“Experience: that most brutal of all teachers. But you learn, my God, do you learn.” — C.S. Lewis
Uh oh. I just sewed 12 pairs of blue & purple 8″ squares together with the Magic 8 method — four seams per square — and then I cut them apart as directed — and then I went to trim them to 3.5″ unfinished size, also as directed.
They’re too small.
Just to clarify, that’s 12 x 8, or 96, too-small half square triangles (HSTs) that I have here.
This is surprising because the blue & green ones I did yesterday are all the right size! Just a little larger than 3.5″, perfect for trimming down to 3.5″ with hardly any waste. Perfect.
What the heck happened?
I could say that it’s because I was talking to my husband on Skype video while sewing these seams. We talk on Skype most evenings, though, often while I’m sewing. (He works in Seattle and I haven’t relocated yet.)
I could say that it’s because it was almost bedtime and I was tired. But I often sew right up to bedtime.
I could say that it’s because I was sewing through these HSTs really fast so that I could get them done before the end of the weekend, which is true, but it’s not really the reason either.
The real reason is: I didn’t measure twice.
I changed my presser foot in between the previous batch and this batch because I did some curved piecing, and then I didn’t remeasure where a scant 1/4″ seam falls with the curved-piecing foot. Since the seams go through the middle of the 8″ squares, I couldn’t use the guide engraved on my foot plate because it was covered by the fabric. No problem, I thought, I know where 1/4″ is on this foot, I just did a bunch of drunkard’s path units that came out great, after all.
Then to make it worse, I thought, I want to give myself a little extra wiggle room, so I’ll move the fabric slightly THIS way to make a scant 1/4″, just to make sure. Only… you guessed it… I moved it THAT way instead, giving myself a generous 1/4″ — just enough to make all my HSTs a hint too small. Then, all unknowing, I sewed them all, cut them all, and went to trim the first one down to 3.5″, only to discover my mistake.
So I did what any good quilter would do. I swore and threw things and went to bed mad. (Isn’t that what you do? No? Just me then.)
Then the next day I did what any good quilter would really do. I re-sewed the seams closer to the edge and got ready to pick out the old seam on 96 triangles.
First, I put my standard foot back on the machine, along with my magnetic seam guide. I measured to make sure it was where I wanted it for a scant 1/4″ seam.
Then I chain-stitched all the triangles, making a new seam a scant 1/4″ from the edge. (For reals this time.)
THEN I got out my tiniest, pointiest seam ripper, because apparently while talking to my husband late at night while sewing madly at the end of the weekend, I was using a crazy small stitch length on all those wrong seams. Yay.
Then I re-pressed the units and ta-da! Old seam’s all gone. Just a tiny row of holes to show where it was. That’ll quilt out, right? Right?
One down, 95 to go. Time to put on a favorite movie! You know, one that I don’t have to look at the screen to follow.
Sometimes you get to sew. Sometimes you get to pick out stitching. Either way, you learn something!