An Example of a Fabric Cutting Fail
Okay, so remember how I said I'd be talking more about my failed project? Well, here it is. Last summer I went a little nutso on eBay and bought a couple thousand (yes, thousand) 2" fabric squares. There just SO addicting to buy because they're so inexpensive. I mean, what more could you ask for? Auction rush, $2.99 plus $0.99 for shipping. Sign me up!
Sure, if you do the math it's not the cheapest way to buy fabric. BUT, it's the cheapest way to buy a large variety of fabrics. Plus, you could win a half-dozen auctions and still only be out $25. It doesn't get better than that. (To see what I mean, go to eBay and search on "quilt squares").
Originally, I was trying to collect 1,000 unique fabrics. I had them all in a muslin roll, counting them out one at a time and comparing to all the rest. I got to about 650 before I gave up. I worked on it for about 4 weeks straight, and I finally got sick of cataloguing fabric and not sewing. So I dumped them (and all the duplicates) into this jar.
A couple of months later I decided to make a scrappy triple irish chain. Why not? I had plenty of squares. I had a pattern. So I got to it. But things just weren't going together properly. I worked and worked at it. But no dice. I mean, see the giant ripple in the picture up top? Or check out the severe wonkiness of the units down below. I couldn't figure it out. I hadn't quilted in a long time, and thought maybe I just sucked. Then I thought maybe it was the starch issue.
I was wrong. It was the @*$W!#%& squares! It was Alex Anderson who saved me. I saw an episode on basics, and the guest speaker (I apologize for not knowing which episode it was) talked about accuracy in cutting. Turns out most people use the rules incorrectly when cutting, causing a very small (about a millimeter) error in the cut pieces. This doesn't seem like much, but when you sew a dozen inaccurate pieces together, that's 12 millimeters...nearly half an inch.
It doesn't help that a lot of the pieces you buy on eBay are sloppily cut. Many of the peices I got were cut very nicely, (just not to the full 2"), but some of them were cut so poorly that they were crooked. I threw out a bunch of them. Tip: don't buy squares from people who have thousands of feedbacks. You'd think that was good, but what it means is they're cranking out thousands of quilt squares, which means sloppy.
Anyway, as most of you already know I went on to start and (mostly) finish a different quilt, but those squares had been mocking me. I didn't want to throw them away, but I didn't know how I was going to solve the problem of being so wonky. I didn't want to re-cut them all to a smaller size...yikes! So finally, after reading about leaders & enders, I got inspired. So I have a project. The pattern you'll have to wait to see. That's a surprise. :-)