A Method and some Madness

Yesterday's sewing experience had me talking to myself much of the time. Often I lose arguments with myself, and yesterday was no exception.

The day started with me cleaning up the mess I'd left after finishing up the Quilting Snowladies. The only task remaining for those (besides quilting and binding) was to make the quilt back and cut the binding strips. When that was done, I was ready to start on the little table topper I've been wanting to make. Recall that I had in mind to make one similar to the one my friend Marei made for me, only in blues to make it a winter table topper. This is Marei's version (which I love putting out at Christmas):

Marei also gave me the link to the free pattern on Patchalot Patterns. So, I started reading the directions and was almost immediately desparing because of these words:

Shoot. It requires a specialty ruler...or, the pattern kindly gives you instructions for making "your own template". And you know I absolutely hate working with templates. 

Let's just get one thing straight right now: I avoid specialty rulers like the plague. In my personal experience, they end up in a drawer never used...not even once...I know this because I have a whole drawer full of...oh wait. Do I remember purchasing something very similar from when I first started quilting, and then never used? To this beginner of a quilter, it seemed like a good idea at a time.

So, quick as a wink, I started digging through the drawer which has become the "black hole of unused quilting supplies" and sure enough! I found this tool, which appeared to be exactly what I needed!

Not the "Tri-Recs" ruler, but still, it looked like it was the right size and shape. Just to be sure, I took it upstairs and laid it on Marei's quilt and it was perfect!!!!!

Well, f*ck a duck!

And don't you suppose that made my whole day! Until I read these words: 

So...forget about the duck...just f*ck! Only....then my feeble mind got another idea, because I kept thinking I'd seen something else while digging through the black hole of unused quilting supplies...another never-used ruler that might be exactly what I needed. Hmmmmmmm...

Holy moly!

And wait...check this out!

These are the tools! The exact tools I need! 

Happy, happy! Joy, joy! (Yes...I'm a fan of Ren and Stimpy. So sad they're not on any more.)

So, having inventoried my black hole of unused quilting supplies, I was ready to get started, and I happily made my first strata of blue scraps.

My strips were short, and so I could only get two whole trees from the first grouping.

But that's okay because there were plenty more blue scraps to make another strata and two more trees.

When I had four trees, I had in mind to stop, but then I was curious.

When I added the background piece, would they really measure 6 1/2 inches square?

And they did! Hooray! Don't you love it when things work out?

So I finished up the four tree blocks and then left it at that. Didn't want to push my luck, you know.

Despite my good day in the sewing room, it's distressing that I'm still not noticing even the slightest dent in the level of blue scraps. Not a ding. Not a scratch. Not a cavity. Not a hollow...oh yes, we discussed this a few days ago. 

What's that? Why, yes, as a matter of fact. That IS how I organize my scraps. I've even written a poem about it. Would you like to hear me recite it? Please say yes.

Okay, if you insist...here goes (ahem):

Get a bin,
Stuff 'em in.

Not bad, huh? It's true...my talents know no bounds. By the way, that's protected by copyright, so don't get any ideas. As for my organizational methods, I could write a tutorial for you complete with pictures, but only if you really want me to.

Today is a day at home. I have just a smidge of housework to do, and then I'll get back to work on my little table topper. I'm hoping to get the top finished today. When that's finished, I'll have 6 little quilt tops and 1 large quilt top to sandwich and quilt. My list of goals for the month of December is complete, and so I'm thinking I can get to work sandwiching those next.

I have an idea that I can use the two blue table toppers I've made this month to practice quilting. I'm really wanting to use some metallic thread to quilt snowflakes onto the Quilting Snowladies (more about that later). First, I'm going to have to seriously tackle the tension issues on Eliza. To that end, you know I already purchased the TOWA bobbin tension gauge. Also this month, I decided to try some bobbin washers. They're little teflon disks that go into the bobbin casing, and they're supposed to help prevent the eyelashes and birdnests on the backs of quilts. These have received good reviews from some quilters I've read, and they aren't expensive. It can't hurt, right? We'll see.

Also, in a video tutorial, Angela Walters talked me into purchasing the little multi-purpose template you see on the left of the image below. (You can see her tutorial right here.) While I was on her site, I decided to purchase the little mini ruler on the right. These are quarter-inch plastic and so they won't slip under Eliza's foot. 

Angela Walters made it look so easy in her video, and I was persuaded. Besides, I need more tools to go into my black hole of unused quilting supplies now that I've actually used two of them. Two in and two out. It keeps the universe in balance, you know.

Before I go, I knew you'd want to see this picture of a self-satisfied Smitty settling himself for a long winter's nap. I just love it when kitties show us their pink tongues.

12 comments from clever and witty friends:

Vroomans' Quilts said...

Although not a specialty ruler purchaser, I have the tri-rec set and have used it from time to time. I am in the 'complete' mode, too and have 2 little ones waiting for binding.

Marei said...

Well, lookee there! You survived with nary a scratch. AND you now know how to use the Tri-Recs rulers. Truth be told, you don't need them; uou can just eyeball the whole shebang. And I'll have you know I snorted Diet Dr. Pepper up & out of my nose when I saw you had purchased MORE specialty tools/rulers. I think you're pushing the limits of sanity.

Cheryl's Teapots2Quilting said...

MORE specialty rulers???? Oh! Oh! Oh! We need that tutorial now!!! Ha! Ha! Cute post. Have fun finishing it.

Dana Gaffney said...

I don't like specialty rulers, bought one and used it once and learned my lesson, but I do have the tri-rec ruler and love it. Since you live in Oregon I think you have to own it, you make the 54 - 40 or fight block with it. I also bought those little bobbin thingys and they didn't change anything.

Doreen Auger said...

I do have that Versa Tool and love it, along with the Line Tamer. Those are my 2 "go-to" rulers. The bobbin washers do seem to be a good deal but Ms Sweetie never really had "nesting issues"!!!! Love the trees and I, too, have some pieces of Plexi residing in a black hole! Holey Moley!!! Your scraps are yard goods!!!! By comparison, mine would fit in a thimble...LOL!!! Can't wait to see the blue trees....................waiting.............

Scooquilt said...

Wonderful luck with the rulers! Just wanted to tell you that you make me laugh out loud every day, between the duck and the dent in your scraps and Smitty and...everything. Have a great Christmas at Three Cats Ranch!

SJSM said...

Ya need to do a scrap swap with a blue quilter who has too many polka dots.

Never can have too many gadgets or tools. Just don't repeat them.

Kate said...

I don't use many speciality rulers, but I love my Tri-Recs. Tennessee Waltz - made it twice! Celtic Solstice, the Bonnie Hunter mystery quilt for 2014 - wait, 2013? Crud, I should probably work on that...

Dar said...

Your blue trees were pretty, but when I got to the last picture of Smitty with the cute pink tongue, I forgot all about those trees. He's the winner in this post!

Janarama said...

Well you totally succeeded in getting a few belly laughs from me today. From your duck to your poem ... to funny. I have a few specialty rulers, but I think long and hard before purchasing them, trying to figure out a way to get the same results without the specialty ruler. Sometimes I'm successful other times, I just purchase the freakin' ruler.

Kate said...

I have the same "expensive, but never used ruler" drawer. But my tri-recs ruler isn't in it. I do use that one a lot. I envy you all your sewing time. I got to spend an hour in the sewing room last night, wrapping presents. No thread involved sadly.

Colleen Yarnell said...

The tri recs tools are great. I ve used them to make Bonnie Hunter quilts. They are actually great for strip piecing HST and flying geese