Ain't it the luck

Spent the weekend making those class samples.  Made a special trip to the LQS yesterday to drop them off.  The lady that handles class scheduling is out for the week.  Ha!  Anyway, I'm such a big dork, instead of looking around to see if she had a sign or anything announcing either class, I just dropped them off and left.  What was I thinking?  I am working on being more proactive.  I'll let you know if/when I get there.

I'll drop back by this afternoon and see if I need to do anything else to get the hand quilting one on the wall with an announcement of the class dates.  I'm betting that she has the announcement on the wall and all I needed to do was pin up the class samples to it. 

But, I wasn't thinking clearly.  Some days I'm in a daze and am glad I find my way home again.

Okay, y'all.  When Syd comes home and talks about some boy's six-pack abs, what am I supposed to do with that?  Huh???  Really, somebody tell me because all I can think is things not to do, like say "gross!" or "you're too young to be thinking about boy's abs" or "what's 7 times 8?" to change the subject.  So far, all I've been able to do is look at her with a mixture of horror and humor and just try to take it all in without having an opinion about it, either way. 

Hey, at least I know what she's thinking about.  And, all these boys have sounded like good boys.  So, I'm feeling more and more confident that she recognizes the difference.  In addition to telling about their abs or their hair, she also talks about their scholastic and sports achievements and somehow, I don't think a boy that earned a private school scholarship is as likely to be chuffing paint fumes from a paper bag. 

Okay, so yes, it costs me a small fortune to keep her houseboat sized feet in shoes and she can be the absolute laziest creature ever put on earth and she can spout out hours and hours of pure negative energy, but the other day, when I asked her why I wouldn't let her do something, she recited the speech I've given three thousand and forty eight times, word for word, even including my inflections.  Okay, so there was a wretchedly sarcastic tone to it, but you know what?  I didn't really care.  Because I found out that day that she's listening. 

Teehee! (and maybe a bit of Mwahahahaaaaaa!)

And, even though she leaves dishes in the sink, and that pisses me off sometimes, she always rinses them.

I believe she and I were destined for one another, just as much as I believe that Rob came along at the right time. 

Okay, y'all.  Gotta talk about chick-filet again.  I don't think any of you should give up something you like because the owner of the company expresses an opinion we disagree with.  The only people that would be hurt by that are the employees of the store's chain of operations.  We have to be able to disagree in our personal opinions without causing harm to one another.  So, I love you, each and every one, for the sentiments expressed yesterday, but remember that we don't need to withdraw our support for the business just because the owner thinks different.  That just reverses the descrimination that we're trying to stop.  The goal is to work through the differences and still make room for everyone to exist together.  I want to live in a place where there's room for Mr. chick to believe marriage is between one man and one woman and for churches to choose who they will perform marriages for AND for me and Rob to enjoy the 1008 civil rights that are enjoyed by married people. 

And, if Mr. chick ever saw me and Rob struggling through our relationship, just like any other successful couple does, I wonder if he'd be so willing to prevent us from becoming legally obligated to one another.  Any couple that's willing to do as much work as a good relationship requires deserves a bit of acknowledgment.

Acknowledgment that Dick Cheney was not able to extend to his daughter by attending her wedding.  I gotta tell ya'.  Given the choice of who to have lunch with, I'm picking Mr. chick over Dick because there's a difference between failing to understand and just being...a dick.

Be well. 



More class samples and stuff

I was busy making class samples this weekend.  In August, I have a hand piecing and quilting class and we’ll be making these four blocks and adding a border…sashing is optional.  Then, we’ll sandwich it and start some hand quilting.


I also made another mariner’s compass block from my drafted pattern.  In this class, we’ll be drafting the pattern on freezer paper and then piecing it using Judy Mathieson’s method.


I’d like to make one more compass block…notice the words “like to”.  Don’t know if I’ll get to it.  But, after the class, I’ll have a third sample to add to these.

A big part of the weekend was spent on school clothes.  Last week, we had a coupon, buy $75, get $30 off.  Good coupon.  So, we did.

And, this weekend, we bought shoes.  We had a Famous footwear $25 coupon and they’re having buy one get one half off, so Sydney ended up with a free pair of shoes and a pair of athletic shoes.  Okay, you can start your count there.  That’s two pair of new shoes for Sydney.  Then, we went shopping for boots. 

The last couple of pair of boots I’ve bought for me, I’ve cheaped out.  And, because I felt like I’d wasted by boot money, I didn’t give myself good boots for a while.  One of those pair got sent to goodwill…they were just that bad.  And the second pair went to Sydney on Saturday.  We’ll add one to the count here.  That’s three new pair of shoes for Sydney. 

Rob got new boots at Christmas.  And, on Saturday, I bought a new pair of brown boots and so did Sydney.  That’s four for her!  I don’t think I ever got four pair of shoes in a day in my life!


We all wore our boots out on Saturday for dinner.  It was tooooooo hot.  But, we did it anyway.  And, it was cute.  So, we took a picture.

We also took Sydney’s aquarium down and moved her fish to my tank.  She’s been good about having an aquarium and taking care of it for several years, but she just lost teenage interest.  So, we took it down because I was doing all the maintenance anyway.  Now, I have a tank full o’ fish that I’m watching and hoping everyone survives the move.


So, everyone is hiding and would not come out to get their picture made, but I promise, they’re all in there.

One last thing…and this one is controversial.  I’m going to ask you not to eat at Chick-Filet this week.  I’m not asking you to give up anything you love and not out to try to put them out of business.  As far as I know, they sell food to gay people just as happily as they sell it to straight people, because gay money is just as green as straight money.  But, other people have taken a stand on gay marriage and freakily enough, that stand involves eating at Chick-Filet on 08/01.  So, I’m asking all my readers not to eat there, that one day.  It’s crazy stupid.  A civil rights question and now, one of the Texas candidates is planning a rally at Chick-Filet to show his disapproval of gay marriage.  It’s getting out of control and I guess what I’m asking is that you support gay marriage by not getting involved, even accidentally, in this particularly nasty and loud fight.  We don’t need to take a stand on everything to be involved.  Silent support and votes are just as good as holding a sign in protest.  If you really want to support gay marriage, tell a story to someone about my family and end it with “It’s a shame they can’t get married.  They’re such a nice couple”

Have a great Monday! 



class sample

Okay, true to my word, I did get up and make a class sample block this morning. 


(yes, that is a snip of fabric.  How did I not see that before I took the picture?)

Anyway, I pieced it this morning.  I’ve added 5 things to the supply list already.  Lesson learned.  Be sure and do whatever you’re planning while you’re planning it.

I even got another one drafted while I wrote down the instructions. 


This one has wider points and a larger center square. 

But, now it’s time to go out to the garage and do a bit of work out there.  Priorities, ya’ know.  And, hey, if I work out there, I can get this out of the middle of the floor.  Yay!


Have a good Saturday.  Put balance in your life; some sewing, some working, some chores, some resting, some snuggling.



Never enough time

I wonder what my family would think if I suddenly did an all night sewing event? 

I used to stay up late on Saturday nights and sew.  Everyone else would go to bed and I'd be up until the middle of the night, sewing happily away and watching television. 

Not sure why I gave that up.  Likely because I couldn't open my eyes on Monday morning.  And, we got Mable, so there wasn't any chance of sleeping in on Sunday. 

I sent my supply list to the LQS for my hand piecing/quilting class in August called "HAND is not a dirty, four-letter word."  And, I thought I'd get all prepped and send the supply list for the Mariner's Compass class in September.  The shop owner wrote back and asked if that was all they'd need...what about a sewing machine?  thread?  pins?  Oops!  Before I could get back with her, I thought of a half dozen things I'd left off.  My bad.  I tried to create that list from my head without doing the work of making the sample block, thinking "I'll do that later".  So, first thing tomorrow is to draft and piece that block and get her a better supply list. 

I also need to spend some time at the break of dawn out in the yard before it gets too hot.  Much maintenance needs to be done.  It's surprising how fast grass will try to take a flowerbed back over.  I also have a mess in the garage that resulted from cleaning out the sewing room closet last week.  And, I have a mess in the sewing room that is the result of needing to do something with 25 pounds of scraps that are not going to get cut anytime soon and that I'm tired of tripping over (so much for my 15 minutes of cutting scraps a day.)

I really need to make a Jubilee block.  I've fallen far behind on that; stopped at block 20 of 36.  And, I've had a couple of friends share batik fabrics lately, so there's all kind of incentive to get back to it.  Incentive I have plenty of.  It's time I'm needing.

And, amidst all of that, there's still parenting and partnering and pets and normal housework and cooking. 

Here's a story from last night.

I pick Sydney up from basketball practice on my way home from work.  She flops into the seat and immediately reaches over and changes the radio station.  I turned it off and said "you don't get to plop into my car and change the station without even saying hello".  I eventually turned it back on and later, established a new rule of you can get in the car and ASK if you can change the station.  When we got home, she'd left a sink full of dishes, just sitting there.  And, by that time, my blood was beginning to boil.  But, Rob made me laugh and later...

I remained calm and sat next to her on the sofa after her shower.

Me:  Tell me three nice things I did for you today.
Her:  Ummm.  You gave me the money for my bus ride and you picked me up after basketball and you're going to make me supper.
Me:  And, what did you have for lunch today?
her:  Pasta and chicken.
me:  I made that for you before I went to work this morning.  What did you have for a snack today?
her:  Pineapple.
me:  I cut that up for you before I went to work this morning.  So, it surprises me that I've done 5 nice things for you today and I still found dirty dishes in the sink when I got home.  Dishes I didn't have time to put in the dishwasher because I did all that other stuff.  Couldn't you have found a few minutes to do something nice for me?
her:  ummmmm
me:  You'll get a chance to rectify that soon.

I LOVE IT WHEN I REMEMBER NOT TO SHOUT.  Of course, there will be dishes in that same sink when I get home today.  She won't remember.  She might not remember for years.  But, one day, when she's about 23, maybe she'll do something nice for one of you and then you'll be thinking...I wonder who taught her to be so nice.  Please tell me that's how it's going to work out.

Everybody have a great Friday.  I have figured out what to quilt in the rest of the silk quilt, so I'll keep you updated on whether I do what I need to do or whether I sit and quilt all weekend.  After all, undone chores are how I find time to sew. 

Be well.  And, be kind to one another.



Tick-Tock, Quilter’s Block

See that empty Greek Key border?

That STILL empty Greek Key border?


I still can’t think what to fill it with.



Getting it entered in the quilt show did not give me the idea to finish it.  Feathers?  No.  Too many feathers in the quilt.  Leaves?  No, leaves would be out of theme with the feathers.  Stippling?  Pebbling?  No and no.  Too busy.  Pick it out and do something else?  Not likely, but don’t think it hasn’t crossed my mind.

I want something that will show a tight fill and not be too much work and be pretty easy to pull off.  Once I figure out what it is, I will quilt like gangbusters and be finished in something akin to record time. 

Or, maybe I’ll submit it unfinished and rename it. 

Either way, this is my last background work for a while (I hope).  I need accomplishments. 



Storing fabric

Over the years, my stash has grown and as it has grown, my storage methods have changed.  First boxes, then plastic tubs, then open plastic shelving and now, this.


This wooden shelving unit is holding the same amount of fabric that was in two sets of plastic shelving.  But, it’s shorter and it’s only 12 inches thick, so it sits much closer to the wall, leaving me more floor space in my crafting closet.  Floor space in there is important, because all three walls of this walk in closet are covered with my crafting stash; yarn, garment sewing supplies, quilt hoops, quilting books, sewing machines, extra cutting boards, rulers, you name it, it’s in there.  That’s because the sewing room is set up as much as a sitting room as a sewing room, so I don’t store my sewing supplies all around. 

To fit the fabrics in this cabinet, every piece that is in the upper sections had to be refolded to fit.  They were previously folded same as the lower shelf, too wide for the upper shelves.

I did not know that I had so many neutrals and browns.  I tell myself “you can never have too many neutrals”, so when I find one I like, I pick up a bit.  And, now I have a lot of neutrals. 

Green is my favorite color.  I have a boatload of green.  Green takes up one of the upper units, and blue/green and green/blue take up another, and then two stacks in the lower right unit are green.  It’s time to make some green quilts, eh?

I’m still organizing.  As far as I can tell, organizing is basically a journey, not a destination for me.  Some people go out and spend a bunch of money and a couple weeks and ta-da!  They are organized.  Me, I move something to the right side of the room and then to the left and then to the right and then to the left and always think of some better way to be able to find my stuff.

One thing I’m trying to correct is that I have things in different places and therefore, can never keep up with where things are.  I had paint in the craft closet and paint in the garage.  So, I moved the paint all to one place.  Now, when I want paint, I’ll know where it is.  Of course, it won’t be the right color and I’ll have to go buy more, but I’ll know where to put the leftover when I am finished.

Everybody have a great Tuesday!  Lane


Time flies

I hate it when the weekend passes so fast that you hardly get time to sit and enjoy it.  But, I had big plans and big plans take time to execute. 

Saturday morning, I did a bit of work in the yard and the sun room, just cleaning and organizing and pulling a few weeds and getting some water down and a few new things in pots.  Here are the moonflowers that are really putting on a show right now.  I don’t grow many things that flower white.  It’s difficult to get white blooms in such a hot place.  But, these seem to love it.


After gardening, it was time to prep for quilt class.  What a fun group.  And, we covered a whole lot of stuff and got down to some serious quilting. 

N’s sample.  N was our garment sewer who has a top to quilt.


L the first’s sample (I had two L’s).  This L sat in the unlucky seat and had the same thread problems that the lady who sat there in the first class had.  Breaking thread.  But, the quilt shop owner was able to come over and help her get that straightened out. 


And, L the second, who has done this before.  She had such neat and tiny background work.  Lovely to have in class and I hope I was able to offer her new information. 


Great fun.  Laughter, especially when we found a big bird’s nest on the back of my practice piece where I forgot to pull up the bobbin thread.  Oops!

After that, Rob, Sydney and I went to a good old country cafe, one of the few in town, for a big fried dinner.  I’ll have to work that off.  Yay, me.

And, yesterday, I took the day off cooking and spent the day reorganizing the sewing room closet to incorporate that new set of shelves.  It looks great, and I’ll show more about it later.  Rob moved the chairs out on the front porch, so I thought I’d show the results of Sydney’s and my work from last week.


Such an inviting place to sit.  Hopefully, now that they’re all fresh, I’ll go out there and sit sometimes.  They generally face one another a bit more and it’s great to go out and sit, with a big glass of iced tea and have a chat and watch the world go by.

I have too many things going on and now, I’ve committed to a hand piecing/hand quilting class in August and a Mariner’s Compass class in September.  Yay, teaching.  I just hope that the people that pay for the classes are getting their money’s worth.  I guess that eventually, I’ll run into someone that gives me negative feedback.  I both look forward to that, because I’m so open to suggestions and want to make the classes better, and dread it because I really don’t want to hear what I’m not doing well (does anyone?).  Life is like that, eh?  The good always has another side.  But, until that person comes along, I’m going to enjoy the compliments that I covered a lot of stuff and did it well. 

Be well, have a great Monday.  I still have 10 minutes I can sew this morning.  I think I’ll make some bobbins.  Now that the red silk thread is in, I really need to get back to that. That deadline may not be kicking me in the rear right now, but it won’t be long before I start to feel it breathing down my neck.



Much Ado

I am recovered from my painting experience and have scrubbed most of the paint off. 

I’m learning that parenting is a whole lot about keeping my mouth shut.  Like not saying anything when the kid spilled the paint.

Oh, how much easier that makes it.  How easy it would have been to say something during the brief periods of complaining.  In my mind, I was thinking “just shut up and go in the house.”  But, I kept painting.  Painting and painting and painting and I heard all about how boring it was, and how hot she was and how tired.

But, between, I heard about boys and the boy she has a crush on that’s crushing her back and the counselor that observed it and pointed it out to Syd.  I heard about the boy from Kansas and had to explain why I keep asking about him…”because I liked him and I want to know if that’s the kind of boy you’re going to like…or are you going to be penpal to a prison inmate?”

Not knockin’ pen pals for prison inmates.  But, I have higher aspirations for my retirement.

Funny.  I took this so much in stride that I didn’t even think about mentioning it to Rob.

I also found out that she has a backup plan if she doesn’t make volleyball team and based on how much extra time she’s devoting to volleyball, I’m not so sure that the backup is really a backup.  It might be the plan.  Photojournalism club.  Hmmm.  And, how much she wants a new camera.  Even though she got a new camera a month ago.

Never happy.

Anyway, here are our chairs.  100_4145

Not white, but a nice yellow-ey off white.  I think my next project is to make new cushions.  The old ones are faded and worn, even after a wash.


I made these chairs in the early 90’s with a co-worker and her husband.  We worked together to cut everything out and then we assembled theirs, while I was there, and I took mine home.  For years, they never got more than a coat of primer and they lived on the screen porch at my first house.  When I moved here, they sat on the deck for a while and then they moved out front and got actually painted for the first time.  Many years later, a fresh coat of paint.  They’re made of untreated pine, which I now recognize as a mistake, but kept painted, they are not showing any sighs of wear.

Don’t know if Sydney is going to stencil them.  I think she underestimated the amount of work it would be to get them this color.

And, I painted this set of shelves.


These are from the 80’s and were built to hold “green bar paper.”  Don’t worry if you don’t know what green bar is.  And, if you do, you don’t have to admit it.  Admission would be about the same as admitting your family kept a brontosaurus as a pet.

This is going into the sewing room closet as a storage unit for fabric.  It will stack on top of a bookshelf and the narrow sections will be for FQ’s and the big section for yardage.

Hoping that will free up some floor space in that closet.

Because I have been keeping the mail lady busy. 

First, she brought up a box from Amazon with these:


Yummy.  Leah’s new book with all her free motion quilting designs in it.  No more trying to decide on the internet.  Now, I can look through them on paper.  Great photos, Leah! 

And, 501 Quilting Motifs was a book I’d been looking at on Amazon, but when a participant in my first class brought one in, I knew I would own one soon.  Yay me!

Then, yesterday, there were two squishies.

First, Bonnie’s new book.  With an inscription to me.  Tickled me pink!


I know she’d shown us a preview of the quilts on her blog, but after I started looking through the book, my plan for a first project changed.  Now, there’s a tie.  We’ll have to consult the strings before a decision can be made.

And, my thread got here.


I had to mail order silk thread for the red silk quilt because it’s on backorder for the LQS.  And, since I was paying postage, why not go all out.  So, I ordered an expensive spool of Superior Treasure hand quilting thread to try it out and 1800 yards of Presencia 60/3 cotton because I love that weight of thread and finding it around here is impossible.  And, while I was there, I saw the “Y-knot” quilt and thought “why not?”

Unfortunately, I have to go to work today, so all my little treasures are going to have to wait until I get home.  I can see them drumming their fingers on the sewing machine now.  Waiting and waiting for me to come to the party.

7 hours and 59 minutes and counting…



Another tip

Still quilting this Mariner’s compass. 
It was time to do the gold half squares.  I knew I wanted something triangular.  I found a feather pattern in my book. 
My book is a book of tips I’ve collected for myself; off the internet, out of old quilting magazines, just stuff I’ve gathered together.  Part of it is quilting templates that I can trace and use. 
I traced it and needle punched it and made 8 copies.
I quilted the first one through the paper and was not happy.  Something about my tension.  I had all these loops pull up when I pulled out the paper.  So, I tried something new.  I pounced through the needle punched paper.  First one was okay, but I had trouble keeping up with the dots when I quilted it.  On the next one, I spritzed it with hair spray and then pounced it.  That worked better, but still, by the time I was done, most of the chalk was gone. 
So, I pounced it and then took one of my Sewline marking pencils and marked over the dots and that stuck and I was very happy with the results. 
I will definitely use the pounce again to get the shape down, but then trace over that with something else.  It increases the time it takes, so that’s not such a good thing.  But, the accuracy makes up for it.  And, the visibility of the lines was perfect.
So, that’s a tip for all of us that don’t plan our quilts well enough to pre-mark them before we pin baste them. 
There is a time to plan and there is a time to fly by the seat of your pants and it takes wisdom to know the difference.
Be well.  I have the day off and Sydney and I are going to sand and paint the adirondack chairs on the front porch.  She wants to stencil leaves on them.  I am trying to open my mind and let her show off her talents.  And, trust that she can and will do it right.

P.S. about the pounce
This is my pounce.

It’s a plastic box. You pour chalk in that hole and inside the box is a fabric surface; like terry cloth.

You lay the pounce over the template and tap it (contrary to the name, you don’t pounce it. I believe the name derived from putting flour in a tea towel and pouncing that over a template to mark. This tool is a bit more refined and only needs a gentle tap.) Anyway, when you tap it, it causes the chalk to come through the terry cloth fabric and leave a mark on whatever it is sitting on. If that’s the template, then when you move the template, all that’s left are the lines where there was no template. Or, in my case, because I had needle punched, I got dots instead of lines and then I used a ceramic pencil to connect the dots.



What I learned after quilt class

I already blogged about how the class itself went.  But, it was AFTER class that I learned my lessons as a teacher. 

Here is the lesson and it is a hard one for me. 

Keep it simple.

Yep.  That's it. 

When I taught the first class in April, I was doing a lot of dense background quilting on my quilts.  And, that's what I taught.  Not a lot about FMQ, but a boatload about tiny, dense work.  Before class, I was working on the red silk quilt.  My practice pieces during class were also dense background work.  It's beautiful work, but it wasn't what I set out to teach; the basics of FMQ.  Fortunately, that first class was made up of experienced quilters and the dense filler was a good class for them.  But, not all classes are going to be experienced as they were. 

Remember that I shared how I had them pin baste a quilt top for me?  This is it.

I pieced this quilt several years ago.  It's a reproduction of the QNM 25th anniversary block maybe???  I got it as a web extra many years ago.  I'd swear I pieced this before we got Sydney and that was 5 years ago.  But, it never got finished...just hung in the closet, waiting for me to figure out what I wanted to do with it.  It even had a border pattern pinned to it.  I guess I planned to add a complex border that the quilt doesn't need.

Yesterday, after errands and cooking and housework, I secluded myself in the sewing room and I got almost all the ditchwork done (I left one corner section unquilted to do in class next week) and those feathers marked and stitched into the black sections.  I don't know yet what I'll do in the gold sections.  Still trying to figure that out.  I found a template that I like yesterday and will likely end up with that.  Something nice and plain as it is intended not to stand out.  And, I'm going to do a rope in the border, just to fill it and give a nice quilted edge, but nothing to draw attention away from that central star. 

While I was doing that, I was making a list of "basic" things that I didn't cover in class on Saturday.  Basics like how to pick out quilting stitches (tho every time I said pick out quilting, one of the students made a face).  How to fit a template into a given space by adding or subtracting in the repeats so you don't end up with a big gap at the corner.  Lighting for quilting at home...you can't quilt it if you can't see it.  How to do a feather wreath by drawing three circles (the stem and two outer edges to fit the feathers in so they are consistently sized). 

And, how I leave random spots unquilted so I can go back later and fill them in.  My quilting changes as I work my way through a quilt.  If I leave spots unquilted, and go back and fill them in later, I don't have to worry about all of one side looking one way and all of the other side looking another.  That's come in especially handy as I've continued to work on the Pond Mountain quilt. 

My quilting has gotten more and more dense as I've worked my way around.  It changes with my mood and when I was nervous about class on Saturday morning, those clamshells got very small.  Because I've left some spaces unquilted, I'll go back and fill them in at the end and they will give the quilt a more even appearance as I can fill them in with more or less density to give the overall appearance more consistency.  It's a trick I learned when I started the dense background filler that has saved my bacon on a regular basis. 

My other tip that I didn't share is that if you make a mistake, don't stop and correct it.  Wait.  Keep moving forward.  At the end, look for mistakes and fix the ones you can find.  There are two reasons for that.  Number one, it breaks the concentration to stop and rip and repeat as I quilt.  That stopping, and the accompanying frustration, really break my rhythm and inevitably lead to other mistakes.  And, two, if I can't find it later, it wasn't so much of a mistake to begin with. 

So that's what we'll go back and do next Saturday.  Cover some more of the basics.  And, we'll do unmarked, free-hand, free-motion.  And, if we get to dense filler, that's great.  And, if we don't, that's great, too.  Because not every quilter wants to do dense background filler. 

I think that from now on, when I'm prepping for a class, I'll work on something other than the dense background filler so that I have the basics fresh on my mind going into the class.  Those basics are what people really want to know. 

You know, if I teach this class another 500 times, I might just get it the way I want it.

Last night, I was guilty of some bad parenting.  Hey, it happens, right?  I was working so hard and getting so much done all day.  And, then it was bedtime.  And I didn't want to stop.  I began to channel my inner 5 year old that didn't want to put his toys away and go to bed.  I did it, but I grumbled about it instead of flinging myself to the floor in a fit of hysterical sobbing (even though that's what I really wanted to do).  I picked up my stuff so I wouldn't have to deal with it first thing this morning and went out into the house, and into the kitchen that I had left spotless after an hour of washing and scrubbing up.  And, I found dirty dishes.  And, someone had emptied the paper towel roll and just left it for me to deal with.  My good cake pans were in the sink, filled with water, threatening to break out in rust spots.  And, someone had left trash on the dining table.  The dog's water bowl was empty.  And, all my calm and zen parenting that I'd been practicing for months went right out the window and I unleashed a loud diatribe about laziness that would have made even the worst parent proud.  Not my best moment and not my best handling of the situation. 

One day, I will be perfect.  Unfortunately, I will most likely be dead.  Dead people make so few mistakes. 



Class, day 1

I had a great time in class yesterday.  I think everyone did.  It was very relaxed and I made the great mistake of losing my agenda in a pile of quilts.  I didn't go in with my tub of stuff as organized as last time.  Last time, I thought to put things in the order that I would need them.  This time, I was overconfident and just tossed stuff in as I thought to take it.  BIG MISTAKE.  That meant I had to pull everything out at once to find anything and when it was all in one pile, I kept losing things in the pile.  But, we powered on and I tired them out and we broke up before the actual stop time.   

A tired quilter is a happy quilter.

Stamina is something I'm going to have to keep in mind as I plan classes. I really pack the work in.  But, I recognized when their attention waned and brought things to a close with a homework assignment.  Something simple.  I let them tear pages out of my coloring book to trace.  Just quilt along the lines, because next week, we'll give up the lines and start to free hand, and the lines will only be in your head.

There was more laughter this time.  Lots of funny things, especially when I told them that I'd had this great idea and we were going to pin baste one of my actual quilts...okay, much joking about how I'd found a way out of an unpleasant task. 

This is the only real time that losing my agenda was a problem.  They pinned their sampler tops and then I remembered we hadn't marked their samplers yet.  Oops!  Lets take all those pins out.  Nothing like lots of classroom practice on the basics....

We moved forward at a good pace after that, marking and having lots of unsuccessful marking experiences, which are great as learnings.  I offered them my three fave marking tools and a pen that I did not know the origin of that held disappearing ink.  I was right up front that I didn't know anything about this pen. 

The lady that used it had to remark as we moved through the exercises of the day because the ink was gone within minutes.  Guess I won't be taking that one to class again.  Can't call it a fave.

Somehow, in class, we found out that when I teach quilting it's a bit like the chicken dance.  Arms flapping and swaying and wiggling to see around your foot.  Everything but the clapping.  Not sure that's how quilt class is supposed to go, tho. 

Fast forward to about 50 seconds to get to the good part.

Should I be ashamed to admit that you cannot go to a wedding around here without having to do the chicken dance? It's actually pretty cute when everybody does it with the kids. A chance for everyone to participate and be silly.  They even played it at some of the middle school dances this year.

Everybody have a great day.  I just bought $50 worth of thread.  I needed thread to finish the red silk quilt and since I was going to have to have it shipped in (it's still on backorder at the LQS) I may as well order some other products I can't find around here and give them a try.  I've always wanted to try precencia 60wt, 3-ply cotton as a quilting thread, but it's like they don't have a distributor in Texas.  I don't even see it at quilt shows.  And, I picked up a spool of expensive hand quilting thread to see if I think it's any different than the cheap hand quilting thread I love.  I am so not a snob when it comes to quilting supplies.  I like products that get the job done, and if Coats and Clark or Gutterman from JoAnn's will work, then I'm glad to use it and a half off coupon.  I have been known to collect the thread for a quilt, one spool at a time, using a half off coupon on each one.  (Me being cheap is no more true than climate change).  Anyway, if I'm going to teach, I need to expand and check out other brands and $5 shipping seemed like a good way to do it. 

And, while I was there and paying shipping anyway, there was a cute pattern in the clearance section for $4, so why not just toss that in the cart too.

But why was I in the pattern section again??? 

Oh, I was looking for thread. 

Online shopping isn't that much different than going to a brick and mortar store. 



A very good Friday the 13th

Quilters are so generous.  That’s all I can say. 

I mentioned that I had been offered some feedsacks by a follower, Barb.  She lives near here and had read that I was going to be working on the vintage Dresden Plate quilt and offered me these to add.

Yesterday, the box arrived.  100_4132

I was humbled by the abundance.  From what I hear, having multiple feedsacks in the same print is unusual.  The roses on the left are four large sacks and the blue polka dots in the upper right corner are 3 sacks.  Others are one or one and a half or two sacks.  How wonderful.  And, there were some scraps, shown here in the lower right that added a lot of color.  And, those large triangles, for they are folded in half, there are 8 of them.  Wow!

Some had been cut and I wondered what girl had showed off in a new dress or old granny had gotten a new apron.   

And, as if that weren’t enough, an envelope labeled Surprise! Who could resist? 


A stash of batik pieces and a note hoping they will work in the Jubilee quilt. 

What a bounty!

Thanks so much, Barb!!  I can’t wait to quilt!

After I rolled around like a cat in that for a while, I remembered that I am teaching this afternoon and piled everything in the tub and packed up the machine.  There will be three today.  I am excited.  I’ve retooled the class and am going to focus on the basics and what I’ve learned in 11 years. 

Have a great day!  We’re off for a pre-class burger.  Lane


Quilting away

I knew it.  Just when I had to get up yesterday and go on with the day, the machine was ready to quilt. 

I stole a few minutes while dinner was in the oven last night and quilted.

When I went in at bedtime to feed the fish, I sat down and quilted for a few minutes. 

And, I spent all of my half hour this morning quilting.  I managed to finish the plus sign shaped area in the lower part of this picture and move into the surrounding spaces.  Not much of an accomplishment. 

I am looking forward to this weekend when I can quilt for more than a half hour at a stretch. 

But, before I can quilt, I've got to get everything pulled together for class.  I thought I was so prepared.  Then, this morning, I thought of something important I had not pulled out.  And, because Sydney says I have the memory of a goldfish, I wrote that down.  And, then I thought of something else.

And, something else and something else and before I knew it, I had made a column of items on one side of a small piece of paper and turned it over to the back.  I didn't know when I'd be teaching again, so I put everything away.  After this one, I'm going to leave it in a tub and only take out what I need, when I need it, and then put it back in the tub.

Who laughed?  That wasn't very nice.  You never burst the bubbles of the delusional, just like you never wake a sleepwalker. 

Thought I'd share a couple of pics from my desk. 

Am I cynical, or what? 

Everybody have a great day.  Quilt until you break a sweat and then go back and quilt some more.  Do you hear me quilter?  Now drop and give me 20 stitches.



Making connections

Okay, I get it.  No man is an island. 

I have been very remiss.  One of the things I like to do is check out the blogs of my followers.  At some point, I got busy and lost time to go out and do that and I got behind and never caught up.  But, now I am catching up and subscribing to a lot of your blogs, so if you see my picture suddenly show up, you'll know why.  If I didn't subscribe, it's likely because it's been months since you posted or in the case of one lady, her blog just said "I give up.  I don't have time to blog.  Thanks for following, but I'm outta here." 


I haven't gotten to everybody yet, so give me a few days to keep going down the list.  I do like to hear what other people are writing about and was already following about 30 blogs and now...I'm not going to say how many. 

I don't always comment.  But, I do when I can and when I think I have something valuabble to add.  And, I try to read every day. 

I'm also tentatively stepping a single toe into facebook again.  When I first joined facebook, I had a bad experience.  It was just too overwhelming to hear from all these people I didn't know, who wanted to be my friends, and I didn't know why, because not knowing somebody seems kinda like the antithesis of the word friend, right?  And, if I haven't heard from them in 30 years, then they can't know me because I've changed baby!  I've changed a lot. 

I did find the facebook help center and did some reading up this morning.  My basic impression is "this is poorly designed" because it seeks to suck you into some void of spending your life on facebook so you can understand the ins and outs of facebook, which seems the antithesis of actually having anything to post on facebook.

See why am I only stepping one toe in?  I am way too skeptical to trust something that I don't understand fully and way too busy to spend the time to understand it.  But, it is the future and I heard a story on NPR this morning about a lady that's 101 years old and uses facebook and lots of other technology and credits all of it with keeping her mind sharp and allowing her to enjoy and be active.  She says if you don't keep up, you fade away.  So, I'm thinking about keeping up cuz I'm not ready to fade away.

And, I do have something quilty to say today.  This morning, I put the Pond Mountain Quilt in the Singer 301. 

I promptly wound the thread around the thread spool (twice) and broke a needle and had a tension problem.  So, in my total 30 minutes of sewing time today, I managed to actually make three clamshells, replace a needle, rethread the machine about six times, and realize that I'll have to use a thread holder for this particular spool of thread.  Yay, me.  Another overachievement.

I seriously considered skipping the workout and just quilting for an extra half hour because I could tell everything was about to start going right.  You know that feeling; like when the clouds open and sun shines down around your picnic?  But, I was also feeling pretty stressed this morning and was extra frustrated by thread issues, so I knew some major stretching and then a walk with the dog would be just the ticket for the rest of the day. 

Hope everyone is having a great Thursday.  I am looking forward to the weekend and my second quilting class.  I can already tell it's going to be different.  I hope to focus more on putting the sandwich together, which I don't think I did a very good job of last time, and deciding what to quilt that will work with the piecing.  I want to spend less time on the background filler.  Dense background filler is fun...at least it is for me.  But, there's so much other stuff that has to be considered before you get to that.  And, for me anyway, the hardest part about background filler is deciding which one to practice and use.  It's not something where everybody needs to be able to do every filler.  Just pick a few faves and "take 'em to Carnegie Hall" (practice, practice, practice). 

The other thing I want in this class is laughter.  Last class was so serious.  The owners of the LQS kept coming back to the class space to check on us because we were so quiet.  It's because I was so uptight and serious.  But, I like teaching and want to relax, which should make the class relaxed and easier and more fun to teach, which will help me continue to enjoy teaching.  And, you know what?  I'm a darned funny guy.  There should be laughter wherever I am. 

So, that's it for me.  Be well and be kind.



Vintage quilts

As a quilter, I’m always digging around in antique shops in the fabric section.  I shared a lot of vintage quilt pictures last week of expensive quilts.  But, that isn’t all that I saw. 

For example, there was this quilt. 


A signature quilt…




I didn’t buy this quilt and I regret it.  But, the orange fabric was horrible; stiff and scratchy, and the machine quilting was awful and it had a bad batting.  While the signature blocks looked vintage, the rest was not worth the price and I couldn’t justify nearly a hundred dollars for something I wouldn’t know what to do with.  So, I left it there for someone else to enjoy.  Perhaps someone that knows the names on the quilt. 

This double knit hexagon quilt was with it.  We saw several double knit quilts and I’m guessing that they are starting to hit the quilt market as their makers pass.


It was tied with a very coarse blue yarn and was cute, but not beautiful. 

So, what did I buy?  This string top.  It’s all machine pieced and the fabrics are just great!




There are 48 blocks and they’re laid out in a long, narrow strip.  At first, my thought was to complete it and make a narrow strip for the foot of our bed, like hotels do.  but, that’s just something else for Rob to have to put on the bed. 

Then, I decided to take them apart and reassemble them into a 6x8 block configuration and add a wide vintage border. 

Who knows what I’ll actually do.

But, what do you know?  I got an email yesterday offering me some vintage feedsacks!  Wouldn’t a few feedsacks just complete this top perfectly?  And, make it into a very nice lap robe?  And, some of them would make finishing that Dresden Plate quilt so much easier instead of having to make do with what I have leftover.

I don’t know exactly what draws me to these incomplete quilt tops.  But, I do love to finish them and make them into something complete and useful, just as they were intended to be.

Have a good Wednesday.  Lane


Get stuff done

I have nothing quilty to offer today.  I wish I did.  I have quilting on the brain.  But, I don't have quilting on the clock.  I just can't seem to find any time.  I get up in the morning and read/write blogs, then I squeeze in a workout, feed the kid and drop her at camp, come to work and earn some pay, go home and cook.  Then I collapse.  I mean collapse as in, I can't even think, I'm so tired at the end of the day. 

I have the dresden plate quilt almost assembled and now I need to re-cut and sew the wedges for the borders, but I can't seem to get excited about that. 

I'm on the last round of the final border of that thread crochet placemat.  I've worked on that until the arthritis in my left pointer finger is aching.  But, I'm so close that I can't resist working on it a bit every day.  (I promise, Cynthia, that I will share the pattern).  I know I said I was going to make 4 of those placemats.  NOT!  That thing is hard and has taken longer than I expected.  I don't see me doing it three more times.  At least not in that boring brown color I picked.

The red silk quilt is pulled out, but I'm about out of thread and don't know whether to keep waiting on the LQS to get it from backorder or just order it from the manufacturer directly.  I've found it online.  I'll be in a pickle if the manufacturer is also out of stock and I can't get more in time.  I can just see me, bleary eyed, finishing the quilt after an all night quilting session, an hour before the deadline to drop it off for the show. 

And, I bought a new knitting book with ideas for guys and have a new big bag of sport weight merino wool yarn that I found in goodwill for $4.  I'm anxious to put those together and make a pair of gloves and a pair of slippers.  But, NO NEW PROJECTS UNTIL I FINISH SOMETHING.  And, I'm gonna stick to that. 

I may have to take a day off work and just spend it on myself, doing whatever I want to do.  Not that I don't do whatever I want to do most of the time. 

You know, what I really need to do is something for somebody else.  That always helps.  And, I need to stop watching the news.  But, when the daily roll call of the rediculous comes on, I can't stop myself from sitting there and being disgusted.


Interesting interchange with Sydney after a long discussion, during which I was trying to get a good night hug
S:  I'm not three years old anymore.  Don't you think I've outgrown hugs?
Lane walks to the sewing room to ponder this question.
L, in a growly voice:  No, I don't think you've outgrown hugs, and I certainly haven't.  Now get your butt in here and hug me. 
And amazingly, this morning, when I was dropping her off at camp, she voluntarily gave me a hug.  Of her own accord.  Without me even asking for it.  Nobody ever outgrows a hug.



Back to the grind

We have returned from vacation.  And, spent two days getting things back in order so that real life can begin again. 

Here’s the picture we took on the last night, after dinner at Ermilio’s, Arkansas’ number 1 Italian restaurant. 


We took a walk around the pond that night and Sydney fed the horses carrots that I always make sure we have leftover.


We packed everything up and left at 5:45am and were home at 3:30pm. 

Days since have been busy and I’ve gotten very behind reading blogs.  There was a lot of cleaning and moving things around and I’m suddenly feeling a renewed interest in cooking, so stuff needed to be done in the kitchen to make that more pleasant. 

I’ve pulled everything out for quilting class this Saturday.  I’m teaching again.  Fortunately, even though I couldn’t remember where I’d put everything, it turned up quickly. 

Here is the Pond Mountain quilt with progress so far.


All of the ditch work is done and the center has the background quilting.  I have no idea when I’ll have a chance to get that loaded back in the machine.  First is finishing the quilts for the show. 


Loved this little place that we saw on the last day.  Couldn’t live there because it looks like it is just two rooms, but wouldn’t it make a lovely quilt shop!

I think we all have the vacation’s over blues.  The kid has been especially trying and I haven’t been in a very indulgent mood.  But, this is all part of the daily grind and moving from one thing to the next.  We all go through it and while it doesn’t feel very nice, it is the way things are and we are resigned to it.

Now if I could just get this insect bite to heal up.  It’s in a very personal place and is likely a chigger or “redbug”…or maybe a spider.  Who knows.  We were in the rough.  But, where it is, I cannot scratch all day. 

Everybody have a good Monday.  Lane