1. If you’re thinking about making a bunch of quilts for your son and soon-to-be daughter-in-law for them to give as gifts to their wedding attendants, stop it. Do not think those thoughts anymore. Seriously. Knock it off, right this minute.
2. But if you can’t stop yourself from thinking about it, for god’s sake keep your crazy thoughts to yourself. Do not, under any circumstances, give voice to the insanity raging in your brain.
3. You just had to do it, didn’t you? Can’t keep your goddamn mouth shut for nothing. But it seemed such a perfect idea. The quilts could be used for seating during the picnic rehearsal dinner your husband has planned and afterward, surprise! Everybody take a quilt. As a matter of fact, before you even start thinking about making quilts, when your husband suggests a picnic rehearsal dinner, tell him he’s a fucking lunatic. Punch him in the nuts for good measure. Then tell him to book a damn banquet room somewhere. It’s 104 degrees in Arkansas at the end of June. There. Now you don’t even have a reason to think of making quilts.
4. When you ask your husband if the household budget can support the expense for the materials for all these quilts and he says yes, don’t, under any circumstances, believe him. Remember that you have never had enough money to afford to complete any project either of you have ever undertaken, and while you’re at it, recall that some household catastrophe always strikes just when you’re strapped for cash most. Like both your vehicles blowing up within a week of each other [this really happened, by the way].
5. WHY WON’T YOU LISTEN TO ME??? YOU NEVER LISTEN TO ME. Now you’ve done it. With the (totally bogus) green light regarding the financial needs, you just have to go and tell your future daughter-in-law about this grand notion, and she says, yes, that sounds good. Good, she said. Not “great,” not “wonderful.” Just “good.” Your son is even less enthusiastic. That should have been plenty to convince you to scrap the idea right then and there. No one is going to appreciate the expense and effort than goes into making a quilt. So why bother?
6. Oh, but you just know that when people SEE these quilts, they’ll be falling all over themselves with gratitude. “You made me quilt? That is the most awesome thing EVER.” Like I was when my Great Aunt Merle presented me with a quilt she had made when I graduated from high school. I slept with that quilt until it fell to pieces, and I miss it still. So, anyway, you fucking hardheaded twit, go ahead and start planning your quilts. Microsoft Excel is an excellent program for drawing out quilt pattern. 2.21 column width will give you nice little squares with which to work, and you can draw borders around multiple squares and fill them with color and copy and paste and even make diagonal lines for triangles, but you’re making EIGHT QUILTS, so keep them simple, stupid. You can’t plot out curved pieces in Excel, but who the fuck wants to make a goddamn hokey Dresden plate or fucking wedding ring quilt? Fuck that shit.
7. Don’t make quilts that have a prime number for the number of rows or column. Seven is a very bad number. So is eleven. Nine is a much better number. Ignore me and see what a pain in the ass putting together a quilt with seven rows is.
8. Make quilts with big blocks. The bigger the better. Who cares if they look boring and amateurish? No one is going to adequately appreciate them anyway.
9. And borders? Sure, they add a little extra pizzazz and a finished look to your quilts edges, but fuck borders. It is a terrible, terrible feeling to be congratulating yourself at three in the morning—“That bitch is done, at least,”—and then remember that you STILL HAVE TO SEW ON THE GODDAMN MOTHERFUCKING BORDER PIECES.
I just realized you can never spell “pizzazz” in a game of Words with Friends. But if you could, how awesome would that be? I just scored a kazillion points. Game. Over. Motherfucker.
10. So how long did you fuck around deciding and designing what kind of quilts you were going to make? A hell of a lot longer than you thought you would, right? Right. So, take the time you estimate it will take you to make these quilts—the cutting, the piecing, the layering, the quilting, and the binding–and multiply that shit by 3. At least. And then multiply by 3 again for good measure.
11. So now that you have a reasonable estimation of the time required for this ridiculous project, if by, say, Memorial Day you don’t have your needed materials and thus have not started on said project, and the rehearsal dinner is on, oh, say, June 29, it really is in your best interest to make a new plan. RENT A ROOM. GET THE BRIDESMAIDS AND GROOMSMEN $50 GIFT CARDS TO THE LIQUOR STORE. THEY’LL LIKE THAT MORE, ANYWAY (except that one boy, who doesn’t drink), AND YOU’LL COME OUT CHEAPER TO BOOT.
12. Do NOT, under any circumstances, tell yourself, Oh, I can do this. Sure it’ll be a crunch, but I totally got this, because you’re feeling all nostalgic about those last three weeks of your sophomore year in college when you and your best friend partied every night until three a.m., came home and worked on all the projects you’d been assigned since the first of the semester (but somehow never got around to starting) until time for class at 8, went to class all day, came home and napped for a couple of hours, got up, ate dinner and got all slutted up to go out and party all night again. It was a bad plan then and it’s a worse plan now because YOU ARE NOT TWENTY YEARS OLD ANYMORE, JACKASS.
13. Buy a real pincushion. Yes, I know that magnetic pin holder seemed like such a fantastic invention at the time when you thinking of all the seconds you could save by not having to actually push a pin into a cushion, and it’s true it’s pretty cool to just toss pins in the general direction of the holder as you’re removing them from the quilt pieces and have them magically cling to their rightful place, but trust me, you’re going to knock that pin holder off the table at least once a day and often more times than that, and pins are going to go EVERYWHERE. That thing is a fucking pin cluster bomb, and there goes all that precious time you imagined you were going to save while you’re down on your hands and knees grabbing pins off the floor with your precious magical magnetic pin holder.
14. Don’t scream at your best friend. It’s not her fault you’re in this predicament. In fact, she strongly (and loudly) advised you against it from the start. Never mind that you keep her Hellbaby every weekend and stopped what you were doing long enough to wrap that giant birthday present for her nephew because she couldn’t find a gift bag big enough and she couldn’t actually wrap a present if her life depended on it, and she only asked because “It’ll only take you five minutes,” which just shows how little she knows about wrapping ginormous boxes, and her husband was being an asshole grump the whole time and you don’t even know why he came with her because he had to be at work in less than an hour. But because she’s your friend and understands breakdowns since she has them every now and then herself, she’ll overlook that you called her a selfish fucking cunt and change her plans and come help you as best she can.
15. So don’t be surprised and dismayed when her seam pressing is not up to your standards, as you have often heard her proclaim, proudly and defiantly, that she is not the least bit crafty. She says, “I’m not crafty” the way other people might say, “I’m not diseased.”
16. As a matter of fact, just quit having standards. You don’t have time to be picky. You are going to make mistakes, because you are exhausted and hungry and thirsty and sore and Losing Your Shit, but you’re just going to have to let it go. You certainly don’t have time for do-overs. Hide your seam ripper in case you’re tempted. You can return to your perfectionist ways when this is all over. No one’s going to know about or notice any boo-boos if you don’t point them out, so keep your goddamn mouth shut, you witless fucktard. And no one wanted these quilts in the first damn place; they’d rather have the liquor gift cards, remember?
17. And when Hellbaby insists on dancing on your work table and flings quilt pieces and takes all the pins off the pin holder (which she would not be able to do if you had a real pincushion like I told you get in the first damn place), just laugh. Might as well. You’re too worn out to do anything else.
We don't have time for your adorable antics, Hellbaby. Now get the hell off my table before I fucking kill you.
18. For the love god, don’t decide to get all cute and creative with your piecing mid-quilt. So what if you’re tired of the blocks all going the same way. Too bad you’ve suddenly realized those stripes would look better if you turned them on their sides. It’s too damn late for that shit, like, six weeks ago. Trust me, you’ll end up ripping seams out, because it’s hard enough to keep pieces in the same order, particularly with a Hellbaby tossing them in the air like confetti, but if you go changing up the arrangement midstream, you’ll be ripping shit out later, and you don’t have time for that shit and you hid your seam ripper besides. Quilts are like puzzles in that the pieces have to go a certain way, but they are more like model airplanes in that if you go off trying to stick tab A into slot B, not only is the plane not going together right, that fucker is going to crash and burn.
19. Along the same lines, don’t try to take shortcuts. Stick to the original plan. You can’t cut sixteen squares at once, you can’t eyeball that shit so get the fucking ruler and measure, you dumbass, and don’t even think you can get away with not pinning something. All of these seem like timesavers, but down that path lies madness, because what they actually are are tragedy makers. Just. Say. No.
20. Don’t plan on getting any sleep. Or eating. Or drinking. But try to eat and drink, because not doing so will only make your tireder. And sick. Your meals should be something you can eat with one hand while pushing quilt pieces through the sewing machine with the other. And make someone else prepare them. Use any means necessary to make this happen. Cry, scream, curse, threaten, cajole, bribe, blackmail, because you don’t have time to be goddamn Julia Child.
21. Don’t take breaks to read A Dance with Dragons, even if you do have only 30 pages left and you’re dying to see that cunt whore Cersei Lannister get hers at last. Don’t take any breaks. You can pee, if you must. That’s a good time to jot notes for a blog post on your phone to help others avoid your folly.
22. That thing about not sewing over pins? Screw that. Get these thin pins that say “made for machine piecing.” You probably still shouldn’t sew over them, and you will occasionally hit a pin with your needle, but it’s an enormous time saver to speed right over them and take them out after.
23. Also, that old adage “Measure twice, cut once”? Fuck that noise. You can measure four times or forty times, and still you’re going to fuck up when cutting that much fabric and have to buy more. So don’t waste your time measuring twice in the first damn place.
24. Speaking of having to buy fabric, when you’re selecting your fabric, make sure there’s plenty left on the bolt after your purchase so the store will still have some when you inevitably fuck up and have to buy more. And measure the fabric after it’s been cut while you’re still in the fabric store, at the cutting table, because no one knows how to measure anything anymore and the people who work in fabric departments are a bunch of yay-hoos who don’t even know how to thread a needle (What? A third of a yard? That’s like, three inches, right?). Better yet, just buy extra fabric. However much you think you need, add a yard. Or two. You can always tell yourself you’ll use any leftovers for some other project later, even though you know you totally never will.
25. DO viciously spray your dogs in the face with a water pistol whenever they bark at a passing Fed Ex truck, cartoon dogs on TV, the light fixture, their water bowl, the floor, the invisible intruder. . . You will find this amazingly satisfying in your savage sleep-deprived state.
There. If sharing my experience can save just one person from these perils, my sufferings will all have been worth it.
Bullshit. I want a two-hour massage and a case of wine and a hundred hour nap. THEN my sufferings might have been worth it.