I need a swift kick

Why is it that when we have so many things to do, we freeze?  Well, I freeze.  I’m about to run off on a four-day quilting retreat.  Nothing but eat, sleep, and quilt.  We stay at Silver Falls and our meals are prepared, our rooms are tidied, beds made, fresh towels supplied every day.  We can sew for 24/4 if we want.  Before I go, I need to clean the house for my house/pet sitter (a challenge, since I’ve been cleaning up after a sick kitty with the broom, mop, and Bissell Green Machine for several days), I need to vacuum the car, wash the inside of the windshield (which has become very streaky), organize my project(s) for retreat, and finish up some quilts before I go.  What am I doing?  Aimlessly sitting here blog surfing and now posting to my blog myself.  Ack!  Someone please yell at me.  I have less than 24 hours to prepare and I can’t detach my butt from the couch!  Well, that’s not totally true.  I have the dishwasher running and I’ve got my second load of laundry in the wash, but I still need to move it, move it, move it!  Where’s Gomer’s Sarge when you need him?  Okay.  I’m going to print off my packing list and attempt to move my sorry carcass.  I’ll check back later to let you know if I’ve been successful or not.  I guess I’m returning to the Queen of Lazy (or over-whelmed) again.

The A word!

For many quilters, applique’ is a curse word.  Well, a word we curse, anyway.  I’ve been doing applique’ for a long time.  Mostly raw edge, but occasional needle turn.  I’ve never been all that good at it.  So, while I was at MQX this year, I signed up for an applique class with the fabulous Sharon Schamber.  For those of you who aren’t hep to all things quilting-world-wise, Sharon is an artist who has won Best of Show at Houston (biggest International Quilt Show in the US) three — count ’em — THREE times.  For those of you who aren’t quilters, you may understand the magnitude of this when I tell you that Best of Show includes a monetary award of $10,000.  Them’s no small potatoes, and if you’ve ever seen Sharon’s quilts close up, you’d know that her quilts are worth every cent and then some.  Her class at MQX was based on the block design of her Scarlett Serenade quilt, which, if I remember correctly, won BOS in Houston the year I went – 2005.  Sharon’s technique really works for me.  We had time to get it all cut out and glued (yes, that’s glued!) down in class, and I finished the stitching yesterday and washed it.  Here is the result.  I can’t wait to draw something up and have a go at an original quilt of my own!  Applique’ is no longer the A-word for me.

It hardly seems possible

Forty-five years ago today I lost the most important people in my life.















Neither of them had yet even reached the age of 45.  How can they have been gone for so long?  How can I miss them so much still?  I can still hear my mother singing to me, I can still feel the scratch of my dad’s five o’clock shadow on my face.  They had their flaws, as we all do, but they were good people.  I remember them with fondness but will not dwell on the sadness.  I’m grateful for the presence of two of God’s angels in my life, even if they were only here for a short while.

Off to crank the tunes and get on with the day.  I love you Mom and Dad.

Making the change

from the Queen of Lazy to Ms. Industrious.  It’s not going to be easy.  I’ve been relaxed and fulfilled in my roll as the sloth of Eugene.  It is, however, time to get busy.  I have quilts to do, I have projects to make for the holiday bazaar, I need to get ready for another quilting retreat next weekend.  My house is a disaster (as usual).  The rug needs shampooing, the couch needs recovering, the floor needs scrubbing, I need to make insulated curtains for the windows to keep the drafts out this winter, and I need to do some calking on the north side of the house, as I seem to have a leak in the siding near the bathroom window.  So, I’ve been up since 7:00, have laundry going, dishwasher is running, beef stew is in the crockpot (smells great), scraps have been taken to the compost bin, the dog and I have had a walk, I’ve got a quilt loaded, and I have fabric washed which will go on after a couple of quilts to make candle matts, table runners, and pot holders for the bazaar.  I knitted half of a Cranford mitt yesterday and will most likely finish it up today while IQ is stitching for me.  I have guild tonight.  I’m off on a good pace, but hope I can keep it going.  No rest for the wicked!

It figures!

Everyone was here for MQX last week and the weather was cold and drizzly.  I had told everyone that we usually have such nice Indian Summers in the Pacific Northwest, and I’m sure they all thought I had been lying to them (or full of it, as I usually am), but now that they’ve all gone home, the weather is spectacular.  I had to go to Portland again today to see my endocrinologist.  Since his office is up on the hill at OHSU, I stop at the Center for Health and Healing down by the freeway and take the tram up to the campus.  It’s just a lot easier than trying to drive up there.  It was such a gorgeous, sunny, and clear day that you could see Mount St Helens, Mt Hood, and just the top of Mt Baker while up in the tram.  Ozzie and I stopped at a rest area on the way back home and it was one of those wonderful fall days that makes you feel like getting back in the car and just taking off on an adventure.  Going exploring and just seeing where you end up.  Oh well.  I knew I had things I needed to get done back at the house (including getting some quilts done so I can pay the dang doctor bills), so I came home.  I’ll try and post some pictures, but I reactivated my Droid (the LG phone I got as a replacement was a nightmare) and it’s not letting me email my pictures to myself for some reason.  They’re a bit fuzzy — the Droid doesn’t have the same image stabilization my Pentax has, but they came out pretty well anyway.  Sunny, not a cloud in the sky and 74º.  What a beautiful day it was.

Honey, I’m home!

I got home rather late last night from MQX.  We had planned to come home this morning, but my friend’s husband was down with a bad bout of asthma, so he asked if she could come home early.  It worked out okay, except for the spells of torrential rain part way down the freeway in the dark.  Sometimes having a small SUV is a really good idea.  I remember when my little Civic would hydroplane a bit on the road.  The CRV stays firmly planted and plows on through.

So, what can I tell you about the show?  It was FABULOUS!  I learned so much about how to use my Intelliquilter.  I’d already been doing a fairly good job of figuring it out — mix a fairly free-thinking quilter and computer geek with a quilting computer, and you get lots of play — but now I have some fairly solid tips and tricks for doing things to make them easier.  I can barely wait to get started on some new projects and some customer quilts, but I think I may actually wait till tomorrow to stitch.  I may load a quilt tonight, but I am just. plain. tired.  Can’t handle all this volunteering, class taking, photographing, hugging friends, chatting up a storm, eating, laughing, walking around town (and gawking at the drag queens attending the Coronation at our hotel), as well as I could when I was younger.  The drag queens, by the way, were fabulous.  Dressed to the nines, perfect coiffures, sparkle and dazzle everywhere, and they were also very friendly.  Anyway, the show was like old home week with lots of new stuff thrown in.  Not only did I learn IQ stuff, I had an applique’ class with the wonderful Sharon Schamber, and I’m so excited to do a new project.  I was doing okay with my applique’, but had been experimenting with some techniques, trying to find a better potato peeler, when Sharon opened my eyes.  My little project, though done in a hurry, looks great.  I’ll get around to posting pictures soon, but Vince is demanding a whole week’s worth of petting in short order, Ozzie wants to play ball (and needs a bath after his morning walk with his cousin Kallie), and Junior is actually feeling well enough to run about and play with them both.  It’s always nice when the kids miss you when you’re away.

A recurring obsession

You all know that I quilt.  I’m not very prolific, but I do love to sew and I love to quilt.  When I was young, I had a grandmother (my dad’s mom) who was into all sorts of crafts.  She taught me to knit, crochet, and embroider.  Every once in a while, I get the urge to do either of those things again.  Judy (www.patchworktimes.com) got me interested in knitting again.  She’s posted lots of sock knitting (I’ve not been real successful with socks, but I’m still trying), and about a week ago, she posted a pattern for a really cute cardigan sweater.  I got the free pattern off the internet and ordered some yarn so I could start making it.  Now, a sweater is a big project.  I have three Icelandic Sweaters I knit several years ago, but I’ve not done a whole lot of knitting since.  So, I decided I should do a small project first just to warm myself up for knitting the sweater.  Another purpose the first project will serve is to get me to relax my knitting, as I have a tendency to knit too tightly right off the bat.  So, while I need the sweater to keep me warm, the weather has already started to cool substantially here, so I decided I’d need something to keep my hands warm while I knit.  I’ve just started knitting a pair of Cranford Mitts – a free pattern by Jane Lithgow – and I am absolutely loving the yarn (and needles) I’m using.  I stopped into The Knit Shop here in Eugene and picked up some Malabrigo Super Wash Sock yarn in Azules (blues) and a set of Knit Picks Harmony Wood DPNs.  It’s a real pleasure so far to knit with these.  I start the pattern part (just have the little bottom cuff done) in the morning.  I’m a bit sleepy now, so no yarn overs and pass the slip stitch over now.  I’ll do it after coffee in the morning.  In the meanwhile, here is a photo of Jane’s Mitts.  Mine are all of the same yarn, no different color on the ribbing.  I love the BBC Cranford Series, and I’ll feel really attached to Miss Matty and Miss Octavia and Mrs. Forrester as I wear them.


How do you know when you’ve been quilting too much?  I finished a quilt last night and needed to deliver it to my client today.  I finished the quilt and 2 a.m. and had been playing with a few things on the IQ this morning.  As I was driving up the freeway, my brain kept saying, “Oh no, we’re about to run out of bobbin thread!”  I honestly thought I was hearing bobbin rattle.  I guess that’s better than special voices?  Anyway, I got to my destination, delivered the quilt (which my client loved), and on the way home, everything was quiet.  I guess it’s good to know there’s nothing wrong with the car that’s making that noise, but I do worry that I really thought I heard bobbin rattle on the way to Junction City!  I think I’ll knit for the rest of the day!

It’s a miracle!

Two days till I go to MQX and I’m all caught up!  Well, on quilting other peoples’ quilts that is.  I still have to finish making Mike’s quilt, I have holiday bazaar stuff to make, the house is a pit, I have to shop, I have to pack, but — the promised quilts are done!  I may even get one ahead before I go.  I have three in the queue that are already here (a few I’ll need to pick up when I get back), but I think I can get one of them done before I leave.  These were all promised for the end of October, so I’m golden!  Yeah!

I’ll try to post pics of the last quilt I did in the next few days.  It was a fairy panel quilt and the client wanted fairies and butterflies.  I got to play with the IQ and I had the best time quilting it.  What fun!

I had to give in

Well, the furnace is running and the house is warming up.  It got down to 39º last night (at 3 a.m.) and was only 42º when I got up this morning.  It was 63º in the house, so I finally turned the heat on.  I’d been trying to get away without using it yet, but I’m just too cold.  I’ve been desperately trying to clear away my quilting backlog and, if I get my butt off this computer and get upstairs and finish the quilt on the frame, I’ll be back on schedule today.  Of course, I’ll be away all next week at MQX, but that means I have to clean the house up so my sister won’t be totally grossed out when she comes to stay with my animals.  At least there is one big incentive for her here – she’s been waiting for her husband to clear his art supplies out of their upstairs loft so she can use it as her sewing room, but they are still waiting on the flooring for their yurt (to whence the art supplies are moving).  She will be able to come and use my sewing room for the week I’m gone, while she takes Ozzie for walks and feeds the kitties.  I’m hoping Junior behaves himself and neither bites her nor has too many accidents.  He had another this morning, but at least it was on the wood floor and not on the rug!  I get tired of cleaning up after him.  He has good days and some not-so-good.

So, I’d best get off this computer and finish up that quilt.  I still have to assemble my supplies for one class I’m taking with Sharon Schamber (can’t wait to see her again!) and pack for MQX.  It will be so nice to see friends from all over the world again.  Plus, I’ll actually get to meet a few that I’ve only corresponded with for ages.  Here we go!