No, not the bathroom kind (blankety-blank blank blank). No, not the plant disease. But, scale for contrast. Scale to make things stand out. And, I found the perfect illustration yesterday morning in my garden. This is a bit of green bed. Later, there will be flowers (lots and lots and lots of pink florets, making huge heads of flowers). But, for now, the bed relies on scale and value for interest. We all know that color gets all the credit, but it's value that does all the work and scale the bears the burden of beauty.

Here, I've used small leaves in different shapes to create interest. There's points and curves; wide and narrow, large and small, tall and short. While everything is green, that variety of scale is the only reason to look over here.

That's what I ran into on the silk quilt yesterday. A deficit of scale.

You may have to click on this to see it good. Look at the clamshells in the lower left and compare them to the echo work in the upper right. They're too close in scale. Sydney asked if I was stressed out when I quilted them. The clamshells are going to disappear into the echo quilting when they come together.

As I kept making the clamshells, I got more relaxed and the clamshells got larger. One got way large, but for the most part, I found a size I liked that I could make at a speed that was comfortable and I went to town on them. See how the clamshells on the right are larger than the echo quilting and are markedly different? When those come together, you'll be able to see where one ends and the other begins.

And, here's the first place the two shapes come together. It's the only part of the quilt center that is completely filled in. Three little inches of accomplishment.

This picture I tossed in to show how much I relaxed. The upper left is where I started and then I moved into the lower right. I missed family time again last night. I know it's just while I"m in this manically creative stage. It will end and I'll get back to TV in the living room and everything will get back to normal. Dogs pawing at me and people talking and TV up loud and...the relaxed routine of family time.

The quilt center is almost done. I just have that moat around the central urn of flowers to fill in with echo work. I just finished my first spool of silk thread. $6 for 225 yards. See why I don't want to waste an inch? For $2 I can get 2200 yards of coats and clark 50 weight, with a JoAnn's coupon.

But, OH MY, the feel of the silk is wonderful. As wonderful as the shimmer. And, pulling stitches did not damage the silk or hurt the shine.


Today, the movit Bully is being released. It's only in a handful of theaters. We'll have to wait until it goes to DVD. I know that some parents are objecting to the language. I would caution them to remember that unless their kids are living in an Amish community somewhere, they've heard it. And, mine heard it at home. On TV. And, from me. So, that doesn't bother me at all.

I've seen footage and interviews from those involved in the movie and I choked up during an article on NPR this morning. You guys have heard me blog about being bullied before. I'm not really feeling like going into it today, but I remember. Eighth grade, ninth grade and then we moved and I got a reprieve in tenth grade, but by eleventh grade, it was there again, even though I worked so very hard to rise above it and by twelfth grade, I just wanted out, so I gave up band and only went to school half day and worked the other half.

College had some of the folks from high school, but on so much larger a campus that I got to meet new people and start over again. But, I found most relationships to be closed and distant because I couldn't completely join in without revealing more about me than I wanted anyone to know.

And, the more the world closed in around me, the more I withdrew.

And, then I found other gay people and it got better. And, for every time I wished I'd died in high school, I made a happy memory to stand between me and that pain. I only remember all that when I see something about another child that's been bullied.

Some guy this morning said "it's getting to the point where one kid can't pick on another without making a big deal about it". That is not what bullying is. That is not what we are talking about when people talk about bullies. Bullying is harassment. Bullying is long term hurt. Bullying is not one kid saying another has cooties and the next day they're playing tag. Bullying crushes.

Bystanders help the bully. It's only people with the courage and character to take action, even if that action is just walking away, that hurt bullies.

Hurt bullies by not being their friend.

Jeez. That got heavier than I intended. I guess I'm having more feelings about it than I'd like to admit.

Have a great Friday. Lane


Lucky. Or not.

I got really lucky on my car repairs yesterday. Just $40 solved my brake squeak. He told me I'd have to do that again in a year or so, just to keep it clean. It's brake dust in the brake drum that is causing the squeak. They clean out that dust and the squeak goes away. Until more dust builds up.

$40 is much cheaper than a new car. Even the new cars I was looking at.


Sydney says I only quilt so I can rip. What does she know. She's a teen. But, she does think I rip an inordinate amount of quilting out.

I do. I can quickly turn into the lady at the back of the guild meeting with the seam ripper, pulling thread and muttering "it has to be perfect. Perfect."

But, when I pointed out that I had quilted some of my background filler yesterday in the wrong scale and that it was not going to stand out...and look at the rest of it in the larger scale and how wonderful it looks, Rob saw what I was talking about, even if Sydney still didn't think it was important enough to rip out a 6"x2" strip of tiny background work. TWO HOURS. It didn't take but about 30 minutes to put that in, but it's taken 2 hours to get it out and I'm not done yet.

So, that's what I did this morning instead of adding more quilting. I pulled. Wanna know what's hard about it? Not sticking the tip of the seam ripper into the silk. That would tear it and leave a hole. Cotton is more forgiving and if I have an oopsie, the ripper will likely just move the warp and welt threads so the hole can close again when I pull the ripper back out. But, with the silk, there would definitely be a tear in the fabric. So, all my ripping is from the back, where the fabric and thread are cotton. I don't even hold the ripper in my hand when I have the quilt face up.


Day before yesterday, I had the silk quilt in the floor and knocked over a cup of coffee. I got just a tiny bit of staining in the edge of the silk that will be cut away. That was very lucky.


This morning, I stepped in a pile of dog poo. And, didn't notice it until I got to work. And, despite using my toothbrush and a half bottle of hand sanitizer to try to clean it out, I can still smell it once in a while. So, maybe I'm not that lucky after all.


Maybe it is all just coincidence and sometimes coincidence is with you and sometimes it's not.

I did not get dog poo on the silk quilt. That's also luck. Or, coincidence.



So much to talk about, so little to say.

Decisions have to be made. That said, I am not comfortable making decisions. Always second guessing myself. So, when I enter a decisive phase of my personality, or as the writers of horoscopes would say, my decisive planetary phase, I take full advantage of it.

First decision was to put the dad-gum car in the dad-gum shop. Okay, I can spend a few hundred dollars on my older model, low mileage, excellently maintained car for regular maintenance...nothing special. Or, I can trade that car in for something I don't know anything about and a huge debt. I just had to explore all the possibilities and decide. There was no wrong answer. So often, there is no wrong answer, but I act as though I were facing a live or die situation. Unnecessary burden. But, instead of fretting about the burden I've put myself under for 15 days, I'm going to celebrate that I finally made up my mind.

That meant working from home yesterday, which was hard! There was too much to do and this quilt just kept calling my name. I want to get a good way into it so I can take it to class. I'm feeling pretty cocky about this.

When I first started quilting, I saw Diane Gaudynski's work and honestly, everything I've done since has been building up to this. Learning to sew, learning to master my sewing machine instead of blaming it. Building up the muscles required to make fabric do what I want it to do.

I still see Diane's work. But, what I don't see is anybody but Diane that has gotten this far. I know that not every quilter wants to do this. My mentor does not want to do this. She is very blunt. This is not her cup of tea. But, she loves to look at it.

I know there have to be others of us that are doing this, but I'm not out there spending a whole lot of time hunting them down. I'd rather spend that time quilting. But, I want everybody that wants to do this to know that if they work at it, they can. I did. And, my class will begin with an explanation that I can share what I've learned, but quilting is all about practice. I can't give two years of practice in a two weekend class. But, it can be done.

This is coming in from the corner and will end at some point and the fine echo work will pick up there. Just something to frame it that's slightly different ans I transition out to the first border, alternating pumpkin seeds that I will background with pebbling. Outside of that, something so far not envisioned. And, around the edge, a greek key pattern with something tiny and tight in the background.

Long term project.

Or, maybe not. I'm only 8 hours into it and I've gotten this far. I'm pretty impressed with myself. Unfortunately part of that 8 hours was stolen from family time. I have to be very aware of that when I'm in my manically creative phase.

Oh, and I finally got a picture of the Mariner's Star block 9 posted. Busy is happy.

Take care and have a great Wednesday. Lane


Well, I did it...

You knew I would. It took me about 4 hours to get this part done last night. And, yes, my threads are still hanging. I'll knot those and then thread them through a needle and pop the knots under the surface of the fabric and cut the tails off. I did not do tiny stitches to make my starts and stops. I was going for all my stitches being the same length. This is definitely a show quilt. (I hope)

It's very hard to take pictures of because the silk reflects the light. I spent an hour this morning tracing what I planned to put in a corner and when I was finished and turned off the light box, I hated it. So, I used a very soft toothbrush to erase all the marks and now I'm rethinking my plan. No more of this type of feathers for this quilt. Now, it needs things like a greek key border and pumpin seeds; straight lines and order to frame this feathery chaos. And, a boatload of background quilting. I'll try to steal a couple of minutes to get to Diane Gaudynski's site for some additional inspiration.

The silk is much easier to quilt on than I expected it to be. it's not as slick as I was afraid of. But, I do have to wear my gloves to get a good grip on it.

Getting to spend 4 hours quilting last night was a definite reward for getting other things done. Sydney and I put in the final flower bed of the year and I had a meeting with the guy that's helping me with my resume. I had dishes and scrubbed the bathroom and cleaned everything that would sit still. And, then I did the panels below and THEN I got to quilt.

I didn't take a picture early enough. This armoir stand in my sewing room. It's a family antique that was my great Grandmother's. The mirrors are in poor shape, so when I got it and we set it up, we left the mirrors out, preferring the solid wood effect. But, I wanted something that would look better than those solid doors and I don't have the hundreds of dollars it would cost to resilver the mirrors, so fabric was the next best choice.

I bought pieces of foamcore and taped them together and then cut them to shape, based on the mirrors and then I glued a layer of batting to that and then covered it with fabric and glued that down around the back, nice and taut. And, then I rehung the doors. I'm loving it!

Okay, so have a great Monday. I'm on the "not going to buy a car" side today, which means spending several hundred dollars getting my car fixed. I expect that by around 2:30, I'll be back in the "going to buy a car" mood. It comes and goes like hunger.

Take care. Lane


Do ya' dare me?

Yesterday, we had great fun at the quilt show. We took LD and she had her walker and she maneuvered all through that show and she talked to everyone. She even introduced me to a quilter that spent 7 years hand quilting a quilt in the style of Diane Gaudynski type echo quilting. I was glad to shake her hand and we all congratulated her. I'll show that quilt soon.

There were very few vendors at the show, so after, I went for a supply run. These are my quilts hanging in the shop I'm going to be teaching in. Of course, the repairman stood up, just as I took the pic and I accused him of wanting to have his face on the internet just that bad.

They're all very friendly down there.

So, I have been exceedingly inspired lately to quilt. Leah Day is doing a wholecloth quiltalong. I'm not doing that pattern...too many hearts, but I wanted to follow along. I've been planning this quilt for a while. I've made it many times in my mind. I've been collecting supplies for a year. Dupioni silk. 100 weight silk thread. Bamboo batting.

Last night, I traced several templates onto one piece of paper and then from that piece of paper to the silk with a white ceramic pencil.

This morning, I ironed the backing and pin basted it.

Anybody dare me to try? I guess I'm daring myself, because it's sitting here, next to me, daring me...just waiting for me to make some bobbins and thread the needle with that fancy thread. Mustn't waste an inch.

Didn't buy a car yet. I'm going to. I'm not going to. I'm going to. I'm not going to. I'm going....crap, you get the picture.

But, the more I think about it, the more I know it's the right thing to do. But, that could curtail me trying to collect a half yard of every batik print in the world.

Pics of the quilt show soon. And, Rob did a video. It'll be like being there.



Wrong. Wrong. So terribly wrong.

Yesterday, I stuck my neck out and suggested a new restaurant for my co-workers to eat. It was a kind of special lunch. There were folks in from out of town that wanted to experience Mexican food and the rest of us were only too glad to take them. Eight of us. At a restaurant, on my recommendation.

We ordered. We waited because this is a kind of a small place, 8 plates at once took a few minutes. Everyone got their food and tucked in. I ate one bite. Ummmm. Delicious. What's that? Is it a stem from a pepper? I moved it around and ate a second bite. Ummmm. Delicious. I push that thing again and realize that it's a wire from a steel wool scrubbing pad. In the middle of my enchiladas.

I didn't say anything. I picked up my plate and went to the waitress and showed her and she offered to get me something else. Every restaurant has a bad day. I was perfectly fine with this, I just didn't want to keep everyone at the table while they made me more food. I went back to the table and sat and drank my tea and never said anything to anyone about why I had no food. Everyone was curious, but no one asked and I didn't want to ruin their lunches by saying anything.

Then, it happened. The waitress came by and laughed and shrugged her shoulders and giggled "sorry". I said "that's your reaction? I'd like to see the manager." No one ever came. When everyone was paying, the manager was working the register. I repeated my story to him and shared that the waitress didn't show the appropriate level of concern and he shrugged and said "sorry". We walked out the door and the only lady from my party that heard that exchange said "well, he didn't give much of a @#$# about your problem, did he?"

So, we will no longer be recommending El Rey Restaurant. Not because they had an oopsie, but because I don't think they were concerned enough about it. Which is a shame cuz the food was delicious.

And, last night, we tried to go to the track meet, but we were not prepared for its resemblance to a farmer herding chickens. By the time we realized that the events were happening all at the same time and found the area that Sydney was in, she was done and ready to go home.

I was disappointed. Not that we missed her, but in her lack of team spirit. She's only participating on one event. It was obvious, just from looking at her, that she was there for the wrong reason. For example, she says she can't run track. But, she ran all over that field last night, in inappropriate undergarments, with all her jiggly parts flapping all around, and every boy watching. I think she's found the power of her body.

Let's just say that I was less than enthusiastic about track and her participation in it. We will definitely be more involved going forward. We are such parenting virgins still. We don't know what to do, except that 14 must be too young for giving a child responsibility. We just keep showing up and learning as we go.

I tried to talk to her about how disappointed I was in her lack of "want to". She doesn't "want to" run track. She doesn't "want to" have a B in math or science. She doesn't "want to" stay and support the rest of her team mates as they compete. Told her I can give consequences for some stuff, but I can't make her "want to" do things and that it was really upsetting me.

I knew I'd done good because Rob muttered "well said" so she couldn't hear it.

After we got home, it all came apart. She let it slip that she accepted a zero in science because it was too much trouble to find the assignment and turn it in, so she took the zero and planned to make it up...with a grade penalty for it being late.

I am surprised that you didn't hear me in Canada. I'm pretty sure that at least one set of neighbors heard me. Then, I went outside to walk around.

I came back in and said "I'm so sorry I yelled. I didn't mean to yell. I don't want to yell at you anymore." And the whole time I was talking I was raiding her bathroom for her most precious of all precious items...her flat and curling irons.

Kick 'em where it hurts.

Rob plans to give rewards for her grades this weekend. Reward one, poop-scoop the backyard. Reward two, weed the flowerbed. That guy is much more creative than I am at negative reward.

So, I went to bed and today started with a new day. And, I'm toying with the idea of buying a car on the way home from work. I had decided not to a few days ago. And, every time I get in my car, I think of something else that is wrong. Windows that don't go down. An unrepairable break squeek that's inherent in the model. Peeling paint.

I need to just bite the bullet and do it. And, if I don't do it today, I can't do it tomorrow because there's a quilt show and I have my priorities.

Everybody have a great weekend.



Auditioning fabrics and Mable

I'm working on block number 9 of the Jubilee quilt. That one is going to put me at the 1/4 finished mark. And, I am excited enough to POP. My background fabric is holding in...I have not used one quarter of what I had yet. I was worried that I'd run out and I cannot remember where it came from and there's no marking on the selvage. I found something close enough a couple weeks ago and bought a yard, just in case, but it's not the same. It's the same two colors, but less of the darker is dyed into the newer fabric...one is a batik and the other is a mock hand dyed print. But, if I needed a substitute, it would do in a pinch so long as I mixed it in carefully.

I'm auditioning fabrics for the next block, Hydor. When I audition fabrics, I try to show the same proportion of the fabric in my audition that will be seen in the block. So, the purples and blue and focus fabric in the front will be seen most and the green touches all the fabrics in the block.

I wasn't sure about the two magentas. They seemed a bit bright and maybe a bit too close in value when I looked at them through my eyes, but when I took a photo of them, they look bright and different.

I substituted in two duller magentas and look how it changes the block. Much less reach out and grab ya'. Either way, that second fabric looks yellow, but it's not. It's a bright, light orange. I'll have to do something about that.

You guys asked for pictures of Mable. I have never known a camera shy dog. Maybe it's the flash that hurts her very light, golden brown eyes.

Don't know, but we started with this. She would not come any closer.

I set the camera on the floor and she came this close. I had to be very quick before she turned.

Unfortunately, the more pictures I took, the more it looked like I was torturing her.

I swear, I am not hurting her. So camera shy.

Fortunately, I got this one in her favorite spot, but even in this one, it looked like she was asking why I was bothering her nap. This is where she goes when I get ready to leave. If she can curl up in a small enough ball, maybe I won't see her and put her in the crate.

She had a bit of surgery a couple of days ago and she's doing very well. She had lots of tests and everything is fine. So, I breathed a heavy sigh of relief. I would have felt so sorry for Rob if he'd fallen in love with a million dollar hound dog.

But, I think I found out where she needs to be photographed. I need to have her in the yard. Outside, she's much more animated and pays me much less attention, so she probably wouldn't see the camera at all. But, I ran out of time today. I was too busy trying to get her off the scent of some wild creature that apparently wandered through the back yard in a zig-zag pattern and then circled the greenhouse several times. I'll try again soon.



One thing at a time

I don't know what it is about this time of year that is so busy. Carpet, home repairs, quilts to finish and gift, class to teach, Athletics, gardening, new dog, just a lot going on. So, it's very important to take the time to stop and smell the flowers. Coincidentally, there are flowers to smell.

Mock Orange in full bloom. Thousands of little white blossoms with yellow centers on a shrub that's 8 feet tall and 5 feet in diameter.

Roses. Look at all those buds, just ready to open.

Not a good picture, but look at the vibrant pink crabapple blossoms.

Yellow Columbine, standing straight and tall.

And, Pansy's peeking their bonneted head over the edge of a pot. I guess I'll always think of pansy's as bonneted lovely ladies the way they were portrayed in the cartoons of my youth...when flowers sang and guns usually misfired, but nobody ever got hurt. Even when the coyote got hit by a train, he was always back the next week.

Ughhhh, that made me sound about hundred years old, huh?

Sydney did not do well at track tryouts yesterday. She said her knee gave out and she fell. She did injure her knee earlier in the year, but I don't think that's what was going on yesterday afternoon. I don't think she did well in the running events against all the other girls that were trying out. But, just as I predicted, there are events that she is even more qualified for. The shotput and the discus. The coach for those events pulled her out of track tryouts and had her throwing things yesterday afternoon. Now, if you remember pics of my girl, she's got broad shoulders and is strong as a bull moose and I think she just might have found her athletic niche. And, it's not a niche that any of the petite girls really fit into. She's a natural.

And, I dropped 4 quilts off at the quilt shop yesterday. Soon as I walked in, one of the owners walked over with a big smile on her face and told me I had my first participant signed up and paid. All from her announcement in their monthly sewing club meeting. And, two more people were going home to check their calendars. And, there's not even any official advertising yet and those three people had never seen my work. I'm having trouble believing it's going to happen, but the more things fall into place, the easier it's getting to believe.

The quilt shop owner raises her children in the shop until they are old enough for school. Her most recent is a toddler. Yesterday when I handed her my quilts, I said, "these are my most precious quilts. If the store catches fire, please wrap the baby in them. It will protect the baby...and make sure my quilts get out safe." Her reply "Thanks for letting me take the baby. Most folks would say leave the baby and take the quilts."

Everybody have a great day. Stop and smell the flowers. Sorry if that means driving to a florist.

I'd like to wish a very happy birthday to one of my very best blogging buddies. She didn't announce it on her blog, so I'm not going to out her here. But, she's turning 50 this year. I hope you have a wonderful, wonderful birthday. 50 is da bomb!



Uncommon value

There are a few stand out moments for me as a parent. One was when I realized it was wrong for me to lose control of my anger in front of my child. This is about another.

Not long ago, I was having an especially difficult time as a parent of a teen. I was truly at my edge of reason and ready to grow my hair long enough to pull it out. Rob asked me a question. "What is the one thing that you wanted most as a teenager? Find it and give it."

Self-confidence. That was easy. And, while I can't give it, I can certainly encourage it.

That helped with a discussion last night, just before bed, just me and Sydney. What if...just what if you stick with track and run your best and you're still on the bench? Or, what if those other girls that you think are so much faster than you, aren't really faster. Or, what if they're better in an event that you're not good at, so you get to compete in an event that you are good at because they're off doing something else? What if you tried out tomorrow and made the team?

How do you talk to girls? Girls are so emotional. Sydney can tear up in a discussion about the earth rotating around the sun, so how do I press "what if you tried..." How do I encourage someone that's primed for failure; that still doesn't think she's good enough? And how do I teach the difference between "trying and failing at track" and "pretending to try and failing at school work"? Why is one okay and not the other? Isn't that a double standard? It's okay to fail at the hundred yard dash, but it's not okay to bring home a C in math.

I don't know.

So, I did what I did know. I just didn't let up. Every time she told me she wasn't good enough, I pressed again; "what if you just did your best?" When she teared up and wanted to cry; "what if you just did your best?" When she complained that there were other girls that were better than her; "what if you just did your best?" And, the whole time, acknowledging that she's worried about it.

And, while I'm preaching it to her, I'm going through it for myself. Where is my own self confidence?

I couldn't even write a bio about myself to encourage people to take my class? I had to write it in the third person. Because I can talk about that other guy better than I can talk about who and what I am. I can tell you what "he" knows better than I can tell you what "I" know. I can tell you how great "he" is, but I cannot tell you that "I" have a skill. Blogging has meant I've had to learn to use "I" and "me" in print. But, these people are going to see me face-to-face. They know who I am. How do I talk to them about "me"? I couldn't. So, I talked to them about "him"

I can't give my child self-confidence. But, I can foster it. I can build her up and make her laugh and make her feel better about herself and accept herself for who she is instead of regretting that she's not a hundred and twelve pound blond with a perfectly pointy nose. I can tell her she's pretty and special and lucky. I can tell her that she needs to find people that deserve to be around her; especially boys (thanks Lucy for encouraging that). I can make time for her and sometimes make her priorities be my priorities. I can criticize and nag and discipline without making her feel like she's less than.

I can build up her ego until she knows her uncommon value.

And, I can take care of myself in ways that she can see. I can try new things that are hard for me to do. And, when I fail, I can let her know I failed and how I feel about it.

I can build up my ego until I know my uncommon value.

And, I can make sure she knows that I make mistakes and that I get scared. But, I keep doing my best.



The quilt is in the mail

On Wednesday, just before I left for work, I gave Topsy this quilt I had made for her. I actually finished it a while back, and just when I did, Rob brought up having her here and so I decided not to mail it. Then, it got moved into the pile of quilts, right next to a quilt in the same colors and it was lost for a while. I hunted and hunted and had given up. Rob asked about it on that last morning before Topsy flew out and I tried one last time. And, there it was. Not the first time I looked. But, the second time I looked, I could see the subtle differences in piecing between this and the other quilt and suddenly it was found again. It was a block of the month in 2009 and I can't find my link to it again.

I washed it and blocked it and added the label yesterday. And, then I folded it in tissue paper and got out a huge ziploc and today, Rob will send it overnight. She should have it tomorrow. Of course, it's been a year since she moved to her new neighborhood. So, we aren't calling this a housewarming anymore.

Waiting until I could give it to her in person was worth it. It was a gift I gave to me. The gift of giving...okay, so I can't explain that part, except there should be some joy in doing things for other people. And, I gave myself that joy.

While the quilt was drying, I was making labels. To make labels, I soak fabric in bubble jet 2000 and let it dry. Then, I press it to freezer paper and tape that freezer paper to a sheet of regular paper...I don't know why it's this complex, but my printer will pull the fabric right off the freezer paper if I don't have that extra sheet attached to it. I use double sided tape right along the top edge of the plain paper to stick them together. Then, they feed through the printer perfectly. I have a bubble jet set soap that helps set the ink and after a quick wash in that and an air dry, I iron the heck out of them with a hot iron. Then, I can write on them with a pigma pen.

I was very creative with my printer this weekend. I ran out of note cards. (please tell me I am not the only person that still uses note cards and prefers a monogrammed one) All I could find was thank you cards at a couple of stores, so I decided to make my own. I bought 7 sheets of 8.5x11 solid green paper and 14 sheets of green printed 12x12. It was all on sale half price, so I spent about $5.50 total. I ran the solid paper through the printer to monogram it, then cut it in half one way and folded it in half the other using a bone folder to score it. The template for the envelope took about 45 minutes to get right, but once it was made, the envelopes were cut with a rotary cutter and a pair of scissors to cut out some points and then they were folded. I didn't glue them. I'm going to get some adhesive seals to use on the back. Of course, I would have picked one of the ones that was off center to photograph. My first one was on white paper and it looked fine, but then when I printed on green the first time, it was a quarter inch to the right. I corrected that and saved the template for next time I need note cards for $5

Marie asked for links to the Mariner's compass blocks. Here they are.

(hope that works, Marie. They're at equiltpatterns.com.

That is all for me today, except that I ran by the quilt shop on Saturday and I am now on the schedule to teach a machine quilting class, half on April 7 and the rest on April 21. I don't know if I'll have enough stuff to fill that time, so I'm trying to remember any quilting anecdotes from my past and am going to write down clue words on the inside cover of my notebook...I'd hate to start the class and suddenly go blank and start stuttering because I don't have anything to say. Isn't that a common nightmare?

Everybody have a great Monday. Lane


Sydney hates the carnival

We got there early. Too early for Sydney to enjoy the rides. So, we went first and had corndogs and ribbon fries and cotton candy.

Then, we went to the livestock barn. This is a longhorn calf. I thought she was sooo pretty. Just brown on her lips and her ears.

You think walking dogs is a pain, you should have seen this guy walking four goats. Chaos.

Or, this boy walking a longhorn cow. Later, we saw her calf, too. These folks come in and stay for days. They have little encampments of lawn chairs where they congregate and read and talk. And, they exercise and groom their animals.

Sydney got a tattoo. I hope giving them to her now satisfies a need that she won't need to satisfy later.

Couple of hours later and there were more people in the park.

See how Sydney hates the carnival?

Lot's of stuff to see.

That Sydney will ride anything. I was taught to be afraid of the rides. She is fearless and we encourage that. Be fearless in safe ways.

Look at that smile. Worth every penny we spent yesterday...and we spent considerable pennies. It's so nice to be able to.

She can generally get Rob on one ride. Me, not.

This one goes way up and then drops her.

But, just once per ride.

We tried to do the bar-b-que cookoff. But, that didn't really fit in with us. It was about standing in line for a sample of each group's bar-b-que and then leaving a donation to the rodeo scholarship fund. That was an event for beer drinkers to stand and visit. Fourteen year olds can't drink beer and they don't stand and visit well. She did it for over an hour and then we were back at the carnival. What we wanted was to pick a tent and eat; bar-b-que brisket and chicken and sides; potato salad and beans and bread. And, that's not what it was about. So, I had a carnival chicken k-bob and a giant pretzel and Sydney had a slice of NY style pizza and a slushy and Rob had a philly steak sandwich.

We were going to do the rides again, but someone gave out.

It probably shouldn't, but it brings tears to my eyes to remember it. Life is made for days like this. Work is done for days like this. Children are for days like this.

Everybody take care and have a great Sunday. We'll be treating our sunburns.



Paper piecing part 3...where I tell the truth.

Okay, so yesterday, I talked about picking fabrics and cutting them and the day before I prepared the pattern. Today, the rubber hits the road and I'm going to start with a confession. Now, when I subcut my strips yesterday, I did a nice write up about how I measure and cut.

Balogna. Here's what I really do. But, don't ignore what I said yesterday, because there's a lot of description of what has to happen in there. And, I had to do it that way in order to be able to do it this way.

So, I lay the pattern over fabric piece 1 and I see how long it has to be to give me sufficient seam allowance at both ends and I snip it.

Then, I fold the fabric over until I get enough repeats and I cut it. Simple. Easy. No measuring. But risky. Remember that old saw: measure twice, cut once. This way, I barely measure once, but I haven't made a mistake yet.

Then, I fold the paper along the line 1-2 and press the pattern section 1 to fabric 1.

I cut piece two the same way. And, I layer them together, making sure of the seam allowances at both ends, and sew it down. I took this photo from this angle to show how I chain piece my sections. If I keep all my seams trimmed, this is easy to do and no worries about cutting threads between sections or anything like that.

One caution about trying to chain piece these. Sometimes, you have to trim a seam that's way down the line. For example, to enjoy the benefit of chain piecing (can you tell I've been writing legal documents at work?), I had to trim for piece 6 before I sewed on piece 4. But, it was worth it. It keeps all my seam allowances small, so I can chain from one to the next without having to sew through a large piece that's going to get cut off and tossed later.

'Nother note. This one from Judy Mathieson. She suggested we press the freezer paper to a piece of muslin right up front to take the shine off of it. The shiny side of the paper can stick to the bottom of your sewing machine foot. My thought was pish-posh. Until it happened. Fortunately, I knew exactly what to do. Instead of the muslin, I just start out being liberal about pressing the paper to my ironing board cover. Likely, that's a bad thing and will leave a residue on the fabric. But, hey, I replace that periodically anyway, so not going to worry about it.

Okay, so piece two is sewn on and I fold the paper at the line 2-3 and iron it down. The excess fabric from piece two is not stuck to the freezer paper and just hangs out there for a minute...

Until I can trim it off. I lay my add-a-quarter ruler on the folded line 2-3. That leaves a quarter inch seam allowance from piece 2 for me to attach piece 3.

That's what makes my way different from what I've seen in books and on TV. Most people seem to keep that extra piece 2 hanging out there and then they try to lay on piece 3 and they hold it up to a light to see if they got the seam allowance right and they cross their fingers and say a little prayer and sew. If I cut it first, and get that seam allowance out there and I can line piece three up exactly along that, and the needle punched pattern will help me lay on piece 3 so that I can make sure there's plenty of seam allowance at both ends.

Add piece 3 and then 4, just like we learned to count in first grade before we knew about fractions. This particular quarter block had 10 pieces. After the section is finished, trim it to an exact quarter inch seam allowance all around. I trim this from the back and then again from the front. Trimming from the back gets me real close. But, then I flip it over and measure from the intersection match points where one section will adjoin another section. I do that because sometimes the actual match point is not exactly a quarter inch from the edge of the paper and I want my match points to be exact when I join the sections together. That second trim has saved me hours of trying to match a quarter inch match point with a 3/16th match point.

And, press all the seam allowances for the joins open. That reduces bulk and there's a good bit of bulk, especially where lots of points come together and in the center of the block.

The block on the right above is one I made this morning in a couple of hours. Not a lot of match points and only about a quarter as many pieces as some of the blocks I've pieced so far.

Okay, so that's it for me today. We have decided to go to the rodeo carnival today. Okay, so I don't generally do large crowds and this promises to push me to my limits. We usually do this on a weekday. When Rob brought it up last night, he offered to take Sydney himself and leave me to sew all day, but I enjoy the carnival with them, even though I spend most of my time standing around. So, I'm going to be one face in the milling crowd. But, I insist on going early while most folks are still asleep.

Have a good one. Lane