So there’s about a million patterns clamouring for attention in my “must try this one out someday” file.  I’ve especially been looking forward to trying some more traditional quilt blocks, to expand my skills a wee bit from the paper piecing which I’ve mostly concentrated on.  So I decided to try a wee Christmas project, based on this pattern.

This kind of patchwork involves a lot more careful measuring and pre-cutting than I’m used to with paper piecing (where, despite appearances, the only part you have to be really precise with is the actual sewing), but I thought things were going quite well at first:

But then, when I tried sewing the four blocks together to get a star, it was all a bit wonky:

I could either get the inside angles between the legs of the star to line up, or the edges, not both. I went with the angles, because they’d be most noticeable, but that means I’ll have to trim the block down to get it square, and I’m pretty much guaranteed to chop off some of the points of the star in the process 🙁  Plus of course, it’s really obviously out of alignment in the centre.

However, I figured out what I’d done wrong – ironically, it wasn’t my measuring or cutting, it was that the quarter-inch mark on my sewing machine isn’t accurate, so it was my sewing that was off!  This has never been an issue with paper piecing, because there you’re always sewing along a line on the paper, but with this kind of patchwork you need to keep your seams totally consistent, which mine weren’t, because the mark which I’d assumed was a quarter-inch seam is actually slightly more than that, which was throwing everything out.  Luckily, that’s a problem easily solved with a ruler and a sharpie, so I now have an accurate quarter-inch seam line marked on the sewing machine.

Armed with a new appreciation for accuracy, I tried again, and this time I was *much* happier with the result:

There’s still room for improvement (plus, did you spot the deliberate mistake?), but I feel like I’ve learnt a lot today.  I’m all inspired to try another one, but I really should spend the rest of the afternoon baking a cake to take to tomorrow’s presentation (we’re putting on afternoon tea for the Vanuatu community after our talks), and running through my presentation a few more times for good measure.


In other news, when I got home last night I found a mysterious envelope in the letterbox, from a New York publishing company.  I couldn’t think why they’d be writing to me, and was even more mystified when I opened it and all that was inside was a square of paper with a signature.

Then I looked again at the signature: J Lawson.  As in The Bloggess.  And memory clicked into place.  Ages ago, when she announced her new book, Furiously Happy (which of course I immediately raced off to pre-order), she said that she’d sign bookplates for anyone who couldn’t get to one of her signings, and her publishers would post them out.  I assumed it would only apply to US residents, but there was nothing on the publisher’s website to explicitly say so, so I thought it was worth a shot, and put my name down.  I got the book ages ago, but had completely forgotten about the bookplate, because I’d just assumed they’d never send one to NZ.  But they did!

(It’s a very good book, by the way.  You should read it.)


Sometimes I really love living in Christchurch. Other times, not so much. Yesterday was one of those times. I went to the supermarket on the way home, planning to catch the bus home from there. But when I got to the bus stop (carrying several very heavy bags of groceries), I discovered they were doing road works on that street, and the bus stop was surrounded on both sides by road cones (though the bus stop itself didn’t have any cones). I wasn’t sure if the stop was operating, so I checked the sign, and there was nothing to say it wasn’t (normally they put a little bag thing over the sign to hide it, and put up a temporary stop further along the street).  So I assumed the bus must still be stopping there, so I waited for the bus.

Which, when it turned up, went straight past.  The driver definitely saw me, but he just shook his head and gestured to the cones, and kept driving.  I was a wee bit annoyed, because it’s half an hour between buses (plus, did I mention heavy bags?), but I picked up my bags and walked along the street to see if there was a temporary stop.  There wasn’t (even though there were plenty of stretches of road where they could have safely put one).  I got to the next proper bus stop, which was also surrounded by road cones (and this time obviously wasn’t in use, because the road workers had parked their equipment on it – there was still nothing on the bus stop itself to say it was closed, though).  So I had to keep walking.  Still no temporary stop, but I did eventually get past the road works, and found a third proper bus stop, by which time my arms were almost falling off!

At least the bus did stop for me at that stop, but I was very annoyed that there hadn’t been signs at the other two stops to say they were closed, and that there were no temporary stops.  Needless to say I sent a very snotty email to ECan when I got home – I know there’s a lot of road works going on across the city, but ECan get plenty of notice about them, so you’d think they could at least put signs up if they’re going to close a bus stop.  Grrrr.

One thought on “Practice makes …better

  1. I still have tears of laughter from reading the tweets in her blog (The Bloggess) from people who’ve said or done stupid things!

    I’m sorry you had to carry those heavy bags so far! They should have had a temporary bus stop.

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