What lovely weather

Who can sew when there is so much to see outside.  We’re having lovely weather, cool mornings, warm afternoons.  It’s humid from all the rain we’ve gotten lately, and the mosquitoes are back, but if you don’t stand still too long, it’s really pleasant out.  And, every day when the temp is in the 80’s is another day that it won’t be in the 100’s this year.  Ya’ gotta celebrate that every day.


A white daylily.


The garden is changing colors.  Right now, it’s heavily orange and yellow from the heavy daylily bloom.  But, as that set of daylilies fades, white flowers start to appear.


Green daylily.  Yes, I know, it’s technically yellow, but such a light yellow as to appear green.


Peach daylily (Mom, is this one Peaches?)


But, I’m starting to see purple.


And, pink.

And, the red daylilies have put up scapes.  In summer, the colors are pink, purple and red.  Those are the colors that my most heat tolerant plants bloom; the plants that stand tall when the temp is over 100 and the rains have stopped. 

The season of roses.


Everybody have a great Friday.  Next week, I’m in Cleveland, so not sure how much blogging there will be.  Still trying to decide if I should take finger work or a book on the plane.  Finger work sure is calming and I have that hexie project that is never going to end. 

Be well.  Lane



Well, this is for Rebecca Grace, who asked about oiling machines.  Rebecca, I would have responded to your email, but email has been around so long that it must have needed fixing, because ATT has managed to make it worse (okay, that is not the first phrase I typed there).  So, I decided to talk about oiling here.

I oil the hook race on my machines after every bobbin.  I learned to do that on the Bernina, and made it a habit.  About once a month, I go through all the oiling steps in the owner’s manual.  Yes, that’s a lot of spots to oil, but it keeps the machine quiet.  If a machine starts to make a noise, I’ll stop and do a full owners manual oiling.  That usually takes care of it.  And, about once a year, I go through all the oiling and lubricating steps in the service manual.  They are usually different, but if you get one for one vintage machine, it’s pretty indicative of most of the others in the same brand line. 

Because I have and use so many vintage machines, most machines only get used once or twice a year, so the cleaning isn’t something I sit down and do every January to all the machines.  When I take a machine out, I make sure it’s clean and lubricated before I start to use it.  Yes, it would be better if I could clean and oil it before I put it away, but I’m usually dashing off to the next project and can’t take time to stop and clean.  It’s who I am.

The mistake I made on my mother’s machine was that I did part of the cleaning and lubricating, and then I tried to use the machine before I did the other part.  If I’d cleaned and oiled the whole machine at once, I don’t think I’d be trying to decide whether the better bargain is the service manual and the gear, or the gear and the installation instructions, or some combination that includes replacing both gears because I’m pretty sure you practically take one off to replace the other.  (And honestly, with that being the hardest decision I’m trying to make right now, I’d say I’m pretty happy)

Yesterday, I needed fabric.  I stopped at a store I don’t usually stop in, Hancock Fabrics.  I used to love this store, and then I switched my loyalty to JoAnn’s.  But, yesterday I stopped in and they were having a big sale.  I got 5 yards of fabric for an insanely low price.  There were two gay guys working.  I don’t think I was wrong to feel very comfortable with that.  The store still is not all that much, in my opinion, but the guy that cut my fabric and I had a nice long talk about our projects.  He’s a tailor, not a quilter, but was interested in my red/white/blue quilt.  He was in the Service and both he and his partner have rwb quilts that were made by girl scouts.   He was also amused by my three attempts to put a zipper in a pair of jeans and suggested that from now on, I toss the pattern instructions as soon as I open the envelope. 

Okay, so that’s it for me today.  Thanks so much for your kind words in response to Syd’s award the other night.  I’ve shared them with her. 

Yesterday, on the drive to school, just a few minutes after I posted, She said “Want in one hand, spit in the other.  See which one fills up the fastest.”  That’s not cool.  That’s my line.  I got it from my Mom and I’m pretty sure she got it from hers.  Syd needs to get a lot older before she can use it to discourage me from wanting nice things…and more sewing machines. 

She announced last night that she wants to make a quilt for herself this summer.  She wants to use Ellie the Elna. 

I’m so selfish, I don’t want to loan her my newest machine.  But, I will.  Because I’m that desperate to get her to sew.

Have a great day. 



It was as you predicted and my secret garden

Several of you predicted that it would be one of the nylon gears under the sewing arm of my Mom’s Singer 534.


You were right.  I’ve located the part and the installation instructions and I’m about to pull the trigger on replacing that.  I’ve only hesitated because I can’t find the timing instructions for free and haven’t given up and paid for the service manual yet.  If I have to take the machine in to have it timed, that’s okay.  It is kind of an heirloom.  But, of course, I’ll try timing it myself, because I’m cheap.  I don’t need to deny it.  I’m cheap.

Unfortunately, I think I might have been a big contributor to the demise of the original nylon gear.  I made a real beginner’s mistake.  I oiled from the top down, and before I oiled from the bottom up, I tried to use the machine.  I could tell it was in a bind and working hard.  It hadn’t been used or oiled in a long time and I should have started with a thorough oiling all around, and then tested the machine.  Instead, I oiled the top and used my test sewing to determine where to work next, and I just didn’t get under the machine fast enough.  Well, that and I don’t know how many years it had been in the cabinet, unused. 

I love to tinker with machines and this will be just another challenge. 

Rob took a video of my garden over the weekend.  Just a short bit of what was going on out there before the rains started.

Here’s a link.

And, I noticed that he took a video last year, almost to the day, so I’m linking it here, too.  It’s a bit longer. 

Okay, that is it for me today.  No big sewing.  I’m finishing up a hand quilting project that I can’t share yet and spending every spare minute on it.

Sydney went to an awards banquet and won an award…at least I think it’s an award.  “You want sass?  I’ll give you sass!”  It came with a certificate and a speech and everything.  The small print says “For never pulling her punches and always speaking her mind, which is a rarer quality than some might think.” 

We taught her that.

I wish we’d been more careful cuz that stuff comes back and bites you in the butt, sometimes, like when she repeats my words back at me. 

Be well.  Lane


Guess who’s a good little quilter

Ellie, the Elna Supermatic, that’s who.


She did a great job quilting my red, white and blue donation quilt.  This seemed like the right weekend to quilt a red, white and blue quilt. 


We knocked it out in just a few hours on Saturday morning.


And, she was a real trooper.

It was a busy weekend.  I started off by quilting this quilt before noon on Saturday and then I made a list of things I wanted to accomplish over the weekend that was long.  I did almost everything.  Then, I collapsed and did a bunch of hand quilting.

One of the things I did last week was finish the setup of the Two Spool machine.


This is not a good photo, but it’s the bottom of the motor and the L bracket that attaches the motor to the table.  And, yes, that is a rubber band.  This is a new, but relatively inexpensive motor.  The power cord won’t stay in the plug, so I’ve rigged up this rubber band that keeps it plugged in.  It does not in any way interfere with the safe operation of the motor.

Even though it was a cheap motor, it has as much power as this machine can stand.

I’ve even added a temporary light, one of those LED things you can get at JoAnn’s.  It didn’t work out where it started, so now it is here.  But, I have another black, crook neck lamp that might replace it.


I cleaned everything this weekend.  I even cleaned the vacuum cleaner.  And, I repaired and degreased the grill, a job that took hours, but the steak I grilled on it for lunch was so worth the effort.  We were at that point where we invest a few dollars in repair and some hours into cleaning, or we buy a new grill.  I made the right choice.  There’s lots of other things I can do with the money I’d have spent on a grill.

I stayed busy to avoid looking at this. 

This empty space is staring at me, mocking me.


Next up on the silk quilt is the border and corners.  What to do, what to do, what to do… 

Actually, I’ve decided on leaves in the background, now I just need to pick something for the border, so I’ll know how much space to fill with leaves.  And, then the dreaded job of finding the square of it.  One of the big things all the judges for this year’s show specified is that the quilt should hang straight.  The red one didn’t quite, but the hanging sleeve made it look like it did.  I’m going to try to be more careful on this one, now that I know what to look out for.  Before I can find the square, I have to find the center again. 

We’re going to need a bigger ruler…

Have a great Tuesday.  Hope your Memorial Day was a good one.  We watched war movies all weekend.  And, I cleaned house.  And, we listened to the rain.  Hours and hours of delightful rain in the middle of our drought.  Let it rain, let it pour, I’ll sit in the chair and snore.

Or find some hand quilting to do while I watch it through the dining room window, like I did yesterday afternoon.  I’m easy.  I can find something to do in the rain.



Don’t ever touch my machine again!

When I was a kid, I was fascinated by machines.  My Dad tinkered with motors and machines and was always taking something apart and putting it back together again.  So, when my Mom left her sewing machine up, I really couldn’t help it. 

I turned all the knobs.  Without paying attention to where they were set to start with. 

She had to take it to the shop to have the tension professionally set.

And, I never touched her machine again.


Until now.  Mama, I’ve had my hands all over your sewing machine.  I’ve touched it in places you probably never saw.  I touched it again and again.  And, I re-set the tension. 

My Mom gave me her machine, a Singer Stylist 534 a couple years ago and it sat in the garage.  I was actually kind of intimidated by touching it, even after all these years. 

Actually, I’ve been surprised by the machine.  My Dad gave it to my Mom when my youngest sister was born.  That would have been 1976, I think.  I expected it to be all nylon gears and rubber belts inside.  But, it’s not.  it’s mostly steel, with just a bit of nylon.  And, it’s powerful.  It was pretty tight when I first started to sew with it.  But, a bit of oil and the top parts of the machine were moving smoothly. 

I sewed for about a half hour, making adjustments while I sewed a bunch of four patches, and then the feed dogs stopped.  Not sure what’s up with that, but it felt like maybe my Mom was getting even for me touching her machine again.  I’ll try to take the bottom plate off this weekend and figure out what’s up with the feed dogs.  I can’t find anything in the instructions about dropping the feed dogs, so we’ll have to see what there is to see when I get inside.

In other news around the home front, the garden is making me want to spend the day sitting in the swing outside.


There was another Bernina daylily.


And, the orange are putting on a show.


Sydney is becoming quite the gardener and this is her hibiscus.  She chose well.

And, she is also growing a pomegranate.  Have you ever seen a pomegranate bloom?


It’s made up of a bunch of flowers, just like you’d expect.  Hopefully, soon she’ll have two flowers open at the same time and she’ll get a fruit. 

Yesterday, I gave credit to some important people that said things that helped me get through my colonoscopy.  But, I forgot a couple of very important ones that I’d like to mention.

The therapist reminded me that courage isn’t the same thing as not being afraid.  Courage is being afraid and doing it anyway.

On the way to the office on Wednesday, Rob thanked me for having the test.  I couldn’t really reply appropriately at the time…I was kind of self focused that morning.  But, it really meant a lot to hear him say it, even if I couldn’t respond at the time.  And, as we walked into the office, I looked at him and said, “in a couple hours, everything could be different.  Or, it could be the same”.  Rob’s reply was “In a couple of hours, everything will be different, because you will know.”  Thanks dear.  You know how much those words meant.

Okay, so that’s it for me today.  All work, lots of play, and a three day weekend ahead to see how much trouble I can get into.

Have a great friday and a great Memorial Day weekend.  Remember, it’s not all about the steak and potato salad.  It’s really about remembering the soldiers that fought; those that died and those that came home.  We can’t forget what they did, and we can’t turn our backs on them and we must figure out how to give them the services they deserve after they return, even if it means we have to sacrifice.  We can’t let the selfish dictate our actions and we can’t let them undercut our service men and women. 

Take care.  Lane


Passing the test

I feel a responsibility to post this.  I can only hope that someone that is as scared to have a colonoscopy as I was will read it and that it will give them the encouragement they need to get the test.  It really, really, really was as much of a non-event as people told me it would be. 

First, the facts as the doctor shared them.  Colon cancer is one of the only cancers that can be medically prevented today (not considering lifestyle choices to avoid risk).  There is no -oscopy for any of the other internal organs that can predict and remove potentially cancerous growth, other than the colonoscopy.  Every colon polyp will result in a cancerous growth, malignant or benign, unless it is removed. 

You guys also shared important testimonials.  Lillian shared that her husband's life was saved by his colonoscopy.  I owe it to Sydney to do everything I can to save my life.  Lucy really hit me hard when she said that without any chemo or radiation treatment, she avoided cancer by having a polyp removed during a colonoscopy.  Saving a life and avoiding the horrible life saving treatments available today are really powerful things to motivate me to take the test.  I hope that repeating them here is as powerful for that person that is afraid. 

The other powerful words came from my Sister.  We don't communicate very often.  Not that there is a problem between us, we just don't reach out much; my Mom keeps us up to date on one another's news and we visit when I am in town.  So, when she called me and told me she had her colonoscopy and they found a polyp and because of hereditary possibilities, I needed to have one, too, that was powerful.  She could have sent an email.  She could have sent the news through my Mom.  But, she didn't.  She cared enough about me to reach out to me and tell me about what was going on.  Powerful communication!

I was freaking scared poopless at the possibility.  That's not just to be funny.  I was scared of that very invasive test because I'd heard too many stories about it and because there was too much conflicting information.  So, the rest of this post is about my experience, or my "non-experience" with the test.

The cleanse - Everybody says that the cleanse is the hardest part.  There is supposed to be considerable discomfort in emptying the digestive tract.  The cramping is supposed to be very bad.  I didn't experience any of that.  A doctor (not the surgeon that did the test) suggested that I eat lightly for a couple days before the cleanse.  Even though no one else suggested that, when I told the nurses and doctor that I didn't have any trouble and suggested this was the reason, they all agreed that it made perfect sense.  I ate small, mostly meatless meals and starches that digested quickly (baked potatoes) on Sunday and Monday.  By Tuesday, when I did the cleanse, I was already pretty cleaned out and while there was a bit of very mild cramping, it wasn't any worse than any other unpleasant movement.  I had a small piece of hand work and I just took it with me to the bathroom.  I had stuff to keep me busy while my body was doing it's unpleasant work and that kept my mind off the actual unpleasantness of the work.  One nurse shared that lots of people try to bulk up on food because they won't be able to eat the day of the cleanse.  Those people have full colons when they start the cleanse and that makes it even more unpleasant.  So, try my doctor's advice because it sure worked for me. 

The test - okay, so some people say they sleep through the test and some people don't.  Nobody could give me a conclusive answer on whether you're really asleep or not.  The doctor called it twilight and said I likely wouldn't remember.  I remember the nurse giving me two injections and telling me to enjoy my nap.  I told her I'd like to wake up in a better mood and everybody thought that was funny because I was already laughing and joking with the doctor.  The day of the cleanse, you're not supposed to eat real food and you are supposed to avoid anything red, so I told him I ate beets and raspberry jello the day before.  It took a while to register and then he realized I'd played him.  But for just a few seconds, I could tell he was about to let me have it for wasting his time.  I do not remember most of the test.  But, I do remember the end and let me tell you this for sure...even if you aren't quite asleep, you're high as a kite and don't really care what's going on!  I remember asking a question about what I was seeing and my speech must have been slurred.  I remember the nurse asking me to repeat it and I did.  All three people in the room, doctor, nurse, and technician all answered simultaneously and then laughed (the answer was "poop" and I guess that's really funny during a colonoscopy).  I could see the live video on the monitor in the room and I can remember being fascinated that I was seeing inside my body.  I was very stoned and I thought how much it looked like one of those documentary videos and I kept waiting for the narrater to break in and tell me what I was seeing.  When he didn't, I asked.  And, then it was over and they were cleaning me up and the doctor rolled me to the recovery room.  Being awake during the test was the thing I was most scared of.  But I wasn't scared during the test because I was very, very high at the time and really didn't care.  It was all an adventure (and proof that the really good drugs are out there and that medical personnel don't share enough.) 

Post-test - I was home by 10am.  I didn't feel sleepy when I got home.  I had a little to eat, no need to rush.  I ate a piece of toast and drank an Ensure nutrition supplement.  I decided I was going to crochet.  I made about a dozen stitches and then told Rob I needed to lie down.  It was very like Camille (I vant to lie down).  And, I did and I slept about an hour and then I was up and going about my normal day, beginning with a huge lunch.  I told Rob the same stories for about the fourth time and he indulged me by listening like it was all new info. Then, he must have gotten bored because he started to finish the stories when I'd start them. That went on until supper time last night.  Ah, the great drug induced confusion.  Fortunately, that wore off.

Today, I'm back at the office. 

The results?  No polyps.  No need for another test for 5 years.  And, you can bet I'll have that next one because this one was a big nothing.  A real non-event.  So much so that I almost didn't write this post because I'm kind of ashamed of being so afraid in the first place. 

If you aren't saving your own life because you're afraid of the test, then please, please listen to my powerful words.  This test is nothing. 

The man after me came to recovery before I left.  He had three polyps and diverticulitis, all found in the test.  All corrected during the test.  Truly, ten minutes to a better life.

Have a great Thursday.  And, call your Doctor.  The most important life you save today might be your own. 

Now, let's all say the words together so we can take away their power.  POOP!  and BUTTHOLE!  It ain't nothing to be ashamed of.  Everybody has one and uses it the same way I do and we need to stop being ashamed to talk about it.  I apologized to the technician about anything she might see during the test and she laughed and called me "another face in the crowd."  She dared me to show her something she hadn't seen before.  I did not take her up on that.  And, if I did, I don't remember it, so it's like it never happened.



Garden time

It was a wonderful weekend to be in the garden.  Cool mornings that gave way to breezy afternoons.  And, I took full advantage of it. 

This bloomed.  The daylily is called Bernina.  And, what a showy flower for such a fantastic name.  My Mom bought it and gave it to me because I quilt with a Bernina.


I know this daylily is yellow, but it’s so pale, it looks green.


I had a couple of blooms from it this weekend.

Rob put these blue pots in hangers that we bought on vacation last year on our front porch.  They have purslane in them that should drape over the edges very nicely.



And, of course, there was time for quilting.  You’ll need to click these to see the detail, but the silk house has a lawn and a frame now.


For the lawn, I did a free motion zig-zag.  I set my machine to the widest zig it would do and just went to town, leaving some spaces open.  I had to use a hoop for this because the zig-zag pulled the fabric in, but that was okay.  It looks so much like grass, I can hardly believe it.  Next is reinforcing the lines between the grass and all the other stuff.  Hopefully, that won’t be too much.


That means I’m out to the corners.  And, again, I am undecided.  But, something will come to me.  I pulled out three ideas yesterday and none of them made me swoon.  It’s a good thing I started this early.

Everybody have a great Monday.  I’m looking forward to a couple days off work this week.  Found time is like found money.  It must be spent.



A short walk in the garden

No one would be more surprised at my garden than I am. Even with all the hours and sweat and work that has gone into it, I am constantly surprised at the result.


When Rob came here, he was already an experienced Texas gardener.  He gave me feedback that I did not appreciate at the time.  But, it got me to study and learn to garden here, where we alternate between constant drought and intense flash flooding.  There are some things that do well in the warm wet winters and the blazing hot summers and there are some things that do not. 

The best lesson I ever learned was to stop spending all that time molly-coddling something that didn’t like it here (azaleas) and instead, spend that same amount of time on several things that were native or adapted to the weather.  And, the result is my garden.


Daylilies love it here.  They have a couple of months where they are the stars of my garden and most of them are evergreen through the freezes of winter.  It takes a lot of time to keep the dead fronds cleared from the base of the plants, but for a bloom like that, it’s well worth it. 


Here is another stand of these yellows on the other side of the yard.  Later, there will be reds and oranges and peach and even a green blossom.


These are the plants I bought to add this year.  The rest of the new plants this year are from dividing things that do well and spreading them out so that there is some color around most of the year.  The garden has to distinct microclimates and sometimes, the same plant will bloom on one side of the yard earlier than the same plant on the other side of the yard.  That adds even more variety to the garden.


A couple months ago, this was flat, frozen back, dirt.  Now, it’s lush and overgrowing the path.  I’ve had to put up fencing around some areas of the path to keep the plants back so that I can walk through the center of the garden and don’t have to just look from the outside.

That path serves another purpose, too.  I have clay soil and while I’ve amended the heck out of this garden over the years, it will still compact under any kind of weight.  So, I have the stone path to walk on and I can keep my big feet off the dirt around the plants. 

I hope your gardens are green and blooming. 

Today is my 30th anniversary with my employer.  That either shows great dedication or a serious lack of initiative.  I haven’t always done the same job.  In fact, I don’t have any idea how many different job titles and job descriptions I’ve had over that time.  I think at one point, I counted 26 different bosses who had written or contributed to my annual performance evaluations.  I’ve stood it through several reductions in force and once, I was reduced out of the force, but welcomed back in a short enough time that I kept my tenure.  The company has been family.  We’ve fought and disagreed and there have been many times I just wanted to get up and pack my stuff and walk out.  But, we also share the weight of a common burden that we all put our best effort into.  So today, I’m celebrating my ability to stick with it and not walk out when the going is tough, and the dedication it takes to say I’ve been here since before most of my co-workers were born. 

Everybody have a great Thursday.  Lane


Picked it up off the street

I have a National Two-Spool sewing machine that was removed from a treadle base…probably to make one of those awful tables…

I added a motor and use it as an electric machine.  I had it set down in my Mother’s sewing table because it had a surface for the machine to sit on.  My Mom’s machine was not mounted into her table by hinges.  It is bolted to a flat surface and that surface is hinged.  I had screwed a block of wood into the bottom of that table to hold the motor for the two spool.  It worked fine, but I knew it wasn’t a permanent solution.  I was hoping for a portable base that I could attach it to and carry it around.  But before that happened, we found this table on the street for big and bulky garbage.


The table isn’t anything nice.  It was dark wood and reminded me of the Mediterranean furniture that was popular in the 70’s.  It wasn’t going to bother me at all to drill holes in it to mount the motor.  A coat of paint fixed the color problem.  And, Rob has built a surround to make my machine fit into the hole in the table and he’s built risers for the machine to sit on to raise it to the correct level.  It’s a great solution. 

I’m still painting and we haven’t mounted the motor brackets yet, but I can hardly wait to get it finished.  Not that I have a place to put it.  For now, it’s going where my Mom’s table has been and her table is going to the garage because I am starting to work on her machine.  It needs a good cleaning and oiling and then I plan to mount it back into her table where it belongs.

And, as if getting the table set up for me wasn’t enough of a Man-Mom’s day gift, he also had this made for me. 


It’s a seam ripper.  Double ended.  The sharp parts pull out and insert into the handle.


Now, how cool is that?  A friend of a friend makes them and sells them and he brought a couple of examples home for me to see and I liked them.  And, then this one showed up for me.  Thanks, dear!

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  Last night was my first quilt guild board meeting.  I practiced taking the minutes.  It was an interesting exercise in editing. 



Something fun and easy

It was a very nice Mother’s Day weekend around here.  We took our friend LD to lunch and I had a nice long chat with my Mom last night.  We had bee on Saturday.  Rob and I are making a sewing machine cabinet for the National Two-Spool machine (pictures later) and we just had fun. 

I am burned out on quilting the silk quilt right now, so gave myself the weekend not to worry about it and I put together this little Linus quilt. 


Those are some of the 9 patches I made to practice with the Elna and then I picked a sashing, and let it carry the show.  The blue cornerstones, and green and orange borders are colors pulled from the sashing.  It’s a very fun quilt and one I’m proud to give away. 

I think I’m going to try to quilt it on the Elna.


Bee members saw me play with this machine on Saturday.  I had everything working great, but the bobbin was being a pain in the butt.  The thread kept popping out of the tension.  I’d sew a bit, then I’d have to load the bobbin again.  I kept trying things. 

Near the end of bee, I found a bobbin.  Random bobbin on the table.  Asked if anyone recognized it.  Class 15 as opposed to the class 15J, which is a wider bobbin with the same diameter.  The only thing I can assume is that it came in that attachments box that I got in the mail last week and fell out onto the table while I was fishing around for a screwdriver.

I got home and dropped a class 15 bobbin in and I have not had a problem with the tension popping out again.  The machine came with a 15J and I assumed that’s what fit.  And, we all know what happens when I assume. 

Anyway, it solved the presser foot pressure problem, too.  Apparently, that wider bobbin was pushing the bobbin cover up against the foot.  I was immediately able to adjust the presser foot pressure to the normal setting for the machine.  I’m going to buy some official Elna bobbins, just to see if they are maybe a bit wider than the 15 and therefore easier to remove from the bobbin case.  Oh, and the class 15 bobbin also winds on the bobbin winder.  The class 15J was just a tiny bit too big and the spindle spun inside of the bobbin, but the bobbin didn’t spin to wind on thread.  The class 15 does spin and winds a lovely bobbin.  So now, every function of the machine is in good working order.

If I knew anything about all this, I’d be dangerous.

I am so tempted to write the lady I bought the machine from to ask why she sold it.  I’ll bet my thread collection that it was because she couldn’t get it to sew and that’s why she let it go cheap.  There were really only about 4 problems with the machine and once all four were taken care of…well, I’m even more sure I got a bargain.

Everybody have a great Monday.  Lane


Quiet is good

All is quiet around here.  I’m not always sure what to make of that or whether I need to do anything about it.


Even the garden is quiet.  It is preparing for an explosion of bloom.  The last of the iris are dying back and the roses need deadheading, but May is daylily month and the scapes and blooms abound, just waiting to fatten up and open. 


But, mostly, the garden is green today.


I guess I’m a bit of an excitement junkie and I miss having a new project to start. 


But, I need a rest and then I need to get back to my projects in progress.  Just like my garden needs a few days to rest before it explodes again.  And, the green days make me really appreciate the days full of color and bloom.

This weekend, I might pull out a UFO and quilt it real quick to donate to the guild silent auction.  I have a couple of nice tops that I could part with and they’re begging for donations.

Everybody have a great Friday.  We are elevating a project today, so it will definitely be a busy day for me.

And, then two days to rest/quilt/do chores.




Number 19

I’m bragging about this little Elna machine again.


As I’ve worked out the kinks, I’ve realized more and more what a great bargain I got for $20 plus $30 shipping.  It’s very quiet and plenty strong and it makes a great stitch.  It’s lightweight and simple enough for me to repair on my own.  The attachments box came in the mail yesterday. I bought it separately from another vendor. 


It’s from a later model.  The one for this machine would have been green, or more likely, black.  But, they made the supermatic model for 30 years and the parts were interchangeable like this.  The cams, too.  For a long time, all they changed was the color.  So, if you don’t care about color, there are lots of replacement parts out there real cheap. 


I bought it because the price was great and it had several attachments, including the free motion/darning foot and the feed dog cover that is used with that foot (second most important foot to a free motion quilter).  Those two pieces would have cost more than the machine and the attachments box, if purchased separately. 

All that’s really left is cleaning up the carrying case.


Those aren’t scratches like I first thought.  They’re tape residue.  There has been a lot of tape residue.  Apparently, the sewist that owned it before used masking tape on the machine bed as a seam allowance marker.  I used oil and a wool rag and that came right off.  But, I think this is plastic strapping tape and I’m worried that it’s going to take something more chemical to remove it.  But, I’ll start with oil and a rag and see how that goes.

I think this machine is going with me to bee this weekend.  She’s certainly up to the task.  And, I’m just making 9 patches for a Linus quilt.  It’s so nice to work on something mindless after that mini quilt.

If you’re looking for a lightweight machine to carry around, I’d rank the ones I own in this order.  The 1950’s featherweight, the Singer 301, the Elna Supermatic, the 1960’s featherweight.  The cheapest of those machines is the Elna, by far.  And, it makes a zig-zag and the others are straight stitch only.

Everybody have a great Thursday. 



Something new

One of you recognizes this.


A friend started this and has asked me to contribute as well.  I’m very flattered.  Her stitches are dang near perfect and I’ve learned that my hand quilting relies more on tiny stitches than consistent length of each stitch.  So, I’m taking it slow and working on consistency and trying to reproduce her work as closely as possible.  She had already started quilting in the borders and I’m finishing that first, while I take some time to get to know the quilt and decide what to do in the blocks.  I love hand quilting, but my hand quilting project is way too big to work on in summer.  This is small enough that I can ball it up in my lap and focus on what is in a small hoop and just quilt away. 

I got a few questions about the afghan from yesterday’s post.  Yes, it is big.  Four feet by Six feet.  240 hdc stitches per row.  I could do one row in 20 minutes.  And, I worked on it almost every night, during family time, for 5 weeks.  The gold was a terrible sweater I knit for myself several years ago and hated and balled back up and used in this afghan, so it went to a good purpose after all.   The other colors were from here and there, all different yarns and slightly different weights that went together nicely.  Idle hands are the devil’s workshop, so I never let mine be idle, I guess.  Not to mention, the other night, I was between projects and tried to just sit and watch TV and fell promptly to sleep.  Somehow, I think sleeping during family time might be frowned on.

Have a great Wednesday.  We’re halfway to the weekend.  Just a few more weeks until the end of school.



That really good, warm feeling

Last night, I took the mini quilt to guild for show and tell.  It was a real ego boost.  I walked up to the mic, said my name and they unfolded it and I watched the ladies lean forward and all say “ooh!” at the same time.  They didn’t hear what I said after that, which was “I went to Sally Collins’ class last month.  I think I liked it.”


Heading back to my seat was like walking a runway.  I’d have to stop every few feet so someone could get a close look at it. 

Made me feel good.

Yesterday was also the day to visit with the doctor about my upcoming test.  Okay, y’all.  that doctor was a freak.  And, I’m not sure what I should expect from somebody that does 50-60 of these procedures a week.  For 15 minutes, he did a stand up comedy routine about it, including every butt, rear, and behind joke ever written and some I think he made up himself.  I just sat there with my mouth open, waiting for him to let the shoe drop and for him to tell me something bad.  He never did.  So, at the end, I thanked him for being funny because it helped me relax.  Even though relaxed looked really tense right that minute. 

He was cool.  Someone will call today to schedule.  and, then it will be done.

I also wanted to show this.  It’s a Linus afghan.  My valuable fabric storage space is being used to store yarn, so I’ve decided to make up a bunch of afghans and move it out.  This is the first one. 


It’s huge and it’s heavy.  The stripes didn’t photograph well, but they’re orange, brown, raspberry and dark green.  It’s pretty cool and very masculine.  And, big enough for a teen. 

Next one is yellow and grey and white.  Very modern color combination and done up in a baby afghan.  But, very soft and thin yarns.  But, before I can start that, I have a small quilt to hand quilt, so you’ll likely be seeing pictures of it as I make decisions. 

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  So much to do, so little time.  I remember when I was a Martha Stewart-ite and spent all my time keeping house and making things out of leftover other things. 

I really think I’m a more fun person now.



Thou shalt not waste the weekend

It’s like another commandment for me.  There is so little time during the week.  What with work and that pesky need to sleep a third of the day. 

Rob was sick last week.  He had the most severe case of food poisoning I’ve ever witnessed.  And, I stuck it out, right here with him and Friday, he was better enough that I could go to the office, where I had the most stressful day trying to catch up.  Anyway, I had some feelings I needed to work out with some physical work and I needed to accomplish.  Not anything in particular, just accomplish things. 

Anyway, I tried the purple swag on the mini quilt and I didn’t love it.


So, I tried the gold.  And, I didn’t love it.


And I asked Rob and he agreed with me.  No swag.  Save that area for fancy quilting.


So, the mini quilt top is finished.  Ta-da!

That left me with a lot of weekend to kill.

I quilted.


I decided to put the blue door in the house quilt.  I showed this to let you see half of the threads that need to be buried in order to put in the door.  I did it in the blue that matches the color of the door.  On the brown silk, it looked pastel.  I picked it all out.  I tried it again, using less fill, and it looked really baby blue, so I went over it with the dark blue.  Then, it looked sloppy, so I picked it out.  Then, I tried it with just the dark blue.  I got it all done, even burying the knots.  And, I picked it all out. 

So, I put it in with the brown thread, and I love it.  It’s just right.  Unfortunately, it took all day on Sunday.



I also put in the tree limbs above the roof.  And, I did all the other little details.  I even moved the mailbox.  I picked it out and I drew it in and quilted it in a different place.

It needed it.


And, now I’m down to the grass.  I have some good ideas.  Just need to get out a practice piece and see how it looks.

Okay, well, that’s it for me.  I got other stuff done, like 5 hours of hard yard work.  That really works out the issues for me.  So, I’m starting the week off fresh. 

Everybody have a great Monday.  Lane