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QA is a Good Thing

July 03, 2006

Pattern testing, and a new

The Futzing, Part 2 post is still in my currently bitchy and befuddled brain. Stay tuned...

L & I found two generous souls to help us by testing our quilting patterns. (This after being told in one of my classes that the cutting instructions were incorrect on a quilt that I'd made SEVEN times and having to pull all of the patterns from the racks, find the people who'd already bought them, and replace the instructions. sheesh) First hurdle was getting the pattern to "my" tester. The pdf file wouldn't open. Finally sent an MS Word doc. Then I get a call from my tester while I'm out *ahem* buying fabric and yarn, mentioning politely that I didn't send the cover, so she was just winging it on the amount of fabric to buy.

She showed up last week at church with the finished quilt top. It was bee-yoo-ti-ful. She then (again, very kindly) said that the instructions said to cut the border strips 10" shorter than was actually needed. (Our other wonder-tester said essentially the same thing. This is why we have testers, right?). She'd made notes on the MS Word version of the pattern and handed them over to me.


Her pattern had printed out with NO graphics. No cutting layouts, no color placement indication. Nothing but big blank areas where there should have been laboriously-created hand-holding step-by-step pictures. She is now officially my hero. I'm a little proud that our words were enough to keep her on the right track. Future patterns will be hand-delivered or mailed to her (WITH graphics and yardage requirements).

I took the top from her and brought it home to baste and machine quilt. The border fabric had little flower things that remind me of the old tole painting flowers, so I took those as inspiration and drew some tole-ish quilting patterns.

Oh, side trip: I thought I'd be clever and got some of that wash-away stabilizer, drew my quilting pattern on it and spray-basted it to the top of the quilt, figuring that I could just rinse it off. After doing the quilting, I began to tear away the excess stabilizer, figuring that only the fiddly and difficult bits should need rinsing. Wouldn't you know it, the stabilizer came off completely and cleanly with NO water needed. Well, at 8 bucks for a pack of 10 sheets (pre-40% off coupon, of course), I had a thought. I pulled out some thin, thin paper - a little thicker than tissue paper, thinner than the old typing paper - and drew a couple of motifs on it. Sprayed it, stuck it down, quilted through it. It worked even better than the stabilizer. The lesson here? I'm sure there is one. As it is, I'll keep the wash-away stuff for the next time I do feathers. Those usually have a bunch of fiddly and difficult bits.

This last Sunday I took the quilted quilt back to my friend/tester so that she could do the binding. She said, "I have just the place for it". Oops. I'm sure I mentioned it, but had to re-say, "Not for awhile, I hope - it needs to go on the road [as display with the patterns]."

As I'm handing it over I realize that I'd been so invested in the motif qulting that I totally skipped the center of the blocks! Ah, another side trip is on it's way. "Officially" Warm-N-Natural doesn't have to be quilted closer than 10". WellIAmHereToTellYou that It Ain't So. (I'd already figured that but now I have PROOF). The unquilted block centers, about 6-8" or so, were all puffy-like and, well, eeewww.

Thank goodness I'll be getting it back (at 9 a.m. on Wednesday at the restaurant in the nearest-to-me-town over a cup of coffee) so I can make it all better!


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