Gray skies are gonna clear up...

put on a happy face.... Yes, my perspective on things is better. I'm going to try to take a couple of days off the end of this week and do some mighty important recharging. I'm just all drained out. Too much work. Too much helping the kid with homework. Too many people with different priorities and perspectives than me.

Today, I'm going to answer the burning questions that have come up on my blog recently.

No, I didn't take the apple themed quilt on Saturday for my mentor to see. And, it turned out to be the right choice. I didn't know it, but we had limited time on Saturday and I took other things to talk about.

We did another binding lesson. Hopefully, I've got it this time. I guess we will see on my next quilt. Turned out I was leaving way too much batting around the outside edges of my quilts and by the time that I squeezed that into a tiny binding, it made a stiff tube around the edge of the quilts and the corners were rarely an exact miter. So, I took one of my little throw away fmq samples with me and a leftover binding strip from another project and we went through the whole lesson. I think this was the 4th time. Hopefully I've got it now. I know that judges love to give feedback on bindings and I want to give them little to talk about on that.

And, I veered far away from her suggestions on my quilting theme and am a little nervous about showing it and want to make sure it's the best it can be before she sees it.

Yesterday I was asked how I started quilting. That's a long story, so get a fresh cuppa' and settle into a comfortable chair.

I've been sewing since I can't remember when. I made drapes and tablecloths and reupholstered furniture on a series of inexpensive machines and with mixed results. I tried making clothes, but could never get them to look quite right and soon gave up on that. I still have a couple of shirts I made that are very comfortable and I wear around the house. I made some really cute teddy bears for gifts one year and made cute little clothes for all of them, but that's about the extent of that. Then, I got into knitting and I knitted until I didn't need anymore sweaters. It is Texas, after all.

Many years ago, a friend invited me to teach him to sew so he could make a quilt. He'd had a tenant skip out owing rent who left behind a sewing machine, patterns and his stash (if only we'd realized how valuable those things really were at the time.) In exchange for the lesson, he gifted me some fabrics, a pattern, and a book. I was going to make a log cabin quilt from a pattern in this really old quilting book. Of course, I didn't read the first chapter and didn't know I needed to add the seam allowance to the pattern pieces they showed. I cut up a lot of fabric in 1" strips and then stopped when I realized I couldn't do anything with them without the seam allowances. This all sat for several years.

In 1998, I lost a partner after a long illness. Long illnesses have their own time schedules and the rest of life kinda goes on hold, so when he finally passed and the bustle of the funeral was over, I had to take some time to reset my clock to real time. I decided to make a quilt. Of course, by the time I decided to make the quilt, I'd lost track of the book. I only had the vaguest memories about how to make it, and didn't let that stop me. I went ahead with the log cabin, but instead of making the blocks half light and half dark, they're a muddle of medium and dark strips that I sashed together and hand quilted.

Still love that quilt and it's our quilt of choice to sleep under in winter. It's the perfect weight and while it might not be very close to the pattern, it doesn't matter to either one of us.

I made three more bed sized, hand quilted quilts. Then, in late 2006, I bought a used Bernina 930 and found a mentor who was willing to share her knowledge with me. And, I have learned a lot from her and she still coaches me through my more difficult projects. I also am friends with the quilters at my local quilt shop and participate in a BOM with them every year. But, there are only so many bed sized quilts that we can use here in TX. So, I changed my average quilt size from queen to between three and five feet and started making wall hangings and lap quilts. I've long since lost count of how many of those I've made.

I still quilt using that Bernina 930 because it is the quietest machine I've ever used and is big and powerful and great for quilting. I also have a pfaff 7570 that is a great piecer. And, this year, I've picked up a Singer Featherweight 221 and a Singer 127 treadle. And, I have a Scarborough Rotary machine that I can't find anything about, but that also makes great stitches. I like the vintage machines for the nostalgia and I use them lightly and save most of my work for the Pfaff and Bernina. I hope to use the treadle to make a whole quilt, start to finish next year, just to have the experience.

I quilt when I'm happy and I quilt when I'm blue. I quilt when I should be doing other things. The motion of the needle is relaxing. And, dog gone it, I'm good at it. And, everybody needs one thing they think they're good at and that they enjoy. It saved me from becoming a couch potato and it pulls me out of my deepest depressions. My sewing room is my only space where I'm the only one that counts and it's crowded and disorganized and cluttered, just like my head is because it's a reflection of me. It's where I'm most comfortable and where I'm most creative and where I'm most relaxed.

Okay, Tammy. That's way more than you asked, but sometimes, I get on a roll and don't know when to stop. Y'all take care and have a great Tuesday. We'll see ya round the net. Lane


Coloradolady said...

How fun you shared how you got started quilting...You are just ooozzinnggg with talent Lane....I had to chuckle on the binding lesson thing....I guess I need a real lesson on that...according to the judges from the show...and I thought I had done such a wonderful job.

I talked with a quilter on the phone yesterday about quilting the quilt I just finished the top....custom quilting is a wait list until September 2010...and if you wanted a quilt for the show in 2010 here...no way...it would be 2011....IMAGINE THAT? For just regular quilting....waiting list until June of 2010. I got on her waiting list...JUST INCASE I might have something I want her to do by that time.....I could NOT belive that.
Hope you have a great day today...I am off to the quilt shop for some fabric for the binding of this last quilt, to Wally-world to buy an iron...mine went out in the middle of ironing blocks....sigh....and then I have to think about going to work this evening....Sighs again!!
Have a great day!

Tammy said...

Thank you so much Lane for sharing. That was an excellent blog entry. You live in Texas where you knit and quilt. In my opinion that is totally awesome.

I'm sorry you lost your partner in 1998. I lost my mother-in-law to cancer in 1993, next to my husband she was my best friend in the world. I continue to miss her. I guess as long as we have memories, they live on in our hearts.

Like you, my craft emporium is my sanctuary, it is where I am most content creating all kinds of things for those I love. As a sewing machine collector, it delights me to read about other peoples machines. I have a Pfaff 7510 (Phyllis) she is a baby sister to your 7570. I also have a Singer 127 (Sophie) treadle. This is an excellent machine for sewing leather and denim. I find treadle sewing relaxing, some say it is good for varicose veins and circulation in your legs. My 1910 Bernard Stoewer treadle has a reverse..totally cool.

Thanks again for telling me about your sewing projects and machines. You are not only a good quilter you're a great writer.

Becky said...

I like your log cabin "variation" very much!
I'm glad you started quilting.....and you are very talented.

oldbatt said...

"Craft emporium..." I have to remember that one! I love it. I also love to catch up with you Lane - it brightens my day to read how dedicated you are and your love of quilting. After seeing "Roseville" from the quilt show you attended I was wondering if you are more inspired to start your Roseville?

I have a Pfaff 7530 and love, love, love it! There is just something about the Pfaffs from 10 years ago.

I'm rambling now - better go. Have a great day! Lisa

Barb said...

I enjoyed your story and belive me you , that machine, patterns and stash was worth more than rent.

Love your quilt!!

Quiltluver said...

I loved hearing how you got started in quilting. I didn't realize you've been sewing for so long. Karen

Coloradolady said...

I thought you would enjoy this link....if you click the two older post you can see all about the Houston Quilt Festival and show...I think this week was for retail only, but I know they are having a huge show this weekend...I can't go :( but these pics were amazing...enjoy, Lane!


Shirleymac said...

Glad you have a better perspective today Lane. It's amazing how we can get bogged down without realizing it until we start to burn out. A couple of days off will do you good. I love your quilting story too. I'm glad your friend asked you for sewing lessons, you're a very talented quilter and have an eye for colour. I like your log cabin variation too. That's how new patterns are developed.

Vesuviusmama said...

Great blog entry, Lane. Thanks for sharing!