day off

Today is a mental health day. Me, by myself, doing whatever I want.

So far, I've finished a corner of the hexagon quilt and helped Sydney finish her second Spanish class project, finished a UFO that I had missed some quilting in. And, by the way, fell back in love with that UFO. I was hating it, which is why it hung, unfinished for over a year...with about an hour and a half of quilting left to do. It was already even bound.

Anyway, after that, I repaired the dog's leash where she almost chewed through it when she was younger and before she learned to enjoy walking with me. And, then, I cut the binding for the Triple Irish Chain quilt and pulled out some squares to share with a friend. And, as soon as this shoot 'em up movie is over, I'm on my way outside with something, I don't care what, to do on this beautiful fall day.

And, it's only 9:30. Can I be this productive all day?

See ya'. Lane



When I was but a wee bairn, we used to color instead of playing video games. The big trick was to learn to color inside the lines.

Now, Bonnie Hunter has me coloring again. And, being creative at the same time. She showed her pattern for her hexagon quilt and that got me thinking. There was no need for me to keep going haphazardly into a perpetual hex project that I could never end. All I needed was a pattern. And, that's when I learned that pattern designing is not as easy as it sounds. Patterns are worth the $9-$15 we spend on them. Somebody made a lot of mistakes so I don't have to repeat and that's worth the price I pay for their pattern.

You can see my first attempts at designing on the left, still kind of haphazardly trying to add a border without figuring out where and how my corners would line up. But, on my walk with the dog yesterday, I figured out that I could count my repeats and figure out exactly where something would land on the border BEFORE I colored in the block. That resulted in the two plans on the right; one of which I'll pick...sometime. But, since what I have started isn't even all together yet and I still need to add a red border before I even consider making all those blue flowers, I have plenty of time to figure it out. While it looks small, that is a considerable number of hexes to cut and baste before I need to piece them onto the quilt.

So, how much progress have I made so far?

I went from this to the picture below in two weeks. Yes, three of the corners were assembled before and I pulled out the dark circles and pulled out the dark center and turned those dark circles into diamonds and made a new center. Then, I added the light blue to the dark blue diamonds. Now, I'm removing enough white hexes to create a space for those new diamonds and am inserting them into the finished corners. One corner is completely finished. One corner is nearly finished. And, the other two just have the blue diamonds laying on top of them.

This is a really great traveling project and it's a great sitting with the family and watching TV project. And, it can get really obsessive and draws me in to work on it more and more and more, even though I have other quilting I should be working on.

You know what I mean. I know there are a bunch of us working on hex projects this fall and I think they're taking over more and more of our quilting time. I read on a website that in the early 20th century, most quilters wanted to finish at least one hex quilt in their lifetime. I can see why. They are a lot of work.

If you aren't working on a hex projects, you've probably been inspired by seeing one of the hex projects that another quilter is working on. I recommend it as a highly relaxing and very portable bit of fingerwork. But, like those quilters of the last century, I hope to finish one in my lifetime. If I get to another one, that's just gravy.

Take care and have a great Thursday. Lane


The big concert

This was one nervous 12 year old last night. Grumpy! But, don't she look terrific? (okay, don't know where the turn-the-right-foot-that-way came from, but she's doing it in every picture.)

This is after she got really irritated at me and walked away, leaving me behind. On the drive up, we knew she was nervous and could have engaged in that, but instead, Rob put on her kind of music and he and I talked. About the most we said to her was to remind her that she was nervous and not to let that get away from her. (really, i was wondering if they'd miss her if i killed her and dropped her body off a bridge.)

I did have pictures of her with us, but got a little irritated this morning when I realized that in the pic with Rob, she looks all happy and in the pic with me, she looks like she's having a particularly difficult bowel irritation. So, decided not to post either one. Nah!

Here are the three choirs that performed. Each choir was open to only the top 10% of the student population of the school, based on grades and choir participation. And, all the schools in the district participated.

The Elementary School choir.

The middle school choir

And, the high school choir.

Since this is Way Back Wednesday and since I've already told my own choir story in a previous Weds post, all I could think of was a story about my days in church choir.

I was in church choir for several years, probably from when I was about Sydney's age until I was a senior in high school and it wasn't cool anymore. I sang tenor. There were only a few tenors and some of my favorite choir memories were of Sunday nights, when the congregation was smaller, the choir loft was less full, and the music was usually the old time gospel that I'd grown up singing.

There was another tenor, whose face I can still see, all these years later, but who's name I cannot recall. I was in my teens and he was probably in his 50's at the time. And, the man could not carry a tune in a bucket. It was terrible. But, he never knew it and he sang with all the gusto that only a committed believer can muster. Over the years, we stood next to one another and at one point, he stood behind me, so I always had a good earful of his singing. But, he was a much nicer man than he was a good singer. We were as close as choir members of such different ages should be, exchanging pleasantries and greetings and singing our hallelujahs.

He is not the only person I knew as a child that couldn't carry a tune, so I guess I was more empathetic than most people probably were. And, while the name is gone, the face and the devotion he showed to God through his singing are still part of my memories of childhood.

I hope things went well for him as life went on.

Have a great Way Back Wednesday. Take care, and get back to your quilting. What? You think someone else is gonna do it for you? Maybe some little elves or fairies? Get back to work. You're supposed to be enjoying yourself enough for both of us, cuz heaven knows I'm stuck at the office and not enjoying myself much at all.



A nice relaxing weekend

Okay, when I talk about it, it's going to sound like anything but relaxing. But, it was. At least for me.

Saturday morning, we had to have Sydney to choir practice by 8:30 and it was clear across town. Took us an hour to get her there and back, which left just enough time for a nice little nap. Then, we went to the school and helped the PTA president spread a truck load of mulch. I was iffy on going to do that, but it was a rainy morning and I doubted anyone else would show and I was right. One other parent came kinda late and we left pretty early. I think the president thought she was gonna get out early too, and leave with us, but the other lady clearly came to work, and after the mulch was spread, she moved to start working in another bed. We went home, showered and went out for a little grown-ups-without-kid barbeque lunch and did some shopping.

Then, it was an hour back to get the kid. The rest of the afternoon, we stayed in and watched movies and I quilted the sashing on a quilt. I was quilting on my grandmother's sewing machine and it was working great! I decided to stay up a little late and oil it. After all, it had only been oiled once in about 20 years and seemed to be running kinda hot. After I oiled it, I could not get it to stitch right. I think I got a little oil in the upper tension assembly and I messed with it and messed with it Saturday night and Sunday morning and finally gave up and moved my thread to my Bernina and kept going on the quilting.

Later, I worked in my own flowerbeds a little and cleaned up the chemicals in the potting shed and put them behind a screen so I don't have to look at them when I sit out there and sew. We shopped and then, as a family, we cleaned out the gutters on the house. That was actually nice. Our gutters have covers, so there's really only a couple of places that build up. Without many complaints, we knocked those out and cleaned out the downspouts. After showers, Sydney started making her actual Pan de Muerte for the class project (last weekend was a practice loaf that I've almost finished) and I cooked for this week; two casseroles and a pot of beef/vege soup. I cleaned the kitchen about three times as we went and managed to sneak into the sewing room often enough to finish all the sashing on that quilt. Last night was halloween horror TV and I worked on the hexegon quilt.

Doesn't sound too relaxing, but I walked away with a great sense of accomplishment and the physical activity really prepared me for this week. It will be similar to last week, except the All City Choir concert is tomorrow night. And, we have the 1st basketball game of the season on Thursday.

Sydney brought me her white shirt for the concert last night to show me a really dark stain on the collar. 10 minutes later, after arming myself with a toothbrush and a bottle of Shout and doing battle with the forces of evil that stood in my way, I walked from the kitchen, victorious over the stain.

Conqueror of all that stands in my way.



Too much

How much is too much? This much is too much. Too much working, that is.

I don't remember the last time I worked this hard, but it has been a while. I'm helping test our new product and meeting about what we're finding. And when things are different from what we expect, trying to figure out what is right. And, all that is on top of my regular job.

I haven't been sleeping well. Yesterday I was training people on the new product and woke at 3am in a cold sweat. I remember dreaming about the people I was going to be training, but can't remember what happened in the dream that made me so tense. Some kind of rebellion or maybe they were hunting me...I don't know. But, I was scared when I woke.

Last night, I slept until 4, which was better and woke up restless and unable to get back to sleep. And, it's been that way all week long.

The good news is that I'm doing good work and still feeling extremely self confident, but very tired.

Rob and Sydney are both doing their best to help out; cooking and cleaning and running errands for me. That's really helping. But, people are starting to comment on how tired I look. Fortunately, the only thing I have to do this weekend is drive Sydney to choir practice and we're going back to the school to spread mulch in the flowerbeds...well, tentatively we're going to work at the school. If I'm too tired, I might have to cancel that.

And, every minute I can, I spend working on hexagons for the hex quilt. But, I'm already losing steam and thinking about what I'd like to work on next. I have a quilt that is almost all quilted. I couldn't figure out what to quilt in the sashing. Now, I know what to do and am thinking I might pull that one out and try to finish it. And, that will give me two to bind. I need to get started making some binding or I'll end up with too many in that stage. I'm trying to move as many ufo's to the finished pile as possible and having them back up at the binding stage is not a good thing. That's too close to finished to let them languish.

This morning was so nice. I strolled around the yard with my coffee and then I went into the potting shed and sat in my comfy chair and finished my coffee while I stared out the door at the yard. It was drizzling rain and cloudy and cool and there was a nice breeze. I could seriously have sat there all day long, even napping in that chair. Maybe that will be a good thing for Sunday morning. Something to look forward to.

Hope you're having a great day and have a relaxing weekend planned. lane


Jobs I was too young for

I don't know what got me thinking of my first jobs this morning. It must have something to do with feeling too old for my job today. Just can't keep up with all these young whippersnappers and all their crazy technology and dance moves.

Nowadays, the only job I'm too young for is WalMart greeter. But when I was in my early 20's. I must have impressed people with my responsibility because they gave me jobs I was not ready for.

My first jobs were in a grocery store. I bagged groceries way back when that was a service they provided and then I became a checker, back when everything had a price stamped on it and you had to key in the price into what amounted to a huge adding machine that held bills in the bottom. And, I stocked and mopped and did other odd jobs, like cleaning the coolers of the old milk stink. I lost that job because I have a big ole' mouth that used to get me in a lot more trouble.

My next job was supervisor of cashiers at a new grocery store that was opening. That was a good job. I did all the training for my cashiers. We were going to have the newest state of the art laser scanning technology and I had to learn to use it, program it, and train it. And, I ran a tight ship, scheduling people when they were needed and keeping them motivated. The store opened like gangbusters and I had to keep every register staffed and then things dropped off. The store brought in a new manager and he brought in his own people and all of us that were there to open the store got demoted from our good positions. And, I quit that one because I didn't see the point in taking a demotion to keep a good paying job. My, how things have changed and oh for an economy where you can leave a job because you don't like it.

After that, I worked for a couple that had just had twin boys. Now, this was my first job I was too young for. For heaven's sake, who would leave twin infants alone with a 20 year old? That is not a job for the young. That requires timing and focus and young people are not well known for either of those. I did it for several months and then they hired a nanny and let me go. I don't quite know why, but Lord knows, it doesn't matter now. It was too much responsibility for me.

After that, I worked for the Association of Retarded Citizens in a supervised apartment program. I lived in an apartment on the weekends and around that apartment, were several others, rented by the agency, and used to house two mildly mentally challenged young adults in each. I helped with their bank accounts, their grocery shopping, cooking, cleaning, laundry, transportation and Saturday night fun events, like bowling and games and movies. Because it was just weekend work, I was free to attend school during the week.

It was a big job and a lot of work. And, I was in my early 20's. Way too young for so much responsibility. I did that for a couple of years, helping out and watching kids move on to less and less supervised housing and then out of the program to live on their own. More than once, I had to have a "birds and the bees" discussion with someone that didn't understand why they felt they way they did. And, more than once, I saw them kicked out of the program for an inability to fit into society's norms...oddly enough, norms that most of society is not required to fit to. But, they were.

There were lots of fun times. I had lots of friends in the group and spent all the weekends with them. I remember that in college, I decided to keep my lab rat. What a mistake. I couldn't take care of it. And, one of the girls in the group wanted it, so I gave it to her. That was on the weekend. On Monday, I got a call from the supervisor to come get my rat...TODAY!

There were perhaps 20 people in the group. And, there was a lady and her family that stayed in the apartment during the week, doing the same things I was on the weekends. The group was varied. There was an older guy, maybe in his 50's and there were younger people, in their early 20's. They all had jobs during the week and they got money from the government. And, they had to be responsible with their money and if they ran out, then they sat out the weekend events. If too many of them ran out, then I made the weekend event something free, like a movie on the VCR and micro popcorn. Sometimes, we'd go to a local group home and spend the evening doing something with the girls there. And, there was more than one dance we attended. Nobody danced with the abandon of this group.

Then, it was time to move on and they threw me a going away party and invited my family. It was sad and I have lots of pictures from that night and from the days I worked there. Everybody wanted me to have a picture of them and me so I could remember them. Now, their names are gone from memory, but their faces are still there. I haven't looked at those pictures in years, but I can still see their faces and remember their private issues that I helped with.

I taught them a lot. And, they taught me a lot. But, I was so young that my heart wasn't really in it. I was looking for my own fun times. I wonder, based on who I am at this point in my life, if given the same opportunity, would I be good at it?

I think so. I think I'd be really good at teaching people in such an informal setting. And, they asked so little of me. Just a chance to show them how "normal" people lived. And, of course, the biggest thing they needed me for was protection against possible predators. That could get difficult because they didn't recognize predatory behavior.

So, how's that for a Way Back Wednesday post?

Still working on hexagons. I bought new fabric last night. Idiot me! And, not cheap fabric either. I went to the LQS and bought two large pieces. I got them home and laid them in the floor and saw that one of them was the same color as one I already had. Idiot, idiot, idiot. But, it's done now and they don't take returns and I do like the print better than the one I already had. This morning, i started cutting out more paper hexes. Just wondering how long I'll work on this before I get bored again and move on to something else. We'll see.



The Mum

A friend asked me to show a picture of Sydney before the dance, with her $25 homecoming Mum. Actually, I paid $25 and she paid some extra for some of the junk on it. Most of them came with a bell at the bottom, but as you can see, ours came with the complimentary puppy.

And, I must not have been in too much trouble on Saturday because she and I baked Pan de Muerte (Bread for the dead) otherwise known as Spanish class project number 2. They're studying dio de los Muertes (day of the dead) in class and had a choice of projects. The bread's actually pretty good, with anise seed, cinnamon and orange. Not sweet, but not as bland as regular white bread. Since this was a tester loaf, I've been eating it since Sunday. We'll have to make another loaf next Sunday for her to take to class. We had lots of laughing as she made her first home made bread. She was kinda grossed out by the texture before she added enough flour for it to be smooth and elastic and she got tired before she was finished kneading. And, she kept reminding me that she had to do it, every time I would try to show her something that I could show easier than I could explain.

Okay, that's it for me today. I've been working on that hexagon quilt and have decided there's nothing for it but to go to the store for some more fabric. The blue I've been using leans just a little bit toward purple and I only have one thing in my stash that goes with it and there's only a quarter yard of that. So, I'm going to try to find more. Or at least something close. I know where it came from and last time I was there, they had more. Maybe it's still there? Let's keep our fingers crossed.


A burst of self-confidence

Yep, last week resulted in a big ole burst of self-confidence for me. Cleveland and being all businesslike? Yep. Home and all businesslike (no whining)? Yep. Talked to a bunch of people on a plane? Not usually, but last week, yep. Volleyball? Dance? Yep, yep.

I love it. Not the shy, reserved old man. Me, bursting at my seams...with me! Back straight, belly in, shoulders back. And, like at the dance, start with a smile. If that doesn't work, growl at 'em.

Now, we're counting the days until I'm griping about feeling overwhelmed again.

So, this is a candid shot I took at the dance the other night. My kid. Having fun. Although we did have a discussion about sharing hats and bugs. And, see all the little children behind her? Having fun. Not touching one another. This was in the last half of the dance.

And, I did spend the weekend quilting. I finished quilting the Irish Chain quilt. Here is what I put in the open white blocks.

And, in the red border, a Greek Key for an Irish Chain. That key went really fast. I marked it with my pounce and the quilting was quick. I used a red thread because I was running low on the variegated thread I used everywhere else. I should have enough left to bind it. On the back of the border, I used a brown thread that matches the dark brown in the variegated thread. I did get some bobbin popup, but since this is a real bed quilt, I doubt that popup is going to keep me awake at nights. Neither is the pucker that runs down part of the center of the back. It's a tiny thing and not at all worth taking seams out to make it go away.

And, I made a lot of headway on the hexagon quilt. I made some decisions and am taking some sections apart...again. But, I'm going to end up with a phenomenal quilt if I ever get it together. I've been inspired by Bonnie Hunter's hex quilt and am adding some color to mine. The beauty of it is that because all the seams are folded open and because you only stitch short seams before knotting, I can basically take out a single hex from the center and replace it. So, I'm going to take full advantage of that ability and brighten it up a bit. I'm even thinking about a great border to make of hexes.

Unfortunately, after our jaunt into germ central on Friday night, both Rob and I are feelin' mighty poorly. We're still blaming it on allergies, but this sore throat that keeps coming and going needs to just go. I cannot afford to be sick. And, I kept washing my hands with antibacterial soap. Think that helped? I could have walked around under a constant shower of that soap and I don't know that it would have helped.

Take care and have a great Monday. I'll be working, but I'll be thinking about quilting. Lane


Oops! Poor kid may never be able to get a date now.

I consider myself to be a man of the world. I have seen things.

But, nothing prepared me for what I saw at that dance last night. And, I was NOT the cool parent.

I worked the ticket booth. Let's see if I can give you an image of that one. The ash cloud of a volcano rolling down a mountain at 100 miles an hour, but full of horny testosterone and bad breath and dressed in black. They descended upon us. And, each child, all 300~ of them, had to sign in and have their name checked against a list of kids who were not allowed to attend and a second list of kids who owed up to $50 in library fines. Once two teachers had done that, I had to take their sweaty $5 and put a wrist band on them. It was 45 minutes of non-stop insanity.

And, then when they were all in, there was nothing to do. So, I decided to brave the dance floor. The teachers warned me. They said I wouldn't last 15 minutes. But, they were wrong.

I got in there and talked to Rob for a second and find out what they were supposed to be doing and then I walked up on a group of about 10 girls who were not just dancing suggestively, they were actually humping one another's legs on the dance floor. And, Rob said it had been going on all night. Clearly the kids had the parents outnumbered. There were a couple of them that were working the dance floor, my Robby included, but for the most part, they were milling about the edges.

But I took care of that. I picked up my size 9 tennis shoe and put it right in the middle of that little group and just as soon as they realized they were about to hump on my left calf, that put a stop to that. Never had to say a word. And, basically, I spent the next 20 minutes making a reputation for myself. I broke up smaller groups of those girls over and over and over until I finally just walked up to two of them and said "If I catch you again, I'm taking you out to the principal." and I didn't see them doing that again.

After I had established my reputation as the mean old oger and gotten them into shape, I spent the rest of the evening, just walking around and they learned to set look-outs for me. So, anytime I got within 4 feet of anything I wasn't going to approve of, the look-outs would start breaking it up before it could get started. Hey, I did not care who broke it up as long as it got broke up.

All in all, very little physical interference was required. I stepped into the middle of that group of girls, but most of the time, I would walk up and just stand over a group of kids with my Lt. Warf eyebrow raised and that was all it took to break things up. Once I had to actually just put my body between two girls who weren't as easily deterred. And, when they gathered around a group of break dancers (good break dancers...great skills and fun to watch) near the edge of the floor, I climbed in the middle and broke that up with one sentence and my pointer finger. I love this age, when they can still be intimidated. I woudn't get away with what I did if it had been a high school dance.

And, while I was certainly the most aggressive parent on the floor, I noticed that some of the other parents got bolder after I got started and the last 45 minutes of the dance actually got fun. I started dancing in place to the beat and smiling and complimenting them on their dancing skills. And, I just walked. And watched. And, they behaved.

It was wierd. I really thought the problem would be keeping the boys off the girls. But, it wasn't. It was keeping the girls off the girls. The boys were easy. I just walked up behind them and gave them a tap on the shoulder and they moved on. No questions asked, no attitude, nothin'. But, the girls, they were bad.

When it was over, imagine a flock of ducks, all stupid and running for all they were worth. Most of them were gone within a few minutes, so by 8:30, there were just a few hoodlums left. At 8:30, they herded them back into the school so that when a parent came to get them, they had to go to the school door and talk to the principal to get their kid. One tried to escape the school grounds and I followed him around a corner, but he didn't really want to get away because as soon as I waved him back and let him know that I knew his name, he came trotting back.

It's like he just wanted someone with authority to stop him from doing something his big old teenage mouth had gotten him into. There were a couple others that threatened to run, but my scowl and obvious lack of fear and shouting out for help from the principal got them turned around real quick. And, there was one boy that tried to get away from me and I had to explain to him that I was not his mama and he would indeed do what I was telling him to do. Chest out, shoulders back, the possibility of physical harm and police back up. That's all it took.

All night long, kids were telling Sydney what a control freak her dad was. And, she kept telling Rob. It wasn't until after the dance that we explained it wasn't him. It was me. But, I knew what I was doing, so when she walked up to me, I said you need to move along because I have a bad reputation and you don't want these kids knowing you're mine. And, she moved along, knowing in her heart that she was up for some major crap from the kids later. But, I don't really care.

So, if you are sending your little sweetums to dances and not chaperoning them, get up off of it. You need to see what your little sweetums is up to, or I can pretty much assure you, you're gonna be a grandma...soon! Cuz, there's one little girl out there, and you know who you are, who may still be a virgin today, and if so, in no small part, thanks to me running her and some cute little blond gangsta out from behind a pony wall in the school courtyard.

Needless to say, my daughter will not be attending any future dances unless one of us is a chaperone.

Rob's up now and we talked over coffee. He made the point that parents don't know what is really going on at these dances or they'd put a stop to it. He reminded me of Sydney's description of the dances she went to last year and how different her description was from what we saw last night. I mean, she talked about group dancing, but not an orgy.

And, we reviewed what happened that I didn't know about. Seemed that the dance floor was pretty much out of control and most of the parents were just standing around, hoping their intimidating presence would keep things in check. Rob and one other Dad were milling about the floor. And then I came in and another pretty aggressive lady came in and Rob thought, Ahhh, reinforcements. When the original monitors saw so many of us get aggressive with the bad behavior, they got started too and things calmed down and everybody, including the parents, got to enjoy the rest of the dance.

Rob knew I had had enough when I crawled over a stone bench telling some punk that I was not his mama and he would do what I said and he took me home and put my overpowering brutish self to bed before I could scare any more kids on the streets of Austin.

Now that's off my chest, I can tell you about the other 90% of the kids at the dance.

There were kids whose faces I saw in the first 20 minutes and there were kids I saw in the other 40 minutes and there were kids I didn't see at all. If I saw you in the first 20, you were up to no good. In the second 40, you were doing okay. I saw 90% of them, including my little Sydney, in the second 40 minutes, when I was moving to the beat with them and looking out at their happy, smiling faces. Ain't sayin' my little Syglets was an angel. If she was, I wouldn't have seen her face at all. But, I can say, I was not ashamed of her behavior, and while she is speaking quite angry at me right now, her ruined reputation and all, her actions belay that maybe, just a tiny bit, she's glad that her dad has a reputation as a control freak. It helps explain anything she doesn't want to do.

I can't do that, my Dad won't let me. You know what a control freak he is.

Sorry for the long post, but I hope it kept you entertained and also that it scared you, maybe just a little bit. I hope this is a cautionary tale about what can happen in a school where parents don't get involved. We were never involved. This is our first year. Last night was our first dance. And, most of the adults that had done this before seemed a little overwhelmed. We only volunteered because we met the president of the PTA last weekend and when she sent out the list of jobs and volunteers to do them, the empty spaces made us feel a little guilty. But, I think we're in it now.

Lord, save me from being a volunteer parent.



Moments to spare

Just a few moments to spare during the days now. Time passes so fast and I often don't get to the things I'd like to, like reading all your blogs. Or, the small mountain of dishes next to the sink. I'm still getting my half hour a day of sewing. Not willing to give that up, no way, no how, no matter who in my house might miss a meal. I think I'd insist on that, even if there were no clean dishes. Just my half hour to myself that I don't worry about anybody or anything, just after I get up in the morning.

I've read how so many of us end up with these really busy times and when I'm in one or reading about one of yours, I wonder how we get through them. But, we do, and then things go on.

With all the work I've been doing, I haven't been able to be very attentive to my Mom, who had a little surgery this morning. I've done my best, knowing that if things turned more serious than they seemed, I could do more later, but that seems a little like splitting hairs to create priorities...which I guess is as significant as rationalizing about it. But, there was good news, so that's trouble avoided, for us all.

After the excitement of the game last night, Sydney seemed to get her attitude a little more in hand. Maybe it had something to do with me calmly telling her I didn't appreciate the things she was saying to me. But, I doubt it. Or, maybe it had something to do with me reminding her that part of being overcontroling meant that she actually gets fed every day...well, worded more like every damn day. She got the point. But, I doubt it had anything to do with that either. It was more likely the ever changing hormonal mood that comes and goes the same as a bit of indigestion does to the rest of us. But, I'm pretty proud of how I handled it all, especially after she hurt my feelings the night I came home. I know it helped when I let her help me decide what to wear to the dance tonight. I figured that was a sure fire way to get at least a modicum of approval from her about us going. And, it seemed to work. Funny thing is that you all know as well as I do that Rob and I will be the absolute most coolest parents at this stupid teenage dance.

My suitcase is still packed from the trip to Cleveland this week. There's that mountain of dishes waiting for me. And, I was planning to work on Saturday before my boss told me absolutely not, no matter what, was I to work this weekend. He's a great boss.

That means quilting time will be had! As much quilting time as I can possibly squeeze out of the weekend. But, I will be embarassed if I tell you those dishes are still sitting there next week or that my luggage still isn't unpacked. It could happen with the frame of mind I'm in right now.

Okay. Off to finish my last task of the day. Lane


Parent's rule, players drool

The girls didn't win enough games to make it into the tournament, but the coach had this Thursday on the schedule, just in case. She filled it by letting the girls play the parents. And, the parents beat the doo-doo out of them!!!! Yeah!

See the scoreboard? The parents were the home team. Here are the parents.

When the parents score got about 8 points higher than the girls, the coach would let all the girls on the floor.

And, all the parents, too.

This is the final hand slap under the net.

Way to go Moms and Dads. And, no, I did not play. I ran the scoreboard. Yeah, me!

Work is as stressful as it can get and I can't get everything done. But, that didn't stop me from leaving an hour early to go to the game. And, tomorrow nite is the homecoming dance and Rob and I are working. Sydney is so upset that we're going (you're soooo overcontroling!!! stomp stomp) that I'm thinking about making her stand behind me at the ticket table in the military at-ease position. Can you imagine how humiliating that would be? I like it!

Okay, so she's gonna have to do a bit more for me to take that drastic action, but I'm considering it as a good backup threat.

Take care and hope you had a great Thursday. Lane


Where the sewing machines are

For such an indpendent old cuss, who spends most of his time wishing people would just leave him alone, I have found out this week that I don't do real good "alone". The person I have felt closest to up here has been the waitress in the hotel restaurant. She's been on duty for every meal, which seems like too many hours, has a smile all the time, and has dawdled at my table to pass a few friendly words about books and food and weather. But, she has dawdled. And, not many other people have done that. Not their fault. They're busy on other projects and the project I'm here to rollout, for them, is done.

It wasn't like that in 1990 when I made my first trip to Cleveland. I was in the thick of it. Came up to test the product for 6 weeks in February, before it rolled out. That was the first time I saw snow...real snow, not the light powdering we get in the deep south, but knee deep snow. I was so involved and I met so many people and made so many friends in the time I was here. But, with 6 weeks, I had time to really get to know people and find kindred spirits. And, I didn't really have much going on at home that I was looking that forward to getting back to. I was young and stupid and not at all the distant and quiet man I've become, so I'm sure that meeting people had a lot to do with how much I was willing to put out there and now I'm old and shy and would rather focus on the family I have at home than meeting new people in a city far away.

It's funny how smoking cigarettes created a circle of people, and in the time 3 or 4 times a day that we spent 10 minutes together, we shared things. I wonder if smokers still do that or if they are ostracized to their smoking huts so much that there isn't time to actually meet their fellow smokers. But, anyway, I met people and we got close and we shared time together, both on and off the company clock. And, those people wanted to show me things. Like my first Jewish deli, and my first taste of home made ginger ale, and real Italian food.

Nowadays, when I travel for business, it's not about being where I am. It's all about getting home to what I left behind. I count the minutes until the workday is done and then do everything I can to pass the evening time so I can sleep those hours away, ignorant of the passing minutes, and get to the next day, which gets me closer to home.

Maybe it is that I didn't plan a quilt shop hop for this trip. Maybe that would have made things more fun. But, there isn't really money for that right now and goodness knows that there is not one thing in those shops that I can't live without. But, it would have made the time pass faster.

I wonder how I did it in 1990. I didn't quilt then, nor did I knit. And, I was here every other weekend. How did I fill the time? And, why wasn't I as anxious to get home then as I am now?

I remember that on one of those weekends, I went in search of the Amish. I asked the hotel housekeeper if she knew of a community and she sent me somewhere. But, I didn't find them. I did, however, see a sign for Niagara Falls and I drove there. That was a nice side trip, except that it was February and the "coat" that I took was nothing more than a heavy lined sweater that my Mom never liked.

And, I had dinner with Beth, the smoker friend that I met up here, one night. And, I remember driving all the way across town to get to a club that was supposed to be a "gay hangout" and turned out to be an old man hangout during happy hour and a teen bar at night. That wasn't any fun.

But, now, 20 years later, I spend my time watching television and basting hexagons (70 of them) and waiting until it's time for the next thing to happen. Shower at 6:30, breakfast at 7:15 (yes, I'm running late), office at 8:30, lunch at noon. And, at the end of those things, the trip back home, where I want to be. Where the man and the child are. Where the sewing machines are.

Okay, so today's WBW hasn't been about any one specific thing, but rather about me musing over how different I was 20 years ago, when I took my first business trips. I guess that attests to how hard it is for me to focus on anything except getting through the day and climbing into my own bed tonight.

Hope you have a great Wednesday and if you have the chance, set the clock forward 15 minutes for me. If everyone out there does just 15 minutes, I'll be home before you know it. Lane


In control (amended)

Sometimes, it's a really good feeling to let someone else just take over the control.

Normally, I am driven to accomplish as much as possible in any given time frame. And, I'm really good at it. I can multitask with the best of them. So, it was good for me yesterday to let other people take over.

And, take over they did. From the time that I dropped off my car at the airport parking lot, someone else was in control of my day. I let them get me to the airport, let them control how fast the line went at the metal detector (and it was a really long line). Then, I let them be in control of getting me where I needed to go at the time they told me I'd be there. And, all I had to do was read and relax...and walk.

Jeez, did I ever walk. My gate in Austin was at the far end of the airport. I arrived in Detroit at one end of the airport and took off from the other end and there were no shuttles to get me from one to the other. Then, in Cleveland, I arrived at the end of the terminal and walked to the rental car bus.

What I realized yesterday was that it is good to let others take over and just run the day. Unfortunately, there are few situations where I am not forced to do so, that I choose to let someone else be in control. I can do it with Rob. And, I can certainly give over a day or so to let him be in control. And maybe I will do just that soon as I can get back home.

But, I bet if you ask him, he'd tell you he'd welcome me showing up right now to help him get the school day started (a task much like herding chickens).

I do wish I was in a little more control today. Today will be hard for me. Too many people to meet. Too many tasks to accomplish. Too many hours before the task I was sent here to accomplish will start. And, somehow, I managed to get invited to a very uncomfortable meeting with a group that got found out in a big mistake. I look forward to getting back to the room, packing for the trip home tomorrow and basting more hexagons.

Oh, well. Nothing to do for it but let it all begin.

Have a great Tuesday. Lane

Okay, so I have learned my lesson. I'll take over control again, please. There is no place for me to sit around here. I'm in a "leftover" storage desk, crammed with boxes, a broken coffee maker, and a box of sugar (fortunately no ants). The elevate is not until late this evening. So, basically, I am left here to do my regular job without my regular resources crammed in a leftover space. It's not good to be out of control. And, the first "error" has happened. Fortunately, because I'm not in control, I don't have to panic. Okay, so there are good sides and bad sides to being in control. I want the good ones without the bad. Don't we all?


Just a few hours before my flight. And, just a few minutes before I pack this laptop away.

We enjoyed our time at the school working on school beautification, which involved swinging a pick and working a shovel and watching the organizer plant beautiful plants in places they will never live. And, trying to give advice and then shutting up. But, we all worked hard and now we have an "in" on the volunteer thing. We might even have found places to volunteer at the homecoming dance...I think I can take tickets. With tickets, people come, people do what they need to do and then they move on. Sounds perfect for me.

And, we did chores. I grew up under the shroud of always thinking "what if something happens to me and I die and someone else comes into my house. what will they find." Thanks, Mom. Anyway, my undies are clean and so is my house.

Last night, we did something we haven't ever done before. After I cooked for the family yesterday afternoon, we all pitched in and did the dishes. That was nice. It was good family time. Me washing, Rob rinsing and drying and Sydney putting away. And, that hours worth of dishes only took about 15 minutes. Of course, now they've let me know they can and so next week, I might let them have some more practice.

The hexes are all packed for basting. I doubt there will be any assembly time, but there's plenty of basting to do.

Okay, so that's it for today. Have a great Monday. Next time you hear from me, I'll be in the north. Cleveland. yippee.



Hex project

This is my hex project. I've been working on it for years. It came in a box of UFO's that my mentor had given away and the lady she gave them away to gave them away and they came to me. It started as a collar that was going to be open down one of the long points and was open in the center.

When I decided to take this as my project next week, I was pretty blah about it. The best advertisement I can give for it is that it travels well.

But, to pack it, I had to pull it out and when I did, I realized, this isn't so bad. There are a few things I can do to punch it up...and it seems that every time I pull it out, I think of something I can do that will improve it. First thing I did was to pull out all the half hexes and add the blue in the center and close it up. Next I added red rows around it and then the muslin with the blue flowers. I'm going to replace the flower centers with red hexes this time and fix the problem with the flower placement in the lower left corner...not sure how I did that. And, finally, I plan to add a round of blue on the edge and call this one done.

Or, maybe it will remain a perpetual UFO that I will add to and add to until it is the size of a king size quilt...and then...

See how perpetual UFO's start?

I'm sure this has taken so long because I've been taking the old fashioned route. I used to draw out all the hexes on freezer paper, but this time I drew just one 8 1/2 x 11 sheet of paper and then copied it onto freezer paper cut into 8 1/2 x 11. Cut each one out.
Press them to the back of the fabric and the rough cut them.
Then cut them to as close to 1/4" seamlines as possible and baste them down.
Maybe that's how a perpetual UFO starts.

Have a great Saturday. Lane


Friday again.

Volleyball is over. Ended last night. Unfortunately, the girls only won one game this season. But, boy, had their skills improved over the season. I'm pretty sure that Sydney will move on to basketball, which practices at 6am...that's gonna be fun...and that she'll play volleyball again next year. She wasn't very disappointed last night, which I was afraid she would be. And after the game, we celebrated with some ice cream. Seemed the perfect ending to the season.

Work has been excrutiatingly stressful over the last couple of days. What the heck, it's been stressful for the last couple of years, with periodic bouts of downtime and other times when it seems we'll never make our deadlines. And, the infighting and finger pointing just make it all the worse. Luckily I've stayed out of most of that, but this week has been my week as the one pointed at. Sometimes I can hardly stand it. But, I do. Because this is how I've chosen to make money. And, there's no choice for it. At least not one that's going to help before next Tuesday.

Next week, I will be in Cleveland, experiencing some of that fall color and cool, crisp days. Kinda looking forward to that, but as always, hate to be away from the family, even for just a few days. I am truly a home-body. I'll be taking a very old project with me. I have an English paper pieced hexagon medallion quilt in red and off white with a little blue. I thought it would be sooo great when I started it and now I wish I had done something different. But, it's too late for those thoughts. And, I can do a couple other things to help punch up the color (I hope!) I'm pretty tired of sewing one unbleached muslin hex to the next unbleached muslin hex, but when I get past that area, I can add things and that will hopefully make it fun again. Thought I had a pic I could upload, but can't find one now. That speaks to how long I've been working on this particular UFO. But, it travels well. I just need to get a lot more hexes cut and basted this weekend, which is going to slow progress on the irish chain.

I've only got a half dozen more of the white squares to quilt on the irish chain and then I'll be moving to the borders. Not sure what's going to happen there. As usual, I've waited until I need to start that part before making a plan for it. And, as usual, the hoped for inspiration has not come. Here's hoping the inspiration fairy lands near me soon as I'd like to be sleeping under that quilt by the end of the month...if the weather holds out that is. Not quite cool enough for a quilt yet, but it's getting pretty close.

Tomorrow, we're going to Sydney's school to participate in Beautification day. It's my volunteer duty fulfilled for the PTA. Not comfortable chaperoning a dance yet or selling baked goods. But, "Have shovel, will weed" seems to be all the motto I'll need for this activity, and those I can do.

Take care. Hope you're planning something fun for the weekend. Lane


Not quite Father's Day

Sometimes TV can really affect what's going on with me. Last night's television included a show where a boy's father lapsed into a coma and the show focused on the spirituality aspect of having faith. And, that has affected Way Back Wednesday.

This picture is of a Norman Rockwell plate. Rob collects these and he has quite a few. He ordered this one for me. And, when it came in and he showed it to me, it touched my heart so much that I had to close it back up in the box and put it away for a while. This morning, I hunted it down to share and it will stay out and find a place where I can see it.

Other than the father's glasses and the boy's blond hair, this IS a memory of mine. It comes from way back. A memory of us in church. My specific church memories put my Dad in the choir loft. But there were times when the choir was released into the congregation and there were times before he joined the choir that he sat with us; my Mom, my sisters and me. And, those times form a more general memory.

My Dad is a quiet man. Except when he's laughing. He has an infectious laugh and a great sense of humor. He has an intense devotion to family and to God. He claims not to understand some things, but he also has the ability to look past what he doesn't understand to see a person's successes or troubles.

If anybody needed help and he knew about it, he was there. Quietly. And, any time that we needed help, there was someone there. Just as quietly. Proving he was well respected by his peers.

He could tell a story and get the most out of the telling, making people laugh at intervals while he talked. And, he would come home from work and tell jokes. I can remember times when he sat with his brother and sisters and they would tell stories from their childhood and laugh until they cried at the funny things that had happened. He was next to youngest after a long line of girls and apparently, was carried until his feet drug the ground before they made him learn to walk. And there's a picture of him the year he didn't get a horse for Cmas, sulking in the background.

My Dad and I don't have a whole bunch in common. We can talk about my quilting successes unless I need to describe a technique and we can talk about gardening and daylilies. We talk a lot about the weather and our various aches and pains. And getting older. Sometimes we talk about old times. And, I recently took his investment advice and moved my retirement account to a safer bet, after all, it worked very well for him. He doesn't tell me he's disappointed in me and he doesn't tell me I'm bad or wrong. And, he always sounds happy to hear my voice when I call. And, some things don't need to be said in words. They're said in tone of voice and peaceful discourse and the ability to relax around one another. Even if one of us falls asleep. And, we always end our conversations with I love you.

I remember that he was willing to help wash the dishes and bathe the babies and clean the house when needed. And, I remember that some other dads got angry about that willingness (because they didn't want to do those things). I remember learning to grill from him and walking in front of him while he pushed the lawnmower. I remember the only time I ever saw him use a sewing machine to hem a pair of pants one Sunday before church (I was mystified that he knew how). And, I remember him driving everywhere we went. And, fixing a series of old cars and trucks. I remember him crying at funerals and at weddings. And I know that seeing him do these things gave me permission to do them, too.

I wonder how different our relationship would be if I had stayed in my hometown. I'm sure we would have everyday things in common and it would be easier to talk. But, then, if I had stayed there, I would not be who I am now. Choices mean taking one road and leaving another behind and I am sure I took the road that was intended for me. Just as sure as I am that we all look back and wonder about the road we didnt' take.

I know my Mom is going to call my Dad in to read this, so...

I love you Daddy and hope you are doing well. And, I wish I could think to say all these things when we're talking, but I don't. I hope you know them nonetheless.

Happy Way Back Wednesday. Lane


FMQ speed

I answered most of the questions I got on yesterday's post about making copies as comments, so if you had a question, check it out and get my answer or my thoughts or whatever. I'm sure there are as many camps on quilt marking as there are quilt marking tools and my theory is "use all of them". I hate marking quilts and will look for what I think is the easiest solution every time. I also get caught by not knowing what I want to quilt when I make my sandwich, so I don't give myself the opportunity very often to mark it by tracing onto the quilt in advance. I'm usually marking a partially quilted quilt. But, I get by, especially now that I can cut my own marking templates out of template plastic.

There was one question yesterday that I didn't answer and that one is about sewing speed when I FMQ. Pauline asked if I set my machine on slow speed and I decided that needed its own post.

The answer is "I used to".

When I started to FMQ, I went slow. Very slow. I tried to be very precise about following the lines. And, I did good work, but will tell you that going slow makes it easier to stay on the line, but harder to get all my stitches to be about the same length. Going slow meant that my stitch length would be consistent when I started, but as I got warmed up, my hands would want to move faster and faster and that would make my stitches longer and longer. Hand speed and machine speed require careful coordination when free motion quilting. With practice, I've found a great speed to start out at and as I warm up, I still move my hands faster and faster, but I also speed up the machine while I'm doing that so my stitch length remains consistent.

When I started to free hand FMQ, which means FMQ without drawn lines, I found that the faster I ran the machine, the easier it was to get the stitch to happen in the place I wanted it to. It's like drawing. Sit and draw a curve with pencil and paper and move your hand really slow. The curve will probably not come out the way you want it to. But, imagine the curve and then just put pencil to paper and draw it fast and what I found was that I got more accurate as I moved faster.

I also found that when I quilted slowly, my hands moved in a jerking motion; move a little, then when the needle pierced the fabric, it anchored the quilt and stopped my hand motion and when the needle rose out of the fabric, I moved again...until the needle came down and stopped my motion. And, I bobbed along like that for a year or so; not sure whether it was wrong and not sure how to stop. My quilting was bump, bump, bump. I moved between the bumps.

What I finally learned was that I needed a faster needle speed so that my hands moved consistently in the direction I wanted without all those jerky stops (think bump, bump, bump). That really made the difference. Again, it's like drawing. Take that pencil and try to draw a curve where you stop the pencil every 8th of an inch and then proceed and stop again after an 8th inch. That is really tough to make a consistent curve. So, now my machine whirs along and my hand movement is consistent and the needle piercing the quilt does not stop my motion. My motion continues and the needle does its thing as I go.

So, what do I recommend?

First, take some ugly fabric and some ugly thread and some leftover batting and make sandwich after sandwich and use them for practice pieces. Quilt whatever you want. I quilted my name and quilted quotes and verses. Then, like doodling, I would go back and fill in the circles, like the circle in the letter a. then, I would echo around the writing (echo quilting is the hardest thing I've found so far and is still what I practice...a lot!) Fill that practice sandwich up and then throw it away. Don't try to learn to FMQ on a real quilt. You will not be happy. Believe me, I am the voice of experience on this one. Don't do it. Wait until you've made a couple of practice sandwiches and then pull out a real quilt top. Or, if you insist on learning on a real quilt, use an ugly quilt that you're going to give away...preferably to someone you don't like or someone that's moving away so you won't have to see that piece of work again.

Start slow and then get faster. Build on your speed. If you've ever watched Leah Day quilt one of her 365 filler designs, you'll be amazed at how fast she goes. That's what you're after; the ability to sew as fast as you would draw. (I picked that flame stitch at random as I think the video is a good one, but can't remember exactly and can't view them from this pc so feel free to look around at some of her other videos to watch her quilt.) To me, that's real control over the fabric and the needle when you FMQ.

Make a whole cloth quilt. I make a whole cloth every year. I made my first one 4 years ago by marking a template onto a piece of fabric and quilting along the lines. That was nice and it reflected my skills at the time. But, it is very plain. The next year, I traced that same template onto a new piece of fabric and it was MUCH better. And, I filled in around everything with background filler. And, this year, I made a fancy quilt. This is an annual reminder of how much better I'm doing.

Finally, my advice is to give it a try. Don't be stopped. Diane Gaudynski says: Keep quilting, your work gets better every day. And, it's true. The more you do it, the more you'll enjoy it and the more you enjoy it, the more you'll try and the more you try, the more you'll find you can do. Whatever is stopping you; the right tools, courage, project; get it out of the way and just give it a try. You'll never know what you're missing if you don't give it a try. And, if you don't like it, well, at least you'll be able to say, I don't FMQ because I don't like it. That's better than I don't FMQ because I'm afraid of it. There's plenty to be afraid of. There's no need to be afraid of anything that you do in the privacy of your own sewing room.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. Lane


Making copies

Okay, so most copies are made with a photocopier, right?

I could draw each shape on the quilt, but it takes almost as long to draw it as to quilt it in, and that's not practical.

Photocopies leave ink on the thread when you sew through them. And, every other way of making copies I've found does the same. But, this way works very well.

So, the Irish Chain quilt I'm quilting has 50 solid white squares. And, I decided to put the shape in the photo into those white squares.

I drew it on freezer paper and I took a bunch of Golden Threads quilting paper and folded it so I had 25 layers and cut it in half to give me the 50 I needed.

I pinned the original to the quilting paper and used an old discarded needle to sew through the shape.

And, ended up with 50 copies that I can tear apart and pin to a white square and quilt through.

The needle leaves a dimple in the paper and I put that dimple on top so I get not just the holes to show me the way, but the dimples make a shadow that also helps me follow the way. Quilt along the lines and then tear away the paper and I'm done with a shape.

I have 32 of them quilted in. 18 left to go and the borders and this big quilt will be done.

Take care and have a great Monday! Lane


A great place to sit

This is the potting shed at our house. Rob built this for me about 8 years ago and based on some feedback, he redesigned it about 4 years ago when hail came through the roof. But, now, it's about perfect and that steep roof acts like a little slide that those sweet hailstones can slide down and say "weeeee!" (okay, so it's been a long day)
Anyway, it is very handy. And, with those two comfy chairs out there, it's a great place to sit. The last two mornings we sat out there. Yesterday, we got run in by the coolness, but this morning, we closed both doors and it was much nicer. Rob brought his laptop and played music and I took hand quilting and we talked.
This is the other side.
And, this is the view I wanted to get changed, but didn't get around to it today. Oh, well. There's always next weekend.
So many chores to do today. We hat the store, tree trimming, cleaning off the deck, I planted lettuce and radishes and some snow peas in the flowerbed. Just tossed about three years of leftover seed that I found in the kitchen this morning and I just threw them...except for the peas, which I actually planted in a row. Then, I scrubbed the bathrooms and hand washed some white table cloths and laid them in the yard (where my brilliant child quickly let the dog run across them and now some are going to need washing again to get the puppy prints off) and cooking for next week, and dishes, three different times. All that's left is sweeping and mopping and I'm pretty sure that will still be waiting for me tomorrow night. And, if it's not, I really will be happy.
Okay, so tomorrow is another day at work. Yippee. Enjoy the rest of your weekend. Lane


I'm getting pretty good at this...

I've gotten pretty good at helping the girl buy jeans and t-shirts and polo shirts and tennis shoes and cutesy little colorful ankle socks. I even learned how to size her for undergarments. But, I have to confess that I was a little intimidated by her acceptance into a city-wide choir and the need to buy her dress up clothes. She needed a plain white shirt, a black skirt, black nylons (I'm for hose, she wants tights), and black shoes.

Selecting was easy, we sent her in with a skirt and we went and looked for the shirt and half slip and camisole and bra and brought them back to the dressing room and handed them over the door for her to try on. Then to the shoe department for her first pair of heels and 35 minutes and 55 dollars later, we had the whole shebang. It was, perhaps the easiest clothes shopping we've ever done with her. We even got her a new pair of jeans and I got a new pair of slippers.
Not much going on around here other than that and quilting. Yesterday, I cleaned out the potting shed and put two comfortable chairs out there and have spent many happy hours out there reading. I just need to come up with a way to cover the sight of chemicals and things and it will pretty much be perfect. I'll try to get some pics up here tomorrow.
Take care and have a great Saturday! I'm back to my quilting. Lane


Rolling and Puddling

I shared this idea with someone the other day who was thinking of machine quilting a larger quilt. And, today, thought I'd share a picture. So, in watching quilters on TV and reading in magazines, there seems to be one camp of domestic sewing machine quilters who roll the right side of the quilt and keep the left side out flat and straight. And, there's another group that doesn't roll at all and just puddles the quilt around the needle. But, I've found that a combination of the two works best for me.

The rolling is so I can easily get a half of a queen size (or whatever size I'm working on) quilt through the narrow throat of my machine. Yes, that is a half of a queen sized quilt in that tight little roll.

The other half of the quilt is puddled on a combination of surfaces, including two sewing machine cabinets and a dining table. I never let the left side of the quilt hang as gravity makes it hard to push the quilt along. I keep it all up at the same height and it just moves as I need it to move.

Now, look at where I would be sitting and the 45*angle that is folded in the rolled up part of the quilt. That gives that edge stability and keeps it from dropping down below the sewing surface, which would again be gravity pulling on the quilt. I can pretty much put that angle against my chest and help hold it level with the sewing surface

Once in a while, some bulge-y part of the quilt will get stuck on something. I have to watch out for that and anytime I feel the slightest tug against the direction I'm trying to push, I stop and straighten it. There's nothing more frustrating than trying to push that and suddenly having it release and jump a long way and you get a really big stitch. Hate that.

Anyway, that's how I do it. And, it seems to be working okay.

I've taken another Friday off. I should feel so guilty. But, I don't. I'm not going to quilt all day today, tho. I have some other projects I want to get to. I want to get to.....quilt......