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How, when I'm being so careful, can it NOT come out right?

I recently started a new project, or rather picked up one that had been hanging fire for some time.  My brother used to like to buy me fabric; trouble is, he liked the large-scale scenic prints.  One day he came home with a large scale scenic of pheasants around old farmyards.  I got a notion, and used the "Hunter's Star" block in red and white, and blue and white, fussy cutting the pheasants fabric for setting blocks.  Somehow I managed to cut twice as many pheasants as I needed, and the result was a "swiss cheese" of pheasants.  So I gave the remainder to a friend, who wound up using that fabric, plus other wildlife- or outdoor sports-themed fabric, crazy quilt style to make another quilt.  We gave these two quilts to wounded warriors at our local V.A. Hospital.  But there was still this "overstock" of fussy cuts.  So now I'm making more blocks, of a "Divided Star" pattern, 8-point stars that are divided diagonally, half the block being white star points against a colored background, the other half colored against white.  And I wanted this one to be as near perfect as possible.  So I have been very careful in my cutting and stitching--I even put the quarter-inch foot on my machine.  Necchi was out of business before quarter-inch feet (foots?) came along, so there is no OEM quarter-inch foot, so the generics just don't quite work right.  Anyway, I got three blocks done, all of them coming out okay--not State Fair Blue Ribbon winners, but pretty darn good.  The last block I just made comes in at 9 1/2" exactly, all but one corner which skews off enough that it's nearly a quarter of an inch off.  I couldn't stand the frustration, so just walked away from the project--for a while.  I suppose I'll go back and rip out that one patch, cut a new one well oversize and try it again.  But doggone it, when a person is so very careful, how can it NOT come out right?  Yeah, Murphy's Law will always prevail, but 'tain't fair, sez I. 

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Comment by Sandy Larkey on July 16, 2016 at 7:49am

The pheasants are finally finished--well, the top anyway, still have to layer and quilt it.  Trouble is, I can't find any patriotic flannel.  I prefer flannel for the backs because it's more snuggly, if the quilt is a throw, and if it's a bed quilt, flannel makes it stay put on top of the bed better.  (My husband is a "covers torturer.")  Anyway, it came up with a net trick (I think) to randomize the blocks, so there are no two blocks of the same color right beside each other.  My computer spreadsheet program (Microsoft 7) will generate a list of random numbers; I simply created a list random numbers then sorted them into consecutive order, printed the list and attached the numbers to the blocks, and then used them in that order to construct the top.  Worked out quite well, and didn't require a design wall, which I don't have and can't set up because I don't really have any walls in my sewing room, which is the "half story" of a 1 1/2 story Victorian, and the only full height walls are A. narrow and B.  are broken up by doors and windows.  Anyway, the pheasants are done, and looking pretty good.  I had to make a narrow inner border, since the cornerstone blocks were too small to bring the whole quilt up to QOVf standards, if I just made one border.  I used a light green for that, and then had another pheasant print, smaller pheasants scattered over a tan background, that I used for the outer border.  with the green inner border crossing itself out to the edges, the two different prints worked out well enough.  And except for that one block that I had so much trouble squaring up, everything came out near perfect.  I guess Murphy must have been on vacation that week.

Comment by Sandy Larkey on May 3, 2016 at 7:58pm

Really sorry, everybody, but I can't seem to make my computer and my digital camera cooperate for anything but printing the photos--can't add them to anything, not even email.  Anyway, I finally got all the blocks finished up, with most of them coming out close enough to the 9 1/" target that I hardly needed to do any squaring up.  Thursday next week is my sewing circle meeting and I will use the hostess's design wall to arrange the red and blue blocks in the most pleasing arrangement.  Her digital camera will work--maybe I can get her to post the photo.  Anyway, thank for all your support and understanding.  Yeah, Murphy was an optimist.

Comment by MaryAgnes/NYC on May 3, 2016 at 11:20am

Always remember that Murphy was an optimist.

Comment by Sandy Larkey on April 20, 2016 at 7:58am

Went back the next day and ripped out the one bad square and re-measured it--it was the exact size it should have been.  So I sewed it back in, and this time it turned out right.  I also took that quarter-inch foot off and am using the regular foot, which--if I hold the fabric right at the edge--will give me a quarter-inch seam allowance.  I do know my quarter-inch foot gives me at best a scant quarter, and it will NOT jump over pins.  Nor is it happy about crossing a bulky seam.  So it's off the machine, and everything else has been coming out reasonably okay.  I doubt I'll get a blue ribbon at the State Fair, but then quilting entries in Nebraska are very numerous. 

Comment by Barbara Graham on April 10, 2016 at 12:41pm

So sorry. I've been there too and it is enough to send a person screaming out of the house. Walk away for a few days and then check your measurements and whether there is a bias edge involved. (I personally have trouble with bias edges)

Comment by Barb/WI on April 9, 2016 at 2:44pm

Whoa, been there!  It's definitely a Murphy's Law sort of thing.  That and the fact that you are always more critical of your own work.

Comment by LKC on April 9, 2016 at 2:13pm

I too have been trying to use odd scrapes. Starch and stay stitch has helped me get the right outcome. I also use plastic templates from Mari Mitchel when I can not have strips and then cut. I also know with my vision problems sometimes my strips are not even cut right.

Comment by Prairie Quilter Jan/NE on April 9, 2016 at 5:23am

How frustrating.  Been there.  I'm sure it will all turn out great and be worth the effort in the end.  

Comment by Carol Ann Hinton on April 8, 2016 at 8:13pm

Have you checked the accuracy of your so-called "quarter inch" foot?  I used graph paper to find out that my Janome quarter-inch foot was just a teensy bit off, so I adjusted my needle position a bit to compensate.  Yeah, post pictures!

Comment by Pam/NY on April 8, 2016 at 7:36pm
I feel your frustration...did one of the fabrics stretch? You need to post pictures.

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