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Avoiding Pitfalls

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As we continue our journey toward becoming Sewing Super Geniuses, it is important to bear in mind a couple of key points:

Know your own limitations.
There is no one right way to do certain things. I could say “Don’t work on projects after 10 p.m.”, but you may exclusively sew late at night. Or perhaps I could tell you “Always use a calculator when figuring the strip dimensions in your quilt block”, not knowing that I’m speaking to a math wizard. All I can do, then, is use these as examples of knowing your limits and working within them. My mind turns to mush at promptly 8:30 each night, and my math is not so strong at any hour of the day. Who knew that adding simple fractions could become confusing? Anyway, so the other night when I was figuring out the blocks for the project pictured above, the voice in my head was screaming, “DO NOT CUT THIS TONIGHT!” Oh, I wanted to, but I knew that the voice was the rational one. No good would come of picking up the rotary cutter at the break of 9 p.m. Indeed: the next morning, when I returned to my project, this turned out to be true. That brings me to our next stop –

Check your work!
If the old maxim of “measure twice, cut once” is true (or perhaps even the Secret of Business, according to Jimmy James), then I would add “measure twice, check your figures thrice, cut once” to the equation (partly because I just like throwing the word “thrice” around whenever possible.) And don’t rush – take your time! Once you take that first cut, it is over. No take-backs. Oh, and here’s the postscript to that: double-check and make sure that you have enough yardage of each piece for the required measurement. Had I done this, surely I would have at least cut into the smallest, most questionable piece first instead of last. Before I did that, I probably would have realized (as I did when I finally got to it) that there was no way to get the 28 pieces required for the project out of a 4″x21″ strip. See that narrow little frame in the center? That’s what I was cutting. It looks so skinny that my brain was confident I’d have enough, but no; not even close. Luckily I was able to alternate it with another color and the project was salvaged, but that was a close one. And even with all of the checking and rechecking, I still cut one set of strips an inch too long. See, I only checked twice; the third time’s a charm. It could have easily gone the other way, leaving me with a stack of beautiful but completely useless Lotus strips. *sob* I don’t even like to think about it, but let me just say that it wouldn’t be the first time I’d made that sort of error.

OK – let’s be careful out there, friends!


7 responses »

  1. Good advice! I try not to sew at night, it’s never a good thing. Plus, anything I try to make on a tight deadline ends up full of problems because I’m rushing.

  2. No shirt, no shoes, no service…

  3. I read someone’s blog yesterday – measure 87 times, cut once! I always run into problems late at night, especially when I’m trying to adapt a pattern and add a seam allowance or something.

  4. Maybe you can find some little project that you can use those strips for. I have bags of straps for that very reason.

  5. I can totally relate. If I sew after 10, I can pretty much guarantee needing my seam ripper in the morning. I guess I’m really a morning person. That mean all my good energy goes towards my job. It drives me crazy.

  6. I am the worst about checking my work… lazy I suppose. I also am the worst when it comes to making notes about my design changes.

  7. I really like the blocks pictured above.


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