Quilters' Acronyms

When you learned to quilt, did you have to learn a whole new language of acronyms? I sure did. I think the first one I learned was UFO. I've heard it two ways: Un Finished Object and Unfinished Fabric Object. Either way, you don't have to quilt for very long to learn that one. And then there's the old WIP (Work In Progress). And don't forget every quilter's conundrum: When does a WIP become a UFO? I'm sure you know some other ones. Two of my favorites are PIGS (Projects in Grocery Sacks) and WOMBAT (Waste of Money, Batting, and Time).

As I was writing this, I found a little quiz that was reposted on Moda Lissa:

Click here to go to the blog post and find the answers.

So one that is missing from this list is the dreaded WTF! Even if you don't know what it means, you've probably experienced it more than once.

This afternoon has been a WTF! afternoon. Here I was sewing along, minding my own business. I've been quilting the little mini-block cornerstones on the Psycatdelic quilt. They've been a little challenging to do something different on each one. And just how many ways are there to quilt a sawtooth star? Especially one that is very small. The first thing I did this afternoon was to start quilting away on one of those when I realized I was on a quilter's suicide mission. I stopped in my tracks and took it all out. Then, I started up again.

Now, I have to preface what I'm about to say by telling you that I've been very careful with my tension on this quilt. I've been checking the back every so often just to be sure things are going along smoothly, and it has for the most part. Occasionally, I've made little adjustments, but otherwise, no problems at all. (Sounds like a bit "But" is coming, doesn't it?) Until I started up after taking out that one little cornerstone. I quilted it, and the next one, and the next one. But on the third one, I got one little loop on the top thread. It was so small, I didn't even think I needed to fix it. Then I got the bright idea to try pulling it to the back of the quilt where it would be impossible to see. When I looked at the back, what do you suppose I saw? Yes, you're right. It was the dreaded WTF! Loops and birds nests. And WTF? Not a single thing had changed, and so I have no idea what got all of that going. And why I couldn't tell before I'd done so much more quilting is a mystery to me.

It occurred to me at that point that I'd done more ripping out than I'd done stitching in this afternoon. It seemed like a good time to take a break. I had high hopes of finishing the quilting today, but it looks like the Gods of Quilting have other ideas about that.

As a way of making myself feel better, I decided to sit down here and show you that I've now quilted all the blocks, all of the sashings, and most of the cornerstones. Here are the blocks I did yesterday. On the first one, I quilted some grass into the green lower half, and then I kind of let the fabric tell me what to do on the upper half by following along in the design. As always, I stitched around the appliques as well.

On the next one, I quilted some rays around the sun, some clouds in the sky, and then I just did some echo quilting on the green hill in the background. Wherever I've had checkerboards to follow, I've stitched a diagonal grid.

And this next one was the last block. I simply quilted along the stripes in the background, looped around the polkadots on the floor, and quilted a big spiral sun on the cat.

Then I quilted up the vertical row of sashing on the left side of the quilt, and I was ready to start on the cornerstones.

Oh. Well, this is a problem.

Don't mind me. Keep on sewing. I'll just sit right here.

Okay, so I just scooted the quilt and the cat closer to the needle to give myself some slack, and then I went on sewing. No problem. Until this afternoon. I don't even want to talk about it any more.

Last night was my guild meeting, and we were treated to a slide show from John and Nancy Watts who have been involved with the Mongolian Quilting Project. When I looked this up yesterday, I wasn't sure I was seeing the same websites associated with the work John and Nancy are doing. Now that I know, I can share the link to the website with you. The Mongolian Quilting Project was started when a woman by the name of Maggie Ball received an impassioned e-mail from a Mongolian woman, Selenge Tserendash, who wanted to help needy women in her country where unemployment is high and alcoholism is rampant. Selenge was opening the New Way Life NGO Mongolian Quilting Center and asked for volunteers to go and teach quilting in Mongolia.

John and Nancy responded to the call and they have traveled extensively in Mongolia. Their presentation was via a slide show, and so I don't have a lot to show you. Nevertheless, the stories of their travels were nothing short of fascinating. And impressive! They've dealt with impassable roads, lack of indoor plumbing, less-than-suitable outdoor "facilities", and food that you and I would consider questionable at best. John and Nancy are adventurous travelers, indeed. Still, their respect for the Mongolian people, their culture, the landscape, and the lifestyle was evident, and their presentation was very interesting.

Although this wasn't a "trunk show" in the way quilters think of it, they did have a table of items for sale that were made by the women in Mongolia and they were stunningly beautiful. Here is a sampling.

The fabrics were almost entirely of silk.

There was an assortment of cozies and little zipper handbags,

and beautiful table runners.

John told us that these silk fabrics were from scraps that had previously been burned for heating fuel. Now they are provided as scraps for the women to use in their sewing. Look at how beautiful they are:

Here's another sampling of quilt blocks:

The slippers are hand-embroidered.

It was a very interesting presentation, and a good glimpse into life in a far-away part of the world.

So, just in case you think I haven't been doing anything but sewing (which is mostly true), I wanted to let you know I'm still growing tomatoes. They're getting their true leaves now.

They're all hale and hearty. We'll keep them inside for a couple of more weeks, and then move them out to the greenhouse around April 1st.

So...now that I've taken some time away from the sewing machine, I probably need to get back and at least take out the offending stitching. And then I suppose I should try to figure out what the heck is going on. If you come around this afternoon, it will probably be a good idea to plug your ears. WTF is undoubtedly one of the milder group of vocabulary words I'll be using today.

11 comments from clever and witty friends:

Marei said...

Unfortunately I've had my share of WTF days but thankfully tomorrow is always another day. Check your threading. I have had this problem a couple times when I have missed a guide, or slipped out of the collar that's above the needle. If the threading looks good, check to see if your bobbin is wound a little 'sloppy' as I've had that issue, too. Good luck! You're cats are looking cute, especially the big one with the white footies and long tail.

Anonymous said...

Clearly, Psycatdelic is Smitty's favorite quilt and I think he is determined to claim it as his own. The quilting you've done so far looks great - the WTF day/curse will be gone by tomorrow. (Did you forget to wear green today? Maybe that's what it was).

Beautiful work by the Mongolian ladies. And to be working with silk which is a raveling nightmare shows they are very talented indeed. Love the log cabin blocks that swirl so nicely.

Teresa F.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I can't help - hopefully those with this machine can lend some suggestions to ease those WTFs. Looks like you had an interesting guild program.

Dana Gaffney said...

Burning silk for heating, I'm glad they found a different way to use them. Those log cabins are so beautiful. I've had a few WTF's lately, my repairman comes to town next month and I'm trying to be patient, meanwhile I just keep rethreading and cleaning the lint, it seems to help.

Debbie said...

When the tension seems to mysteriously change....check the bobbin case. Some bit of lint or batting fiber has probably worked its way in to the bobbin case....right in the tiny spring area that puts tension on the bobbin thread. I some times have to use a pin to pry it out from under the spring arm. Remember---no tension on bobbin means ugly mess on quilt!

Sher S. said...

Boy can I relate to WTF with the bird nesting on the back. My machine has done that to me too many times and I've progressed past WTF to other words. I have rethreaded my machine many times to try to correct the problem and sometimes that works, other times NOPE! Hope you figure out what changed. Love the beautiful work made of silk, they are talented indeed. I probably would have bought something just to say I have it. What an incredible talent these ladies have shown. Good luck keeping the fur dude off his quilt. Hope the machine is nice today.

Patrica said...

WTF indeed! This kind of thing can ruin your whole day. When this happens to one of my machine embroidery projects it usually means I have to start completely over because I'm just not up for trying to remove 3,000 stitches! I'm glad you caught it before it became the monster that could could not be tamed.

quiltzyx said...

Still loving all the work you're doing on Psycatdelic. So sorry that WTF has happened, I hate that. And I believe the correct technical term for what happened is "Bobbin Barf".
The silk pieces from Mongolia are so beautiful! Hard to believe those scraps used to be used for heating!

Junebug613 said...

What beautiful items! It's fantastic that something we enjoy is improving women's lives on the other side of the world. I will have to take a better look at that list later

Michele said...

Wow. All of those items are just gorgeous and some would have HAD to come home with me. Yes WTF should definitely and officially be added to that list. I've used it more than once around here. I hope that by now you have the problem solved.

Kate said...

How frustrating. I'm sure in the next post I'll read that you've got it all figured out. Those table runners are stunning!