This week I was able to get a lot done and I’m so excited about that!

I finished up the smaller block for the BOM, the orange Ohio Star. I didn’t take any pictures as I worked on it because I’ve already done this block before, but I did snap a picture of the finished block next to last month’s finished block. I still need to square up the one on the left, the latest one, but otherwise they look great.

This week I also started to quilt the table runner that I’ve been working on. I was about to get out my Ideal Seam Guides to use for my quilting when I had a bout of curiosity. Since I’ve been using these guides from the first day I started to sew I was wondering just how much help they were.

This table runner will be quilted in two stages. The first is to quilt ‘in the ditch.’ the second will be to quilt some patterns into the i ndividual blocks. I figured of the two, sewing ‘in the ditch’ would be easy so I decided to see how easy it actually was.

Now, this is strategic posing on my part to hide how unstraight those lines are, but if you look really closely you can tell. To prove it, I have a picture taken closer up just below this.

I’m a little embarrassed to even post these because the seams are all over the place. What’s so crazy I was going slow so I could have better control of where my seam was going and yet it still ended up swerving a bit.

In my first two projects, some mini quilts, I used the Ideal Seam Guides to quilt. My blocks didn’t line up perfectly so the straight seam didn’t stay in the ditch, but it didn’t matter because the seam that was showing was perfectly straight. It didn’t detract from the over all finished look. These crooked seams are distracting.

It’s easy to say that it’s faster to just sew free hand and follow the existing seams than it is to line up the guide with each seam you’re going to follow, but it’s not. When I use the guide it does take a little bit longer to make sure it’s straight, but once it’s ready to go I can run my sewing machine at a faster speed because I don’t have to worry about it swerving. I sewed so slowly to stay “straight” without the guides it took even longer to sew than it would have with the guides and the results are not as good.

I will be working on the second stage of quilting this next week and I’ll be using the guides. I’ll always be using the guides from here on out. My curiosity was satisfied. I’m glad I know, but I don’t ever want to do that again.

This week I also started to plan out the heart stockings I’ll be making for my family to use next Valentine’s Day.

My outline is pretty rough. I just threw it together so I could get an idea of how much fabric I was going to need. It’s not pretty, but it worked.

I’m fighting the urge to sit down and redo the whole thing with straight lines and to scale, but I don’t know how necessary that is.

How do you plan out your projects that you don’t have an existing pattern for? Do you sketch it out? If you do, do you try to keep it as even as possible or do you just draw it fast on a piece of paper like I did? This is my first planned project from beginning to end and I’m loving it. How can I improve before I plan my next project?

I hope everyone has a great weekend and that you find plenty of time to sew!