Thursday, January 12, 2012

Back to Work on Orca Bay Mystery

I guess it isn't technically a mystery any longer, since I know what the quilt will look like, but this is the project I am working on. I'd like to get the top together before I start on the other quilts I need this year. This mystery quilt has too many components to not get them sewn together ASAP. I'd probably lose some pieces if I just packed it away to start on the scooter rally quilt.

Since I had finished all the ripping before I left for Houston, it didn't take me very long to sew up my birds in the air units. I had cut a few extra and I'm glad I did since we ended up needing four more than originally thought. I haven't cut the pieces I need to sew these to yet.

My flying geese units are now finished as well. I had enough variety that none of my flying geese units have a repeat of fabric in one unit. I'm thinking that should make it easier to not have repeats too close to one another in the final quilt.

I was having problems sewing up my Ohio star blocks because my hourglass blocks were a little off. Trying to use a regular ruler to trim them was murder on my hands, and because of the lump in the middle of the block, hard to hold the ruler steady enough to be accurate. I don't like sliver trimming, but I know the results will be worth it in the end. Some blocks I'm not having to trim at all, but others are just wonky. I am usually pretty accurate, I think it was cutting in too much of a hurry that caused me to be off.

Someone on Quiltville chat, the yahoo group suggested using this June Tailor ruler, and I am so glad they did. I had a 40% off coupon for Joanns so I paid $12 for the ruler, and it was soooo worth it! I have several June Tailor rulers with slots. and I like all the ones I have. Since I struggle with numbness in my hands, not all the usual rulers work for me, but the ones with slots really help me when cutting. I like the Easy Angle and Companion Angle rulers, but if the numbness in my hands is bad the day I am cutting, they are difficult for me to use with accuracy. Any time I have the Go die for the pieces we needed for the mystery, I used the Go cutter. That is how I plan to cut the 3" HST's to go with the birds in the air units.

I belong to several online quilting groups, and the use of die cutters comes up pretty frequently. A lot of women can't afford them, and I completely understand that. What I don't understand is the women who have never tried them, and bash them, and imply anyone who buys them is a fool for spending so much money on them.

I really like my Go cutter. It allows me to make more quilts, because I can cut on days when my hands would not allow me to use a ruler. For women like me, who have numbness, or women with arthritis, or carpal tunnel syndrome or a myriad of other physical problems, die cutters are a wonderful thing. For women who just struggle with cutting accurately, or who need to save some time on the cutting process, or who just hate cutting, it is a wonderful thing. There are dies for patterns I would never dare cut with a template, for fear I would be off just enough to screw it all up.

I do spend quite a bit of money on quilting, something I would not have been able to do a few years ago. I do babysit and sell a quilt now and then to "support my habit". That said, I still need to budget and weigh purchases carefully. When I bought my Go Cutter it was an amazing bundled deal, and I basically got the 12" mix and match set of dies for free. I have a wish list of Go dies I want, and I buy them usually just one at a time, sometimes more if there is a good sale. I've gotten dies from Accuquilt directly, Amazon and ebay, depending on who had the best deal for the die I wanted.

I cut costs on some things in quilting, so I can have things like my Go Cutter. If you averaged the cost per yard of the fabrics in my stash, I'm sure it would be no more than $4 per yard, probably less. I try to buy good quality fabrics, but at a quilt store, I usually only go to the deeply discounted fabrics or remnants. I order a lot online, and I get the clearance specials. I buy a lot of fabric at thrift stores, where else can you find 8 yards of 100% cotton fabric for 99 cents? I never buy a line of fabric, I've never bought precut fabric, I've never purchased a kit, I've only purchased two patterns ever, and I've never taken a class. I do send wedding quilts out to be quilted, but I only get pantographs, no custom quilting. Anything smaller than a large queen I quilt myself. I buy batting by the roll, when I have a 50% off coupon. It is a large purchase at once, but saves me money in the long run. I piece batting scraps together too, to further stretch the batting investment.

Right now I am really trying to limit my quilting purchases, because I know I am going to need a new sewing machine one of these days. I have plenty of supplies to keep me busy, and not that much time to sew these days, so it's not that hard to limit spending right now. I know of lots of quilters who spend far more than I do on quilting, as well as lots who can't afford to spend what I do. Since we all have different needs, different interests, and different resources, when posting on an online group, please try to not blast someone who does things differently than you do. It is narrow minded and mean. Come on quilters, let's play nice!

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