Monday, July 4, 2016


Male: a man or a boy : a male person
Pattern: a repeated form or design especially that is used to decorate something
           : the regular and repeated way in which something happens or is done
           : something that happens in a regular and repeated way
Baldness: having no hair or very little hair on the head
                 of a part of the body : not covered with hair
               : not covered with trees and plants

MMMQUILTS provided me with the opportunity to "test drive" a new quilt pattern or be the "pattern tester for her Blue Skies & Sunny Days quilt pattern. 

So, the back story.....I had been watching my wife quilt for some time now, and had picked a pattern. -see my previous blog post No Greater Love

Back to the story at my wife Tish- tishnwonderland was talking to her best friend Sandra about her new pattern and I looked and the design caught my eye.  I am normally a video gamer during my free time, but I get "involved" and take my playing seriously, so my wife often resorts to putting in earbuds and listening to music.  She had been asking me, for some time, to give quilting a shot so, I asked how hard this pattern would be, and she felt that this would be a good beginner pattern.  I had Tish ask Sandra if I could be a pattern tester and so my adventure of Male Pattern Baldness began.

You can read my wife's take on the beginning of the process by reading here A Quilter is Born 
She even did a giveaway with the original post.

So I began the process once I got the color pallet selected and got the fabrics home.  I had a lesson on pressing and proper folding of the fabric, followed by cutting proper 2.5" fabric strips.  I was meticulous as I strive for perfection.  I went with a variety of batiks in oranges, blues, and turquoise colors.

 So with fabrics cut, I received direction on proper "piecing" or building of each block.  You might say that I received the "abc's" of quilt building block building.  So I got to work.  I quickly realized: #1 I need my glasses.  My eyes are not as good as they use to be and when focused on details my eyes quickly became strained.  Most likely culprit is the fact that the eye doctor says my eye issues are related to focus problems and I feel relatively certain that bifocals are in my very near future. 

I wish I had taken more pictures of things that I saw and experienced from my point of view.  #2 You can't worried about super minute edges raveling or getting stringy....especially when you have to rip a few seams due to sewing pieces on the wrong side, the wrong way, or just plain backwards. (SECRET TIP- Batiks are more forgiving because there really is no wrong side to them....although one seems to be smoother than the other).

#3....Follow the pattern. That goes without saying.

#4....Don't sew into the late hours of the night or when hungry....this is when mistakes start to sewing things to the wrong side of the block.  A key for me is hunger...I get grumpy on an empty belly.

#5....When mistakes happen, and they will, don't get to upset.

#6.... Have a good instructor, mine is one of the best.  Patience and appreciation for the beginners process will help the new quilter navigate the minefields that appear on the horizon.

#7.... Don't get to caught up in the look of the quilt process close up....things may look ugly initially, but they come together in the end.  Several people have told me that you will be your worst critic and that you will see your mistakes before others will.

#8....All things come together in the end.

So back to my process. I remember the hours of face to the foot (1/4" guide foot) stitching that occurred and I was meticulous in this process also. I remember say $h!t each time I would stray off line or get away from the little metal guide piece on the foot. I watched the little needle go up and down dozens of times, thinking to myself...."thank the Lord for  a machine as this would take FOREEVVVER by hand".  So, I continued with the due diligence of someone building the first nuclear weapon.  Several times I found myself picking out stitches that were ripped out with sighs of regrets of a less than perfect effort....and unexpected empty bobbin....and of course the typical...male "failure to follow the directions" type of errors.  No "true" "Man's man" completes a job without making this kind of attempt just once.  

Once pieced or blocks built, I learned the fine art of using pins.  I never really understood the process of using pings except for tacking hem locations in pants.  ***Little know fact, I have an untypical inseam at just over 30, but not quite a 32 which makes getting a pair of pants hard.  I have seen my mother sew clothing in the past and use pins.  However, when it comes to quilting, if you have seams that need to line up (due to reoccurring patterns), then pins are a must.  After a brief lesson I got that down. Then came putting blocks in a line and pinning them to form a row. That wasn't too bad.

Then came putting the rows together to make the quilt top...aka: Flimsy....aka: Chassis.

Once I got all of that put together. then came the laying out and planning of the quilting process.  I had a the first one (rectangular) I was going to do feathers in the colored blocks and lines radiating out from one corner...evenly spaced from the center line....Once, I realized this was going to be a hard processed I changed it up.

These pictures are of the second quilt I did.  I unfortunately did not get many of the first process. The upper picture is of me figuring out the layout using plexiglass.  Tish told me to do this and she used the idea from another quilter too....We achieve greatness by standing on the shoulders of giants. nanos gigantum humeris insidentes
So, I completed this process and it was Boobear (real name Becker) approved.

Tish's Feathers above.

 Added Batting and used a sheet for backing fabric on the second.....Caroline or Princess Caroline of the Fuzzy Butts.

 LOVED this backing fabric on my first quilt...the feathers in the above picture show a variegated  Aurifil thread.  Aurifil is bar-none some of the best thread on the market.

I quilted.....
And quilted some more....
 The quilting was quite time consuming and became tiring. I had to take several breaks and learned the art of "burying threads" when I would run out of bobbin.

Tish bound the 2 quilts for me while I was at work she did an excellent job.  My first quit had binding with a flange and the second quilt was a traditional binding.

Cross-Hatching is a very very time consuming process.
Tish then threw them in the washing machine.

Pretty much all done!

So, where does this all come in at the finish....I feel a pretty good showing....a decent finish for my first two attempts.... #1 Hawaiian Stepping Stones #2 Dreamscicle

Again a big shout out to Sandra for letting me field test her pattern.....

Where does Male Pattern Baldness fit in you ask...
1- Male....I am
2- Pattern...pattern tested...repeat pattern....untried pattern tester...patterns can feel redundant, but the
    reward is worth it.
3- Baldness... At times I felt I could pull my hair out...I wanted everything to go smooth...I do well at
    most things I try...I believe in myself and my abilities...however, I had hiccups, wrong direction
    sewing, tiredness and fatigue, eye strain, seam ripping...and yest CROSSHATCHING!!!!!  I felt at
    times I could pull what little hair I keep on my head....OUT!!!!

This message was furry-friend approved.

Thanks to those out there that have read my previous blogs and commented...It's a moral booster.  Thanks to many of you out there for inspiring me to keep up with projects...I read alot but don't always comment. Thanks Aurifil (Colors- 2000- Light Sand, 1148- Light Jade, 2330- Light Chestnut, 3817- Marrakesh, 2405- Oyster, and 2021-Natural White).


Today I am linking up with Main Crush Monday



  1. Dave, you are such a diva when you are a Snickers! Sorry I had to post that. You did an amazing job with your two first quilts and I couldn't be prouder of you. And you DIDN'T pull your hair out. I wish my first two quilts looked as good. I know, since I bound your first two quilts for you, you can return the favor and bind my first quilt for me. It's laying in the back room still un-bound :p

  2. This is amazing! You didn't just try out quilting, you jumped in with both feet! I make the quilt top for my first quilt and my grandmother hand quilted it (she had it for a year). I didn't make my second quilt for another year after that. And I didn't know that you could quilt your own machine without either hand quilting or using a long arm for many years, so I am jealous of your in house expertise and instructor! :) Late at night is definitely when I make my most mistakes when I am sewing.

  3. Wow oh Wow!! Two quilts, sewn, pinned, quilted, bound ( love that flange binding) and then your words, you need to seriously think about writing as a full time profession, as well as quilting. Superb, and Tish can be so proud . Well done.

  4. Good read, Dave! Inspiring and motivational, as well as entertaining. Have you decided on your next pattern yet?

  5. Congrats on the two finishes. Love the colors in both projects. You definitely captured the feelings that go along with most projects. Hope you've got your next pattern all picked out.

  6. Dave: Your list of tips for new quilters is excellent. I think many of us when we start quilting as adults find it difficult when it doesn't meet our standard for perfection. We are used to being accomplished and we forget that it took us a long time to get so good at the other things that we do.
    I am very impressed with the job that you did on your first two quilts. That cross hatch quilting looks great. I doubt that I would do such a great job, and yes it does take a long time to quilt the quilt.
    You had/have a great teacher and I hope you continue with the quilting process.

  7. Excellent post! I've read the earlier ones but didn't comment...well, actually, I did on one---I left a long comment and somehow lost it before I hit "send" and just didn't re-write it. I'm kind of a "que sera, sera" person. Two quilts under your belt makes you officially "one of us"!!! I particularly LOVE that you credit Tish so much ( I agree she is a well as Sandra -off or on Tish's stick...hehehe). Keep up the good work and I look forward to more posts. I told Trish once that my husband of 44 years and I met at Marshall University. Our 2 oldest daughters have undergraduate and Master's degrees from there as we "bleed green" too.

  8. You navigated those minefields with what seems like great ease. Although we all know it's not as easy as it sometimes looks. Well done on your first two quilts!

  9. They are just so freaking awesome David! From names to crinkly goodness and chocolate kitty PLUS pibble approved! Terrific work, and yup, you have a fantastic teacher, clearly. Good that you recognize that. MacGyver and I do not always work well together, cough...

  10. You are braver than I would ever be. I'm crafty in so many ways but fabrics are not in that category. Your first attempts definitely don't look that way. Great job!

  11. Great finishes and the quilting is wonderful on them. I agree that cross-hatching is very time consuming but the texture it gives is beautiful.

  12. I think you did a fine job for your first attempts at quilting. They are beautiful!

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