Thursday, December 9, 2010

Bad Sewing Ju-Ju

Have you ever had one of those days when you sit down to the machine out of obligation rather than desire? Well, that was Sunday. I was planning to come home a little early and enjoy the house to myself after my bachelorette party. That's when I get my best sewing done. But I ended up spending more time in Las Vegas than anticipated so it was after 7 pm by the time I got home and I was tired. But I knew that I have so many sewing obligations that I need to complete before we leave for Asia that I went against my better judgment and brought out the machine. I have one word of advice if you ever find yourself in the same situation... Don't do it! My heart wasn't in it but I gave myself two solid goals to complete before I was going to allow myself to step away from my Janome and go to bed.

1) Make the stocking for my November commitment in the A Dozen Quilters Bee.

2) Sew the binding on the table cloth I was making for my mom so I could take it to bed with me and finish it by hand.

Well, you saw the stocking yesterday. Thankfully I did that project first. I was not completely happy with how it turned out but it was acceptable.

Then I went to work on the table cloth for my mom. This table cloth has been a labor of love. I started it, gosh, probably over 10 years ago. It's a cross stitch I picked up on and off over the years but I finally put the finishing touches on it just before Thanksgiving and I picked out some fabric to back it and bind it. I'm not quilting it so I just pinned the backing fabric to the main piece. And this is where I got lazy. The backing fabric was just a hair over the front piece, so rather than baste and trim as I should have I just pinned them together.


You know, when you're not in the sewing groove you tend to make small, stupid mistakes. I simply didn't think it through. What I should have done is basted the top and bottom together and then trimmed as I would have done with a quilt sandwich. But I was lazy and looking for shortcuts because I wanted to go to bed and I started machine stitching my binding onto my piece. This is where the stupidity really kicked into high gear. After the binding was secure I thought that I needed to trim the edges and got all the way around to the last mitered corner before I realized the damage I had done. Yeah, you can't trim a mitered corner. Major Blonde Moment. So I need to now rip out the entire binding and start from scratch so that project is now sitting in a corner. There is no way I will finish it before I leave for our wedding. My mom will just have to wait until next year. Sigh.

Fabric choices for December's blocks

But the bad sewing juju doesn't end there. Oh no! Last night I got home early, wonderful and amazing fiance had hockey so that means sewing time. I sat down and decided to try and bang out some bee blocks. Jeni asked us to make two checkerboard blocks in orange and turquoise for the December Hope Circle Quilt in the do. Good Stitches Bee. So I pulled out some orange and turquoise fabrics from my stash and I started cutting 2" squares. My first block will be square in square, almost like mini log cabin squares in alternating colors. When I sat down to sewing my thread kept breaking so I cleaned out my machine and checked the thread tension and then rethreaded the whole thing. It seemed to do the trick. I was chain piecing and things seem to be fixed until I got to the end of the first group and I saw this...

Wha! Sigh. So I started trouble shooting... again... to no avail. Frustrated I put everything aside and went to bed. It looks like I'm going to have to pull out my other machine to try and get things done before I leave on Tuesday, but I have a fear that I might be behind on a few bees this month. Is an international wedding a good excuse? Ugh. I hate being late!


  1. Oh no, about your tension! I have so totally sliced through a binding corner before. Love the colors you have picked there. Sometimes the tension problem is an easier fix than it seems. Maybe try re-threading a couple times to see if that fixes it.

  2. Yikes! That is some bad sewing ju-ju. Your fabrics are gorgeous and I am loving your cross stitch masterpiece. Are those beads or metallic floss?

  3. Well, happy wedding anyway!!!! You must have quite a stash -- I wish I had everything organized like that.

  4. This is going to sound freaky, but have you tried changing the needle? There might be a burr that you can't see pulling on the thread as it passes through. Otherwise, as Jewel suggested, try re-threading, but make sure you actually pull the thread completely out of its track before doing so. Then hit the presser foot and run a couple of 'dry' (threadless) stitches, just so that the needle goes up and down a few times. Newer machines (as in those made in the last decade) often won't release completely and reset the positions of the inner parts without that particular step. It's weird, but 98% of the time, remembering to do that often is what keeps me going after a tension issue.

  5. lol, I agree, change your needle. It's sorta like restarting your computer. There's not a good explanation for why it works but it does. You can also try re-threading and re-inserting your bobbin. Make sure all the fuzzy pieces are cleaned out too.

    By the way, I made the same mistake with my binding on my oak grove silent auction quilt. I ended up hand stitching the corners closed down and that was fine. You should be able to do the same with your tablecloth.