Sunday, July 28, 2013

Marcus Fabrics Follow-Up

When I got home from vacation the other day I found a package on my porch with a surprise in it.

The person from Marcus Fabrics who called me a few weeks ago sent me a "make-up" gift - ten half yards from their Scarlet Evening line.

I printed off one of their free patterns.  If I can decipher it, I guess I'll give it a shot.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

2013 Retreat Report

Our Clara's Quilting Cottage Retreat was in June and this year the theme was a 1950's sock hop.  

Retreat with these ladies is something I look forward to all year long and this year was no disappointment. 

One night we played a version of "Name that Tune".  We had to listen to a snippet of a 50's, 60's or 70's song and see who could name the song and the recording artist before someone else.  I'm not any good at games like that because, well, the memory isn't at all what it used to be, but I do listen to 60's music all the time in my car so I finally identified a Herman and the Hermits' song.  Yay, me!!   The surprise of the night was Jan.  She was naming off songs and artists right and left, and she was rewarded with a pair of fuzzy dice.

She told me that the secret to her success is all the ukelele music she has been playing since she learned how to play down in The Villages this past winter!

Our challenge this year was "Neutrals with a Kick."  My two favorites were Mary's ...

 ... and Jan's.

Jan's was already pin basted and ready to quilt.  She has this crazy idea that one it supposed to completely finish one quilt before starting another one.  And she calls herself a quilter!  Sheesh!!

Some of the gals had a lot of fun dressing up .

We had a hula hoop contest, bubble gum blowing contest, drank root beer floats, and really enjoyed the "yearbooks" Gayle made for us using the photos we had sent to her from our high school years.

One of my favorite quilts was Rita's version of the popular "Eat. Play. Sleep. Repeat." Baby Quilt you may have seen on Pinterest recently.  Of course, Rita always has to put her own spin on things......

A major highlight for me was the huge pile of pillowcases we made for Cardinal Glennon Children's Hospital in St. Louis.  We had 172 pillowcases turned in this year.  

I know how much these pillowcases mean to the young patients there.  A huge thank you to everyone who participated!!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

And All is Right With the World!

After I wrote this blog about the pre-cut kit that ruined a whole day of my retreat in June, I emailed both Marcus Fabricswho manufactured the kit, and Hancock's of Paducahwho sold the kit.)

Within 4 hours I had a response from HoP offering me a full credit in the form of a store voucher, even though they were in no way responsible for the quality of the merchandise they had sold.  I refused their offer for just that reason, but Justin Hancock still insisted I at least take their offer of free shipping on my next order.  I doubt I will take that either, but the next time I am in Paducah I want to shake that man's hand!  What excellent customer service!!

About three days later I received a response from Marcus apologizing, informing me that they were aware of the problem, were cutting new kits, and that I could exchange it at the retailer in August.  I thought the reply was a little cold and impersonal so I told them so in a follow-up email.  Today, I received a personal call from them.  I guess they do want me to be a happy customer.   I'm still hesitant to use another one of their products.  You know, "Once burned, twice shy" and all that.  I did think it was only fair to let you know about their response, though since I told you about the problem.  

I am not the kind of person who writes complaint letters at the drop of a hat, being generally pretty good at giving people the benefit of the doubt.   I would much rather write letters of praise and let companies know how much I appreciate their product or their service, and I often do.  One thing is certain.   It's a lot more fun to be in that position!!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

My New Project for June -- A Disaster!

It's time already to report on my NewFo for June.  I thought this would be one project I could start and complete pretty quickly.  I was really excited about working it with my friend Rose Mary at retreat last month.  We had seen this kit for "Rainbow Square" and pre-ordered it from Hancock's of Paducah.  

Looks pretty simple, right?

The first problem was with the pattern itself.  The wording was so vague on Step 1 that everyone who read it thought it meant something different.  Even Ruthie (who has actually tested patterns for a quilt magazine) had trouble figuring it out.  We did a lot of ripping on Step 1.  

No matter how carefully I stitched my 1/4" seams, the strip sets were wonky.  Look at how much difference there is between the ends and the middle of this strip set.  

It was at that point when I pulled THIS strip from the jelly roll.

REALLY, Marcus Fabrics?!?!? This is a 2.5" strip that will work out to be an accurate quilt block?  No wonder everything was turning out wonky!  

At this point I was hoping to still make the blocks turn out true - somehow. After all, this wasn't the first time a wonky-block-gauntlet was thrown in my path.  I could probably still make it work.  The next Step was to sub-cut, rearrange, and sew back together.  Like this -

Hmmm.  I might be able to get those seam allowances to line up better, if I "ooch and skooch" a little, right?

Wrong -- more ripping!

I still wanted to save this project.  I decided to cut the binding fabric and use that for the insert strips instead.   Time to go "out of the box."

Yikes!  That is so far off, I don't know if there is any saving it.  

I know the seams are accurate.  I am pretty exact in my sewing.  In fact Angela from Quilted Joy doesn't even measure my quilts before she puts them onto her long arm because they are always precise and well pieced.  

I guess it is time to contact Marcus Fabrics.  In the mean time, no more pre-cut kits for me! 

I am linking up with Barbara at Cat Patches.  I hope the other stitchers in the NewFo Challenge had more success in June than I did!