Friday, December 19, 2014

Lest You Think This Is Easy...

I know I said I would stay off the computer and work on the quilt. I just wanted to show you why nothing is finished.

I wanted a fresh start. I lit some incense:
While the incense was burning, I started breakfast:
I can't sew and eat at the same time, so I started some research:
After breakfast, I felt really good. I was motivated. I was sure things would go smoothly, so I sat down with my mother-in-law's sewing machine:
Except...things did NOT go well.

The very first problem was the needle got stuck in the plastic quilting foot. Which I thought was very odd; it worked just fine the day before. In trying to get the needle unstuck, I broke it. Hmmm. I never could get the foot to line up in the proper position, so I got a different foot and started quilting.

I got a nasty bird nest.

Not this kind:
I'm referring to the quilting term that describes the glob of thread tangled under the quilt, generally the result of poor thread tension. It looks like this:
The problem with bird nests is you don't know about them until after you flip your quilt over. The top looks perfectly normal. Sometimes the machine makes a strange noise as it burps up thread but if you aren't paying attention you won't know.

Because the machine was working just fine the day before, I was sure I had done something wrong. I'm inclined to think this way because I've been sewing for well over 15 years. I've never had anyone to assist me. If something happens there is a 99.9% chance it is my fault.

So I struggled with the machine for a long time. Nothing I tried resolved the problem. I cleaned the machine, I rethreaded it, I changed needles, I changed thread, I adjusted the tension 10 times. But no matter what I did, I had ugly globs of thread.

Discouraged, I tried my sewing machine. The one that had been acting up, not feeding fabric through and creating bird nests of its own. I cleaned my machine, again just like I did when I tried to fix it before, and it hummed right along like it never had a malfunction. Because that's what sewing machines DO. They act like uppity bitches until you are ready to have a screaming fit and then they are good little church mice.

I sewed for a while with my machine. I was making progress, but not as much as I would like. I sewed all day. I sewed until my arms hurt and I had a headache. And I'm still not done with the quilt.

Later, I told my mother-in-law about her machine making bird nests. She asked if I had moved the bobbin. I said no. Then she asked the million dollar question- did anyone else touch the machine?

I felt really stupid. I keep forgetting there are two little boys in the house who love to mess with things that do not belong to them. They love anything mechanical and like to see the inner workings of things. They were alone with the machine the night before. And now that I've thought about it, the sewing machine wasn't as I left it.

I should have checked the bobbin first. But I hadn't touched it. I didn't change bobbins or run out of thread. It never occurred to me that small fingers would have taken the bobbin out, then reinserted it incorrectly. And somewhere along the line, they pushed the foot out of place. Or the needle. Or both.

So you see, sewing is easy. It's the things around you that make life difficult.

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