Quilting and Frogging

It is inevitable that when I quilt like this, there is some frogging.

One of my goals with this little holiday quilt is to quilt it just enough that when you see it from a distance, you want to get closer.

Want to get closer?

I finally got those poinsettias to show up on the green blocks. Red thread. Okay, so red thread takes a lot of courage. Every mistake has the potential to show. But, you know my theory on quilting. If there are mistakes, just add more thread until the mistakes disappear.

And, that's what I've done on this quilt.

One more time around the poinsettias with that red thread to make them show up just a tiny bit more and I'll be ready to snip the four hundred thousand million little tiny thread ends, where all that echo quilting ends at the edge of the green blocks. Yippee. I am so excited.

And, the frogging (everybody knows what frogging is, right? rippit, rippit) is where I changed my mind about some of the echo quilting. I had it running alongside the green blocks in the sashing, like I did on the other side of the seamline in the green blocks. But, that just got confusing, so I'm taking a little of that out and going with the echo right to the edge.

Quilting like this takes getting in the zone. Getting in the zone takes time to get relaxed into it enough. So, I'm not going to try to do any more quilting until this weekend when I can get a few hours of uninterrupted time again. In the meantime, I've got all those ends to cut and that should keep me busy.

Update on Sydney's eye...it's fine. Just a bit of red left. There's no sign of infection and the pain is gone and she can blink freely. So, it's all good that ends good, right?

Thanks so much for all your kind words. Some days it's good to be the dad. Even if it wasn't my knees she cuddled up against while we watched the second team play. But, that's good, too. Who wants sweaty teenager hanging all on them?

Happy birthday to the 7 billionth inhabitant of our planet, supposed to be born today, somewhere in India. Welcome to the world. Be productive and respect your elders.

Have a happy halloween!!!! Sydney's costume is finished. I'll try to post a pic tomorrow. It turned out soooo good. She looks so wizardly that I expect to be turned into a frog at any time...rippit, rippit...

Oh, wait. Didn't I just say that?



The eye has it

I saw her on the basketball court, starting to rub her eye. She came off the court, still rubbing. Crap, she's gotten something in her eye. "Stop rubbing" I whispered under my breath as if she could hear me on the court.

She sat on the sidelines, rub, rub, rub. Then she took the locker room keys and left the gym. Okay, she's going to go get whatever it is out of her eye. "Good grief, what kind of cheap toilet paper crap is she about to stick in her eye?"

Quickly...too quickly, she's back. And, she's really upset. I'm not watching the game anymore. The coach tries to deal with her and then, I hear it. I hear what it is impossible for me to hear. The gym is loud. The game is exciting. And, over the din, I hear "Are your dads here?" And, I was on my feet, ramrod straight, mustering all the "presence" I have so the coach will see me.

And, when her eyes hit mine, I move. Down. Fast. One step after the other.

When I get to Sydney, she's pretty hysterical. Blubbering gibberish is all I hear. But, I know that every parental eye in that gym is on me. (What will the gay dad do???) No way I can get any control over her there in the gym. So, I look up in the stands and my eyes hit Rob and there he comes. Fast.

We take Sydney out in the hall. "Take two deep breaths and tell me what happened."

And, we wait because she knows I won't listen until she does what I said.

And, she starts. Blah, blah, blah details that I didn't hear about the play "and then some girl stuck her finger in my eye and for a second I lost vision but then it came back and then (substitute girl's name that I don't remember) screamed at me that I had blood in my eye. And, I couldn't get in the locker room to see..."

"Stop. Hold your head up. Look up."

And, indeed, just behind the lower lid, there is a spot of blood under the surface of the eye that's about as big around as the lead of an old fashioned wood pencil. "Okay, it's not so bad. Does it hurt?"

"No, I want to go back to the game."

"Calm down. I just need you to take a couple of breaths and calm down. Your blood pressure is high and that's just going to make it worse."

"You're stressing me out. I want to go back to the game." We are on the verge of hyperventilation.

"You can go back to the game as soon as you calm down."

Rob got involved then.

And, she calmed down and she went back to the game.

That night, I looked at it a couple of times and gave her a tylenol. She woke up the next morning and said it hurt, but she said the longer she was awake, the less it hurt, so I gave her an ibuprophen and sent her to school.

About four hours later, she called me and in her most pitiful voice (okay, if you have a daughter, you know that voice that sounds on the verge of tears and is nature's way of making sure parents take care of kids) "can you bring me an ibuprophen? My eye hurts."

The medical book says:

Blood spot in the eye with no pain, wait until it goes away. Blood spot in the eye with pain, see the doctor NOW.

[Okay, I confess to a bit of poetic license. I actually checked the medical book before I sent her to school. But, it fit in the plot better here.]

I called our doctor...can you believe that I share the same GP with my daughter? That sounds wierd, huh? Anyway, they suggest the optometrist. So, I call my O.D. and he's out of town for a couple of weeks. They refer me to the one that I saw when my O.D. was in Iraq a couple years ago.

Call them. They will fit her in. No, they don't have an appointment, but for this, the doctor will absolutely see her. But they're only open until 12:30. Time now, 11:40. We will be there in 10 minutes. And, we were. And, a lady heard us come in and came out and got us through the paperwork and got us in and an hour and a half later, and a hundred and forty dollars poorer, we're having burgers for lunch.

The girl removed a good bit of epidermis (translate for Sydney "she scratched the skin off"). No damage to the inside of the eye, just to the surface. It will heal just fine. Only risk is infection, so some eyedrops and alternate tylenol and ibuprophen until it stops hurting.

I could have taken her back to school after that. She could have gone to world history and spanish and choir and theater. But, I wanted her with me. So, we came home and ate and painted cabinet doors and then I quilted and she did her thing.

Here. Nearby. Where I needed her to be.

So, that's been our end of week. How 'bout yours?



Concerts, confusion and consternation

Look at my girl in her black skirt and white shirt, all dressed and ready for the concert.

Please note the appropriate length of the black skirt. It was a formal concert after all and there were a lot of scandalously short skirts on that stage.

You also cannot see the very appropriate undergarments. But, I did advise that when I was her age, a proper lady would not leave the house without a girdle and stockings, gloves, hat and purse. To which she replied, "what is a girdle?" And, Rob's very quick answer was "A bit of illusion and magic."

Okay, until this morning, I did not realize just how funny that was.

This is last year's outfit. There's a gray stain in the back of the shirt. That gray stain got there from the shirt not being taken care of. I found it as I was finishing up the ironing. I could probably have bleached the shirt and gotten the stain out. But, then I would have had to iron the thing again...girls clothes are hard to iron; all those curved lines and darts; blech!

She hates the shirt this year because of the way it fits. It fits perfect. It's loose and lightweight and hangs well. Apparently, that's not the style anymore.

Okay, so Sydney's friend spent the weekend with us so she could go to practice for this concert. But, she wasn't at the concert. Her Mom was at the concert for at least a second, too short a time for us to run into her, but long enough to see her across the auditorium.

I would hate to think that M. didn't make the concert for want of a ride. I'm not sure that she has the same structured homelife that Sydney so enjoys. You guys are always commenting about what a great time Sydney has of it with us and I think that for the first time, I'm seeing a child that doesn't have the same structure...the structure that Rob and I just take for granted.

M. was surprised by meal times and home cooked food and eating out. She commented on my cooking several times and the groceries and the pantry. She wasn't used to bed times and getting up times and the kind of chores we expect and doing things with the family.

Makes my big old heart ache.

Okay, so that's concerts and confusion. How about consternation?

This little quilt. I spent all my time thinking about what I was going to quilt out in those large triangles. I have a fabulously fantastically wonderful plan. I spent so much time on the corners that I didn't plan for the center.

First, I tried an all over pattern. I practiced on paper, I created grids to quilt over, I tried and I tried and I tried and I wasn't happy. So, I switched to these poinsettias. I traced them and needle punched them into tracing paper and I put one in and I didn't like it, so I put another one in a different color thread and I didn't like it, so I ripped it out and then I replaced it with the original color thread and I still don't like it.

With the dark, medium and light fabrics in it, there is just no "right" color of thread.

If I stick with the poinsettias, I'm going to have to use a different thread. Something not green and something not beige. Red? Maybe metallic silver? or gold? There's a tiny bit of gold ink print on that sashing fabric. Or, I could quilt some other shape. I don't know. Now that all the ditchwork is done and the quilt is secure and stable, I'm thinking about starting out in the triangles and quilting what I know I want to do and then figuring out the center later. But, really, before I do that, I need to pick a thread. Or, maybe I'll just hang it on the wall and wait for some inspiration.

Red thread, huh? That would be a very bold move. Talk about showing off the mistakes.

Goodness knows I have plenty of other stuff I could work on.

Has anyone out there ever quilted with metallic thread? Is it easier or harder than invisible thread (which I consider to be like sewing with stretchy human hair)?



What to blog about???

That is the real question. We are soooo busy. We have evening events all week. Kid stuff, parent stuff, me stuff.

Tonight is the all city choir concert. Sydney is in that choir for the second year. It's inconvenient, so it's voluntary. There are out of school practices and an evening concert. If the parents can't get the kid there, the kid can't participate. So, we're glad to see that coming to a finale.

And, this week is the first basketball game of the season. That's always exciting. Sydney is on the bench for the A team in case they need her and if they don't, then she plays with the B team. But, she can't play in both games. Not sure how that's going to work out for her. That's the coaches baby to rock. All I have to do is make sure she gets there and when it's my turn to bring sandwiches, I have to get them there.

Garden work season is starting and I'm trying to plan what I want to add to my flowerbeds this year. Almost every year, I pick a new spot to add some gardening color to. But, it's hard work that can only be done around here in winter...at least by me. I see people out sweating and trying to dig in the dirt in 105* temps. What I don't see is the stuff they plant making it through the summer. There's just not enough water to make that happen. So, I garden in winter. Not like the ground ever freezes, so may as well be comfy.

I finished my lesson plans to teach a quilt class. 15 lessons in a 12 hour class, split across at least two days. I haven't turned it in yet. Gotta make sure the man is good with me doing this. After all, whether he wants to or not, he'll be a participant. He'll need to build me a portable extension for my machine bed and he'll have to do without me while I do all the prep work and he'll have to feed the kid when I'm not home. And, we need to figure out what parameters I have around teaching; will it be Saturday classes, or after work? That kind of stuff. As much as I wish this replaced my other responsibilities, like my day job, it doesn't. It's in addition to all that other stuff, like homework and dentist visits and holiday shopping.

And, I've started quilting the 2011 holiday quilt. I meant to upload a picture of some poinsettia flowers in the center blocks. I've also started the 7th applique block for Simply Delicious. And, I have knitting and crochet and a hundred other irons in the fire.

Thank you all for your kind emails about the quilt show. I was disappointed. I could have used a roll of batting. But, it wasn't my show this time. That's okay. The quilt is still a winner and even if it's with another quilt, I will be in another show. I've got my feet wet now and am over the initial hesitation to put my work out there. So, don't be surprised if you see my name in a quilt show you're at some time.

Okay, so that's all for today. Sometimes life just gets in the way of quilting and blogging...or maybe I'm just having a blogging block from being so busy. I am trying to keep up with reading blogs, but keeping up right now has left me at least two days behind.

Take care and have a great Tuesday. If you get a chance, brew a nice cup of tea and sit someplace sunny to enjoy it and think about me and how much I wish I was there relaxing with you. When it's my turn to relax, I promise to think about you.



The suspense is over! The winners are announced.

Yes, the winners have been announced. Congratulations guys! At least two of the winners are followers of mine. If you get a chance, head out and give them a big congratulations shout.

We've had such a busy weekend. Friday night about 8, Sydney's best friend's Mom called and asked if we could take M for the weekend. Sure. She's not a bit of a problem. They had choir practice all day yesterday, which is why M couldn't go to Dallas with the family for a surprise birthday celebration for a Grandma.

M is a delight. We tried to get them to take ours and just leave theirs here this afternoon, but they weren't having anything to do with it. We went for Thai food and they played and spent hours doing their nails. Rob and I puttered in the yard and around the house. My kitchen was in a deplorable state and I spent half the day scrubbing cabinet doors and tile countertops.

And, I've been quilting. You know me. Gotta have quilting.

Everybody take care and have a great last few hours of your Sunday. Back to work tomorrow. Lane


Lone Star Fiesta Quilt Show

Do you have 15 minutes to go to a quilt show? Rob managed to capture the Lone Star Fiesta Quilt show by the Chisholm Trail Quilters on video. It's really like being there.

This is the show we went to with LD. She's the lady in blue that makes a face at Rob.

The quilt with the witch? It's titled "Self Portrait". What a sense of humor...or is it?

That red bag I'm carrying was purchased in the guild boutique. And, it was filled in the boutique. The bag only cost a buck. Great bargain.

In the beginning there are two bethlehem star quilts. One is the full sized raffle quilt and the other is a miniature that the maker donated to the silent auction. Hello, if I ever make something that wonderful, I'm being buried in it.

Take care and have a wonderful Thursday. I'm working from home and waiting for a repairman. Hoping I can keep from getting distracted. Quilts are calling. But, so is work.





Maybe I should find a daisy and do a version of "he loves me, he loves me not". Or maybe I better get my butt to work so I can afford to keep quilting.



Putting people in their place and the shoe saga continues...

Following is a wierd post, full of imagination and fantasy. Not sure where it came from, but as I've read it over and over, I'm kinda liking it, so I think I'll keep it.

Okay, so every once in a while, I have to move people up or down on the importance ladder. Imagine that everyone in your life is on a ladder. The most important people are at the top so they can climb up and out of danger first. They're the people you'd risk your life for. Then, there should be you. (Yes, you need to be pretty darn near the top of your ladder. And, if you're not, you need to look at why.) And then, below you, in descending order of importance, are all the other people you have relationships with. Yes, it's a long ladder. Good thing it's imaginary because it wouldn't be too stable.

Sometimes I realize that someone just isn't experienced enough, or isn't sensitive enough for the place of respect I gave them on my ladder. That person needs to be moved down the ladder.

Or, someone is just irritating. On purpose. Someone that is only made important because I'm always irritated with them and therefore think about them morning, noon and night. Irritating people just don't need to be way up there on the ladder, close to me, where they can irritate me more. They need to be moved down the ladder.

Now, you're probably thinking how mean it is of me to move people down the ladder; to make them less important; to make them less likely to survive the "danger" that exists at the bottom of the ladder. But, it's not. Moving someone down the ladder means letting other people move up the ladder. People that are more deserving of a better place on the ladder can fill the empty space left by someone that maybe shouldn't even be on my ladder at all.

See, in my imagination, I can push people off the ladder and watch them fall. And, not feel one bit guilty about it. Maybe they grab on somewhere near the bottom. Maybe they don't and the danger gets them. But, more deserving people get to fill in the spaces.

Why is this particular imaginative rambling important to me? Because there's a couple of people that I've recently realized have been moved down the ladder. They didn't deserve the importance I gave them. Over time, without doing it on purpose, I moved them down my ladder, to better places for them to be. They likely won't even notice that they've been moved. Won't even notice the little bit less of myself that I offer. But, I'll know. Not because I'll remember these folks aren't important. But because I'll be enjoying the people I moved into those empty places. People that deserve to be there, in better place, on my ladder.

Yes, it's fanciful. Unrealistic. But, a pretty darned accurate description. Words that draw a picture that only exists in my mind.


Okay, so you may know about the coach that called the other day to tell me to buy shoes for my kid. I blogged about it here. Monday evening, I asked Sydney if she heard from Coach B. "Yes. She called me over and made me show her my new shoes and she said 'Nice job. Those are going to make a big difference'".

Yesterday morning, as I was driving to work, I got a call from a phone number I didn't recognize. I answered and it was Sydney. "Lane, I just wanted to say Thanks for the new shoes. I know you didn't have to do that. But, I wanted to let you know that I appreciate you taking the time and the money to get me new shoes." Okay, so floored is a good description. All I could say was "Thanks for calling and saying that. You're welcome and I love you." She hung on the phone for a few more seconds without saying anything and I asked "are you okay?" "Yeah". "Okay, love you." "Bye" (cuz that child would rather pull a permanent tooth than say she loves me in front of anybody.)

Last night, I asked what was up with the call. "Coach B. made me call. I was on my way in from gym and she called me over and made a big deal about the shoes. I called you and said thanks to make her shut up. I even managed to work up a tear for her." And, the whole time she's beaming like she just pulled the biggest joke in creation.

But, I know that what the coach said touched her. She doesn't work up a tear for just anything. And, I know she both loves and respects this coach and listens to what she says.

All I could do was guffaw. How can you listen to a kid tell a story like that and not roll on the floor laughing. Sometimes it's like living with Huck Finn.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.


Lesson plan 1: What to quilt

I had to show off pics of this month's Linus quilt. I got the last of the quilting done this morning.

When I sat down to try to figure out what to quilt, I looked at this top and I thought: I could quilt an all over pattern in the center and then something else around the borders. But, with so much movement in the quilt top, why? Sometimes simple is the best option.

I sat down and wrote most of my lesson plans for a machine quilting class last week. I almost turned them in on Saturday (even though turning that around in a week would have implied that I was overly anxious (which I am, but not need to look overly anxious in what amounts to a job interview)) but I decided not to. And, the reward for not turning it in is that I thought of two new topics to cover. But, I digress.

The first lesson plan is about looking at the top you've made and deciding what to quilt in it. It's sort of a trunkshow of my quilts to talk about what worked...and what didn't.

Complex tops will swallow up complex quilting patterns. If the top is complex, it's usually best to keep the quilting simple.

If the top is simple or has large spaces, fill that up with fancy quilting.

If you want to snuggle under the quilt, don't quilt it too tight or it will get stiff and hard and not cuddly.

Oh, and the most important lesson of all. If you're quilting something hard, like long straight unmarked lines, quilt a bunch of them. It makes the mistakes disappear. In other words, if the quilting is bad, put a bunch of it in and nobody will see your mistakes.

I first quilted just diagonally through the neutral blocks. And, I could see every curve and wonk. So, then, I quilted diagonally through all the green blocks. Still lots of curves and wonks. Then, I added a line through all the dark blocks that also crossed the green block corners and with that, there were so many mistakes that all the oopsies just disappear.

Yeah for me and my mistakes.

Now, if I could just rationalize why I used that terrible backing fabric on this cute quilt top, we'd be alright.

Have a good Tuesday. Lane


six is twelve, or twelve is six

I got my patterns out of order and I didn't check the number. I ended up making the block on top of the pile, thinking it was 6. Then, yesterday, when I finished it and went for the next block, I found block 6 and thought, "Oh, Crud. I've only done 5 of these. I'm never going to finish."

The one I finished yesterday was the grapes. With 69 planned applique pieces, I can see why they planned it to be the final block. Nobody would want to do more if they did this one first.

I had to add two extra grapes to cover a couple of holes. I was being really careful to place them right, but there were just a couple of spots that needed more...purple. Okay, you are not going to hear me say that often. Few things need more purple when you have a 13 year old that is obsessed with the color.

I'm really loving this applique. It's the Simply Delicious quilt from Piece o' Cake Designs (Becky Goldsmith and Linda Jenkins). I'm reallly loving it. The grapes make 6 blocks finished. I just started this year, so I'm pretty happy about that.

I won't finish this year, but maybe next. I already have the backing fabric folded up in the box with the rest of the patterns. And, last night, I got everything ready for the next block, Perfect Pomegranate.

Other than that, we didn't do too much over the weekend. By yesterday, I was pretty much ready for some Lane time and so I took it. It was heaven. I got everything ready to pin baste this year's cmas quilt and I nearly finished quilting the October Linus quilt. I got the grapes block finished and the next one started. And, I did a bit of cleaning around the sewing room. That's the drawback to being a whirling dervish. At some point, I have to slow down enough to clean up the mess.

Hope you're having a great Monday. Lane


Her first overnight guest

Rob and I took yesterday off. Not to do anything. But, just not to be at work. We started with a nice round of chores. I cleaned carpets for 3 hours and Rob built me an enclosure to hold mulch as a floor for this winter's green house. Then, we went for Indian buffet for lunch. Rob had never had Indian food and he liked it very much. I looked at his plate and said "I'm sorry you didn't care for it." Both times that he cleaned his plate.

Then, we rested for the afternoon. He took a nap and I cut out a quilt for a friend. Then, Sydney brought a friend home from school and they did their thing and we did ours. I appliqued grapes. Just a dozen or so left to go. Rob studied lawn mowers. He needs a new one, but can't find one he likes, so he's going to repair.

Pizza made the perfect supper and Rob and I sat in the living room and watched a movie and they stayed in Sydney's room. I don't know what they did. Sydney said they stayed up til 10:30, but Rob said he heard something loud closer to 11:30.

And, they slept half the morning while I pinbasted a Linus quilt and Rob puttered.

Again, I am fascinated by the ordinary-ness of our lives.

Oh, and we got a call from a coach yesterday. We got fussed at for the deplorable state of our child's shoes. What did I know. I haven't seen those shoes since I told he she couldn't bring them home anymore cuz they stunk so bad.

Just kidding.

The call was very compassionate, but did have just the tinies bit of chastising, unsure whether we could afford new shoes and offering to help out if we needed it to get them. That made me feel funny. First funny that she thought we needed the help. Then funny that she offered and curious about whether she was talking about school funds or her personal funds. And, funny that I got absorbed in grades and forgot shoes.

Oh, well. That's how it is, right? Anyway, we will be buying new shoes today. I have a 20% off coupon that's burning a hole in my email inbox. Okay, that's it fo rme. I'm off to cast my last minute vote in the quilt show and then we're off for a bit of shopping and lunch. Sydney's friend loves Thai food. Maybe we'll go all international and do that today.

Take care. Lane


Have you been to the online Men's Quilt show??

This post needs two titles. The one above and "Everyone should be so lucky."

Okay, so the quilt show. I'm in my first quilt show. It's an online quilt show called Men Quilt, Too and I really hope that if you haven't visited and voted, you take the opportunity to do so. Voting ends this Saturday. I have to confess. I haven't voted yet. I'm having a really hard time deciding whether to vote for myself or to vote for the quilt I think is the best...and are they the same quilt? Who knows. There's lots of great quilts out there.

Okay, so that was a shameless plug. I figure the more people vote, the better chance I have to win...something. And, all four prizes are great.

Everyone should be so lucky...

And, I've tried to blog about my quilting adventure every day since the show started on 10/01. Today, I'm going to blog about a quilt that was a gift from our friend LD. When she gave this quilt to Rob to bring home to me, she shared the story of its history. He remembered names like Reagan and King, both big names in Texas history. There was a plane crash and a Mother/Daughter death and lost history.

I unfolded it the first time and almost cried at the beauty of it.

Unfortunately, it is in need of repair, if for no other reason than to preserve the beautiful embroidery.

Unfortunately, we don't know anything about the maker.

We know that there was a lady who did interior decorating named Reagan. Her daughter married into the King Ranch family and was Mrs Reagan's best customer in the decorating business.

Mrs Reagan bought the quilt to use in her daughter's home. But, even then, it needed repair. So, she hired LD's aunt to do the repairs.

Just as the repairs were finished, Mrs Reagan and Mrs King were going to fly out on a shopping trip.

The plane crashed on takeoff and both were killed.

No one ever came to claim the quilt and LD's Aunt was never paid. So, right of ownership passed to the Aunt and then to LD and then to me. And, it's time to repair again.

The shot above on the right is the quilt back. It was made up of several different brown silks. One is completely gone. I was surprised to see the embroidery stitches show through on the back. Maybe that's the way all these were made. I don't know.

In my study on restoring silk and velvet crazy quilts, the first thing I read was don't try to repair a historically significant quilt. So, for over a year, the quilt has sat, folded in a cotton sheet, waiting until I could get the full history and make sure it wasn't significant before I take my inexperienced needle to it. I think the batting might be silk. At the very least, it is the softest combed wool I have ever felt.

The plan is to reback it and retire (cover over with black silk) a couple of pieces of shattered silk that have no embroidery. There is one shattered piece with beautiful embroidery that I want to preserve and I'm thinking of inserting a very delicate piece of fusible web that melts at a low temp and fusing the shattered silk to a backing fabric so the embroidery can be preserved and enjoyed. I've found the silk, but I haven't bought it. I guess that even though it's not historically significant, it's still intimidating to think about actually doing something...other than letting it disintegrate in my sewing room closet.

Everybody have a great Thursday.



First Exposure to Quilts...

So many quilters have great stories of sitting under the quilt frame as children, listening to the old folks gossip, Or threading needles for maiden Aunts. Or hand piecing at the knee of a Grandmother.

Not me. Boys don't sew. Boys play in the dirt. Except I wasn't supposed to get dirty.

My exposure to quilts didn't come from beds, either. Toasty warm beds and sleeping under a weight of quilts in a drafty old farmhouse. In my family, we used blankets. Blankets were modern. Both my Grandmothers used blankets and I can remember that we had electric blankets when I was growing up. Quilts were for changing the oil in cars or spreading on the dirt for a picnic.

And, then the 70's came along and the bicentenial and a resurgence in the crafts of a bygone time. My grandmother made Sunbonnet Sue quilts and Overall Bill quilts for her great grandchildren. And, then, my Mom made me this quilt. All these stars appliqued to muslin with satin stitch. I don't remember much about the piecing, but I do remember her sitting at her machine, quilting it in a grid pattern. Her machine sat on a fold away card table in the laundry room, where an upright freezer would have gone...except all my family used chest type freezers. I also don't know where all the scraps came from. I know that some were clothing scraps from the family, but the others may have been gifted scraps from other people. Not sure my Mom would remember. Anyway, loved this quilt, but it is very fragile. The muslin is thin and it's been washed until some of the satin stitching has worn. The corners are starting to open where the muslin back was folded over to the front to bind it.

My next quilt was this quilt. It was made by my Great Grandmother. Now, this is where my real love of quilts started because I could use this quilt. Except it was made of double knit, so it is so hot that you can't sleep under it unless you're sleeping outside or in a very drafty house. But, I remember as a boy, sleeping under it in the summer until my Dad said something to me about not needing to sleep under a heavy quilt. I know he said it to me first thing one morning and I wonder if it was because he woke me up for school and I was a sweaty mess under this heavy thing.

Now, these next two quilts are quilts I grew up around. They were kept in the top of the linen closet and were used for picnics and...other things like raking leaves onto in the fall so we could drag them across the yard and dump them on the compost pile. Hey, quilts were plentiful and considered "country" at that time, so no judging.

This red sashed quilt is in the best shape. These quilts came from my maternal foremothers. Note the pattern. You're going to see it repeated from both sides of the family. It was apparently a very popular regional pattern.

This blue quilt is in sad shape and may not be worth repairing. But, I do have all the supplies gathered. It took years to find just the right loosely woven tan fabric to replace the HST's around each block. The original is shredding. And, I found a perfectly color matched piece of cotton to cover the motor oil stain in the backing. Like I said, quilts were plentiful and misunderstood.

This is a quilt I collected. We picked it up from an antique store. It really needs cleaning. Looks like a lot of white, but those colored bits used to be blue print with orange dots. Now, just the dots remain and a shadow of the blue. It's still a lovely quilt and is nice and heavy. Great hand quilting even though it's not densely quilted. It was made for a utility quilt. But, it's not a scrap quilt. The maker clearly had a lot of white and a lot of the print to use.

Now, we get into the quilts that I inherited from my paternal side of the family. These are in very good shape, All cotton. See that repeated pattern again? I love al the color in this quilt, set against the brown sashing and borders. No need for all the HST's on this one. Just cut the sashing into blocks and incorporate them into the pattern. Can you imagine how hard that was to do by hand?

One winter, Rob and I stayed at my parent's house for cmas holidays. They lived on a lake and it was blue cold while we were there. One whole wall of the bedroom was windows and sliding glass doors covered in heavy drapes, but it was still cold. We pulled this quilt out of the bathroom closet and we were toasty warm for the rest of our stay. It is a wonderful scrappy quilt. Lots of rough feedsack cloth.

Now, this quilt is a beautiful disaster. It is a beautifully hand pieced quilt. It's a sunflower pattern and the yellow petals are set into the seams of the blue points. I've only seen the pattern once and didn't think to bookmark it and can't find it again. All the fabrics in the top are cottons. But, it is backed with the cheapest navy blue polyester, so loosely woven that you can see through it and see the polyester batting. One day, I'd like to take the quilting out and requilt it on a new back and batt. But, with so many of my own projects going on, I doubt that I'll ever really get to that.


This was one of those odd mornings where I was celebrating just being. The averageness of getting up before the sun and making breakfast for my family and sending them off with their foil wrapped packages of goodness and protein. The averageness of putting things away and keeping order in my sewing room and doing yoga and playing with the dog. The averageness of a shower and shave. The averageness of sitting down to my own breakfast and planning Sydney's homework and studying Spanish so I can keep up with her and keep her up with the class. The averageness of a walk through the back yard, humming the old hymns from childhood.

I think a lot of this was brought on by the news that a family friend from my childhood had passed. I remember his youngest daughters, who were near my age. His oldest daughter played piano at church. She was well studied and very classical in her playing. Her mother, on the other hand, played piano at the church sometimes and her playing was more country piano with trills and runs and notes that didn't show on the page. I'm not sure she read the music so much as felt it flow out of her fingers. Her interpretation of the hymns made your soul want to move and your hands want to wave and your feet want to dance in praise. But that just wasn't done in the conservative Baptist church I grew up in and while I know lots of people enjoyed her playing, I don't think she was the first choice of many of the choir directors that came and went. I loved that old gospel feel to the music, tho and can remember being caught up in the celebration of it.

Precious mem'ries.



A very big weekend

Thank you all so much for your kind comments over the weekend. I am both excited and intimidated. The new LQS owner has strong feelings about what she wants and it is what I want to offer in a class I teach, so we're agreed on that part. Now, I need a lesson plan and a textbook and to figure out when and if I can actually pull this off.

Okay, so teaching is something that I've wanted to do for a while and I asked the previous shop owners a couple times, but what I felt like I had to offer, they already had someone to teach. Now, I have a skill they want and this time, they asked me. All their quilters use long or mid arm machines and they want a quilter that uses a domestic. Hello, that's me!

She did remind me that they're in it to make money, so I need to keep that in mind as I write up the curriculum. And, I'll do my best, but they don't carry many of the supplies that I consider must haves for quilters and so, sending business their way is going to be a delicate two-way street, where they have to sell it for me to get people to buy it from them. That includes tools, thread and needles, which they keep in very, very limited supplies. Unfortunately, that's why JoAnn's gets so much of my business; they keep a better supply of tools and thread and needles. But, we'll work that part out, too.

And, I need to find a textbook. She and I think of different names when we think of quilting on a DSM. She doesn't carry books by the author I prefer. So, there I am again, wondering if I'll have to teach from a book by someone I don't know that well and who will it be?

On the home front, we had a very kid-centric week last week and while I didn't feel like that left much room to sew, I guess I got a lot more done than I thought. I pulled out and finished the Cheerful Cherries block from Simply Delicious. It had been put away so long, I had to pull out the book and read up again. Cherries are block 5 and I thought 45 applique pieces was just a bit too much for one applique block.

And, then I started block 6, Gorgeous Grapes and it has 70 pieces. Oh, brother. There are 40 or 45 grapes!! This is from a kit that a friend gifted me and I am enjoying the heck out of it. I'm learning to make it more portable as I get better at it and that will help. For a while, I didn't consider it a good port-a-project because of the overlay that helps me set the pieces, but I'm getting better working with that as I go and have learned the secret of not letting it get wrinkled.

And, I fixed the border problem on this year's cmas quilt. The dark green borders were about a half inch wider and that was throwing me off. I did not like it, so I cut some size off all 4 sides and added the tan border to it. Now, I'm ready to pin baste and start the quilting.

And, I got the borders on the little green quilt. Funny, while I was piecing a quilt that was made mostly from leaders/enders, I was also piecing more leader/enders for a future quilt. The stash uses system never stops giving.

All the fabrics are pressed and ready to cut for my next quilt. Handwork, quilting, piecing. I need all three going at one time to be happy and feel like I'm making headway because they all require different tools and space and mind. If I have all three going, I don't have to stop work just because I get brain dead on what shape to quilt next. I can piece for a while and think about it. And, if I need to go somewhere while I'm thinking, I can take some handwork. A busy boy has too much to do to hover over his 13 year old daughter.

Last Wednesday night, it was baking cupcakes with the kid and doing homework all evening. It would have been so much easier to bake for her, or to forego the homework for the team. But, I got her to do both. Thursday night, it was the last volleyball game and all the team and most of the parents went out for dinner after (it was our second dinner). Friday night, we had the school Homecoming dance and we chaperoned. And, then we stopped at Taco Bell and had a second dinner. (I finally got to take my boyfriend to a school dance. Now, imagine how horrified Sydney was when I kept telling her that the dance wasn't about her, it was about taking my boyfriend out.) Saturday, Sydney spent the afternoon and evening with friends and Rob and I worried because that's not normal for us...what were we to do with all that time without her. So, I made him take me on a date and we went out for a vast amount of fried food.

When it was time to pick Sydney up, she doesn't have the skills yet to handle disappointment and acted like a 9 year old, trying to get us to let her spend the night. At some point, a parent has to let their kid misbehave so they can experience the embarrasment of crying in front of someone else's Mom and learn that's not how grown ups act. My kid is learning that lesson older than most. Can't be helped. That's the life we have now. We taught her to be a person and now it's time to inflict her on the world. We can't protect her from growing up and part of that is learning how to be friends. So, we carefully select the parents to let her learn in front of. People we don't think will judge her too harshly and will be part of our village. People that understand what it's like to be Sydney and help us teach her. So, when we got out of the truck and smiled and laughed and entertained while being firm about our "no", CW, the other girl's Mom, seemed to understand and chatted with all three of us until the tear storm was passed and we were back to telling funny stories about Sydney's day out.

Growing up is hard to do.

Take care and have a great Monday.



Do you follow Bonnie Hunter?

If you've followed for a while, then you know that I am a Bonnie Hunter fan; a member of that very large club.

Now, I found Bonnie at very rough quilting time. I was too tightfisted to throw anything away, but the scraps from my quilts was taking over and getting way out of hand.

I kept reading in a blog I followed about the quilter using her Leaders and Enders. Finally, one day I was just too curious and I went to find out what that was. And, that's where I found Bonnie.

Bonnie taught me how to save my scraps so I could use them and then, shared ideas of how and when to use them. And, I was hooked bad.

Here's a previous blog about how much I love my scrap user system.

So, this morning, I knew that I needed to piece a Linus quilt for this month. And, I had no ideas, except to start something from scratch. But, over summer, I knew I had pieced a whole bunch 4 patches, so I went in search and found 70 already pieced and waiting. I reached into the Linus bin of fabrics and pulled out a lavendar. No, don't want lavendar. Next, a piece of red. No, red's not right. Next came out this piece of green and I measured and made sure I had enough and cut it and in about 3 hours, I had this. I will be adding another row of blocks and squaring it up. I don't usually make baby sized Linus quilts. I usually go for teen boy quilts if I can, but this is what came together, so this is what it's going to be.

In different news, I was at a quilt show last weekend and ran into the new owner of the LQS. She taught the one class I've attended. She asked me to bring in the finished quilt from that class. I took that one in and three others. She asked if I'd teach a series of quilting classes. Starting at the basics and building up.

All I have to do is come up with a lesson plan.

Somebody pinch me!



I should be ashamed...

But, I'm not.

Hi. My name is Lane and I'm an addict. I am addicted to sewing machines. I knew I had a problem when my family drove me 70 miles, in the rain, for the second time in two weekends, to get me a machine. I also knew I had a problem when I started looking for pictures and realized I couldn't find pictures of two of my favorite machines. But, we must power on.

I will likely stumble again.

In my own defense, I make them all work.

So, let's start with my latest conquest and work backward.

Ken Moore, my 1950's era Kenmore sewing machine. Bought him off ebay and he was damaged in shipping. I spent a lot of time bringing him back and on vacation in August, I picked up his original cabinet from the seller and rewired Ken and now he is my main piecing machine. He was purchased in Spring 2011. He has a very deep voice.

And, while I was waiging for him to be delivered, I bought this machine; a real powerhouse 231 at goodwill. I like this machine and would love to send it to my Mother in Law as it would be a great machine for her, but she'd have to set it up and take it down as a portable and it is a very heavy machine. So, for now, she waits her turn to make something.

This is my only mistake. Stupid, stupid mistake. This machine was in the auction at Goodwill. I got caught up in the frenzy of bidding and paid as much as I would have paid for one on ebay (not including shipping). I declined to try it out at the store. I got it home and it took a couple of days to figure out it had been dropped and had serious problems. By then, it was too late to take it back. So, i started dropping money into it and just when I got everything else going fine, the motor mount breaks and the housing cracks. Previously unseen damage. So, for now, it sits in the closet in it's case while I look for a white motor housing. I am now a much more careful shopper. (oh, and btw, if you just happen to have a white motor housing for a singer 221 just sitting around, please call.)

Now, this is an inherited machine. This was my Grandmother's machine. Or my Mother's machine...depending on who you asked. When my Mom got her first job, my Grandmother said, let's go trade my treadle machine in on a new machine. We'll use the treadle as the downpayment and you can make the payments and when you get married, you can take the machine with you. Well, apparently that went along well, until my Mom got married and then my Grandmother wouldn't hand over the machine. Anyway, my Grandmother sewed on it forever. That spot where the varnish is worn off is from her arm. My Mom and Dad were going to get rid of it and my Mom asked if I'd like to have it and we picked it up on vacation a couple years ago. Unfortunately, this machine is temperamental. I suspect that is a holdover from my Grandmother. So, she doesn't get used much anymore. I mean, there's really only so much time I can feasibly sink into working on one machine, right?

This is my Singer 128 handcrank. Totally an impulse purchase. I thought I would enjoy hand cranking much more than I did. A couple of bobbins into it and the thrill had worn off. She's a great machine tho. I used her when I made a denim quilt. Didn't want to do that on one of my electric machines, so I did it all with manaul power. When I got to the border, it was much easier to take this machine onto the floor with the quilt than it was to haul that heavy quilt up to my treadle.

Now, here is my Singer 127, treadle. We call her Jenny, in honor of Rob's grandmother who sewed on a treadle all her life. Another great and classic machine. There's a video somewhere of me treadling on this machine...just going along, no problems. It is very relaxing. But, it's not likely to replace my electrics anytime soon. Barring armegeddon, that is.

I should not have to take credit for this one. This was ALL Rob's fault (yeah, right). We were at a city wide garage sale and just stumbled up on it. I tried to bargain them down and they weren't having anything to do with it. I could have gotten the card table for what I now recognize was a song and was too cheap to realize how valuable it would have been. But, nonetheless, I love this little girl. She went on vacation with us and helped me piece a quilt while we were there. Her name is Esther.

THIS IS NOT A TOY! Those are the first words of the instruction manual for this little machine. Okay, but if you sew much, it's kind of a cheesy substitute for a machine...machine splenda. But, for $6 I couldn't pass up my little Pinky. I've done everything I can to make her quiet enough to use her, but she is not having anything to do with it. So, she also sits in a box in the closet...

This is my Pfaff, Elizabeth. She was abandoned at a fundraiser when she didn't sell. Nobody wanted her because nobody could figure out how to reset the password, so she wouldn't work for them. Rob stumbled up on her through one of his man connections (why can a man take apart a car engine and put it back together, but a sewing machine intimidates the heck out of 'em?) He brought her home. I contacted Pfaff and they said I'd have to send her in to have that password reset. I asked the local repairman at my LQS and he said, take the batteries out for a minute and then put them back in. She's been sewing for me ever since. When I need a modern machine, she just cannot be beat.

Now, this is my good girl. She's also my big girl. She's my Evelyn. She's a Bernina 930 and she has quilted every quilt I've ever machine quilted. I've tried machine quilting on a few others, but it's just not the pleasure that it is on my big ole' Evelyn.

She was my mentor's Mother's machine. She's never given me a bit of trouble...well, okay, she was a little cranky when I first started using her, but I think that was because I didn't know what I was doing and she wasn't really happy about that, having come from an experienced quilter and all. But, we got through it and now she is my good and faithful friend.

And, last but not least, the machine I've had the longest, even though I couldn't really use her until about a month ago. This is Natalie Scarbrough. She's a National Rotary from early in the 20th century. I don't know much about her. That's kind of an obscure name and unlike Singer, you generally have to pay for information about her. And, I'm not really willing to do that. So, I just enjoy having her as part of the family. She's going to make a quilt, soon. I have it all cut and kitted up. A great, girly one for her maiden voyage...or is it. I really don't know what she did before she came to live with me 20 years ago. But, she hasn't done much since and it's time for her to do some work!

I also have a Singer 301, black, longbed. I don't know why I can't find a picture of her and I'm not at home to take one. And, I have Kathryn, my Mom's serger, who is a workhorse in my sewing room now that I've taken the time to learn to use her.

So, that's it. 13. You just never know when I'll find number 14, tho.


Okay, so I have some personal blog cleaning up to do. Yesterday, I finished The Help. I was moved. Moved to tears often. I really loved the book. If you haven't read it yet, I recommend it.

But, finishing it led me to the necessity of an apology. A couple of weeks ago, I compared DOMA, the Defense of Marriage act that prevents Rob and I from marrying at a federal level, to the Jim Crow Laws from the South. I apologize. They are not the same. At this time, DOMA is no threat to our personal safety and while I so wish for its repeal, I do recognize that our struggle is nothing compared to the struggles of other minority groups. And, like those groups, in time, we will prevail, partially because of the lessons learned from their struggles. So, I thank those that came before me and saw a wrong and took a stand about it.