It’s been a while . . .

So pull up a chair and get comfy.  This is probably going to be long.  You don’t have to read it all if you don’t want to (trust me, no one is watching!)  😉  I can’t remember where exactly I left off.  Actually, I have trouble keeping track of much lately.  You all know I have this crumbling back and the surgeon’s in Eugene won’t do anything.  I was referred to a pain management doc for a spinal cord stimulator (what basically amounts to a pacemaker in your ass) — just another thing for me to lose the remote to!  No kidding.  You have a little remote control and when the pain gets too bad, you hit the button.  I wasn’t buying it.  I told the pain management doc’s office that if that was all they had to offer me, I wasn’t going to waste my time making an appointment.  I was assured they had other options, so I went.  Not only did they have nothing to offer me besides the stupid spinal cord stimulator, the doc made me arch my back several times, causing extreme pain.  I was ready to kick him.  SO, I went to Portland for a third (or is it fourth?) opinion, and the doctor there tells me he thinks he can help me.  Not only can he assist me, he thinks if I do nothing, I will get markedly worse.  Yipes.  So, I went to Portland last week for an MRI of my whole spine so we can determine if I can take the structural load of a fusion, and I go back to see him on Tuesday to see what he has to say.

In the meanwhile, back at the ranch, I haven’t be doing much quilting, but I have been participating in some quilting activities.  I drove up to Portland a couple of weeks ago for the pre-market show at Schenck’s.  I met my good friend Ronda and her mom, Jane (who owns Jane’s Fabric Patch in Tillamook) at Ronda’s and we drove over to the show and we had a lot of fun.  On the way back, we stopped at REI (Recreational Equipment, Inc) to see if they had any tiny parachute clips.  We thought Jane wanted them — she thought we wanted them — so it was a strange trip, but we had fun.  Ronda and I tried on the latest in winter gear, considering that our natural gas fees are to increase by 40% this winter, so we’ll have to suit up to be able to quilt and stay warm.  In this photo, Ronda models the latest in head gear.  You must pair this hat with a zebra print jacket and lime purse to be in fashion:

I also attended the Northwest Quilting Expo with Ronda and Jane.  Ronda won best of show and a couple of other ribbons for quilts she had quilted for others.  My friend Janet-Lee also won a ribbon for her beautiful Lone Star.  I perused the Intelliquilter at the show and am currently on their waiting list, trying to decide if I can afford it, or if I can afford NOT to get it, before January or February arrives.  The thing is, it does the most fun parts of quiting, but I think I may not be able to do much quilting at all without it.

This weekend turned out to be rather action and emotion-filled.  I started out with a little art quilt to do — my first quilting in ages — but with my usual procrastination factor.  The quilt is due October 1st, and I had not as yet started it.  I found out that sewing machines have feelings.  They get upset if you do not take them out to play every now and then.  I printed out a large photograph to use as the base of my quilt.  I glued it together, ala Sharon Schamber’s Piece-lique’ method, and decided to whip out my little featherweight to sew it, as my Bernina is in my new sewing cabinet in the room from hell with too much junk around it to open the cabinet.  My Featherweight refused to talk with me, since we had been so long apart.  The thread broke and broke and broke, so I got out the Bernina.  The presser foot refused to go down far enough to hold onto the fabric!  ARGH!  Not only do I have this quilt due on the 1st, but I am doing the binding demo at out guild show this weekend and I haven’t done the photos for the handout yet!  I need a machine!  So, off I go to my sister’s, use her machine, finish the top, bring it home and go to put it on my zippers to put on the longarm.  I switch on my little Willcox and Gibbs Chainstitch machine and POOF!  The motor blows.  OH MY GOD!!  Should I even turn on the longarm?  How much can a gal take?  I pinned a quilt on for the first time in my life.  That is TOO MUCH WORK!!  So, I got the quilt quilted, it is not bad from the top, but I will never show anyone the back.  The tension is horrible, but it will not be judged and it will not be displayed where the back can be seen.  Here is my little quilt:


In the midst of my quilting and frustration, I had been contacted by Kathy, a quilter with whom I have chatted on Machine Quilter’s Resource, to see if we could arrange to meet each other.  She lives about an hour south of me, but was due to be in Eugene, so we planned to meet.  Actually, we were going to meet on Thursday at the Quilt Expo, but that didn’t work out.  I took a break from quilting this morning to head for Elmer’s Restaurant in Springfield, to have a cup of coffee with Kathy.  We chatted for a while and she pulls out this big gift bag with the most amazing quilt in it.  It contains blocks sent in by other quilters to comfort me during my recovery from back surgery.  I was so shocked, so touched, I sat there and cried.  Here is a picture of this amazing quilt, which came with a matching pillow case and a gift certificate, and a jar of fresh peach jam!  Michelle Wyman was the driving force behind the quilt, and the batting was donated by Ronda Beyer and the backing came from my friends Janet-Lee Santeusanio and Mary Schilke.  There are so many quilters to thank, and I do, from the bottom of my heart:

I’ll close here, as I am just wiped out.  What a weekend.  Thank you all!