This week has been all about Bertie and I learning how to work together. So far it looks as though we're going to have a lovely relationship.
The one minor disappointment was discovering that, contrary to my belief, he did not come with a 1/4 inch piecing foot. Walking foot, quilting foot, and all sorts of other lovely accessories, yes, but not that piecing foot. So I had to order one. That wasn't Bertie's fault. Nor was the stab wound I received the first time I tried to change the foot and jammed my finger up against the needle. But I have healed from my wound, and the foot has now arrived, so all is well.
I had a bunch of leftover half-finished projects lying around, so the first order of business was to get those finished and out of the way. The easiest to finish was the dog bed. I've started collecting all my leftover pieces, and even some yarn, in a muslin bag, which gets sewn shut when filled and put inside a pretty cover. I then donate it to my local animal shelter to be used for a dog bed. I had a muslin bag full, but hadn't made the new bag or sewn the cover (although it was cut) so that was test #1. It was all straight sewing, but did involve multiple thicknesses of upholstery fabric for the cover. And I went all out and made buttonholes and used the button sewing foot for the closure. The buttonholes weren't perfect, but that could possibly be related to me not reading ALL the directions ALL the way through. Possibly. Anyway, it's a dog bed, and the dog won't care. It's now done, and the new muslin bag is sewn up and hanging in place to catch the next round of scraps.
The second project was to sew up some gift bags that were already cut, at least mostly. Again, all straight sewing, but I did get to try out the free-arm feature at the end, so there was something new involved. I didn't care what the seam allowances measured as long as they were reasonably consistant, and Bertie did a good job of keeping the layers together and sewing through some fairly substantial interfacing. I did miss the needle-down feature on Betsy a lot in this project, but I'll just have to learn to live without it. I also experimented with very carefully sewing over pins since the little ribbon loop was too small to just hold with my fingers. Again, no problem, although I don't plan to make a habit of doing that. I get away with it on Betsy most of the time, but I know it's not a good thing to do any time, so I'm trying to break myself of that habit. These are now also done, and put away with other holiday things for next year's Christmas marketplace.
The third project, that is actually still not completely done, didn't involve Bertie at all. I had some fabric left over for making microwave potato bags, so I bought a package of batting specifically labeled for this use and cut six bags. Only one is completely done but the other 5 are layered and pinned and ready to be finished. Betsy was already set up with the cotton thread for these (everything has to be 100% cotton or it melts in the microwave) so I'm making sure she doesn't feel neglected while I put Bertie through his paces. These also will be for next year's Marketplace, so no hurry to finish, just one more thing cluttering up my surfaces. I still have more potato fabric, so will get more batting as I have money to spend on such.
Today, then I finally got to try some quilt piecing with Bertie. The foot I bought has the guide edge on it, and I am really happy that I bought this foot. It projects a little forward of the actual foot, so it's really easy to get the pieces lined up just the way they need to be I only did a couple of seams, but I was really happy with the way they came out. They're the two pieces with the flowers on them here. Nothing fancy, but just good sensible design.
The other thing I managed to get done today was to get the project plan I worked on New Year's Day out of the suitcase and into the studio. I learned a long time ago that I am not a linear planner; I am a global planner. I was one of those people that wrote the outline for my term papers after I wrote the paper. That means I can't sit down with a paper and make a prioritized list unless I dump everything out in no apparent order first. It's just the way my brain works and I've learned to live with it.
New Year's Day I had the house to myself, a Post-It note pad the size of the dining room table and a bin full of markers. I started by writing down everything that I knew I wanted to make progress on in the very near future, with some minor efforts at sorting them into categories, then choosing a few of those projects and figuring out what I needed to do to make them happen. It's messy and some would say totally chaotic, but it works for me. And now I can cross things off as they're finished and draw circles around new things as they work their way into the planning stages.
There's still stuff sitting on surfaces, but the studio is starting to look more like a work space and less like a dumping ground. I got the stuff that needed to go to the thrift shop gone yesterday, so there's only one box of stuff left that needs to be repacked and stored elsewhere. There's still some fabric for non-quilty projects sitting out, but that will get moved soon, along with some other tools that I need to make a home for. And I sewed two quilt blocks today! Yay me!