Busy doing nothing!

Just popping in to let you know that I’m still alive.  Life just seems to be very busy with nothing in particular lately.  We had an amazing 7.5″ of very heavy wet snow in Eugene on Wednesday, which brought down almost half of my huge silver maple tree in the back yard onto the roof of my back deck.  Ozzie loved romping in the snow.  I was in a big rush to finish a few customer quilts when I got back from retreat.  They are done and returned to their owners.  I’ve been out for walks and off to a longarm group meeting in Portland, along with some shopping at Fabric Depot and Ikea.  Now I need to finish up a neutrals fusion challenge for MQX East.  It’s pieced and ditched, just needs to be quilted, but my IQ is acting up and . . .  horror of horrors, I may have to actually quilt this thing myself!  Ack!  I apparently have an IQ tablet with known issues that has communication failure between the tablet screen and the software.  Quilting a sweatshirt jacket on Thursday, which should have taken about an hour, took five!  I had my first martini in ages after that.  Anyway . . . no rest for the wicked, so the WWW must be off.  Fly . . . FLY!!!!!

Home from retreat

Wow.  I thought I was tired before I left!  Well, it’s a good tired.  I sewed, I ripped, I laughed, I ate, I slept, I danced, I sewed some more, I ripped some more, I laughed some more.  I had so much fun.  It snowed!  It was so pretty.

We got there Thursday afternoon and after getting everything set up and ready to go, I was ready to go to bed at 7:30.  I’m usually a night owl, but I’d had such a trying week and then with getting packed up, I had worn myself out.  I went up to the lodge to read, but couldn’t keep my eyes open.  I got in bed but wasn’t comfortable, so kicked off the blankets and pulled my knees up to my chest to pop my back.  I awoke a few hours later with no blankets on.  I think I just passed out as soon as my back was comfortable.  I don’t even remember straightening my legs!

So, for the next three days, I worked on my triple feathered star.  I completed all the units, and got the middle assembled after a bit of a struggle.  Everyone but me thought it looked great.  I nailed each and every one of the feather points, but the star points are a bit wonky on a few of them and the middle has a few puckers that I can’t get to lie quite flat.  I can probably quilt them out, but the more I think of it, I think I’m going to consider this my practice unit and make another.  I’ve got the hang of it now, so I’ll just cut another center and perhaps frog out those 3/8″ half square triangles, as there is nothing wrong with those.  I’m just not real happy with the way it all came together.  The instructions are more visually oriented and, as you might be able to tell, I’m more of a verbal (really?) person.  Anyway, I haven’t unpacked the iron yet, so here it is, looking a bit more pucker-y than it actually is.  The second star unit is not sewn on, just placed so you can see what the next layer is like.  I’m not really sure I like the color arrangement either, so I make take the re-making of the center as a time to re-think the color placement.  Maybe a black and white star is the way to go?  ;D


Phew, am I whooped!

Well, I have a little of my energy back.  Or, should I say, I’m trying to pretend I have a bit of my energy back?  I had a really busy day today, and things won’t slow down all that much for some time.  I got up fairly early (think about 7:30), had coffee, read emails, visited a few blogs, and went upstairs to quilt.  The quilt on the frame has been kicking my butt, but it’s almost done.  I have some SID and CC to do on it — something I normally would have done at the very beginning, but that wasn’t the plan for quilting, and had to be added later on.  I have the borders designed and the corner elements in, just have to get them in but I figured I’d best do the SID on the small inner border first.  I worked on that till lunch time, then came down, threw the ball for the dog (it was another glorious day, and I so wanted a walk, but it couldn’t be fit in), had some lunch, ran down to Harbor Freight for a few quilting tools, stopped at BiMart for some spray starch, and came home to finish trimming the 264 HSTs I need for the feathered star class with Marsha McCloskey tomorrow.  I’m doing a triple feathered star, so I needed to be really precise.  I’ve been pressing, starching, squaring.  It’s amazing how long all that stuff takes.  I got home, finished loading the dishes, turned the dishwasher on, and headed back upstairs to the studio.  I’ve been preparing all the stuff for class this afternoon and evening.  Finally just loaded everything in the car.  It’s 11:40 and I am just spent.  Ozzie will go have a play date with Kallie tomorrow.  My brother will have no one to bite him when he arrives tomorrow to do a little work on the house, and I will be quilting away (if I’m not passed out on the table) at Our Sewing Room in Springfield.  I’ll have to leave class a bit early, as I need to meet a client who wants a quick all-over done.  I’ll get to it as soon as I pop the current quilt off (tomorrow night, maybe?) and then quilt a quilt for Jane.  Then the new client’s quilt, hopefully before I run off to retreat on Thursday.  Oh!  And I have to clean the house for the house/dog sitter before Thursday too.  Oy!  I don’t know how I’ll get it all done, but I’m exhausted, and I’m going to bed right now!!  Good night!

A magical day

I love my neighborhood.  I live in a hippie-central part of Eugene, known as the FAN — Friendly Area Neighborhood.  Ozzie and I left for our walk at noon.  The weather station (our receiver is in the shade out on the back porch) said it was 48°F, but the guy next door was power washing the moss off his roof without a shirt on (nah – he’s too young and skinny), so I decided to head out in just a sweatshirt over my tshirt and jeans.  Phew!  Really glad I didn’t wear my parka.  It is so freakin’ nice out there!  There is a house I pass almost every day on Madison Street where the tree (not a conifer) in the front yard is just loaded with ornaments.  Not strictly Christmas-type ornaments, but they do make up a good portion of the decoration.  Today, an older very hippie-looking couple were sitting in the front yard in adirondack chairs, holding hands and reading books.  They looked so very happy.  A few blocks later, there was a man casting out birdseed for the doves, crows, and squirrels that frequent his yard.  Oh!  This fellow also has a sign on the front of his house that says, “Hippies please use side door.”  Well, there is no front door to the house, but there is a door on each side.  I guess we know who lives there.  When we got to Friendly Park, there were quite a few people sprawled out in the sun on the grass.  I’m sure it was a bit damp still, but none of them seemed to care.  Several people were out walking their dogs or riding bikes, and everyone was all smiles and full of greetings, most of which included the question with the all-too-obvious answer:  “Isn’t it a beautiful day?”  I love days like these, when all is right with the world (well, our little corner of it anyway), and people are happy and kind to one another.  I’m hoping to see many more just like this.

The glorious cosmos

Darn.  I have so much to do, and mother nature is putting on such a nice show.  Last night’s moon was just fabulous.  Just shy of full, so tonight will be very special.  I love to bask in the moonlight, but it’s been a bit chill for that here.  This morning brought a bit of frozen fog, but is has burned off very quickly and it will be a wonderful sunny day.  I can’t see one cloud in the whole sky.  It’s only 26°F out, though, so Ozzie and I will wait till afternoon to get our walk in.  Today I need to finish the apple quilt (just a bit of SID and the borders to do), and make 264 HSTs.  I’m taking a class this weekend and figure I’d best get that part out of the way now, or I’ll get nothing done.  So – off I go.  Need to accomplish lots so I can get that walk in!

I’m going to scream!

Let’s get this straight from the very beginning.  I HATE politics.  I’m not fond of politicians either.  Most of them have more money than God and have no idea what it is like to live the average American life.  This is going to be a rant, so hold onto your shorts.  I think it will also be a mostly respectful, bipartisan rant, but you can let me know (hopefully, respectfully) if I get out of line.

I cannot believe the amount of hateful, nasty stuff that has occurred on the internet over the past week in response to Ms. Fluke’s (rhymes with book) testimony before congress.  Whether you are religious or not, Republican or Democrat, man or woman, what is covered by health insurance should be FAIR to everyone and not based on religious or social conventions.  Viagra is covered by health insurance.  Is this used simply for procreation?  I think not.  In the early 80s, when I was a young and fertile woman, my health care was provided by a company called Selectcare.  Selectcare was a company owned by PeaceHealth, a CATHOLIC hospital.  I was prescribed birth control because I had severe bleeding from endometriosis.  They wouldn’t pay for it.  Okay, I admit, I was occasionally having sex too (and I did enjoy it).  However, this same CATHOLIC HMO insurance covered abortions – at 100% by the way.  How is it that we can pay for erections and erasing men’s mistakes, and we cannot pay for medication that will help honest loving people control the size of their families or help a woman having reproductive problems?  And how do we justify leaping to conclusions and calling people nasty names and assuming they are standing on street corners with their skirts pulled up just because they’d like their insurance to help out with a medication?  I cannot believe the nastiness.

And now back to your regular quilting/knitting channel.  I’m not listening to news anymore for a few days and I’m not visiting CNN on the internet!

Talkin’ ’bout a revolution

well, ya know, we all want to change the world.  Can I get a few good warriors to join me in this fight?  What in the world is up with lingerie companies?  Those of us who have (ahem) slightly fuller figures, finally subject ourselves to the humiliation of going to the giant department store or the lingerie shop when they have a fitter there, get measured, try on bra after bra after bra, and FINALLY find the one that is a perfect fit and that we can bear to be strapped into for 12-18 hours a day.  We settle back into the relative comfort of our lives, going on about our business until the day when the underwire (or something else) in our last good bra snaps, and then we need to order more.  Only to discover that the perfect, oh so comfy (or at least as comfy as we’re going to get) bra has been discontinued!!  WHAT???  I have just spent the last hour hunting down the last three bras, of my favorite style available in my size, in existence on the face of the Earth.  Since the major problem I have with them is that the underwire breaks after about two-to-three years of wear, I have been saving the good underwire from each broken bra before disposing of any other parts.  I have tried to simply buy underwires and make them work, but they just don’t fit properly.  You have to have the wire specific to the particular bra in order to make it work.  I dread the day I have to go back to have another fitting and try to find something that works.  Why do these companies do this to us?  In the meanwhile, pardon me while I am overly sexy, as the only harness for the team left in my arsenal is the black lace special occasion variety.  Today, I really am too sexy for my shirt.

I’m so stubborn

I have always been a very stubborn person.  I admit it freely, but I can’t seem to get over the fight that occurs (generally fairly silently) in my head when faced with something I don’t want to do.  A lot of the problem I’ve been having with quilting over the past month has had to do with a very lovely quilt a customer brought me, but, instead of the “just do whatever you think best” I get from most folks, she had a definite idea of what she wanted.  Now, that should not be a problem, right?  It’s her quilt, she should have exactly what she would want in it, right?  Well, this IS how it should be, and I was fine with it, till I began to do it and could seen it wasn’t going to work out exactly as planned.  Problems:  1) she wanted contrasting thread, and we already know I have a problem with that.  Nevermind that I am a threadhead and have nearly every color of the rainbow (and then some) in my studio.  I have those colors to MATCH the fabric, not to have the stitches stand out . . . or so I tell myself.  2) the quilt is called Apple Crisp and my client wanted a single apple in what we call the snowball blocks.  I got an apple design she liked from a pantograph, and proceeded to resize, flip, clip, split, and combine my way to a custom design.  I got my single apple

but, as you can see, that is just not enough quilting in an eight inch block.  I clipped the pantograph to make a design for the alternating pieced blocks

I like that part, but the thread is still getting on my nerves.  I’ll deal with it.

So, finally, I got up the courage to tell the client I didn’t think those single apple blocks were going to fly.  Thankfully, being the smart lady she is, she agreed, so I then had to figure out a way to fix them up.  The beauty of IQ (Intelliquilter) is that you can play around with designs or even make your own, just by sitting in your chair and playing with the tablet.  I modified the block to have more leaves and an echoed apple in the middle, and I will SID the blocks and put some CC in the little corner triangles.  I think that will do it.

You can see the repaired block at the bottom of this photo.  No SID and CC yet, but I’ll get there.  I finally . . . with what felt like feet slogging through deep mud, finished fixing all the apples yesterday.  Well, the main problem being that IQ can join all the stuff together easily, but with such high-contrast thread, I, of course, had to knot and bury the ends.  Today I am off to have IQ happily stitch the combined blocks in the rest of the empty spaces, and then I will finish up the quilt (hopefully by tomorrow).  I will be really glad to have this baby finally done.

So . . . what was the whole problem?  Very pretty quilt, no problem there.  The problem is I am so stubborn, I cannot make myself do something when a little nagging voice at the back of my brain says there is something there that I don’t like.  I’m 57 years old.  When will I convince myself to get over it?