Misadventures in Quilting

So, I realized that I had alluded to some “quilting misadventures” yesterday. Here’s the story…

Last December, we moved from the Pacific Northwest to the Mid-Atlantic. Professional movers boxed up all of our worldly possessions, put them on a 48-foot truck (just about filling it, too), and hauled it across the country. We hauled our selves, 2 Child Units, 2 Canine Units, 2 cars and a large load of luggage across the country, racing the weather and trying to arrive at our destination before Christmas. Happily, we made it intact in only 6 days. Intact, and exhausted. And promptly acquired a third Canine Unit.

Once our household goods arrived less than 2 weeks later, we quickly discovered that not all of our stuff was going to fit in our new home. The garage was packed full with “assorted” and “miscellaneous” boxes for which there was no space anywhere else in the house. Among those was most of my sewing, crafting and art supplies. Spousal Unit made a “command decision” and went out, found a storage unit, and carted most of my creative pursuits out to the unit.

I made a “grand plan” to fix up a large-ish corner of our garage for my “studio”. (The “corner” became one side – but less than half – of the garage.) I decided I would repaint some old furniture to use for storage, and worked out a floor plan for my space. I even went so far as to paint 2 of the 4 pieces I had intended to paint. Then the heat, humidity and sometimes rain hit, and the space sat, cluttered full of painted dresser drawers and dressers. I couldn’t walk in the space without knocking over  a bunch of drawers domino-style, let alone work in there.

Finally, I decided that it was time to just put everything together and get to work making projects. Then, I came up with an idea for a quilting project, and needed to find my sewing machine and a bunch of my fabric. I didn’t need all of my fabric, just enough of it to make my project. It didn’t even really matter what color it was. So I took Man Child over to the above-mentioned storage unit to help me dig through boxes, since I knew that several of them would be too heavy for me to lift or move by myself. We dug and dug through several boxes and plastic tubs, and at last we found my machine! Joy!! We grabbed it, along with some fabric I found, and brought the boxes and machine home.

I found and dragged out my cutting mats, some of the fabric and the machine, still in its cover. I set everything up on the dining room table, since I still hadn’t cleared out my studio space. I couldn’t find my rotary cutter or rulers, so I found a pair of sharp fabric scissors, and guesstimated measurements for my fabric cuts.

That was a mistake.

I hadn’t realized how much I had come to rely on my rulers and rotary cutter. There was not a single straight cut in the bunch. (Those “squares” turned out so bad, I’ve decided that they will have to be turned into a wonky block. Some day.)

So I turned to my sewing machine, to set it up to see if I could possibly salvage those “squares”. I took off the cover. And realized that the power cord and foot pedal were missing. Not there. Vanished. Gone.

I cried a little. I even said a few naughty words. I raised my tear-stained face to the heavens, lifted my fists, and cried “Why??  Why?!”

If I’d been wearing mascara, it would have run in artful streaks down my cheeks. But I rarely wear makeup. So, no artful streaks. Just puffy, red, bloodshot eyes and a blotchy face. And a runny nose. Tres chic.

The Child Units looked at me, rolled their eyes, and muttered, “Drama queen” under their breath as they turned back to the TV. The newest little dog sniffed my foot, barked once, then went back to her nap. I think her bark translated to something like, “Really? Get a life.”

I looked back at the lifeless machine, heaved a sigh laden with defeat, then replaced the cover over the machine. I reluctantly put everything back away. (Well, I cleared the table, anyway. “Away” is a relative term in our house.) I vowed that I would find the missing cord and foot pedal. It was either that, or go buy yet another sewing machine. (For the record, I’m now up to a total of 4 sewing machines, I think. I know where 3 of them are. One of them is strictly for machine embroidery. Someday, I will master that thing!)

Yesterday, I took Man Child back to the storage unit to look for the wayward parts. This time, we took a short ladder with us, so he could climb up and reach the boxes up high and hand them down to me. What? He’s taller and stronger than I am. Anyway, we must have gone through 20 boxes or more.

Finally, victory was literally within my grasp! Clouds parted! Angels sang! I had found the power cord! Now, if only I could find the foot pedal… Because, of course, it was NOT in the same box as the power cord (which was NOT in the same box as the machine!). We pulled boxes down, we dug some more. I found several large pastic tubs of fabric that I had wanted to find, but still no foot pedal. There were times that I had almost forgotten what I was looking for, especially when I found those several boxes of fabric to take home. (“Oooooo…. Look! Pretty!”)

Then, there it was. Man Child found it. I was nearly delirious with joy and relief! I could now go back home, plug in the machine, and sew to my heart’s content.

Except, I couldn’t. Not yet. Because my studio still wasn’t set up.

But then, I found another box filled with more of my tools of the trade. No rulers, yet, but I found spools of thread, and bobbins, and straight pins in a pincushion, and needles, and loads of safety pins. And my rotary cutter. My rotary cutter! I had just saved another $35 because I didn’t have to go out and buy another one!

The day was shaping up to be the. Best. Day. Ever.

Never mind the sweat dripping off my brow and chin. Never mind the fact that I was now filthy from being covered in the dust of ages from all those boxes. I had found most of my stash.

Man Child helped me replace the unwanted (for now) boxes, stacking them (more or less) neatly so they (hopefully) wouldn’t tip over. Then we gathered up the tubs and boxes and bags I had selected, and managed to get them stuffed into the back of my SUV. At that point, we realized the ladder wouldn’t fit, so I had to lock it into the storage unit, and go back for it later. But the main, most important mission had been accomplished. Assuming I had the right parts. Which I was pretty sure I did. Mostly. I hoped.

We drove back to the house, and Man Child helped me unload. Spousal Unit finally relented, and helped me reposition the furniture to maximize my space, then he took Man Child to help him finish painting the fence. I was left to my own devices to set up my space. Which. Took. Hours.

But I did stop to test both the power cord and the foot pedal. And they fit. And worked. YAY!

I was exhausted by the time I quit yesterday. But it was sooooo worth it! I have about half of the fabric put away, and now have to decide where to put the other half. It looks as though I’ll have to rearrange some of the fabric I’ve already put away so that I’ll have more room for what’s left. With this stash, all in one place, and easily stored, I should have enough fabric to make Christmas presents and baby quilts for at least 2 years.

And throw in tote bags, shopping bags and handbags, I should be able to keep busy for quite a while. So… Etsy or Artfire? I’m going to have to do something to get rid of these projects.

So far, I have found 148 “fat quarters” (1/2 yard cuts that are 1/2 the width of the fabric, specially packaged for quilters), and I’m guessing over 100 pounds of fabric yardage (1/2 yard cuts or longer), plus another 10-20 pounds of scraps smaller than 1/4 yard. That doesn’t include trims, beads, hem binding, buttons, threads, bobbins, scissors, glue, measuring tapes… Or my 2 huge tubs of fabric.

Oh, and I found my little radio. Gotta have tunes while I’m working. I’ve been thinking about getting a different music maker thingy, maybe something that will play my iPod Touch while I’m working. But that’s for later.

Well, I suppose this is long enough for now. I’ll post some photos of my studio-in-progress in the near future to show you all how things are shaping up. In the meantime, I’m just happy to know it’s as close as it is, and getting closer.

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