Yesterday, I spent the majority of the day doing: Sew 10 inches, Rip out 3 inches, re-thread everything, repeat. Little by little, I got it done.
Wow, what a process this has been. When I signed up to complete this quilt, I actually got started right away. At the time, I had plenty of time to complete, but I didn't want to wait until the last minute (like I usually do). I was actually hoping to be the first one done! I had my pattern in mind when I signed up, it promised to be an easy one. I prepared my applique pieces, got everything cut, and the whole top pieced together rather quickly. I stalled a little when it came to the back, waiting for some additional fabric, but it too came together quickly. The quilting pattern suggested was easy enough too - a meandering loopy bee trail. I sandwiched my quilt and got ready to get down to it. That's when "easy" ended.
I am not sure if I have been quite so frustrated in a long time. The machine issues, which I am sure you are tired of hearing about and I am tired of thinking about, really threw me for a loop. I don't really understand how a machine can be fine quilting one thing, but then completely stink at doing another. My best guess was that it had to do with the needle flex that occurred when sewing through the applique parts with their fusible web. I is the only thing that makes some sense to me. So, I pulled out my notes from my long arm class with Dawn Cavanaugh. She talked a bit about needle flex and I tried out her suggestions. I switched to a bigger needle, with only some improvement. I sewed slowly, no improvement. If I hadn't already quilted half the quilt, I would have changed thread. In the end, I just had to battle it out.
I certainly wish I had done things a little differently from the start. I felt confident with the machine quilting, so I choose a pretty, shiny, variegated thread for the quilting. Unfortunately, it just shows off all the issues I had quilting! And perhaps, putting appliques on the back wasn't such a good idea. I haven't had any problems in the past sewing through them, so I didn't really think it would be a problem this time either.
It is not my best work, but it is done. And, I learned some things about myself.
This quilt is destined for Happy Chemo, part of the Hands2Help Challenge at Confessions of a Fabric Addict, which gives quilts to people going through chemotherapy. While I have never been through chemo myself, I imagine that I encountered some of the same emotions going through making this quilt - obviously, less intense as I was not fighting for my life! At times I cried, I was angry, frustrated, and even wanted to give up. And I was just making a quilt! Heaven help me if I have to go through anything as major as chemotherapy.