That time of year

It’s that time of year again.  The time when my mind wanders into the quilt room and I think…


It’s not the fabric that bothers me, although it could certainly use a good refolding.  It’s the other stuff.  The stuff I’ve collected, but I’m never going to do anything with.  And, the duplicates of stuff, like about 32 pair of scissors, some of which don’t even cut anymore. 

Like every year at this time, I feel the burden of my possessions.  I look and I see the hoarder that lives inside and periodically has to be imprisoned until I can get boxes of stuff packed up and moved out. 

Every year, I try to find a new way to get rid of things that is productive and might get my stuff I don’t want into the hands of people that might want and use it.  This year, I plan to make three boxes.  One for Linus and one for the quilt guild boutique at next year’s quilt show and one for goodwill.  It’s not a race.  I’m going to take it slow and thorough.  I’m going to start with patterns and magazines and books…oh, my.

What I’m finding is that as I get older, my mind can’t accommodate all the clutter and distraction that I could handle a few years ago.  I can’t figure out what project to work on because I have so many possibilities to choose from.  And, I can’t find what I need to work on projects because it’s buried under so much other stuff. 

So, wish me luck.  Every purge begins with a good clean, so even if I don’t get any further than that, at least I will have accomplished something.  If I haven’t done anything in two weeks, please send the production staff of the Hoarders TV show.

So, the hexagon quilt isn’t the only thing I’ve been working on. 

Remember that I was going to get the two spool machine up to snuff by pulling out a UFO and working on it.  I pulled out my Texas Braid quilt from Bonnie Hunter’s Adventures with Leaders and Enders.  I cut the bricks for this quilt years ago and it takes  a ton of them.  i started the first two strips, then, I set it aside for some reason, and when I needed a project to help me get used to a new machine, this was perfect.


I have four strips made.  I haven’t trimmed them and joined them; they’re just laying next to one another right now, but I’m really liking how it is coming out.  Not sure what I’ll do with it when it’s done, but I’m sure I’ll find something.  I always do.

I am a quilter after all.

Here’s the National Two-Spool.  I’m sure I’ve committed some sin by taking a machine built for treadle and converting it to electric.  That’s pretty clear by how hard it is to find instructions for how to do it (non-existent for this type machine).  All the instructions convert the other way around.  I also repainted the decals.  They’re certainly not perfect, but they make me happy.


My paint pen ran out of paint, just before I finished, so I’ll open a new one and try to knock the rest out and then I’ll put a coat of lacquer on the machine bed and some wax to make it shiny.  Most people wouldn’t try to replace the decals this way. 

Like I said, it makes me happy.

Also, learning to wind a spool of thread has been an adventure.  My first spool was a disaster and half the thread had to be taken off and tossed in the trash.  The second spool was better, but that’s because I didn’t try to fill it completely.  But the third spool is pretty darn good and is loaded with thread and ready when the second spool is finished. 


It’s not perfect, but considering that there’s nothing on the machine that works as tension or guide, and the thread has to pass through your fingers as it winds, I’m pretty darn impressed that I didn’t sever a finger at the joint from a polyester thread cut.  My left hand works as the tension, holding the thread as it comes off the original spool and my right hand moves it back and forth so that the thread will “stack” onto the spool in an orderly manner without going so far that you slide off the spool and wind 30 yards onto the winding pin (ask me how I know).  There’s also nothing to stop the thread when the spool is full.  It’s a very manual process.  But, I can hardly wait to try to quilt with it. 

I’m a bit worried because the foot pedal gets hot after a while.  It’s a very cheap, metal pedal.  That won’t be good for long periods of free motion quilting, so I’m already trying to figure out how I can change to a different pedal that I already have, and should be heavier duty. 

That is really all that I know.  Yesterday was Sydney’s last full day of school.  Beginning today, they’re on half days.  Most of her finals are done and they’re just playing, except she has a 50 question biology exam that we just found out about last night.  Did she study?  We’ll never know.  Starting today, summer chores begin and she’s been given a small one for this afternoon, just to get her into the swing of it. 


Be well.  Have a great Friday.  Wish me well in my cleaning. 



Blue or neutral

I have finished the center of the hexagon quilt.  Yowza!  Are my fingers sore.  And, talk about my OCD.  On Friday, it was almost together and I decided to take the whole thing apart and start over.


I had to take the blue out.  It was too distracting and the pattern was lost.  So, I replaced it with a neutral that has a green vine printed on it.  The next decision is whether to use that blue in the borders, or whether to use the neutrals in the border (picture above has both).  I love the blue and think it makes a great frame around the center.  But, the neutral maintains the neutrality of the quilt and sets back from the center.

The good news is that I don’t have to decide for a while.  I need to make 24 more flowers out of browns for the border and I can decide which color to use after those are made. 

I’ve decided not to repeat any of the brown flowers, so I’m digging through my stash for browns.  It’s pretty scary, but it looks like I have enough for what Bonnie has shown us so far of her progress on this quilt.  That is a lot of browns.  It may indicate a stashing problem.  If I run out, tho, I may be begging brown strips. 

There were two baby bluejays in the yard yesterday afternoon.  Sydney went out and took pictures.



Then Sydney took the dogs out for their evening constitutional and Mable tried to eat one of them.  Sydney was screaming and she came in crying, but the baby bird seemed unaffected.  Tough and resilient little things.  Our fear was that a cat would wander the yard last night and get them, but today, there was no sign of bird or feather and the adult bluejays weren’t swooping down on me trying to run me off.  So, hopefully, these two babies were able to use their flying muscles to get to safety.

Last year, we had a baby Mockingbird on the ground for several days.  The parents took good care of it (and kept all creatures at bay) and I gave it a safe place to hide and after a few days of relative safety, it was also gone (without leaving feathers).  I’m glad that our yard is a good place for birds and squirrels and other wildlife to raise their babies.

This daylily bloomed yesterday.  I am not supposed to love this daylily.  I should be digging it out and getting rid of it.  At least that’s what the professionals would do. 


It makes a triple set of petals and is basic orange, also called “ditch” orange.  The theory is that it will breed with the other lilies and convert some of the pretty ones to this orange.  So, I keep it off to itself.  But, I just love the flower, so I don’t throw it on the composter like many other daylily growers would. 

That’s it for me today.  I’m trying to schedule an appt to have the oil changed in my car.  Who knew I’d need an appt?  I’ve had better luck scheduling doctor’s appts than this service appt.  Dealerships have certainly changed.

Be well.  Lane


Ode to the garden

Okay, not an ode, but at least some appreciation.  Sydney and I spent the day in the yard yesterday.  We cleaned out both sheds and spread most of the mulch and talked about a lot of things. 

This daylily is called a green daylily.  The yellow color of the flower is so pale that it looks greenish.  I was afraid it wasn’t going to bloom this year, but it has once again come through.


Here is a shot of another happy gold daylily.  You can see in this shot how I love to combine different shades and shapes of green to give an appearance of fullness and contrast.  Sydney says there’s too much green because she doesn’t see the shades and shapes.  Hopefully, she’ll learn to appreciate what is behind the flowers.


These next two are mostly mulch, but they show how good the beds looked with their fresh layer of reddish mulch underlay.

100_5395 100_5396

And, these pink caladiums have just burst out after all the rain.


Hmmm, I thought that would be a better picture.  One of the things I like is how well the caladiums go with the pink blocks, but they go so well that you can hardly see them. 

This is a bat face cuphea.  Can you see the little bat’s face in the flower?  Love these.  It’s my first year to have them.  I wish I had more.  But, they’re perennial, so maybe next year, I’ll have more.  The plant is only about 8 inches tall and the flowers are about the size of a thumbnail.  But very vibrant.


This is the first of the lavender phlox to open.  Soon, these will be opening up everywhere.  They take the heat so well that I have cultivated about 10 of them, here and there, all around the yard.


And, finally, the sun room where I spent most of Saturday.  Unfortunately, it wasn’t this clean on Saturday, which prompted me to make it a high priority on Monday so that next time I get the chance to be out there, I can be more comfortable.


Okay, so that’s it for me today.  I wanted to show a pic of the hexie project, but I’m so near a good stopping spot that I’m going to wait until tomorrow.  I spent an obscene amount of time working on it over the weekend. 

Okay, everybody have a great Tuesday.  It will be a short week, which always means a busy week, as we try to cram 5 days of work into 4 days of workweek.  And, my back is still kind of stiff from all the bending and squatting yesterday.  My 15 year old is not suffering any of those effects and laughed at how long it took me to get up to hug her just a few minutes ago. 

Ah, youth.

Be well.  Lane


The Glory of the rain

We’ve lived in a drought, interrupted by periods of intense flooding, for several years now.  The weather is messed up for everybody, and this is our bit.  So Friday afternoon, when the sky opened up and started dumping rain by the bucketful, there was reason to celebrate.  I was working from home, so I got to see people rushing home during the interruptions between three very intense thunderstorms that blew through the area.  I think Rob spent most of the three in his truck, trying to get home. 

But, rain does something to people in a drought.  It makes them more relaxed and happy.  I saw small children being allowed to splash in driveways when there was just a drizzle and I saw people standing in front of their doors, just watching the rain come down. 

We’ve had spring rains, but nothing this intense.  This rain washed the mulch out of flowerbeds.  This rain moved debris.  And, it left everything feeling and smelling clean.  Rain intense enough to run off and drain into the reservoirs for our summer water; not enough to fill, but certainly enough to notice.

Friday wasn’t all of it, tho.  It rained most of Saturday, too.  I spent most of the day in my sunroom, enjoying the sound of the rain and an audio book and my hexie hand piecing.  It was glorious.

Sunday brought a quick shower and then sunshine and a humidity that let you see the actual water, suspended in the air.  Brutal humidity. 

And mud.  Everywhere, the mud. 

But, today should be wonderful.  The humidity lower, and sunshine, and the ground is starting to firm up so you can step on it.  And I’m going to be spreading mulch.  Sydney and I.  She will be helping.

We are walking the fine line at our house between rewarding for the A’s and punishing for the first skipped class that we’ve found out about.  Apparently, she walked out of class without permission one day and never came back, and the teacher marked her unexcused absent.  I seriously doubt it is the first time. 

And, I’m personally balancing this with my senior year, when I skipped first period typing with Mrs. Biddy N. every Monday because I knew my Mom would be away from the phone and all I had to do was delete the message from the answering machine before she got back.  (sorry, Mom.  I think you know about that.)

She’s bored in class while the teacher tries to help the students that are struggling to make their good grades.  And, she likes to talk and play.  Which probably isn’t helping those kids that are struggling.  Anyway, she had a half dozen end of year projects that she’d fallen behind on and has spent the weekend catching up…and today, she’s mine. 

Gonna work that child like a rented mule.

But, ever mindful that all I want from her is some sign that she knows she did something wrong and truly regrets it.  So far, all I’ve gotten is defiance and nonchalance.  And, I hate that she’s taller than me now because she gathers herself up and looks down her nose at me as though I were the most despicable, unfair, despotic parent in all of the history of parenting. 

I’ve learned that it does no good to yell at a teenager.  Their lives are spent loud.  When I want her to listen, I get very quiet and make her lean in to hear what I’m saying.  I speak very clearly and with great pronunciation, but quiet as I can be. 

She beat me at my own game the other day.  I told her that I wouldn’t be able to hear anything that she said until she said “I’m sorry”.  Two days later, I gave in because it was clear that I wasn’t getting what I wanted by demanding it. 

But, today, she’ll have to spend the day with me.  And, talk to me.  And be nice to me. 

She’d probably prefer it if I could give her a spanking. 

I wrote lots of stuff there, and I’m not taking it out because most of it is funny.  But, to be fair to her, after I finally convinced her that all I wanted was contrition, I could tell that she was taking steps to show me that she was regretful, even if it didn’t take the form of an actual apology or acknowledgement of what she’d done wrong.

We’re half way there.

So, how did we balance it?  A trip to buy hair products (lots of hair products) in the middle of a day spent doing chores and writing essays.  The reward for what we want came in the midst of the abundance of what we don’t want; attention drawn to how far behind she’d fallen in just a couple of weeks. 

And, while she wrote, I quilted the May Linus quilt.  The April Linus quilt still isn’t bound, but hey.  I’ll get there. 


Rob put in a marathon of a series we wanted to catch up on and I quilted Maple leaves.


Everybody have a great Memorial Day.  Remember the soldiers, still fighting to defend the rights of others in faraway lands and remember those who fell, defending the freedoms we enjoy today.



I apologize in advance

My blog is no longer a word verification free blog.  I just can't stand the spammers anymore.  I apologize to you for having to do it and my hope is that I only have to do it for a short time and then I can go back to moderation, but somehow, all that spam has stopped going to my spam folder and is now invading my inbox.  Not sure what happened there.

Anyway, my experience with using word verification on some other folks blogs is that it has gotten much better and the words easier to read and I'm hoping that will extend to my blog as well.

So, what's happening with me?  Teenager's got straight A's.  I know that part of it is our crackdown after her last report card.  But, she's got straight A's!  Celebrate when you can. 

After three days of dealing with my company's helpdesk, we discovered this morning that a step was left out of the instructions, and it made all the difference.  Just one little detail.  But, it took 5 "not on the clock" hours of me trying to figure it out and three calls to the helpdesk before one lady said, I haven't heard you say you did this.  And, when I did that, I was in. 

Rob came home last night after I'd tried the latest list of "stuff to try when nobody understands what's wrong" and I was stuffing tortilla chips in my mouth like an arborist feeding a wood chipper, crumbs probably flying everywhere.  I think he understood when I smiled and said that sometimes frustration just needs chips to go with it.  But, I never raised my voice.  I didn't even growl in frustration.  So, chips were a small price to pay.

I sew.  I walk in the garden.  I read blogs.  I work.  I cooked a roast last night.  Life goes on.  Welcome to the doldrums.  Please let me live vicariously through your exciting blog posts.  I promise, I'll pay you back when I get some excitement going in my own life again. 

I guess I could celebrate that we had a roast to cook, huh?



Time in the garden

I spend time every day in my garden.  My rule of thumb is that gardening takes 15 minutes every day plus 4 hours every weekend plus two full weekends a year.  In those few minutes that I’m out there every day, I may just walk around, or I may water or pull some weeds.  But, every day, I enjoy it for at least a few minutes.  And, I am amazed at how fast things come along and do their thing and then fade away…their moment in the sun.

But, this is the season when gardening goes from play to work.  This is when Mother Nature begins to withhold her support in the form of rain. 

And, it’s when the pesky dad-gummed poopy headed darned old mosquitoes go nuts, feeding on the very blood I need to survive.  Little lightening fast devils.  blankety-blank blank blank blank blank and I’m scratching all over my face and arms this morning because I wasn’t ready.

It’s also daylily season and that makes the bugs just a wee bit more tolerable.




That last one just speaks the word Happy to me because it has truly found it’s perfect spot on the planet.

And, I still have Iris blooming and don’t want to forget them.  We’ve finally figured out where all these iris came from.  They’re from Boston and New Hampshire.  No wonder it took them years to decide to bloom in the Texas heat.


Anyway, I’m going to battle with Mother Nature and try to keep all the expensive water that I have to put out as I can.


Thirty-six cubic feet of mulch should get me started.

On the quilting front, I am totally devoted to this little hexie project.  I know that at some point, my hexie mojo is going to give, but for now, I’m just working my new thimbles to the bone.  One more wedgie shape and I’ll be ready to assemble the center pieces.


Okay, have a great Wednesday.  I am writing a document at work.  Actually, it’s not even that exciting.  I’m taking two business documents I already wrote and comparing them to find all the differences.  Word for bloody word for bloody word.

Be well.  Lane



The phone issue is resolved.  I have a new one.  Unfortunately, it wasn't as easy for Rob, but he got it done.  I had it in my hand yesterday afternoon and I synched up with my computer last night and within an hour, it was a duplicate of my old phone, right down to the bookmark in the book I was listening to.

I didn't plan to synch my phone on Saturday, but it sure was a lucky thing I did.

If you don't synch, you're sunk.

Little known fact; if you take your broken and uninsured iphone to an apple store, they have a replacement at a lower cost option that doesn't get advertised much, except through word of mouth, like this.  It wasn't free, but it was less than half the cost of replacing the phone through our service provider. 

I am lucky that I am in a relationship where we can share blame and move forward rather than fighting about who is more at fault.  My relationships have not always been that way.

Okay, so that's the end of the phone saga.  Life moves on.  Unfortunately, nothing fun has happened in the interim to share.  My plans to work from home today and post later in the day with pictures fell through due to an uncooperative computer this morning and an unhelpful help desk representative who only got this close to a diagnosis of the problem "well, I can get in.  i don't know why you can't" and the closest he got to a solution was "well, let's start over with some new software.  do you have this piece of hardware?"  Okay, so at that point, I thanked him for his time and told him I was already late for a meeting and needed to get off the phone and head to the office. 

This is why Rob takes care of our customer service.  He probably could have had a technician at our house by 10:30am. 

The best I could do was get off the phone without shouting, which wouldn't have helped anybody.

Be well.  Have a great Tuesday.  Lane



I'm having withdrawals today. 

Rob washed my iphone yesterday.  Today, we're arguing about whose fault it was.

I say it was mine because I put my shorts on an active pile of laundry, on washday, with the phone in the pocket. 

Rob says it's his because he didn't check my pockets.

I say that if I put it in the laundry, I'm responsible for the pockets.  If he picks it up from somewhere else and decides to wash it, he's on his own.

I wonder how many couples argue this from the other way around?  Instead of "it's my fault", they argue "it's your fault". 

But, before you get all sappy about what a sweet couple we are, if I'd said anything yesterday, I'd have said it was his fault.  But, I kept my big ole' damn mouth shut and as the day progressed, I remember that I'd tried to be all helpful and put my dirty clothes in the laundry pile instead of just dropping them on the floor...not that I leave clothes on the floor, but it is a useful step on the way to the laundry pile.

This whole not rushing to blame is new for me.  There was a time when I would not have had the confidence to accept that I made a mistake and would have tried to find someone to blame, and if I had any trouble pinning it on them, I'd have picked a fight to make them look like the smaller person. 

As Rob.  He knows. 

Maybe it's just because I'm older.  Maybe it's because I'm finally letting myself off the hook for not being perfect.  I'm more confident now and I can accept responsibility and I've learned that stuff happens, no matter how careful you are.  I keep saying, it's not what you do.  It's what you do after that counts.

Phones are Rob's thing, so he's tasked with replacing it as quickly and at the lowest cost possible.  Not because he's responsible.  Because phones are his thing to take care of. 

That's nice.  He doesn't worry about cooking and he doesn't have to scrub the mildew off the shower.  He doesn't take my car in for maintenance and the household banking and billpaying falls to me.  He has his "jobs" too.  Plus, he's responsible for anything having to do with customer service.  That is NOT my forte.  He's so good at it that we get a ton of stuff for free.

But even his skills were not up to a free iphone. 

On the quilting front, I took the hexie project apart and started again.  I'm like that.  Oh, well.  And, the two spool has been set up and I've been doing a little bit of leader and ender work with it, just to work out the kinks.  Tension, tension, tension.  The machine's tension is making me tense.

Be well.  Take care of one another.  It's the beginning of a new week and for us, a new season.  We've left the cool temps of spring and have been dropped in the humid heat of summer. 


Stuff and nonsense

Wanna know why I spend so much time in the back yard?  I was trolling Rob’s Youtube station to see if he’d made any of the treadling videos public and stumbled up on this little video.  He does a good job of showing my flowerbeds from another person’s perspective.  Mostly when I talk about it, I talk about what’s in it, but Rob really gives a good idea of how it feels to be in our back yard.  The birds, the breeze, the green.

Sydney had an assignment in Spanish to find a painting by Francisco de Goya (or as she pronounced it, de Gayo, which lead to much confusion on the part of her parents…vowels are so important.)  Anyway, she picked The Countess of el Carpio as her painting.


(image borrowed from www.franciscodegoya.net)

She had to pose in a reproduction of the painting.  Okay, so we had our own little Modern Family moment of Cam dressing up Lily for pictures.  Anyway, here she is, the Countess.

Sydney as the countess

Not too shabby, huh? 

Anyway, I’m taking the opportunity to work from home.  In the time I would have been in the shower (yes, I plan to spend the whole day in my pajamas) I set the National two-spool up with the motor. 


It is not pretty.  I just built an L shaped frame to support the motor, but it turns the handwheel and so now, I can test the machine and get the kinks worked out before Rob builds the official base to hold it all.  I may order a longer belt before he does that so I can get the motor farther from the handwheel.


But, other than that, it is a success and I will be able to sew with the two spool, using an electric motor.  I still haven’t worked out how to wind a spool yet for the bottom thread, but I’ll get there.  And, I discovered I have about 30 spools to fit it that hold between 100 and 150 yards of thread.

Okay, so have a great Friday.  I knocked out all the things I wanted to play with this morning so I can focus on work the rest of the day. 

I hope.

Be well.  Lane


I am returned

I have returned from Cleveland.  And, I have thoughts on the experience.

First, I sewed in the public spaces of airports all over the country.  I sewed in Austin, I sewed in Houston, I sewed in Cleveland, and I sewed on all the planes that connected those cities.  What I discovered is that people break into two categories; those that just don’t care and those that are curious.  The curious break into two subcategories; those that just stare and wonder what I’m doing, and those that will ask.  Those that stare outnumber those that ask by about 50 to 1.  But the ones that ask are so much fun.  What quilter doesn’t love to talk about quilting?  Not me.  I loved every minute of it.

And, my most masculine “butch” co-worker was traveling home with me yesterday and got to see a whole new side of me.  And, I don’t think he thought less of me for it.  At least I hope not.  He seemed to fall into the doesn’t care category.  He was logged into his work computer and working.  That seemed sad.

I find that I require a quiet time before bed to wind down before I try to sleep in a strange place.  The first night, I stayed with my group until they separated and then I went to the hotel, but it was nearly bedtime.  I didn’t sleep worth a darn.  And, that’s not the norm for me anymore when I’m in a hotel.  The second night, I sneaked off (this is my expected behavior…I’m like a wisp of smoke.  I just disappear at some point and nobody knows where.)  But, they don’t ask anymore, so that’s good.  This is my norm.  And, that night, i watched part of a movie and I sewed and I had time to wind down and I slept like a log.  This is my new norm and I need to honor it.  So, the short story is; I am not one of the extroverts that doesn’t know what to do with time alone and that’s okay.  I get to be different and I get to take care of myself.

Cleveland.  EAT SOMETHING GREEN!  Don’t slather it in high fat salad dressing and don’t smother it in bacon fat.  Just steam it and add a bit of salt and pepper; maybe a bit of lemon.  Try it.  You won’t know if you like it until you do.  I have never in my life been presented with so much meat and potatoes.  It would have been Rob heaven.  I met my meat quota on Monday and for the rest of the trip, I ate sparingly.  I took a piece of pound cake with me…My Aunt Ducky’s pound cake…the best pound cake in the world!  And I couldn’t eat even that.  I just wasn’t hungry.  So, cooking my own breakfast this morning was a pleasure to do and to eat. 

I got a lot done on the new hexie project. 


This is from Bonnie Hunter’s project here.  I even copied her sewing kit for travel.


Bonnie, remember that imitation is the highest form of flattery.  I hope.

Before I left, this daylily bloomed.  It’s called Bernina and my Mom gave it to me last April. 


Isn’t that beautiful!

Finally, my girl missed me.  She really missed me.   I could tell when she was missing me because she started texting me.  We’d text during dinners and text during my meetings, when I could.  It was fun and it was funny and it felt real good.  One of the things she had to do while I was gone was feed my fish.  When I showed her how much to feed them, I said “now when you feed them, you need to spend a few minutes looking at them.  They like to be looked at every day.”  Her reply “I’m not looking at your stupid fish.  I’ll feed them, but I’m not looking at them.” 

This morning, I asked Rob how much time she spent feeding my fish and he said she’d go in the sewing room and be gone for a long time and she was convinced that two of them are pregnant. 

She looked at my fish.


Hey, you have to count your victories where you can get them.

I’m going to close by reminding everyone that I don’t see Anonymous comments unless you have a name assigned.  I handed out a couple of business cards this week, so I thought the reminder was in order.  I get over a hundred anonymous, no reply comments a day.  I started out reading them all and marking them as spam, but that didn’t stop the same people from spamming me over and over.  I still read a few, but most go to my spam folder and get deleted without reading.  If there’s a name or email address assigned to your anonymous comments, it goes to my regular email and I get those.  I also get the ones from a regular blogger account.  But, I don’t read the anonymous at no reply comments because I have yet to find one that isn’t spam.  So, I’m giving up on reading any of them. And, really, spammers, do you think I’m actually going to click that link?  Not gonna happen.

It is Thursday.  Everybody have a great day.  I will have a mountain of emails to reply to, when I get to the office.

Everybody say yippee.




Travel day and another treadling video

People who travel a lot don’t get as anxious when they travel as I do.  And, I hope I never have to travel enough that it becomes routine, like it is for my boss.    I think he keeps a bag packed all the time and just tosses fresh clothes in it once in a while.  I spent half of yesterday getting it all together and ironing and folding and packing and making sure I have projects, so if you see a guy in an airport or on a plane sewing a hexie project that he totally stole from Bonnie Hunter, that’s me!

Rob got several more  of our videos uploaded over the weekend, so I’ll post links as we get them finalized.  There’s still one more to make.  And, did I do a thing to get ready for it this weekend?  No.  Instead, I pulled out my 10 year old hexie project and looked at it and just was not interested enough to work on it while I travel.  And, I pulled out a tatting project.  Tatting is great for travel because it takes up practically no space and nobody knows what it is, so they don’t know if it’s masculine or not.  For all they know, I could be making a fish net.  And, I didn’t like what I had started and didn’t want to take it because the tips are worn on the shuttle and they don’t close good and it would have spent as much time on the airplane floor as in my lap…but it’s not my only shuttle… 

So, I started two new projects. 

Okay, so here’s the link to the video.  It’s the start of the series.  I was still getting used to the treadle, which I hadn’t really sewn on in a year.  My motions are less sure and the needle isn’t as still when resting as it gets later in the day and I get more used to the treadle action. 

What do you need to know.  It was early and my brain wasn’t working right.  I know that the thing I wind is called a long bobbin and that it goes into a shuttle and the shuttle goes into a race.  But, I called most of that by the wrong name that morning and I’m not re-filming.  At the end, when you’ve seen them all, you’ll know the parts I’m talking about.  There’s a whole segment on the tools I used and in that one, I show you how to wind a bobbin (in an earlier one, I show you how NOT to).

Kath asked about my pins.  I use a small curved safety pin and a plastic “handle” that makes them easier to grip…and to see.  I hate quilting along and plowing into a safety pin.  I’ll talk about them more, too. 

Okay, so I have a few minutes for some last minute watering…another one of the things I just never got to yesterday. 

Everybody be well.  Have a good Monday.  Lane


More Treadling with Lane

Hi, all.  Rob uploaded this three minute video this morning of me working on the treadle. 

What should I tell you about this?  I'd been working on the treadle for about 3 hours at this point so I had the rhythm down and was able to pretty much forget about what my legs were doing and focus on my arms.  I get nervous with the camera rolling and lose focus on the sewing, so I had Rob sneak up behind me.  I was listening to a book, so I was pretty much "in the zone" and didn't know he was there until I heard the beep when he turned the camera off. 

My hopping free motion foot is not adjusted right.  I didn't realize that until I saw this video last night.  It should be hopping higher, which it does when I'm using this foot on my Bernina (with a connector that lets me use short shank feet on the Bernina.)  If the foot had been hopping higher, I wouldn't have had to struggle with the roll of fabric that kept trying to form in front of the foot.  It would have passed under the foot while the foot was high and would not have formed a "hill".

If you have trouble with the throat size of your modern machine, you might consider a vintage machine.  The harp is much larger and can more easily accomodate the bulk of the quilt that needs to pass through it as you work. 

I always use a "supreme slider" on the machine bed to help the quilt slide across it.  The supreme slider is a sheet of teflon that has a slick side and a "grippy" side.  The grippy side holds to the machine bed and the quilt just glides along like butter.

There is going to be somebody that says I'm not treadling because you can't get that smooth motion with a treadle machine (there always is).  Before they can say it, I'll just head them off by saying it takes practice.  Lots of practice.  There is a lot of extra coordination involved in FMQ with a treadle and you have to build that rhythm before you can really forget your feet and focus on your hands.  In the beginning of the video, you can see my shoulders rocking with the motion of my legs and that should be proof enough that I'm actually powering the machine with them.  If you're considering FMQ on a treadle, start by piecing a quilt on it to help build up the muscle memory that lets you forget your feet.  The FMQ skills are easier to acquire on an electric machine at first, if that's what you're most familiar with and then translate to the treadle. 

That's all I can think to add to the video.  This is part of a series where I talk about feet and the stability quilting I added and how to wind a bobbin (or how not to).  The plan was to cover my thoughts on FMQ in video format and the treadle was just the tool I chose to execute those thoughts on.  It's not the focus of the video, although it is a major character.

Hope you enjoy this clip.  Now go sew because I have to go to work and I'd much rather be sewing, so you do it for me. 

Be well.  Lane


The intrigue of a good design

Every day this week, I’ve spent my 40 minutes of quilting time working on the Two spool sewing machine.  I’ve broken the projects down into steps that can be completed in about that amount of time.  All I’m really doing is cleaning and taking things apart to clean them.  It’s hard not to think of her with emotions, like the prettier she feels, the better she works.  I know it’s the cleaner she is, the better she works.  And, it’s funny how the tiniest little cleaning project can make a huge difference in her smooth operation.

It might help to stop thinking of her having emotions if I stopped thinking of her as a her.  Especially since I’m thinking of naming her (him) Rusty Bucket; the name of a character in a middle school play Sydney was in.

For instance, yesterday, I took apart the stitch length control, which has about 23 parts between the control knob and the feed dogs.


All the metal bars and rods that run down the right side of the machine and along the bottom of the photo and then back up to the feed dogs on the left are connected to the stitch length regulator.  I took out all the screws I could and cleaned the connections and washers, applied fresh oil, and put it all back together again, including a good polish for the stitch length control knob and it’s exposed parts.  What once would barely move is now free and easy to adjust. 

The day before, I spent my time trying to figure out why the foot wasn’t making contact with the feed dogs.  The fabric would just slide all over the place between the foot and the dogs.  Turns out, it’s because the foot is bent.  Now, how do you bend a foot that’s been on a machine for half a century?  Anyway, I replaced the foot and adjusted the pressure and the stitches became very regular in length and then I could set the tension.

Today, I took the handwheel assembly apart.  For some reason, I couldn’t loosen the stop knob and cause the hand wheel to turn without moving the needle up and down.  In my head, it needed to because all my other vintage machines work that way. 

But, after I got it apart, I discovered it’s not supposed to.


The hand wheel is actually set on the main drive shaft and doesn’t come loose…well, if I’d worked with that screw a while longer, it might have, but I realized there was no need.  The way the machine works, you loosen the stop motion knob and the fly wheel, which is the wheel the treadle belt sits in, loosens and turns without turning the hand wheel.  I’ve never seen a machine that does that.  But, it makes perfect sense. 


The fly wheel turns separate from the hand wheel and lets you push the bobbin (spool) winder against the belt so that the belt can turn the winder.

So very smart.

Unfortunately, I’m not sure how that’s going to work with the motor I just bought. 

Basically, I’ve bought a motor and we’re going to make it work.  One way or another.  Either we’ll use a belt and a belt pulley on the motor, or we’ll use a friction pulley on the motor and let it connect to the hand wheel, but either way, that hand wheel is going to turn with electrical power. 

It is.  Because I say it is. 

It’s poor Rob that has to figure out how.

Not really, but he is going to build me a base for the machine that we can attach the motor to, because there are no screw holes in the machine to attach a motor to, and part of this restoration project is not doing any damage to the machine itself, while converting it from treadle to electric.  Drilling holes in it (if we even could) reminds me of painting hand hewn Dutch antiques with purple paint. 

It shouldn’t be done.

I only got one unhappy comment yesterday.  I understood her thoughts and tried to respond as an equal, not superior, just someone that thinks differently.  In the evening, when Sydney asked what we were talking about, Rob jokingly said I’d “gone off” on my blog and suggested I may be off my medication. 

Ha-ha.  No.  I’m not.  I just feel like fighting back sometimes. 

Next week, I’m in Cleveland for a conference.  I’m trying to arrange it so I have a car, but I don’t know why.  I won’t have a spare minute to shop.  Very disappointing, but maybe next trip I can hit one of the local quilt shops. 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  I’m going to try to get Rob to upload a three minute video of me FMQ on the treadle tonight.  It’s not the complete video that we made, but I want to get that segment out there for you guys to prove it can be relaxing to FMQ on a treadle sewing machine.

Be well. 



I got some stuff to say.

And, it’s about time, because this stuff is burning a hole in my heart. 

First off, I’ve been listening to and reading the transcripts of the 2013 NRA convention in Houston.  Notice, I said Houston.  They don’t try to pull that in Austin. 

I have some pronouncements to make.  And, it’s not because I hate.  But, these people said some really stupid s#*!.


Dumbass self-promoter.  There’s nothing to fear but the person who doesn’t own a gun.  And, Wayne LaPierre.


This is a Moron who called democrats all kinds of bad names for filibustering what he wanted, and three minutes later bragged about his threat to filibuster what he didn’t want.  These are the two faces of Ted.  I’m sure there are more.th

Okay, people, stop watching this woman.  She has nothing to offer.  To anybody.  If you think she has something to offer, please share it with the world (on your own blog) because I’m pretty darn sure, she’s just a face.  And a whiney voice.

Okay, this shout out is to all you South Carolinians.  You won’t let me and Rob get married in your state, but this man, who took a big old brown dump on the sanctity of marriage, gets to serve you in congress?


WTF, South Carolina?

And, just to prove it’s not about party, but about behavior, I think this man is very brave and commendable and displays the qualities of good leadership.


I don’t agree with him politically, but I respect him as a person who has a different opinion, and speaks of it intelligently, and more importantly follows his talk with actions that support what he says.  I think the lap band surgery was probably a good idea for him and commend him for giving it a try.  I just hope we’re not running against him in the next pres election because I think he’s a contender.

Honestly, what has happened?  At some point, we stopped making role models behave appropriately and that really started a collapse in good behavior.  Once people got used to role models being able to do just whatever the hell they want to do and still be role models because of some athletic ability or because they got a part in a movie or have a nice chest, then any crackpot that can get their face in front of a camera and do whatever they want to can be treated like they’re somebody.  And, that shouldn’t be true.


On a slightly different, but no less monumental note, Yay, Jinkxy!!!  America’s next drag superstar! 

Another win for nice girls!


Okay, you might not think that RuPaul’s Drag Race is a good show for me to share with my daughter because of the spicy language that gets beeped out.  I don’t agree.  They don’t say anything she hasn’t heard before, and I’m proud that I can share the experience with her.  Sure, she gets exposed to some words that make me uncomfortable to be in the same room when she hears them, but that’s true of most movies now, too.  But, she also gets to see what it looks like when mean girls get mean, and how that makes the other girls feel.  From what I hear, my girl can be a mean girl, so getting to see how that affects others is a good thing.  She also gets to see that being a nice girl comes with it’s own rewards.


And, she gets to see how boys without perfect girl features can use cosmetics and clothes to change their appearance.  (and how much makeup is too much).  And, she gets to see how clothes should be worn…and how they shouldn’t.

And, RuPaul’s main and overriding lesson “If you can’t love yourself, how in the hell are you gonna love somebody else” is one of the most important lessons I can hope to impart to her.

Because it is true, and the first 38 years of my life is a testament to it.


I’ve said a lot today.  Put my neck out on the line and may get some hostile comments.  But, really.  I am damned tired of being talked about as “those people” that are bringing about the downfall of society, because I gotta tell you, from my perspective, IT AIN’T US! 

Everybody have a good Wednesday.  It makes me feel really good to get this stuff off my chest once in a while.  I haven’t in a while because I lost a friend because of it, late last year.  She couldn’t tolerate my thoughts and opinions anymore and I couldn’t tolerate her hateful emails about how wrong I was and how sanctimonious she was, so we parted ways.  And, it’s a shame because I liked her very much and miss her deeply.  But, it’s my blog and the opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author and may not be shared by everyone that reads.  But that doesn’t remove my right and my obligation to say it.  There’s got to be room for us all and we’ve got to be judged by what we do. 

Not the lies we can tell.



Another overachiever’s weekend

Yet another busy weekend of multiple large projects running simultaneously.  Sometimes, Rob and Sydney just watch me walking back and forth, from one to the next, work a while here, work a while there. 

Mostly, I was resting my legs or waiting for glue to dry.

Very little work was done on the two spool.  The needle clamp did come in and I installed it this morning and the machine has made its first stitches for me. 


It makes a nice stitch and I am very happy, although I’m still working on the tension.  But, I’ll get there.  I still have to figure out how to power the machine.  Do I buy another treadle base?  Do I buy a motor?  Do I attach my hand crank?  I’m thinking a motor and then put it in one of my current cabinets.  But, we shall have to wait and see.  All I know right now is that it won’t fit my current treadle base.  The hinge pins are off by a quarter inch.  RATS!

Speaking of the treadle.  I quilted a Linus quilt on it this weekend. 


That was actually fun.


Rob and I made a video of me working on it.  Soon as those are uploaded, I’ll show you how I FMQ on a manually powered sewing machine. 


It was actually easier than I thought it would be.

But, while I was using it, I certainly found opportunities for cleaning and polishing on both machines. 


I considered my Singer 127 treadle to be in good mechanical order but not so good looking.  Now, I recognize that most of that is just the need for a good shining up.  And, mostly in the same places as the two spool machine.

I also built cabinets 3 and 4 for the miniature kitchen.


This is basically how the cabinets will fit at the end of the long, narrow kitchen area, except of course, the upper cabinets will be suspended from the wall.  Very many details, but you’d be surprised how much easier it got after I watched a you tube video.

Yesterday, I managed to spend a good part of the day out in the yard.  Not so much working in the beds as just putting in those last couple of plants and repotting some things and cleaning up.  Always with the cleaning up.

And, I forgot to show the picture of the May Linus quilt that I got pieced last week.


I think I’ll try to quilt it next weekend…also on the treadle?

Still not enjoying those homespuns.  I took 6 of my old homespun shirts apart and am ready to start cutting into them.  I’ll be glad when that stash of fabrics is gone.  I don’t care for them for quilting and I don’t care for them for shirts.  But, they’re making terrific Linus quilts for older boys. 

So long as you aren’t overly concerned with straight lines.

Be well.  Have a great Monday.  Hi-ho…oh whatever.  It’s another day at the old grindstone.



This, that, and the other

Nothing in particular exciting going on, unless you count that it’s FRIDAY and the weekend is nigh upon us.  Still playing with the two spool and trying to work out how I can fit a bouncing free motion foot to a Griest  foot clamp.

I took a picture of the spool case, all proud, after I’d finished cleaning it, and while the eye couldn’t see any rust, the camera saw it. So, I decided to try the polishing.  Me, I’m thinking it worked pretty good.  Here are the photos, in order.

What I saw when I opened the box. (This is just like the pictures in the ebay advertisement, so I knew exactly what I was getting.)


This is when I thought it looked good enough.  Course, I’m getting tired of cleaning, too, so clean enough is getting easier to come by.


And, this is after I polished it.  I want to do the same to the hook and the hook race, but I can’t figure out how to get the bloody things out.  And, I’m not pulling, pushing or prying.  They’re clean enough.  One day, I’ll figure them out and they can be pretty, too.  For now, I suspect they’re suspended in some concrete like solution of old oil and red dirt and lint, but so long as they turn, I’m good.


Here’s the foot I’ve tried to improvise.  There is a post that runs vertically through the machine.  A clamp goes at the end and Griest feet attach to the bottom of the claimp.  I have modified the foot from a slant shank machine and can get it attached to the clamp, but the screw is the tiniest bit too long to tighten both the claim and the darning foot.  Add a washer, and it’s too short to connect with the post.  Anyway, I tried to shorten the screw.  I hit it 5 times with the grinder, testing it after each time.  Too long, too long, too long…  The 6th time and it was too short.  Oops, I said a bad word.


I can’t do hundredths of an inch.  Should I seek a professional?  The lady whose video I showed using the machine found a way to make a foot out of a paper clip.  I’m also going to try that.  If that works, I will sure be letting you know.  Course I really don’t know how well any of this works yet because I don’t have a needle clamp.  The post office has my needle clamp, but they should give it to me today or tomorrow.

Last night was Sydney’s basketball banquet. 


Rob went with her.  Everything went well.  I should have inspected the whole outfit together, one last time before last night.  But, I didn’t and I didn’t say anything.  It was fine, except the lining is micro mini short and in the right light, you can tell that…unfortunately, not the light that was to be had in the store or I’d have known to tell her to wear a half slip under it. 

Be well.  Have a great Friday.  Have a great weekend.  Sydney woke up sick, so I’m home with her. 

Working from home.  Working from home.  Oh how much fun can it be.  Working from home.

Actually, it’s harder than you might thing; being surrounded by all your favorite things and not getting to play.  She started with a sore throat.  Hmmm.  Is my throat sore, too?