The Quilt Scout
by Mary Fons
SOME DAYS, YOU JUST CAN’T SEW (A Spooooky Story)
That’s how I felt!! Photo: WikipediaWanna hear a scary story as we approach Halloween? Well, you’re in luck, because boy, do I have a tale for you.
It was a dark and stormy night.
The rain lashed at the windows. The thunder crashed and the heavens shook. Icy wind whipped the trees outside my condo (though since I live on the 16th floor I didn’t really notice that part). Look, I’m trying to make this as spooky as possible!
Inside in the living room, which doubles as
my dining room (woooooo!) I sat at my sewing machine (wooooo!) and everything seemed to be going according to plan. My patchwork was complete, my quilt top nearly finished, when suddenly...
I realized I had sewn a whole row upside down… For the second time!
Has this ever happened to you? If it hasn’t, you probably haven’t been quilting very long. If you have been quilting for years and this has never happened to you, I’m sure you’re very nice but I do not like you…please go away. (Just kidding. I think.)
The spooky story I told you has absolutely happened to me, that’s for sure. And maybe the last time it happened, it wasn’t on a dark and stormy night, but believe me: It was a terrible, yes, even horrifying moment. When you make large quilts like I do, finding that you’ve sewn a row backwards is really an awful feeling. When you’ve sewing two rows in the wrong way, that’s a living nightmare of the patchwork kind.
Just go read Edgar Allen Poe’s classic, The Raven. It’s better that way. Photo: WikipediaThe good news is that making mistakes in your sewing room really does happen to all of us. Maybe it’s a row (or more) sewn in the wrong way; maybe you’ve sliced a huge square from your dwindling supply of Fabric A only to realize you grossly mis-measured — and Fabric A was the last of your mother’s vintage Depression-era novelty print. I also heard once of a woman who sewed through the cardboard packaging on her embroidery project. Things happen.
When you make more than one dazzling mistake after another, though, what’s actually scary is that your confidence can really be undermined. One lopped off seam allowance feels like a “d’oh!” moment; four of them makes a gal feel like she can’t do this, she could never do this, why does she think she can do this at all, let’s just go eat worms because we can at least get that right. Maybe.
The great Liz Porter told me once that “some days, you just can’t sew.” She said the days where you “just can’t sew” are like bad hair days, when something is just not right with the hair and nothing you do can fix it — indeed, everything you try to do to fix it makes it a thousand times worse. It happens with the hair and it happens with the needle/thread things, too.
This was such a blessing, this bit of wisdom, and I pass it onto you, my fellow quilters. When things get very scary in your sewing room, when you feel that all hope is lost, when you have literally tried three times to get that blinkin’ binding to not have the lump in it and it just refuses to work, STAY CALM.
AAAAAAAAAGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!! Photo: Wikipedia
Turn off your sewing machine. Stand up. Take a deep breath. Turn off the lights as you back out of the room, slowly.
And go read a book. Maybe even a scary one!