I find that more and more I do not like precuts. Have you used them?
Currently, I am also challenging myself to complete 1 UFO a month. Don’t mistake that I mean that I will get this item quilted and bound (I have a few that will take longer than a month to do….mainly because they are appliqué). What I’m trying to do is get some projects one step closer to being finished and if I can get the top completed it can join the others in my to-be-quilted pile. I have way more than 12 UFO’s that are in need of completion and a journal full of ideas looking to be started. I would like to get some of my UFO’s finished (or close to it and for the record I am counting my to-be-quilted pile as close to it) so I could perhaps pare down my storage needs in my sewing room. Why? Aside from the fact that I still enjoy most of these projects and that I have a ridiculous amount of UFO’s in need of finishing, I found a table that I think I must have. It looks to be the perfect height for a designated cutting table and with a little work a top could be framed to go over it to make a large pressing table. Where did I find such a table? Harbor Freight. Actually, I saw it online and need to pop in to the store to see if they have one so I can make doubly sure that it is what I’m looking for. I’m also hoping that as it is a workbench that I won’t need to add the vice on the end. I don’t believe that I really need that…. I’m sure you are curious as to what it looks like and I’m always happy for show and tell. You can see it here.
Back to precuts. The first UFO I grabbed to work on is a block of the month from Joann Fabrics that is a series of precut block kits. I originally started this at a retreat. I opened the first kit and discovered that some of the pieces were off by 1/4″. So, I put it back in the bag and went to the second block. I managed to complete it and go to the third before I quit because of cutting errors. This left me with some decisions to make and the first one was whether or not to replace the pieces that were short or do some fudging and make what I had work. Of course I couldn’t find a color that seemed suitable in my stash so I opted to go with the fudging it method. My goal for this month was to get the blocks completed. There is a setting kit that goes along with the blocks, but as I purchased my blocks on clearance there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to get the setting kit. So, once I get the blocks complete I’ll have to decide whether or not to try to replicate their setting or come up with my own. If you are curious, you can see a picture of it here.
Again, back to precuts. I was quite disappointed when I opened that first kit. I didn’t anticipate that the first block would have issues. I was continually disappointed through the rest of the kits. Each block is framed in a border so I made sure that my blocks were 12 1/2″ square before adding the first sides of that border. More often than not they were not quite 12 1/2″ in length and more often than not the final two sides were not cut to 16 1/2″. I spent more time easing or stretching than not. Now, don’t get me wrong, I realize that this is not “quilt shop” quality fabric and it may seem that I am expecting a bit much. I just think it would be easier if they just packed a fat quarter of the appropriate fabrics and let us cut our own pieces.
Realistically, these are pieces that are being cut in mass quantities and there are bound to be mistakes. The same errors (which can be due to fabric shifting, fabrics not laying straight, a piece being just short, mechanical error) can be seen in “quilt shop” quality jelly rolls and charm packs. I’ve seen some jelly rolls where fabric was at an angle or wasn’t quite wide enough and the strips were not fully usable. I get it, it does happen.
However, this is why I don’t like precuts. I don’t want to get something home and be in the middle of the project and discover that my precuts aren’t going to work. Or get my block kits home and find out that my blocks may or may not go together with the fabric provided. It seems (to me) that there is a greater potential for error – it may not be an error that is large but the precuts may not measure true to size indicated.
This isn’t to say that I don’t make mistakes in my cutting. However, if I’m paying a little extra for the fabric to be pre-cut, I kind of expect it to be accurate. Maybe that makes me sound unreasonable. I guess I should really just classify it a mild annoyance and stay away from the precuts. However, I do have one more of these precut block of the month kits after this one (actually I have a couple more that are lounging in my UFO’s waiting to be completed). I get the ease of being able to just start sewing is something that draws us in. That’s what drew me to the precut kits in the first place. As it stands, I am one block away from completing the 12 blocks. When I get some time I will do a little research to see if I can come up with the setting kit or the instructions for it, but my goal for this UFO will be complete. I really am just trying to nudge some of them closer to being complete. I have a couple of them that just need borders so I am looking for ward to getting those complete. Maybe if I’m lucky I’ll be able to complete more than 1 UFO goal a month. I certainly have lots to choose from. As for the rest, I really am leery about purchasing precuts. They certainly are convenient, but they really just are not for me.
See you next Monday!