Sunday, March 20, 2011


Once upon a time, there was a quilter who could spin WalMart yardage into Quilt Shoppe Quality Gold . . .

I warned you there was going to be a lot of blarney on this blog!

Anyhoo, in the beginning, when I married DH nearly 19 years ago, he had upon his bed, a quilt made by a former girlfriend.  Now, you need to understand that I have a great reverence for the time, energy, and love put into anything handcrafted and it seems darned near sacrilegious to throw a handmade article away; besides all the bad Ju Ju you would be inviting your way if you disrespected another crafter's "art!"  Also, it was a perfectly functional quilt and, since I really didn't have anything suitable to replace it with at the time, the quilt became christened "The Machelle Quilt" and it stayed.  And it stayed . . . and it stayed!

Like the Energizer Bunny, that quilt refused to wear out.  Granted, I did repair the binding once or twice where it had come loose.  But, pretty soon, "The Machelle Quilt" became almost a family heirloom and I actually became quite fond of it. 

Nearly 17 years later as it was gasping it's dying, agonal breaths another serendipitous event occurred.  I was approached by a co-worker who had just purchased a "Long-Arm?"  What the heck was that?  I thought, visions of possibilities popping into my head:

I say "co-worker" because that's what she was at the time.  She has since become Cherished Bestie and Partner in Quilt Shop Crimes.  Although, after one particular Quilt Class Calamity, I did drive home musing about the various places I could hide Karen's body where no one would ever find it.  But, I digress, that story will have to wait for a future chapter.

Anyway, Karen enticed me to make a quilt for her to "long-arm."  "All the cool kids are doing it!", "Just one time won't hurt you!" and "I promise - you won't get addicted!"  Yes, she actually said these things.  See, you're starting to see what a wild and crazy cohort Karen is!

Well, I had sewn since a young girl back in the Stone Age, making some of my own clothes, simple curtains for a newly-wed home, and Halloween costumes for my kids.  So, really, how hard could it be???  Hey, it's rude to laugh!  

I took another long, sentimental look at the faded and fraying "Machelle Quilt" and decided to take Karen up on her offer.  Being a Type A personality, I bought the best fabric, the best thread, and the best Queen-sized pattern I could find.  Yes, you heard me right - I decided my very first quilt would be an intermediate-level, queen sized!

WARNING:  The following story contains horrific descriptions and images not for the light-hearted!

I even purchased a 1/4 inch quilting foot for my Viking.  I was not taking on this project with a care-free, devil-may-care attitude!  I was going to be a Professional and I was going to try this at home.  Now, no where on the package did it say anything about making a "needle position adjustment" AFTER installing the foot, nor did the friendly saleslady who sold it to me.  And, whoever thought you would need to read your owner's manual just to install a new foot?

So, I went on my merry way . . . pre-laundering, pressing (not ironing), strip cutting, and piecing while I whistled a happy tune.

After piecing a few blocks together, I discovered that the 1/4 inch foot was not really sewing 1/4 inch seams . . . Helllloooooooooo????  Silly meBut I had gone past the point of no return.  I had already strip pieced and pre-cut several sections and seriously . . . was it really that big of a deal?  So what if the quilt top was slightly smaller than originally designed?  I would just make it up with extra blocks or a wider border.  Right?

The more I sewed and pieced, the faster I stopped whistling that happy tune.  I discovered, to my dismay that there is a reason behind the Quilter's Cardinal Rule of 1/4 inch seams.

This is what happens to a simple 4 square when your seams are not 1/4 inch!

I said it is rude to laugh!  You can get up off the floor now and if you peed your pants a little, we will wait while you go change.  

Hey, I have been trained to save lives and serve the public, for the Love of Corn, and I wasn't going to let some simple woven fibers take me down!  

Needless to say, I have now learned the lesson of 1/4 inch seams and lived to go on and make bigger and better mistakes!  (Feel free to use the above picture in your next episode of America's Funniest Quilting Bloopers!)

Well, it was my first quilt and DH loves it despite all it's glaring flaws.

After all, it is a perfectly functional quilt and, since I really don't have anything suitable to replace it with at the time, it stays.  And it stays and it stays . . .   UNLESS . . .

Machelle, if you're reading this blog, DH could sure use a new quilt!


Barb said...

You make ma laugh....and that signature on the quilt is just soooo funny given the story. Loved it!

Eat, Sleep, Quilt said...

What a wild story, I needed it! Congratulations on your new blog and your quilt... it looks great to me!!


Wendy said...

Oh gosh ... I actually snorted when I laughed ... heaven help me!! Thank you so much for becoming a blogger and sharing your stories!! God Love Ya!

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Welcome to bloggy land. Love the whit and whimsy - lots of laughs, but no I didn't pee my pants - thank goodness not on the first meeting! We all have our starts, our journeys, our finishes, but better to share than go it alone. Look forward to reading more.

rubyslipperz said...

HILL-AIR-eee-ious!! and...that's an under-statement...seeing as how I almost (mind you, i said ALMOST) had to change meee underwear cause of a laughing "accident"!!


Stray Stitches said...

Such a fun story and a great way to start my morning! Welcome to blogland. I look forward to your future musing!!

JCnNC said...

I came, I saw and I love what you are saying and for being who you are. DWH and I are retired law enforcement also and I love this "life" so much better. Look forward to all things Yumm Yumz. Judy C

Melody said...

Love the new blog...and the story. I'm impressed that you finished your first quilt. Mine is still sitting half done in a box. Thanks for the laugh

Anonymous said...

Such fun! Giggle! Thanks for sharing...I read both of your posts today, and I love your blog. You're going to be a welcome addition to our "follow" lists!
PS I haven't "jumped in" yet, so I'll list my addy:
Jacque in SC

Magnolia Bay Quilts said...

Too funny! I detoured here from Wendy's blog, and she was so right -- you definitely make me laugh. I'll be back to visit soon!

carol said...

You sound like me. My DD asked me to start quilting after I made kids clothes for YEARS. I started with one, or perhaps two baby quilts and went immediately to a Kaffe Fassett queen sized quilt. In fact, I think I remember some 1/2 inch seams sewing it together because things "just didn't match". I had it longarmed too and it turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself. In any event, DD loved it and that's all that mattered (then). Now, I don't think I'd even attempt a quilt that big anymore.

Deanna said...

FUNNY STORY! Welcome to blogging.

Glenda said...

Love Love Love your story of your first quilt. It's always good to have a good laugh first thing in the morning.
Thanks and keep up the great quilting

Donna said...

Sooooo funny! Thanks for putting yourself out there and sharing a smile. BTW, I think your Patricia quilt is pretty special

Elizabeth said...

My first quilt was twin sized and made of simple 4 inch blocks...but I HAD to do it diagonally! LOL Sadly, I never finished the blocks I cut for dd#2...never even started one for my boys...I do lots of clothes and Halloween costumes, though!
Looking forward to reading more lol stories. Pax!