Gripped by Gripes

A quilter's burdens never cease. Am I right about that? If you're not running out of bobbin thread, you're untangling knotty needles. Here's a case in point.

Once again, I'm behind on the Marvelous Mini Mondays (which is gripe #1, in case you're keeping a tally). It's only partly because we were gone last week. The rest is because last week's Mini was downright cruel. Feast your eyes on this block I made yesterday.

There are to be five of these. Each contains 36 squares cut to 1-1/8 inch. That means to complete all of them, I'll need to cut 180 1-1/8 inch squares. Some of my fellow quilters are doing these in strip sets, but if I did that, what would I have to gripe about? Certainly, things are going well enough here at the Three Cats Ranch that my gripe cache is in short supply. So that's gripe #2, but I'm not finished with this. Oh no...this block contains a positively unlimited plethora of possibilities for protesting. (Awesome alliteration.)

Here's the thing: The blocks are 6 x 6 of 1-1/8 inch squares. They're supposed to end up at 4 x 4 inches (unfinished). So let's just do that math, shall we? And, even though I'm too old for math, one can never be too old for math, if that makes any sense. And why would it? Huh? Don't give me one more thing to gripe about. Consider yourself warned.

Here we go:

1-1/8 = 1.125

6 x 1.125 = 6.75 inches

Now. There are five seams. So there is a loss of

5 x .5 = 2.5 inches

And I'm very good at subtraction, so let's just see...

6.75 - 2.5 = 4.25 inches

So, I don't care how accurately you cut your squares or how accurate your quarter-inch seam allowance, there ain't no way those blocks end up at 4 inches. And unless someone can point me to a miscalculation on my part, I'm just going to stand here and stamp my foot until it hurts. (End of gripe #3.) And since these are such a painus in the anus, I considered doing them in strip sets like my more sensible friends. But then, you know...there's the griping, and sometimes you just need that in your life. For my quilt, I decided to suck it up and do them one block per day until they're done. That means I have four more days to whine about this.

Also, I finished the next block (yesterday's), which, happily came to 4 x 4 inches like it was supposed to.

Also, I finished framing the two quilt labels for my entries into this year's Oregon State Fair. Usually, I just use the cut off ends of the binding strips, and that's what I did for these two.

Now they're ready to be sewn onto their respective quilts along with their hanging sleeves. (Must get those done!)

Okay, so here's my next gripe (Gripe #4). I like to use these binding clips from Dritz for sewing on my quilting bindings. I know there are other brands, but this is what I started with, and this is what I'm sticking with...for now. So, when I bought the first packet, they had an actual rivet there on the right side that held them together.

And I didn't have nearly enough with just one packet, so I bought another couple of packets. The new ones came with this stupid "spot weld" (the Resident Engineer provided the terminology for this gripe). See it there on the right? It's no longer an actual rivet, but just a place where the metal has been sort of fused together.

And this "spot weld" is wholly inadequate and the binding clips come apart with just regular usage. Over time, my supply has dwindled, and I've cursed each time one came apart. Also over time, I convinced myself that I'd probably purchased these in bulk from some off brand and that when I needed more, I'd simply return to the Dritz brand-name, and all would be well.

So, I went to my favorite shopping mall last week, Amazon.com, and I carefully checked the picture, assuring myself that the Dritz brand would contain the superior actual rivets at the business end there.

And when you look at that picture above, you can see that they do. Thank goodness. Only, they arrived yesterday, and I was mightily dismayed to discover that they too had the deficient "spot weld" as you can see in the image below.

Well, being in a griping mood, I put fingers to keyboard and wrote to Dritz, demanding an explanation for this most recent outrage. Their email complaint form allowed me to send only one image, but you know...photography. And I will not be deterred. So I simply made up a collage of the offending images and sent it on to them.

And, of course, I pulled out the "I-am-a-Blogger!" knife, stuck it in, and twisted it. I warned them of disastrous consequences should they piss off the Community of Blogging Quilters. "I have friends!" I warned.

So, I have just one more word to say about this: Hmph. I'll let you know what they say when and if they say it. Anyone keeping score? How many gripes was that? Okay, well, I'm fresh out. Which is galling, to say the least.

This morning, I took a few more stitches on the last of the Summer Holiday stitcheries.

This one will be put aside for a bit while I work on the August Bag Lady, Constance. She has just the first few stitches...a little purple on her hat, and the silver buckle and earrings.

She'll get more done on her tomorrow. Is it just me, or does her hat make her look a little like a quilting version of Dick Tracy?

Today is a CSA pick-up day. With all the griping I did yesterday, now I've fallen behind on my housework...which is just one more gripe to add to the list. I'll have to catch up a little today. For now, just take a look at my little bionic cat.

She was fresh at home from being microchipped, and now she's registered online should she ever go missing. She was a little trooper getting her chip. The vet said she didn't even flinch. I just reminded her that Smitty had a chip, and whatever Smitty does, Sadie wants to do it too.

19 comments from clever and witty friends:

Sandra W said...

Interesting about the clips. Clearly the amazon image was misrepresented. You could send them back or you could just use them until all of them no longer work and then switch to a new method. I use the red clover clips but you have to place them carefully so they don't flatten the binding. There are a lot of counterfeit ones around--their website shows you how to spot the differences.

Julierose said...

AND, this is just why I don't do Minis, just sayin' [it's a well known fact that I cannot sew a decent 1/4" seam continuously!!]...yikers--I am no math whiz (or good at math at all) but looks like your calculations (or tribulations ;000) are well founded....hugs, good luck with those-- Julierose

Shari said...

I have had the same gripe with the binder clips. It will be interesting to see how they respond. Glad to see both cats chipped. Hopefully you won't ever need them, but it's nice to have them.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

This point was brought up by many on the Temecula site - the math is wrong! Even if you strip piece them. You have to play with where your needle is and change up the seam allowance to get them close. Not happening with this gal. I'll wait to see how they are used in the finish and go with something else. I buy clips similar with the rivot - hair clips in the dollar store. But I actually like to use my super long, thin, extra sharp glass head pins when I do bindings.

Debbie said...

I love the "I am a blogger"....it is amazing how that often gets a response. I hope they listen to you. On the other hand, probably not as the world is changing and what is cheaper is what we end up with. They love to sell of gadgets, but I think you got bait and switch on this deal.

Kate said...

You can have my clips if you want! I'm pretty sure I still have the riveted ones. I'll set them aside as I unpack and send them...wait...um...the chances of me being unpacked before you leave on your grand adventure...hmmm...

Betty said...

I hate when a company makes something smaller or cheaper than the original. I doubt they sell them for any less. If it ain't broke, don't fix it! I tried the Clover Wonder Clips but didn't like them. My binding wouldn't stay where I wanted it, like the clip was pushing it to fit the size of the clip. I like the original ones like you have. Maybe you can find some of those when you are traveling. Surely there will be quilt shop stops all along the way!
Sadie is such a good girl, hope she got some extra treats. Having her chipped will give you some peace of mind, especially while you're traveling.

Vicki H said...

I love my Dritz binding clips, all mine have the rivet. I too am interested in what they have to say.

Karen L. said...

I just checked and my hair clips have that rivet as someone else mentioned. The without rivet ones are probably made in China and this punch/hold method is probably way cheaper to make. So, just go to the 5 & 10 store (hehehe) and pick some of them up. Riveted and cheaper than the Dritz ones. Save that money for fabric instead.

Synthia said...

Oh, my!!! Life can be so difficult sometimes. Your binding clip experience is such a bummer!!!! If Dritz doesn't respond ASAP, hex on them!!

Dana Gaffney said...

LOL, you're supposed to be all relaxed and mushy after that vacation.
Look for hair clips in the dollar store, they look just like the oldfashioned ones.

piecefulwendy said...

Holy cannoli, if you're going to torture people asking them to make 4" finished blocks, at least get the math right! How frustrating. I've been kinda sad I didn't get going with those blocks, but I'd have been just as frustrated as you if I were working on this one. Argh. Sorry about the clips. A quilty friend of mine has totally gone over to the glue baste method and loves it. Hope you get a decent response on the clips. I won't hold my breath, though. Hope today is a better day!

Lana Ku said...

Sweet Sadie. She's such a good little sister to Smitty and such a trooper. Now for a collar! My 2 wear collars. They didn't like them at first, but now don't even know they have them on. They need new ones cuz theirs are looking a bit worn. My boy kitty who likes to explore a bit outside lost his breakaway collar a few times. I finally had to put a little stitch in it to keep from popping off too easily. But it's loose enough if he does get caught on something that he could wrangle out of it.

QuiltE said...

What a grim gripey gruelling day for you! I sure hope that today today will get better!!!

I'm also one who has a plethora of the hair clips. They're so much fun than the boring silver "official" Dritz clips. While I was building that stash, I checked every $ $tore I was near for different colours and designs. Yes, I am a good quilter, with many different stashes!

Good Luck today!!!!!!!!!!!

Susan said...

5 gripes including the missed housework. It would probably cost more than the clips cost to send them back, but I would sure let Amazon know that what they sent was not as pictured. If you hear from Dritz, I suspect it will be some bland reason for the change. Sadie is just so sweet.

Rosemary Rivas said...

Boy, oh boy! Sure proves my theory that cats are like toddlers!! They mimic what the older one does!

Brown Family said...

I played with the math, too and came up with so many different answers. It appears from the comments on your blog that the whole thing is not cut right!

Have you tried Hair clips? 100 2.75 in (70mm) for 11 dollars they appear to have the rivets. And it is Amazon, you can return them if they are not right!


Kate said...

I'll definitely have to protect my clips, the cheaper is better reason just doesn't work for some things. Hope today was much better.

quiltzyx said...

Somewhere I have a big bag of those clips - but mine were sold in the hair clip department way back when. They are old, so they are probably the riveted type. As a few said above, check the dollar stores.
I bought some of the 'wonder-clip' type clips from amazon, but haven't used them for quilting yet...only for pulling my measly hair up off of my neck in this heat! LOL