Numbers are not my strong point

I’ve never liked numbers. Words make me happy. My dislike of numbers was so strong, that when a word problem came up on a test, I would relish in the fact that there were words and a story to solve. More recently I was running payroll and commissions, and we were catching some errors. Well “some” errors were enough to make me go to my safe zone and write a haiku or two. Words are my happy space.

Now, when it comes to my crafts, I find myself presented with numbers more often than words. Since I like my crafts, I don’t mind the numbers. But, when I get numbers wrong in a project, I just want to pick up a piece of fabric and stitch some words.

How bad am I with numbers, well, my current project I’m trying to make 12 quilted pillow cases 12″ x 12″. Easy enough. But, since they are quilted I have to create a row of 6 – 2.5″ squares and then make 4 of those rows for each pillow. Now, I found the cutest fabric pattern that came as an 18 piece 1/2 yd bundle. Great! I wouldn’t have to worry about matching patterns. Bad, I would have to cut all the sqaures since I didn’t have the charm pack cheat. So, courtesy of Pinterest, I found a different cheat so I wouldn’t have to cut each individual square and then sew together each individual square. And another cheat, I bought a quilting ruler that was 2.5″ wide, so no thought required.

I sat at my computer, did my math, and was like “yeah!” I was even going to have extra squares, perfect! Then, today, while sitting at my work area and arranging the rows for the pillows, I realize I’m 2 rows of 6 squares short. TWO ROWS! 12 squares! Are you kidding me?!?!?!? So, I take a breath, take a swig of my Upslope Pale Ale and redo my math. Well, lo and behold, my math was wrong. I didn’t consider the number of rows needed, just the number of squares. Boo. Hiss. {now for those of you who do enjoy numbers, or at least understand them, you will have figured out that there was a major flaw in my original math regardless of row versus square count}

Really? So, the plan was to make 12. I only needed 11 so one could be scarified/messed up/given away. But, in the end there are 10. It is undecided if that additional one will be made or not. I do enjoy the assembly line process of making multiples. Maybe there will be a charm pack calling my name and that will be used to create the 11th and final pillow.

Next up is learning how to press a seam correctly. I always end up with a “speed bump” between fabrics. Could it really be that hard to get the seam “seamless”?

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I just don’t understand

As I continue to try new projects, and follow the instructors directions; I always balk at the idea of embroidering after creation. What is the enhanced benefit of this process? !? I generally will not follow those directions. I will embroider on the piece prior to creation. This allows me to work with a smaller area, and a one dimensional area. As I create the pattern to be embroidered I take into account the seam allowance and final position, and stitch conservatively to ensure that my presentation is visibly appealing.

But why, o’ why, am I constantly instructed to embroider as a last step? While I can see the benefit of not touching the embroidery piece through the rest of construction, it is a big jumbled mess (when working on a quilt per se) to get the job done.

Anyone’s input into this practice would be much appreciated! Until I’m convinced to the contrary, I will continue to create my embroidery pieces prior to finalized construction.

Rice Stuffed Items

Today I made a neck and lap warmer for my friend’s birthday. This was my first time making these rice filled warmers. This is the website I was using as a pattern Microwaveable Rice Heating Pads. I had found another pattern awhile back, but I wasn’t able to find it again (lesson learned, Pinterest).

Originally it was supposed to be just a neck warmer at her request, but after finding this site, I figured I’d go all out and build a lap warmer as well. She is my friend, right?!?

Constructing the “large pocket” wasn’t an issue. That is standard work. However, once rice got introduced to the project, all hell broke lose. Filling the rice, easy. Getting the rice to stay in its section, not easy. Sewing a straight line to close the section, complete opposite of easy. My first result was not gift worthy.

Good news is the site listed 1/2 yard of fabric for the lap piece, which, as it turns out, can make three lap pieces. So, realizing I had enough extra to create another one without having to buy more fabric, I ditched the website and created something on my own.

I decided I was tired of turning fabric, so I top stitched 3 of the 4 sides “shut”. Then, I sewed some ric rac down the short length to create four sections prior to filling with rice. Once those were created, I filled with rice. Now, since I ditched the website instructions, I put about 2.5 – 3 cups of rice per section. **Note to self: that is too much rice and creates a very heavy lap pad.** As I filled each section I top stitched the section closed to contain the rice. When I was done, there was a top stitched line at each side creating an enclosed, pocketed, rice lap warmer. I used pinking shears on the exposed edges to help prevent fraying (don’t think it will be that handy if this actually gets used).

This method of creating the sections prior to filling with rice is a much easier, and cleaner, method for creating rice filled pouches.

For the neck warmer, I had already created the “pocket” as instructed by the website, but I knew that is where following the instructions stopped. I didn’t have any ric rac on hand to create the sections, so I just topstitched lines to create the sections. Also, since 3 of the 4 sides were “finished” I had to figure out what to do with the open side. It turns out I had bought some bias tape (on a whim) and realized I could use that to “finish” the final edge that was open to fill.

It worked pretty well!

I also realize that I keep to my colors that I like, and so the random notions and fabrics can be used between projects since they match unintentionally. Not too shabby.