a quilting we will go

I Have a Bad Feeling About This… Part IV: Some Assembly Required

Well, I’m not sure how, but the human female managed to recut the missing quilt pieces.  Now she has all the bits laid out on the floor, making sure she likes their arrangement.  She seems satisfied, so it’s time to start sewing.

I have introduced you to the sewing machine before.  I love machinery, and it offers many, many opportunities for mischief.  Still, it’s a sturdy machine and the human female can just keep pairing and pinning and sewing and pairing and pinning and sewing, putting the pieces together two by two and sewing the twos into fours and the fours into something that looks like this.


Which would be splendid, except that no part of the quilt is supposed to look like that.  Eehehehe!  I distracted her and she put things together wrong!  The maroon bits are supposed to go all around the quilt, just inside the border, not all staggery like this.

I love the sound of a seam ripper.  And muted cursing.

So many things can go wrong when sewing.  You could run over a pin and bend it.  The needle could break. The thread could break.  The  motor could seize up.  You could sew over a finger.  The bobbin thread could run out at a critical juncture.  Better check it.


Oh, there’s enough left for a dozen more seams, at least!  But I bet she’ll forget to keep an eye on it and run out.

Odin’s eyepatch!  Would you look at that!


She finished a seam with this much left.  That is cutting it mighty close.  Much as I hate to, I have to compliment her.  Good catch!

Just for that, though?  It’s time to wind a bobbin, and I have plenty of tricks up my elegant leather sleeve.

You see, the machine is old and there’s one bit that’s sticky.  That’s the part that releases so that when winding a bobbin the needle doesn’t go up and down a million times.  If the human female remembers to unthread the needle, it’s not a problem, but it’s late at night, she’s tired, and it’s been a while, so she’s forgotten.  And I haven’t reminded her.

Thus, about ten winds of the bobbin in, the needle has tied itself up down in the bobbin race and things have come to a clanky halt.

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Now she’s done it!   She’s got to take the bobbin case out of the race and get it all sorted out.  Release this clamp…


and slide that and lift this and…

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Ta da!

Great Frigga’s Hairpins, woman, when was the last time you cleaned things out down here?!  There’s all sorts of fluff and thread ends and…

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yes, a pin bent into a V and jammed down in there.  How did this poor machine even sew?!

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All right.  All clean!  Just need to put the bobbin case back in and…  It won’t go.  Or rather, it goes, but it doesn’t engage.  It’s all loose and stupid and the clamp won’t go back on, let alone the compartment cover.  No, mortal, trying it ten times is not going to work any better than trying it once.  Stop being an idiot, go get the manual, and do it right.

(I am having such fun!  It’s getting later and later and no actual sewing is happening!)

The manual has been located, under two boxes of buttons and notions.  Aha!  The throat plate has to come off.  There’s a lever for that.

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Okay, throat plate off, bobbin case back in the race and we’re all set, just spring the clamp and…

And she took the bobbin compartment cover off.  Ehehehehe!  You thought getting the bobbin case back in was hard!   That cover is spring loaded and goes on in precisely one way.   Because, you know, it was never supposed to come off in the first place.   I’ll let her try to put it back on from the front about ten times before I remind her that it has to go on from the back.  Another ten times or so trying to get it on past the presser foot, nudging each end of the springy bit up into its groove with the seam ripper, and viola!  Back in business!

Sewing, sewing, sewing!  And behold!  A  quilt top!

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You did it, mortal.  It looks…passable.  Except…  What’s going on with the embroidered cowpokes?  Up there, on the top row.  Notice anything?  I’ll give you a minute…

Ah. Now you see it.  One of the fence sitters was supposed to go on the top row, and the other in the bottom row.  But both of them little fellers is a-camped out on the top row, ain’t they?


Yup.  ‘Round these parts, that there’s what we call a right mess.

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This… Part III: Measure Twice, Cut Once… Blast It.

Ah!  Now the weapons come out!  Be careful, Sigyn–that rotary cutter is sharp!


Or, rather, it would be, if I hadn’t dulled the blade cutting tin foil so that she had to run over every cut three times.

She has now changed the blade, but I got to that one too.  I love it when she gets frustrated!

(later) She eventually went out and bought some new blades.  I was hoping for a nice finger-slice, but sadly, the only result was a pile of neatly-cut fabric.


You, uh, mis-centered Rope Boy there…

Oh, and see these?


It’s a stack of very carefully cut 8.5″ x 4.5″ rectangles.  She cut them so that all of the various buckaroos (what a weird Midgardian word.  “Buckaroo.”  “BUCKaroo.”  “buckAroo.”  “buckaROO.”  Nope.  Sounds silly any  way you say it) on the fabric are represented in the pieces.  She has eight vertical and eight horizontal, for the borders.  Very precise.  Very clever.

Very WRONG.  Despite the fact that the pattern was designed BY HER, she has managed to foul it up spectacularly.  She didn’t need eight vertical and eight horizontal pieces that size, she needed four each of vertical and horizontal 18.5″ x 4.5″ pieces.

Great Frigga’s corset!  What a monumental blunder!  Wrong number, wrong size!  Hey, mortal!  That 1 in front of the 8 on the piece list YOU drew up?  It makes a difference.

She has been fiddling with her design and racking her brains, but there really isn’t a way to make the smaller pieces work, even with adding in other bits and changing the design.  She will simply have to re-cut them.  Now it will be touch and go to see if she can manage to eke them out of what buckaroo (there’s that word again!) fabric she has left.  It’s going to be dicey!  I’m betting the little fellers won’t end up nicely centered and that they’ll all have their heads at least partially removed.  So long, Pie Guy and Rope Boy.  It was nice knowing you.

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This… Part II: Of Stitching and Smoothing

The human female has very carefully and neatly embroidered some of the designs from the fabric.  I helped her scan, enlarge, print, and trace them.


Which is why this fellow is backwards.  Ehehehehe.

Let us examine the back of one of her stitcheries.


Look!  Look at that big messy loop of thread.  Well done, you.

All of the fabric needs to be ironed before it can be cut.


Careful, Sigyn!  The iron is not only hot, it’s wobbly.   

Also, I taught the cats to jump up on the ironing board.

The human female uses this stuff to make the fabric nice and smooth.


Despite what the label says, it’s not magic.  Now, if it turned the fabric purple, or better yet, green when she sprayed it on, that would be magic.  Hmmm…

She was nearly out, so she asked the human male to pick up some while he was running errands.  He obliged.


So, of course, the first thing I did upon receipt was joggle her elbow so she knocked the new can over and smashed the cap.

She’ll be finding blue cap shrapnel for weeks.

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I Have a Bad Feeling About This… Part I: The Prep

Someone let the human female near scissors again.  I ask you, who thought this was a good idea?

It seems another baby quilt is in the works.  Actually, I love it when she quilts.  There are SO MANY opportunities for me to meddle.  The potential for frustration, if not downright disaster, is simply enormous.

She has carefully planned things out on graph paper.


Looks like it involves consonants and little stick figures.

Here is what she calls her “focus fabric.”


Oh! That reminds me—“kitsch” is a really useful Scrabble word.

Now, here.  Look at this!  Let’s call him “Pie Guy.”  What is this fellow eating?!  It’s not blueberry pie.  He has a slice of cherry pie on his plate.


Sigyn doesn’t know either.

So what is the blue stuff??  Whatever it is, he seems to be enjoying it, and it apparently goes well with grits.


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