April 20th, 2014 by Jan

I tried something different yesterday and well, the results were nil and the experience was hell.

Okay, in the grand scale of the world my problems are nothing but in my little corner the day was hard.

Working my way through the last of the fabric stash, an easy patch work would be nice, but no. I found several pieces of batik fabric decorated with crows. I like it and wanted to do something different. So, I went on-line, (the worlds classroom) and found a quilt in random images that I liked and though might work. Then I remembered a technique my mom talked about once called paper piecing. I googled it and found a tutorial or two and watched them a few times. Then I began! How hard can it be?

I have to say usually when I begin a quilt, I find my scissors, start cutting and start sewing. THIS time, I had a pattern and a new technique in mind and so, I did a sample to see if it would work!

I started with a simple test of the paper piecing technique and it went okay. So I did another with a few more pieces. So far so good. I asked Ken to draw up the idea I had in mind and he printed out a few patterns for me to follow. I used scrap fabric as I knew a lot of waste would happen with the learning curve.

Paper piecing is a technique that looks simple. You draw your pattern, then sew fabric right on the paper, and when done, tear off the paper from the back of the quilt block and you are off to the races. It’s a nice way to use up scraps, and for simple patterns it works fairly well.

My design was a bit more complicated. And after three practice runs, each one getting a bit more complicated, I tried a block of the pattern I was hoping to use.


I rarely mind ripping a seam that doesn’t work. I’ve made many a quilt block only to rip it apart and start again, but this was different. I just couldn’t find the path. I made several mistakes in putting the pattern together. I couldn’t figure out the correct order of the piecing and sewed several pieces backwards, several times.

With this technique you start with the fist piece of fabric being wrong sides together and the next piece is right sides together, and all this has to happen through the mirror image of the paper. I had to hold the fabric in place through the paper block for the light to see the placement, turn the fabric to the wrong side and then sew it on the opposite side of where I thought the seam should go.

Hell. Pure hell.

My brain was scrambled. I went into the dyslectic frenzy I know all to well. It is as if my mind shattered. It becomes impossible to find a centre holding ground when this happens. Broken glass is what it feels like inside me. I can find no comfortable place to land when my mind goes here.

Math and shapes do this to me. Words used to. Yet, somehow I found a place for the word scramble to land, (most of the time) but yesterdays puzzle left me in a messy puddle of scattered brain cells. I was a mess.

I put together and took apart the practice block 7 times before I went crying to Ken for help. He is a steady man and knows math and angles. After a bit of exploration on his part. He said I came up with a design that is impossible to complete with this particular technique.

Fine then.

When things get complicated I need to remember to simplify or slow down. I did neither yesterday. After a good cry, I just went back to what I know.

1 thought on “brainhell

  1. Laura B

    Gives me the willies just reading about it, and memories of that feeling of everything falling apart. Math doesn’t bother me, but sewing sure does. Going back to what I know works for me too.


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