Monday, August 12, 2013

Leaders and Enders (Or, How to Make a Quilt Without Really Thinking About It)

Way back, my grandmother taught me how to always run a chunk of fabric through the machine at the beginning and end of my work, so you'd never have that awful moment when you sew a big seam and realize that your needle un-threaded itself.  She'd always have a scrap attached to her machine.  I actually think that when she handed down her machine to me, it came with a scrap that had been heavily stitched.

Happy little bucket!

And I totally ignored the advice and proceeded to get very grumpy every time this happens.  Because who can resist the awesomeness of an automatic thread cutter.  It just sounds so efficient, until the un-threading happens.

I know, dark picture, but I sew in the dungeon basement.

Then I happened to come upon a post from Just a Bit Frayed (who talked about this post) that pretty much had the same advice as my grandmother, but with a twist.  Instead of just a bunch of scraps to run through the machine, keep a bunch of squares by your machine.

Light-ish and dark square, ready to be sewn together!

So now I have a happy little bucket of 2.5" squares.  Once I'm done sewing a seam, I just run a pair of these through.  I'm trying to match a light with a dark square, but I'm not that particular, and I sometimes just grab the two at the top of the bucket.

See my tiny stack of sewn pairs?  They're making friends with my flannel, oil, and thread.  

When you've got a bunch of pairs, you start sewing them into fours, then eights, and eventually you've got a decent sized block.  I haven't decided whether to make a completely scrappy patchwork, or to do an Irish Chain, but there's plenty of time to figure it out.

Not enough! Must keep sewing!

Linking up with Flamingo Toes!


  1. I wonder if your thread cutter needs adjusting? I'm not running into this problem! (and trust me I run into every possible problem, I literally cracked a bobbin the other day.) Enough people do this, though, that there's a whole book about it, I think! Can't wait to see what your squares become. Thanks for sharing your process. I totally did not understand how or why this worked.

    1. It seems like an adjustment would make it perfect, but I can't find any information on how to do it. Luckily, I have plenty of scraps and patience.

      (How do you crack a bobbin? Sounds like that could put an eye out!)


Go on! Comment! I love reading what you think! -m