Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Brain Lapse of the Greatest Proportion

Even though I have not been working on art projects on a regular basis the past couple of years, I do have my moments of creativity. This past Christmas, for instance, I was moved to create blue jean rag quilts for my 3 girls. I had been saving old jeans for years and decided it was now time to dig them out and create something that would always remind my daughters that they had the best mother ever!

So I pulled out the jeans, bought some fleece to go with them and started cutting. Half way into the project I wondered what the heck I was thinking. Turns out a lot of my old jeans were too skinny to really be usable for this project and I started to wonder if I would have enough denim squares for 3 quilts. But I pushed through and managed to cut every pair of jeans into squares--even if they were too small to be used for this particular project. In the end I did not have enough squares for 3 quilts, so I raided some of my skinny jeans out of the closet (you know, the ones I am sure will fit very soon even though I haven't worn them in years), and cut them up. I was still a little short--but fixed that by deciding the fleece my youngest daughter choose would go better with black/darker denim. So after running to the fabric store and buying denim for her quilt (which was much easier to cut into squares than those stupid jeans were!), I finally had enough fabric and could begin to assemble the quilts.

Now at this point in the story I need to let you in on one of my minor character flaws. Ok, so it's kind of a major one--I am often a very poor manager of time. Does that sound better than admitting I'm a procrastinator? Either way, I tend to wait too long to start a project and am easily distracted by other things so that I often fall even farther behind schedule. With that piece of knowledge, it should not surprise you to find out that with getting ready for Christmas, which this year included a road trip to Utah, I didn't get all three quilts finished in time for to be under the tree Christmas morning. Well, to be honest none of them were finished on Christmas day. In fact, I was snipping seams on the way home from our Christmas vacation and didn't hand finished quilts to any of the girls until after New Years. And then, only 2 of the girls received a quilt. My youngest's quilt was still sitting in squares waiting to be sewn together. Luckily she is the baby and not the middle child or I am sure this would cause some major emotional issues about always being the one forgotten or cheated out of things. (Can you tell I'm a middle child?)

Anyway, my baby's quilt sat in pieces forgotten in my room. Until this month, when I decided it would be nice if I finished it for her birthday. I have been thinking about this for a while, and even pulled it out about a week ago and sewed the pieces of felt to pieces of denim--like this:

I hadn't realized it, but this was the first part of my colossal brain lapse. You see, I was sewing 2 squares together, when I should have been sewing 4. But as I said, I didn't realize I had made a mistake. So yesterday, I pulled out my machine and the fabric squares and began to assemble them into rows. Now almost immediately I had one of those warning bells go off in my head. As I put together the rows I discovered I had twice as many squares as I needed for the quilt. Instead of questioning what I was doing wrong because there would be no way I could have made such a huge mistake in my prep work, I had the following thoughts go through my mind: "Oh my heck! I am such an idiot. How in the world could I have cut too many squares? I even went back to the fabric store to buy more fleece because I originally didn't have enough for all the squares I needed. I am so retarded!" I know, I know--in hindsight I should have been wondering what I was currently doing wrong--not wondering how I originally screwed up. But I didn't. I just laughed at myself as I made really good time sewing rows together for the quilt and made plans to eventually make another quilt out of the extra squares. (I know, I know--quit laughing!)

Then it happened. After I had sewn together 1/3 of the quilt, it struck me that it felt really thin compared to the other two I had made. I looked it over, and couldn't put my finger on what wasn't quite right. This is what it looked like at the time:

As the feelings of dread began to rise up inside me, I went upstairs and got daughter #2's quilt off of her bed. As soon as I picked it up I realized my mistake. This is what the completed quilt should look like:

The fact that I patchworked this current quilt wasn't the problem, as this just changes the way it looks. The problem is that instead of having something that was 2 layers, my quilt was only one layer. Which meant I had simply sewn together a quilt top. And since this is a rag quilt, the seams from the back of the quilt are sewn together with the seams from the front--so that you end up with one smooth side and one side with seams you rag. Obviously this was a very big problem since there was absolutely no way for me to complete the quilt properly without unpicking all the rows and pretty much starting over. As I held the correctly finished quilt in my hand, the following thoughts went through my head: "Oh my heck! I am such an idiot. How in the world could I have sewn this together wrong. I am so retarded!"

And with that I turned off my machine for the night, I found my seam ripper and started pulling apart all the work I had done. And at the same time began to doubt that my baby would get her quilt for her birthday on Friday. Good thing she has the greatest mom ever--or she might be a lot more disappointed with my flaws!

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