Sunday, 29 April 2007

Virtuous scrap usage

I expect we all have one of these - a bag or bags (or boxes) where we chuck all the might-be-useful leftover strips and scraps. I stopped saving anything smaller than my hand about 10 years ago when I discovered the cat had made a lovely hairy dirty nest in my scrap box (I tried throwing them in the washing machine, which produced a load of hairy screwed up useless frayed balls that I had to throw out) but I still save actual strips and larger pieces.

Yesterday was my Saturday quilting club so I decided that I was going to be very virtuous and take along my scrap collection (in two very large bags) and make a scrap quilt modelled on the Heartstrings block that ForestJane worked out. I measured up my son's favourite quilt and worked out that I needed 9.5 inch finished blocks, and cut a bunch of foundation fabric squares from some leftover backing strips. When I got to club, I started out with the strips on my table but found they kept falling off so in the end I just heaped them on the floor behind my chair and started sewing.

The really funny thing was how the other quilters just could not keep away from this pile of crumpled jewels. Several of them were circling like sharks around blood in the water, cooing 'oh, it's lovely' and 'look at that, oh it's beautiful' and one lady came back about 6 times looking for fabric for an applique she is doing. I was generous and gave away some of it but I wanted to make sure I kept enough to do the quilt! The sewing was rather enjoyable as it is completely brain-dead, just put the pedal to the metal and sew down the strips. I was making heavy use of my built-in automatic thread-cutter at the end of each seam. It was also nice to visit again with several old fabric friends from projects I have completed over the last few years. Anyway, this is the middle of the quilt so far:

Let me hasten to say that I wasn't trying to match up the middle of the quilt - I was not measuring these blocks at all precisely, just slapping on strips and trusting it would work out. I thought the middle would look close enough to be alright, but now that I've got it home, the lower right hand centre block is bugging me because it is so far out of whack. I may see if I have enough of those strips to make a replacement and move that original one into the border.

So I'm sewing away at top speed, which is pretty fast on my Janome 6500, and feeling pretty good that my machine is finally back and appears to be working fine. After an hour or so, my bobbin runs out, so I wind a new one and start sewing again. KNOCK KNOCK KNOCK - I froze - and so did everyone around me (particularly the two other ladies who have the same machine and who are terrified that this problem is going to happen to theirs). There was a pregnant pause - and someone said "oh, you'll have to stop again" which is what I did last time this happened. And I thought, to heck with it, it's under warranty, let's see what happens. So I kept sewing and found that the noise faded in and out the rest of the day. I am suspecting it is linked to the threadcutter - because when that operates there is a complicated series of clunks within the upper body of the machine - and I found that when the noise was particularly loud, if I paused and operated the threadcutting mechanism, then the noise would change (get louder/softer/stop altogether). And I bet Repair Guy did not test the threadcutter at all, but only the sewing operation.

So I phoned up the shop to let them hear what the machine is doing again, but got some Saturday substitute who took a message to leave for Repair Guy on Monday. And I bet he is going to be sooooo pleased to see my name again - not.


swooze said...

Circling like vultures eh? Nice quilt!

I think I would be asking Janome to replace that machine about now!

Jeanne said...

I think you put the scraps to great use!

Kathy Wagner said...

That was funny...circling like sharks! That would be me, for sure!
Great quilt...I might have to try that one!

Clare said...

My crumb pile is getting bigger by the day. Strings are a great way to get rid of them. Nice quilt!

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