Friday, July 15, 2011

~ Life is a highway...and I need a Garmin ~

I am known by family and friends for my unbelievable inability to follow directions.  I simple cannot do it. I can’t even give directions to my house because I can’t remember street names. Out of desperation, my husband got me a Garmin for Christmas last year. I asked, “But, why??? We never go on trips!” His response, “This is so you never again get lost going to my brother’s house.” His brother, by the way, lives in the same small town in which we live!!
While thinking about/preparing for my “retreat” quilt, I realized how great it would be if I had an internal Garmin for quilting. I am unable to remember street names (fabric lines), and I have a hard time reading/following a map (quilting instructions). Yep, I definitely need an internal, quilting Garmin.
Like taking a road trip, I thought it best to plan out my new quilt ahead of time. I decided to try a new route (pattern) with wide open spaces…no driving in the city (fussy, tiny cutting/piecing) for me just yet. So I found a pattern for big pinwheels (Pinwheels in the Park, designed by Rachel Measham-Pywell from Four Wise Monkeys). I first made a practice run by piecing a sample block.  I carefully read the instructions and began cutting. The instructions called for me to cut “12 x 8 1/4 inch squares.” I began cutting squares that were 12 inches by 8 ¼ inches … RECALCULATING!! Fortunately, I quickly realized my mistake, finished cutting, and pieced together my practice block.

As usual, I don’t know what line of fabric this is. If any of you recognize the print, please let me know. I LOVE it and want more! J
I got all of my fabric cut without anymore mishaps and packed them for my trip to MN. Once there, my quilting started out great, with me carefully sewing my pieces right side together (something I tend to get backwards), then laying out my blocks on my design wall, um, bed. I even took a picture to ensure I remained on the right path.

I carefully began to sew the sashing strips between the blocks, then...RECALCULATING... I had pieced the short sashing strips to the blocks going across the rows instead of going down the columns. Okay, no worries I’m thinking. I’ll just sew the long sashing strips between the rows instead of the columns, even though it pained me to do this. I was not ABOUT to rip out all of the seams and start over!!!  Unfortunately, at some point during the piecing of my quilt top, I missed a few RECALCULATING’s and ended up with this (notice that it does NOT look like the layout on my "design wall") :

Completely lost and frustrated at this point, I decided to retire for the evening and figure out where and how I made the wrong turns once I returned home.  I had had a great trip, bumps and all, and was not going to let getting a little “lost” ruin my good time. I knew once I got home, my “frustration” (Devlin) would be there to help me figure out where I had gone wrong.

Sure enough, Devlin and I found the mistakes, ripped seams, re-pinned, sewed, then got the top and bottom borders placed…without hearing RECALCULATING once!! Below is my completed quilt top.

Have a super weekend!!


  1. Michelle your Garmin analogy is too funny!!! I'd probably just turn off the "quilt garmin" after the second recalculating and ignore the directions;-). Your finished pinwheel top looks so pretty! Love the quilt picture with the crepe myrtle.

  2. Great post. We quilters are ALWAYS learning. I won't confess the times I've had to recalculate! Your quilt top looks wonderful. Give yourself an extra pat on the back.

  3. AWESOME analogy and post! I am laughing so hard right now, but with you, not at you!

  4. Your quilt turned out beautifully! Good for you for keeping on when you felt like you got a little lost. That would be cool to have a Garmin when learning a new skill!

  5. Your quilt looks great! Seems Devlin is really good help. I have a helper like that . . .

  6. I love your Garmin analogy. The titles of your posts crack me up. I really LOVE that purple pinwheel block. I did not realize you were having so much trouble with those pieces. Your top looks so great. Way to hang in there!