Day 166: Extra Credit

I actually went into the studio today, and actually put a bunch of actual stuff away. Neatly. Yes, really. Why are you laughing?! Stop laughing!

Anyway… I got to thinking. And you know that’s always trouble…

After my escapades yesterday looking for unique patterns, or patterns I could use as a jumping-off point for my own patterns, I was looking through my fabric stash with an eye toward future project possibilities. At some point, I found the beginnings of a quilt I had planned and started for ManChild more than 2 years ago. The problem? I couldn’t find the instructions! So, essentially, I had all these small bits of fabric, along with some sewn sub-units, but I couldn’t remember what I was supposed to do with the bits and pieces, or even what the finished quilt was supposed to look like, exactly.

So, I did what any tech-savvy quilter would do: I tried to google what I thought was the name of the pattern. I knew it was a quilt along project. A “quilt along” project is one where the instructions are posted a bit at a time each week for several weeks (depending on the complexity of the finished piece), and the participants follow along with the instructions, then post photos of their progress and finished quilts. And I knew that the blocks were star-like, and thought that the pattern name had something to do with stars. I thought maybe it was a “starburst” quilt along, so that was where I started.

Yeah, that didn’t work out too well. For more than an hour, I searched images and blogs, trying to find the right pattern.

As it turns out, the pattern was “Supernova”, and I finally flashed on that fact after about searching through dozens of quilting blogs and hundreds of images. Once I figured out what it was called, I found the instructions in about 2.2 seconds. If you’re interested, they are posted on Freshly Pieced, on her Quilt Alongs page. And here is what it looks like:

Lee's Supernova Quilt from the Freshly Pieced blog at
Lee’s Supernova Quilt from the Freshly Pieced blog at

I love the fact that Lee posted the instructions, with LOTS of good photos of the process, and offers the whole thing to the world for free. It’s great that she kept the whole thing available on her blog, and you don’t even need to register or send an email to get it.

The only problem I have with the instructions is the way they are posted. As is, there is no option for a “print-friendly” version of any of the instruction portions, and there is no print-friendly or PDF version of the entire set of instructions. At least not that I could find.

Yes, I hear my geeky friends and family saying, “What??? Why on earth would you want to print out something that big? How about getting a tablet or just put a computer in your studio!!! Geez, have you learned nothing from me?!”

Yeah, I know. But since my studio is in the garage, and it tends to suffer from extremes of temperature (100+ in summer to below 0 in winter) and humidity (often well above 80%), I’m not planning to put lots of electronics out there. Plus, my wi-fi doesn’t work well down there, and I’d have to run wires or something from the opposite side of the house… There’s no room in the office for cutting/sewing equipment, so I can’t do the cutting/sewing up here. And the family hates it when I put out a big project on the dining room table, and leave it out for several weeks. So, all those excuses, and all that whining, just to say that I have to rely on printed instructions. Especially since my memory is not of the eidetic or photographic variety.

So. I decided to do something about it. I copied each set of instructions (with photos), and pasted them into a LibreOffice text document. I separated each set into a new “chapter” (insert page break), then I fiddled with each chapter to reduce the total number of pages to be printed, and get all the photos to print properly. That took over an hour (closer to 2), and was interrupted by dinner with my family, my parents, and my sister’s family (in early celebration of Father’s Day – Hi, Dad!). Of course, not everything printed properly the first time, which is why I had to fiddle with it so much, so I ended up wasting a bunch of paper anyway. In the end, I won, and managed to wrestle the beast into submission.

So, rather than tempt fate into messing up the instructions the next time I tried to open the file, I exported it as a PDF. Of course, the PDF is 12.9 MB, and nearly 50 pages long, so… Maybe not so good, either. Still, I won, and I have it for the next time I need to use it and can’t find the paper copy I printed out.

Speaking of which… I decided to finish the quilt I had started for the long-gone quilt-along, and give it to ManChild for his birthday, which is less than 3 weeks away. Wish me luck!

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