Bleeding reds and an idea I’m percolating

You guys know that I am making a Triple Feathered Star for the guild’s raffle quilt.  And, it’s going to be red and white.  And that my practice piece was not red and white…enough.


I use Burgundy instead of red.  I have for a long time.  Burgundy doesn’t bleed like red.  There is no actual red in my stash.  It’s all burgundy, tomato red, or pink.  Shades of red that don’t really bleed very badly.

The committee helped me pick fabrics and sent me home with them to begin the block.

And, I washed, and washed and washed…five times.  And, the color catcher was still pink.  So, on Saturday morning, I put each one in its own white corning ware dish full of hot water.  And, three of them bled.  So, I wrote the committee and asked what to do and whether people that tried retayne were having good luck with it…and suggested we change the color from red (that one didn’t go very far).

One of the members sent me this link.  Okay, I’m game.  So, I pull out my dye pot and I put about five gallons of water in it and I heat it up almost to boiling and I turn off the heat, add a little gentle dishwashing detergent and submerge those fabrics in and exhale.  And, I agitate them for as long as my arm will stir.

I pulled a sample of the water every hour for the first few hours, then went to bed. I poured the sample on a clean white paper towel and each one was clear.  I got up the next morning, stirred the pot and took another sample and it was slightly pink.  That was at the ten hour mark.  Somewhere between then and twelve hours, the water got much pinker.  I rinsed the fabrics and again, put each one in a white dish of hot water and let them soak.  Then, I wrung them out.  No pink.

So, they got dried and ironed and on Sunday afternoon, I cut out all but the big outer edge sections of the quilt and have started the straight line piecing from which I’ll cut sub-units.

From now on, instead of continuing to wash fabric until it stops bleeding, I’m going to try this method.  It’s much more water conservative and that’s really important here.

The other idea I’ve been toying with is based on my fabric collecting.  I don’t really buy any serious fabric quantities anymore.  I have a large stash to shop from.  But, I have sticky fingers when it comes to fat quarters.  And, every time I go to some special quilt related event, I tend to pick up four or five fat quarters.  One here, one there, spreading the little money I spend on fabric among as many vendors as I can.

They aren’t bought with a plan and they don’t mean anything.

Except they reflect the mood I’m in that day better than anything I can think of.

January quilt shopping trip with the family.  I was putting the Civil War Stars quilt together and was in a Civil War repros kind of a mood.


March.  Clearly spring flowers and growth are on my mind.


So, what if I took these little “moods” and instead of washing them and sorting them into the stash, I actually make something out of them?  Just a little something to commemorate the day.  Maybe it’s a block or a doll quilt or something miniature.  I haven’t thought it that far out yet.  But, at the end of the year, I’d have this “something” that would tell about my happy quilt related times.  And, tell a story about who I am.

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  Hi-ho.  work beckons.  I am so not excited.

At least, not about work.



The Georgetown Quilt and Stitchery Show

Of course, there is video.

You’ll know my quilts when Rob passes them.  I won first in machine quilting and a judges choice award for A Place for Life to Happen and second place in large pieced for The Point is the Points


Judges comment on A Place was that it needed to be entered in bigger shows.  And, I’m actually thinking about that.

Anyway, I wanted to show a picture of best of show.  WOW!  When I first walked up to it, I couldn’t wait to take pictures of it. 


It was the perfect combination of fabric and pattern.  And, the quilting was wonderful. 

The butter yellow and off-white log cabin that was quilted with feathers won second place in machine quilting.  That one could have come home with me, no problem. 

And, the purple and green bargello won first in large pieced.  I loved how she used that color combination to full effect.

Oh, and my star block that I entered in the challenge block competition didn’t win anything.  I didn’t know they were going to rouche or I’d have done something more spectacular.  But the winners were lovely…and lavender.

Tomorrow, I’m going to share a red story.  It was a very red weekend.  Or, maybe I should say it was a very pink weekend. 

Okay, now I got you curious, don’t I?

Have a great Monday.  I really wish I could stay home and sew.  My boss is on vacation.  It’s going to be a numbers week; I must make numbers tell stories. 

The good thing is, I have a very vivid imagination, so my numbers usually tell very detailed stories.  Unlike my brethren whose job it is to play with numbers.  They can tell me what happened.  It’s my job to tell why.  And, who dunnit?



Hitch up your Giddy-up

It’s a slow news day in mud-ville. 

I’m still quilting the Civil War Stars quilt.  When in doubt, add straight lines.  I sat and stared at that quilt one morning for my whole quilting time; sipping coffee and trying to figure out what to do next.  I even pulled out a chalk pencil and started to draw.  But, in the end, the best background filler to disappear is still straight lines. 

And, I have two quilts hanging in a show that starts today…if you’re in Georgetown, it’s a very nice small show.  You can get through the whole thing in an hour and a half.  So, find an hour and a half and go.  You’ll be supporting a great organization that teaches handcrafting skills to seniors and provides them a place to sell their work for a little extra money. 

The reds are in the wash for the third time.  I have it narrowed down to just two that I might have to wash again.  We’ll have to see the condition of the color catcher.  But, I have enough ready that I can start to cut the raffle quilt this weekend.  That will be nice.  I’m ready to get that started.  I noticed that several of us on the committee were ready to start cutting and hated that our next meeting isn’t until the end of next month.

Anyway, in lieu of quilting pics, I have some flower pictures for you. 

It’s my best year for crabapple blossom ever.  Hopefully, I’ll have a bumper crop.  Last year, I didn’t get enough to be worth the trouble of picking, so let the birds have them.


First Iris of the year was a couple weeks ago, I’m just late posting the pic.  This one came our of our friend Kate’s yard.  We met Kate in her garden.  She loved to work in her yard.  And, while it was kind of a hodgepodge, it has great beauty still and interest year round.  Kate lost her battle with breast cancer several years ago.  Her house is for sale now as her husband has moved to a new city.  I’m glad someone kicked this iris out of the ground and onto the sidewalk where I found it one day when I was walking the dog.  Just one chunk of root and a couple fronds.  And, that was just last year.  This is a very prolific iris.


Ajuga.  This is my favorite ground cover.  I bought two small pots a few years ago and let them grow in a sunny spot until they were each about as big around as a dinner plate.  Then, I broke them up and spread them all along the path through my garden, in hopes that they will fill in between the stepping stones.  Dark green leaves with purple undersides and bright purple flowers.


Can’t remember the name of this.  Rob does, tho.  That’s all I need, right?  It blooms early and for a short time.  And, the rest of the year, it’s a slowly spreading green carpet.  This was a tiny pot a few years ago and now it’s a mound in the rock garden, spreading larger every year.


That’s all the pics I had in my phone.  Everybody have a great day.  If your spring hasn’t sprung yet, just wait.  it’s coming.  This weekend needs to find time to clean, go to a quilt show, quilt, piece, cut fabric, cook…Ain’t it grand to have an abundant life?



Changing times

Last night, there was an open house at Syd’s school.  It was meant as a way to welcome next year’s freshman class and parents and let them see the school.  All the clubs and teams perform or have booths for recruiting. 

Unfortunately, I didn’t really see many incoming freshmen.  We did it when Syd was a frosh and there were lots more people then than there were last night. 

Anyway, we went because Syd was going to perform her solo from the competition a couple weeks ago and it was going to be our only chance to see it in front of a real audience.

She did great.  All the soloists did great.  And the whole choir was right on, too.  There was something about the acoustics in the school hallway that made them sound much more rich and full than in the school auditorium.

After the performance, Syd wanted to spend some time at the yearbook club booth, with her friends and helping recruit and they were taking yearbook pictures of anybody that walked by and wanted a picture taken.  And, laughing.  Remember how it was to laugh when you were a kid and there were so few troubles?

We sat comfortably on a bench and I noticed two things across the quad.  One was the nachos for sale at one of the concession booths, but the other was the Gay Straight Alliance booth.

Now, did Rob really want the nachos?  Or, were they just a way to get to the Gay Straight Alliance booth?  We’ll never know.

But, while he was there, they asked if he’d like to make a donation and he said sure, soon as he had the change from his nachos…hmmmm.  And, then he told those children how much he supports their organization and told them that he couldn’t come out until he was an adult and how it was great that it was okay now and there were groups for support.  How much he would have appreciated that when he was in high school.


Yeah, I teared up, when he told me. 

Things sure are changing.  A boy on the pom-pom squad.  A Gay Straight Alliance at the school.  They even have a cross-dressing student and Sydney says it doesn’t phase those kids one bit.


I remember another time. 

This is better!

I’m glad I get to see it and I can’t wait to see what’s next.

Have a great Friday.  Lane


Abundant thanks

Every so often, I am the recipient of some really cool stuff.  Last bee, I received two different gifts from two different friends whose initials are L.  You know who you are.  And, you both read this blog.

L gave Sydney some makeup.  L, I wanted you to know that yesterday, on the way to school, she said “that lipstick from your friend L is the perfect color.”  She also said to tell you thanks so much for the nice gift.

L gave me some things that had come to her from her mother.  There was a whole collection of quilting motif books and patterns for whole cloth quilts.  You guys know how much I love those.


And, there was also this preprinted whole cloth top that I’ve already basted to a backing and collected thread and my hand quilting sewing kit and am ready to bag it up for my trip to Indiana next month.  I’m going to be spending a lot of time in hotels that week and if I get lucky, I’ll be a passenger in the backseat of someone’s car while we drive all over the state and this will be the perfect project (if unlucky, I’m the driver.)


I always look at these longingly at the quilt shows, but I’ve never bought one.  Now, I have one and I can hardly wait to get started on it. 

And, following that theme, the fruit quilt kit was also a gift, and last night, I made this much progress on those tiny tomato leaves.


That’s the first five pieces.  Of 49.  We’re gonna be at this all month.

See ya.  Be well.  It’s hump day; the middle of the week.  I started washing the red fabrics for the raffle quilt.  They ran.  Tomorrow is another day.  And, another hot wash and dry.



From finishes to starts


So, yesterday I talked about projects I’d finished.  Here’s another. 


This is the plums block.  I let Rob pick the next block.  I don’t think there were but four to choose from in this twelve block quilt.  He chose the tomatoes.

And, then we had to prove to Syd that tomatoes are a fruit.  We discovered that while the Supreme Court had named them a vegetable, proving that real business is less important in the U.S. than nonsense is, the tomatoe is botanically a fruit.

It takes a few days to do the prep work.  Not as long as it takes to do the stitching, but the prep is still substantial and makes the stitching go faster and easier. 

I’ve pieced my background and traced the block onto a piece of plastic. 


You can just see the outline of the pieces.  But, that tracing will be my placement guide.  I can lay it over the background and see exactly where my applique piece should be. 

I also traced all the applique pieces onto freezer paper and cut them out and ironed the paper to the right side of my fabrics.


Then, I traced around the paper with a ceramic pencil, such as sewline.  I cut the fabric an eighth of an inch larger than the paper, and put the pieces in numerical order.  Taht tomatoe vine in the picture is the largest piece I’ve ever tried to applique down.  Twenty pieces will go on the block before that one does, tho. 

I’ll lay the fabric onto the background and use the plastic placement guide to get them just right.  Then, I’ll peel off the paper, pin the piece to the background and needle turn it down. 

One day, when this project is finished, I’m going to have a great quilt. 

We just have no idea when that “one day” will be.  This is a long term project.  I need long term projects that I can pick up and put down because I am easily distracted by things that are shiny and new.  This project is pretty forgiving of being picked up and put away. 

But, it makes a great project for evenings spent watching TV with the family.

Now, I’ve got to go find several shades of red thread because these tomatoes are all red and I don’t have many red bobbins in my thread caddy that I carry around with this project.  


At one time, I thought I needed a whole lot of bobbins for each machine.  This must have been a popular concept because, as I collected machines, some of them also came with lots of bobbins.  So, I have lots and lots of spare bobbins.  I load some thread on them, stick them in this caddy, and I’m ready to go.  I could probably even take out some of those blues and add some reds and oranges and yellows.  Guess I haven’t needed many of those colors as I appliqued these blocks.

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  Syd decided to dress up for school today.  In a dress.  A very overdressed dressy dress. 

Okay.  So long as I don’t have to dress up, too, wear what you want.  But, don’t complain about how uncomfortable you are all day.



Finish, finish, finish

It was a very busy weekend.  On Friday, I sewed on the Triple Feathered Star as much as I could, but I also needed to take Syd shopping as a bit of a thank you for all the work she did for me last week; watering, cleaning, yardwork and stuff like that.  She picked out a nice dress and a plant.  She found the top for her bathing suit this year, but that’s such a big win for the whole family that I’m not counting it as part of the thank you.

Bathing suit shopping has not been a friend of our family since Syd came.  Oh, how I remember those tearful years as she tried to find the right combination of cute and covered up.  So, this year, when she just stumbled up on a top she liked, I couldn’t get it in the cart fast enough.

We also spent considerable time in the garden, getting things ready for spring.  She’s developed quite the green thumb and loves plants and grieves when one dies on her. 

Anyway, I took the Triple Feathered Star to the raffle quilt committee meeting on Saturday and they loved it, even though there were a couple missing outer sections.  Except it was burgundy instead of red.  Who knew.  I thought it was red.  It was some of my best reds.  But, they weren’t red like the committee meant, so we picked the fabrics together and now I can get started on that after a couple more pre-washes. 

It’s a lot of work to have a red run into it.

On Saturday afternoon, while it rained a nice steady drizzle and we watched The Ten Commandments, I finished the piecing.


I think it came out great and I can’t wait to get a couple borders on it and call it a finished top.

With that one finished, I moved on to Stargazer to make the final border on it.  I pieced a few bits of border, trying to decide what I liked.  And, what I found out was that the quilt was finished.

It didn’t want another border…well, except a narrow black border because right now, the outer edge is all bias and the quilt is mocking me…”yeah, buddy, just pull a little too hard and I’ll be a different size on each of the four sides.  You just watch me buddy!  I’ll do it.  I dare you.  Pull my corner.”


So, we’re being very gentle with that one.

We hung two quilts for a few days so they can freshen up.  These two are going in a quilt show this weekend in Georgetown, TX.  I have to deliver on Thursday and the show is Friday, Saturday and Sunday.  It’s a nice fundraiser for an organization I support, Handcrafts Unlimited. 

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And, Rob found a place for Row Houses, so it’s on display.


With so many things declaring they were done, I went back to that Civil War Stars quilt that got stalled in the quilting and I got most of the sashing quilted.


So, now it’s just a little background work and the border and I’ll have yet another big finish.

I need to be keeping a running count.  I think it would be fun to get to the end of the year and know how many quilts I finished. 

Or, it might be severely depressing.

Everybody have a great Monday.  Oh, I forgot to mention that I got all my thimbles and a gold pocketwatch I accidentally bought on ebay.  It makes me so nervous because I’ve seen so many people advertise badly and not make what they should have for an item.  I don’t want that to be me. 

But, it is how I’ve stumbled up on a lot of my bargains. 

See ya!  Lane


Back where I began

When I was trying to pick a blog title, I kept being drawn to Begin the Beguine, a song from the 1940’s.  I’d give you a link, but I can’t find one that wouldn’t subject you to a thirty second hellish commercial…boy did that one backfire on youtube.  Not only didn’t I watch the commercial, but I didn’t forward it to you either.

Okay, so this morning, I’m back where I was yesterday before I picked up the seam ripper.  And, I like it much…okay, really, “much” doesn’t describe how much better I like it. 


I’m ready to move forward now…no more looking back.

And, I’m developing ideas for Stargazer and I’d really like to get to that one again.  And, half my sewing room is covered in a quilt that I was machine quilting, but got stalled and quilts that are headed to Linus or other destinations.  I need to work on other stuff, too.

And, I haven’t even started the official version of this block for the quilt guild.

Syd did a nice job on the thimbles yesterday. 


Unfortunately, she also picked one she wanted to keep. 


But, she surrendered one I’d given her a few years ago that doesn’t fit anymore, so that’s like a trade. 

These thimbles are the others that I collected in my search for the perfect man thimble.


These are not silver.  And, they don’t fit.  But, that’s okay, because I found an even less expensive vendor for my favorite thimbles, which are not steel, but are brass, covered in nickel.  I’ll break these into groups and sell what I can from them.  There are a couple that are nice, just a bit too small.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  I have tomorrow off.  I asked Syd what she’d like to do on the last day of her spring break and she didn’t know.  She acted like asking her was some kind of a trick or something.

No, I meant it.  I didn’t guarantee we’d do it…cuz I ain’t stupid. 

But, I’ll listen.  And, who knows.  Maybe.



Back up the truck, Buck.

If you’re one of those quilters that gets squeamish when I realize I’ve made a bad mistake and start ripping out about a mile of stitches, then this might not be the post for you. 

Because this morning, I attached the next round of feathers to the star quilt and…

I didn’t like it.


The camera doesn’t pick it up so good, but there are two different shades of the background white. 

And, I looked at it. 

And, I looked at it. 

And, I decided the best way to solve it was to replace the white strip on the inner set of feathers.  That’s the fabric I ran out of.  And, I have plenty of what I substituted in the next round.  I don’t need to replace the white in the actual center feathers because it’s half of a 3/8” square and you won’t be able to tell. 

It’s not going to take long either.  While I was waiting for my laptop to power up this morning, I got about a third of it pulled out.  The, I’ll re-cut it, and using the same technique I’m using on the next round, I’ll insert the new pieces.  And, if that isn’t going well, I’ll disassemble the center and put it together again.  The only real hard work on this whole piece is the feathers.  So, replacing the strips is a piece of cake. 

If you don’t get the willies at the thought of partial seaming.

Today, Syd’s chore is to polish my silver thimbles so they can go on ebay.  These are the half dozen really nice sterling silver thimbles that I paid a good price for, but DON’T FIT!  

With what I’ve got sunk into them, I should be able to get a custom made thimble from TJ Lane. 

We’ll see.  I’ve also found an online store that sells the steel thimbles in my size.  Steel may be good enough for me.

Because in thimbles, as it is in jeans, fit is everything.

Other than that, Syd is going to get a pretty easy day.  She’s been working in the yard pretty hard, but today, she’s been rained out.  And, I didn’t have a set of substitute jobs for her. 

But, I’m thinking on it awful hard.

I bet I can come up with something I don’t want to do.



Right, or Left?

Left?  Or Right?

To point?  Or, not to point?

This question is brought to you by the colors red and white.

I’ve started the next round and yes, the pieces are regular sized and they do feel a bit like sewing a tent together.  But, they go together just the same, with the same amount of work and measuring twice as the tiny set.

I don’t know what the guild will decide for me to do on the raffle quilt, but I’m deciding what to do on my practice copy that will just be for me.

I like the red as the next round, as pictured on the right, but if I do, I lose what I believe to be an important point in the feathers.
See this side?  The red parallelogram at the tip of the star point should echo through all three sets of feathers.  If I use white as the next round of strips, then the point stands out great. 


If I use the red, that point disappears.

I think I’m going with the white.  I saw a green one that was done with the white as the most used color and I liked it. 

We had a nice, quiet weekend with lots of gardening.  It was wonderful to get a little black dirt under my nails. 

Everybody have a great Monday. 



And, then some magic happens and it all comes together

Yeah, not really sure about that magic part.  But, it does somehow all come together.

First, the Triple Feathered Star center.


This was giving me extreme fits yesterday.  But, I followed my own advice.  When it’s not going together easy, step back and look for the mistake.  Yesterday, it was a pinning error.  Two pieces were not supposed to match at both ends, and I stretched one along the bias until it stretched an extra 3/8” and matched.  But, the piece I collapsed to match that stretch would not lay flat.  Last night, I took it apart and this morning, I put that section together again.  And, sure enough, I found the error I was making and once I didn’t make that mistake again, it went right together, easy-peasy.

Now, I can’t wait to piece the next section to see how it fits into the 45* angles.

If it fits.

And, the next thing I worked on this morning was those d#$% eighth inch borders. 


Way too flippin’ much trouble.  I wouldn’t expect to see any more of those from me.  Even after they’d been pieced and looked perfect (AGAIN!!!!), once they were sewn to the quilt and then the next border attached, they were waving all the hell over the place.  Right now, they’re pinned straight and hopefully drying that way. 

I do not possess the level of precision required for that. 

And, what’s more, I really have moved past the point of caring whether I ever get it.  I don’t have to be able to do everything, right?

But, they’re on and (hopefully) staying the way they are and I’ll carefully quilt around them to make them look straighter than they really are.  Because that much I do know how to do.

Everybody have a great Sunday. 

Now that I’ve sewn, I’ve got to do chores. 

Or, maybe I’ll just sit and sew some more.



The definition of insanity

is doing the same thing, the same way, over and over again, and expecting a different result.

And, this time, I took pictures before I fixed it.

So, it seems like I’ve been trying to insert these eighth inch lines in Stargazer for a month.  But, it’s only been a week.  And, I’ve made them a half dozen times.  And, they just weren’t working out.

Remember this picture?  See how nice and straight they look?  How nicely they mitered together?


Turned out that was a trick of the iron.  I had ironed the lines straight and I was very happy with that. 

But, this week, I have folded and unfolded and wadded up and carried back and forth to work and packed in my backpack and pulled out and “messed with” the poor quilt so much that this morning, before I could go on, it needed a good pressing.

And, when I did, those fine straight lines went all wonky to follow their sewn lines instead of those wonderful ironed in lines. 


For about 13 seconds, I decided I could live with it.  “It’ll quilt out”, right? 

And, then I cut more fabric to try once again.

And, it wasn’t any better, but I did pay closer attention to the things that made this hard.  And, one of them was the foot I was using.  So, I picked it out and tried again.  And, again.

I’m sewing right along the trimmed edge of seam line.  I really need to be able to see that trimmed edge if I’m going to sew along it.  And, while these two pics make it look like you can see where the needle penetrates the fabric, I really couldn’t.  The foot itself obstructed my view.


I could aim, but I didn’t have much control over where the stitch actually happened.


So, I went after feet that were more open around the needle and about the best I had was my walking foot.  (If this hadn’t worked, I was going to try a one sided zipper foot!)


Perfect view of the line I want to sew on.


Perfect line sewn. 

Persistence pays off again.  Now, I just need to pick that last set of borders out…AGAIN! and make a new set, using what I learned this morning. 

If I don’t stop learning, my head’s going to explode.

Thank you all so much for your well wishes on our anniversary.  The best I could do on the spur of the moment was steak for dinner, and it seemed to go over very well.  And, it was sure nice to eat my own cooking again.

I wanted to talk just for a second about the golf outing.

I wonder how the guy that organized that would have felt if I’d brought in my machine and set it up in front of the whole team and showed them how easy it is to freehand FMQ, and then sit him at the machine and have him give it a try, while everyone watched.

Actually, having just survived that with more grace and charm than I knew I had, I wouldn’t wish that on anyone.

Wanna know my secret?  The worse I was, the louder I laughed.  Loud enough I couldn’t hear whether anybody else laughed.

If you swung the club and missed the ball, that was called a “lane”.  If you hit the ball and it went less than three feet, that was called a “sara”.  Sara and I had a lot of fun.  Maybe more than anybody else. 

A little Dutch courage didn’t hurt.

Have a great Friday.  Tomorrow is bee.  Next week, Syd is on spring break.  I’ll need to find a long list of “activities”.



Happy Anniversary!

Rob snuggled up and wished me a Happy Anniversary this morning.  And, my eyes shot open in dismay. 

I really have been thinking about it off and on, trying to make sure I remember this year.  Note to self, time to set a recurring reminder in my calendar at work. 

He gave me a very sweet card and this beautiful birdbath for my garden.

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Almost too nice to sit out in the garden, right?

Anyway, Happy Anniversary Rob.  Fifteen years today…well, somewhere around today.  We don’t have an official date yet, so we just had to pick a day to celebrate on a recurring basis.  But, one day.

Everybody have a great Thursday.  My team goes home at noon.

I will be glad.  Fish and company, you know.  Three days is it.



All mitered up

Well, I got the fourth side on and got all the corners mitered this morning. 



Now, I can add the next set of borders and then start piecing the next set I have in mind. 

Our meeting went well yesterday.  I presented.  My presentation was on a controversial topic and I got exactly the response I predicted.  And, that means I was prepared for it.  Well, most of it.  And, prepared is halfway to successful. 

The local guy that organized the meeting is very narcissistic…hey, there is not a better word.  He picked where we would eat.  He picked what we would eat.  And, he picked what we would do for our team event.

It was funny to watch people last night.  The place he chose for dinner was not well received.  It started as a donut shop and then they expanded.  Now, they serve burgers and sandwiches and chicken fried steak and fried chicken…all using a donut as the bun or bread.  Yeah, there was lots of less than positive response from people that like to eat healthy.  There literally was nothing on the menu that was anything like healthy except the salads, and they all came with a big garlic donut on the side.

I ate a little bit of my supper and noticed several people around me do the same.  We tasted our donuts.  And, then we sent full plates of food back for one reason or the other.  For me, it was the garlic.  I love garlic in the right places.  But, it should not have been the main ingredient of chicken and dumplings.  Even if the dumplings were made from donut holes. 

His choices for today aren’t being well received either.  I mean, a golf outing is bound to be controversial, right?  Not everyone plays golf and many of us are not comfortable exposing our lack of experience.  We’d be much happier sitting in the spring sunshine, enjoying a beer. 

In fact, there might be a lot more of that going on than actual golfing…but it don’t matter because both those activities can be good for team building.  And, I’m betting the people from Cleveland would much rather soak up our Texas sunshine.

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  I’ve pulled my smile out of my pocket and I am charming and self confident and humorous and most of all, appropriate to the situations I find myself in.  I have all the skills.  Now it’s time to enjoy them.



Unto every quilter, a miter must come

Just not today.

I got three sides of my border on this morning.  I’m ready to miter in two corners.


Sorry about the lousy picture.  My seams really are straighter than they appear.  I shouldn’t be blogging.  I should be headed to the office.  But, to every thing there is a season.  And, right now is the season to blog.

Anyway, I’m ready to miter those two very narrow lines together.  And, just when it got fun, it was time to go to work.

Real work that is.  (Swimmin’ pools and movie stars…)

Oh, I’m going to be a riot around my group today. 

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  I hope I’ve gotten some of my nonsense out of my system.  I’m so glad we get up early enough that I can sew a bit before I have to head to the office.  It really calms my soul.  Today, it’s the “out of towners”; my team from home office.  When its cold, they come here.  When its hot, we go there.  It works out. 

See ya’!  Lane

Can’t wait to get back and try that miter…


How small can I go?

Okay, you’re not going to find many men willing to have that discussion.

Unless they’re quilters.

Small is big in the quilting community. 

At guild meeting last month, they announced the plan for the guild’s next raffle quilt.  It’s going to be a feathered star quilt.  And, I’m making a feathered star, so I thought it would be fun to work on the raffle quilt and I offered to help piece. 

Next thing I knew, I was on the design committee and driving to the first committee meeting.

It was truly all a blur.

And, stupid boy that I am, I took Stargazer as my show and tell.


BTW, those two outer borders are newly pieced.  The ones I worked on during last week’s ice day just weren’t cutting it for me.  They’d been pieced and unpieced and pieced to death.  So, it was time to start over with some new fabric.  All four sides are pieced as of this morning, but none are attached to the quilt yet. 

Anyway, as the raffle quilt committee designed the quilt, they unanimously wanted Marsha McCloskey’s Triple Feathered Star as the center. 


And, because I had jumped up and down like an anxious chihuahua when I showed off Stargazer, they all turned and looked at me.  The feathers on the center star of this block finish at 3/8”. 

I wouldn’t commit.  But, I did commit to go home and give it a try and if I could get it to work, I would piece it for the raffle quilt. 

I used this and Stargazer interchangeably as leaders and enders.  And, I got half of the center star pieced over the weekend. 


So, how small is that?

Here is is with a dime.


I asked Rob when I would learn to keep my mouth shut.  But, then I realized, I don’t want to keep my mouth shut.  I want to toot my own horn til it sounds like Gabriel bringing down the walls of Jericho.

Sydney’s competition was last Saturday.  We don’t know how she scored yet, but she did well.  We dropped her off and went to JoAnn’s for a few minutes.  Didn’t buy anything, but she texted us that she was going to be at least an extra hour.  So, Rob and I went for a drink and an appetizer.  Sure enough, soon as the waitress brought the margaritas, she called and said she was done. 

Of course.

So, we sat there and finished our snack and then, when we were done and the check was paid, we went and picked her up and all went to dinner.

Yesterday, we went to see The Second Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.  It was Syd’s choice.  She was the youngest person in the audience of 12 and Rob and I were next. 

But, we all loved the movie and I left in tears, which is a sign of a good movie.

Everybody have a great Monday.  Not sure when I’ll get to blog next.  My team is in from out of town and it’s going to be an activity filled week.  I normally skip the activities, but find that I need to “get out there” and that’s a good place to do it. 

Oh, any suggestions from the teachers among you about class size?  They’ve had big interest in my class in May and are asking what my max class size is.  It’s not my first time to teach, but it is my first time to teach this class.  Any feedback about class size for a new class?



Snow-CD day

We had ice again yesterday morning.  I did try to work from home.  Honest, I did.  For a couple of hours, I tried to get logged in.  By the time I gave up, the sun was out and the ice was melted and the puddles had evaporated.  So, I took the day as a day off…ostensibly to spend it having a fun “free” day with the family.

Soon as I finished one little thing on the Stargazer quilt. 

And, that was all I did.  All day.  Three times.

I was trying to insert an eighth inch of fabric between the quilt and the next border and I was trying to do it not using Sally Collins’ method. 

And, predictably, it didn’t work.

Three times.

The third time was the best, but even it wasn’t acceptable.  So, last night, while I watched TV with the family, I picked it out, too.

At the end of the day, I had not added any to the quilt.  In fact, it is now a half inch smaller all the way around than it was yesterday morning. 

And, I ground through all my excess fabric in three of the prints I wanted to use.  All of it ended up in the trash.  And, I don’t know if I’ll be able to find more. 

Okay, so I know it didn’t have anything to do with Stargazer.  It had to do with other disappointments this week.  Disappointments that didn’t have anything to do with a quilt.  And, a little anxiety about next week, which is going to be a very busy and very work filled week with two team events to attend, as well as quilt guild board meeting. 

So, now, I’m hoping I’ve worked through that and my quilt is no worse for the experience and all it cost me was a day that I could…should have spent having laughs with my family.  You know, like what you see on TV; family sitting around, wrapped in quilts, eating popcorn and staying warm and watching movies in front of the fire.

Everybody have a great Friday.  I’m going to try to make up my snow day over the weekend. 



Searching for man sized thimbles…again

Here we go again. 

Four years ago, I went in search of a thimble that would fit.  Here’s a link to one of those posts…BTW, it’s really cool when I search for something like “man sized thimble” and google brings back a link to my blog!

I found a distributor that sold thimbles to men who play the washboard.  I bought a half dozen thimbles.  And, they’re good thimbles.  I really like them.  But, a couple have come up missing over the last four years and I like to drop a thimble into my different project bags and leave them there.  That way, I don’t have to think about whether I have one or not.  And, I still have a dream of owning a really nice silver thimble. 

So, I’m back on the hunt.  My previous distributor is still in business, but he is out of thimbles.  There was a problem with the manufacturer.  So, that sent me back on the hunt.  In a half dozen days, I have bought three.  One is the heavy silver thimble I dream of.  But, before I would spend the money, I had a couple of exchanges with the seller and she measured it, so it should fit, and if it doesn’t, she takes returns.  Can hardly go wrong there. 

The other two should be identical to the thimbles I’m using.  One is pre-owned and the other is new.  If the new one fits, they have more for sale and they’re pretty cheap, so I will likely buy several.

Oh, and if you read that post linked in, there’s a frank discussion of having to buy undergarments with Syd.  Thank goodness that’s all over.  Now, I can stroll through the men’s department and when she has found what she wants, she comes and finds me.  And, I try not to make a face.  It was kind of weird to read that because we’ve come so far and I forget about the little stuff that happened. 

Everybody have a great Wednesday.  I’m fitting pieces together on the next mini-border.  At lunch today, I’ll try to draft it out and see what I like.  Or, don’t like. 



Selling Lane

You guys would have been so proud of me.  I was Mr. Self-confident last night.  At last night's guild meeting, I needed to promote the class I'm teaching in May.  Remember these blocks?

I had my class samples and my supply list and I flipped those blocks over and over again, explaining my process and selling why it was better than any other paper piecing process every invented in the whole universe and how grateful I am to Judy Mathieson for coming up with it and writing it in a book...

I told Sydney this morning that I was "magnetic" and drew a crowd and talked to them each, listening for their need and trying to find something in my class to satisfy it.  I had to contradict ideas that paper piecing is hard, explaining how the process I follow makes it easy and offers great precision.  At least a half dozen people commisserated with me about pulling paper when we use the traditional method.  I addressed specific issues like points that don't match and how the end of my class was a foolproof way to match points.  Lots of people were skeptical about not sewing through the paper.  I knew I was doing something right when people came back...and brought their friends, as groups decided which class to take.

And, I spent a lot of time with one sweet lady whose name I don't know yet, who was trying to decide between my class and another.  She would stop by and we would talk...not just about my class, but about other stuff, too.  And, then she'd wander off and talk to other instructors who were also promoting their classes.  Then, she'd come back, and we'd talk some more.  She showed me pictures of her work and I can tell you that this is one quilter that has not let age slow her down.  She might walk slow, but she quilts up a storm!  A couple of storms!  I'm going to enjoy having her in class and it will help me take things slow and have fun. 

I didn't know that offering my class as a full day class would work against me.  But, lots of people wanted to pack in the maximum number of classes, and my full day class takes up two spots.  I know of two people that signed up, tho.  And, I'm sure there will be more.  And, if not, then the three of us are going to have a very fun day.  Who knows...if there's just three of us, we might each make a whole quilt!

My bee wants me to do the class at a bee meeting, and that's going to give me great practice with a group of close friends, so I'm looking forward to that.  It will really take the pressure off to have presented the class once before I do it for strangers.  And, who knows...maybe I'll offer it at the LQS. I didn't see any paper piecing classes on their schedule.

Everybody have a great Tuesday!  The next stargazer challenge is to add an eighth of an inch border all the way around.  Mercy!  I need to start carrying that thing around with me.  I'm flashing pictures for people like I had a new grandbaby.



A shout out and the newest mini-pic

Once in a while, I see something new; something I haven’t seen before.  Something beautiful that my followers also need to see. 

This link will take you to Kate, the Quilting Professors blog.  Kate also took a class with Sally Collins and reached out when I was thinking about my design style.  She included a link to her blog and I got her permission to link you to it. 

Read yesterday’s post, for sure.  Look at what she is doing with a vintage linen.  And, be sure to click on the tab at the top for Quilting with Vintage Linens and Laces.  I love what she is doing with those vintage beauties, like the ones I’ve collected over the years, and never known quite what to do with. 

Okay, so after you’ve soaked up the vintage linens she works with, look beyond that at the quilting.  Especially the background quilting.  You know that made my heart purr. 

Kate, your work is beautiful.  Thanks so much for letting me share it with my friends. 

Our snow day was pitiful.  There were a lot of accidents on highways early in the morning, but just some ice, no snow.  The city shut down and asked people to stay off the road and they cancelled everything school related.  So, with nothing to do, I moved out into the next borders on the mini challenge.


Everybody have a great Monday.  Tonight, I will need to represent myself for my class that I’m teaching in May.  I’ll have my class samples and the supply list with me.  Wish me self confidence!

Stay warm.  Today, it’s in the 40’s.  Tomorrow, in the 70’s.  And if that wasn’t quick change enough, on Wednesday, in the 30’s.

I just hung up 12 jackets and coats, pulled out because of the variable weather.  I left two layers out and I’m just going to wear them in varying combinations until spring.  I’m bored with everything else.

See ya!  Lane