not as easy as it looks

There are some weeks when everything you do turns out crappy. Like the vegetable paneer curry I improvised last Thursday (blech!), and all my attempts to motivate Daniel to poop in the toilet instead of his pants (I might as well promise him the moon; it wouldn't make a difference), and a recent attempt at a cake that had the approximate density of a brick.

Then there's this:

What's the point of making a potholder when you can buy one for like three bucks at Target? This is a crafting blog, so I don't really need to answer that, but I will anyway: because I can. (Really, the question should be: why buy something when you can make it? I mean, why not spend hours crafting an everyday object that everyone else buys at the discount store without a second thought? Especially when it comes out lumpy and uneven and looks stooooopid? Arrrg.)

Anyway, I am trying to improve my sewing skills (again, why?) and I found this pattern in Amy Butler's In Stitches that I thought would be a nice gift, and a potholder is a small, simple thing that would be a good place to start. Or sew it would seam (heh - bet I'm the very first person to ever make that joke). Finding the fabric was fun; I called my mom and asked her to part with some blue pieces in her epic stash, and she was happy to oblige. I found a few things leftover from projects I made before the kids came along. Cutting out the pieces was easy enough, too. Squares and rectangles with a rotary cutter are a snap. Piecing the 4-patch top wasn't bad. I waited for Anya to fall asleep for her daily 45-minute (sigh) nap, and Daniel was really excited to sit on my lap and watch for a few minutes before he ran off to play in the other room.

But then. Then it was time to quilt the thing. I sandwiched the layers for the main part of the potholder, and marked lines on the bias as stitch guides. That took some futzing, but I think I did okay. The real problem is the stitching. See how puckered it is? And I only did three lines of stitching before giving up. This is because all the pinning in the world won't keep two layers of fabric and one layer of batting from slipping around when you're feeding them through a sewing machine. I'm told a walking foot for my sewing machine makes this much easier.

The good news is I have a walking foot. The bad news is I can't find it anywhere. I bought it more than two years ago when Daniel was just a baby, and all my intentions of machine-quilting fell by the wayside because I simply had no time to do it. Since then we've done a lot of furniture rearranging and sorting through stuff, so I am quite sure I know where the walking foot isn't. I am also quite sure I would never have mistaken it for a piece of trash and thrown it away. So it is somewhere in this house and it's driving me crazy that I can't find it. I better, though, because there's no way I'm going to hand-quilt a friggin' potholder!


abcgirl said…
you could try hand basting the layers together with giant stitches just to hold everything in place, OR you could use spray baster (it's like a light spray adhesive that washes out) OR have you tried reducing the tension on your presser foot? Sorry it got all lumpy. i hate picking out stitches!
Anonymous said…
'Because I can' is always a good reason! I salute your sewing, it is one of the things I mean to do and still haven't...
Anonymous said…
I notice that you stitched on the bias, which is considerably harder than stitching on the straight of grain. When I machine quilt, even with basting (or in my case, pinning) and a walking foot, I like to sew on the straight of grain before I do the bias. It stabilizes the project. Another thing to keep in mind is to stitch everything in the same direction. If there is any shifting then, at least it is all in the same direction and produces fewer "bubbles."

Mrs. Allroro said…
So glad you posted this and saved me the trouble. (Sorry it was trouble for you, of course)> I got a sewing machine for Christmas and am dying to use it. I sewed the hem and sleeves closed on a goodwill shirt just to try it out (might make a pillow out of it, but it was an ugly shirt, which was why it was going to goodwill), but I was thinking, since I needed some potholders anyway, that I'd try potholders. Now I think I won't.

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