Very Short Term Memory Loss

If you’ve ever seen the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind” you know how I’ve felt the past week. If you haven’t, let me explain. About a week ago I began to work on a long delayed paper templates project that I designed from a drawing. Here’s the genesis of the drawing.

I believe the final result succeeded in abstracting the object.

I enlarged my drawing and made freezer paper templates for the pieces. Each piece was carefully numbered and color coded, and the sewing order was worked out. The idea was the actual sewing would be a no brainer, just cut out and join the pieces in the already numbered sequence.

I selected a white, gray and black palette, with one color. Originally that color was to be green, but I didn’t like that and ended up using a very muted red.

On day one of sewing I used my master drawing for the big picture and cut out the freezer paper pieces. I ironed the freezer paper to my fabrics and cut out the pieces, leaving a quarter inch seam allowance. Then I saw I forgot to mirror image my freezer paper, and the freezer paper was on the inside, not the outside, of my fabric pieces when I put them together to sew.  I remade the freezer paper templates for my first section, reversing the image this time.

On day two I moved on to the second section. After cutting out two pieces of fabric I realized I forgot to remake the freezer paper pieces, so I stopped and redid the templates for section 2. Then, I ironed the now correctly mirror imaged pieces to my fabrics. Oops, I ironed them to the wrong (right) side of the fabric so I peeled off the pieces and began again, ironing the paper to the correct side (which is the wrong side) of the fabric.

Days three and four were a repeat of day two, only with the third and fourth sections. Apparently my brain was reset each night and failed to remember the mirror image reversal needed. At least I discovered my mistake sooner on days three and four and wasted less fabric. I did spend time each day holding two pieces of fabric up and thinking, which way do they go now?

I resewed section four three times as I changed my mind about the color, so I got lots of practice in ironing the templates to the correct side of the fabric.

In defense of paper piecing, you have less chance of repeating your errors if you’re sewing to one paper pattern than if you’re using individual templates. In further defense, I’m sure the templates technique works better if you have a properly functioning brain that doesn’t delete hard won knowledge overnight.

The final top has a few additions because the cut and dried path didn’t work so well for me. So much for advance planning.



Filed under Commentary, In Process, Techniques

14 responses to “Very Short Term Memory Loss

  1. I am very impressed that you persevered through all this–I was getting very tense just reading about the process!

  2. Barbara

    I often hold my work up to a mirror to make sure it is balanced, you can often spot issues more easily that way. I took your pic and flipped it in software, It looks just as great flipped. Being lazy and fond of serendipity, I think I would have gone with the original “mistake.”

    • Where were you when I screwed up the first time? Yes, mirror imaging the whole thing would have been a lot easier, but I had already “fixed” the first section, so I had to continue down that path. I have no idea why I just didn’t go with what you suggest, except I had over committed to doing it like my templates once I had spent the time on them.

  3. Well, you had me laughing emphatically at “Oops” – been there, done that with the freezer paper. Your result is neat and as always interesting to see the original image and your process for abstracting it. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Jane

    Yikes! Sort of Eternal Sunshine meets 50 First Dates with a little Groundhog Day thrown in for good measure!! I’ve been there! So glad you persevered. I like the results, especially the soft red. Looking forward to seeing it in person, including to see how you quilt it.

    • Oh, you mean I have to quilt it now? Just kidding, though I haven’t a clue about how I might quilt it.

      • Jane

        My first and still favorite quilting teacher tells me to listen to the story my quilt tells me and I’ll find the answer to “how to quilt.” That works about half the time!! Failing that, bring it on first Monday and you’ll get all the clues you can handle and then some! 15 members, 30 (at minimum) opinions!

      • My usual method is to let the piece stay on my design wall until it shames me into making some quilting decisions.

  5. That sounds frustrating! I’ve had a similar experience this year but I can’t remember any of the details…

    I have a good friend who uses freezer paper to create templates for her patches, and then leaves the paper on when stitching. It shows the start and end points easily that way. Is that what you’ve done?

  6. This is why I don’t piece!!!!!! Raw edge applique is easier. Good luck.

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