Neve enough time

I was vey glad to see that Moonlight won best picture last night.  Great movie.  There were a lot of uncomfortable situations in it  But, as a story of a boy growing up in a situation different than most of us know, it's a wonderful telling.  We enjoyed it...twice!

We also had lunch with our friend, LD.  She was in good spirits and we took her out for some healing Chicken and Dumplings and laughter and a quick trip to the library.  The drive was nice but for a Saturday, traffic was heavy. 

And, I got some time to work in the yard.  Spring surprised me this year and I am not prepared.  Everything is leafing out and I'm moving things out of the greenhouse; not enough that I couldn't put it all back if we had a sudden freeze. and gave everything a good water.  Seems like most everything made it through another winter.

It was tax weekend.  Uggggghhhhhhhhh.  I filed mine to see if I could claim Syd, and when I found out I couldn't, she filed hers...for the first time.  She thought it was a bother and that it took too long (maybe 45 minutes, including her needing to read all the help screens and me answering questions).  There was some unequal distribution of refund there.  And, she was not in favor of my plans to correct that.  (but we gonna do it anyway)

And, you know I spent time sewing. 

I am trying to work on this quilt every day.  Even if it is just a little.  There's really not that much to do.  Mostly just a really long feather in the outer border.  It's starting to get the dimension I was looking for.  I'm trying to get rid of three puckers in the back in long straight ditch quilting before I can move to that border and I'm struggling with it.  I got discouraged yesterday afternoon and walked away for some therapeutic knitting.  Once a pucker forms, it's a booger to get rid of.  It's like the fabric remembers and keeps folding in that spot.

And, I made the Poinsettia block from the Have a Jolly Little Christmas BOM.  Actually, it's a block every other week so the quilt could be finished by the holidays.  Another fun little block!  I love her method.  And, I'm saving my bonus triangles to make HSTs.   

I've been collecting HST blocks in a tin.  All kinds of them  All sizes  One day...they'll be a quilt.  And, they make great leaders and enders. 

Well, if I stop now, I have a few minutes to work on those puckers.  Everybody have a great week.  If the last month has taught us nothing else, it has taught us that it will not be boring.  I'm taking a very limited approach to watching the news 

See ya!  Lane



There will be a moment of silence at noon.


Farewell Pfaff 7550.  We were never really close.  You were young and complicated  I preferred simple things that I could take apart and understand.  You came into my life for free...and I said you were worth every penny of it.  But, we worked together many hours, and eventually we made a truce of sorts and were able to make many beautiful things together.  I don't know who will make my beautiful quilt labels now.  You will be missed. 

Anybody need the accessories?



The family that sews together...

Rob reminded me of this little diddy of a video the other day.  It's nothing.

But it's really more than that.  It's a little glimpse into what our family dynamic is like.  Cluttered, funny, adventurous, busy, happy.  We mostly smile, and that's a good thing. 

Lane and Sydney in the studio, 2011

Couple of things that stand out:

The white featherweight is no longer the less powerful machine.  It got a new motor since this was made and it was a stronger motor. 

That shirt I'm making in the video is still hanging in my closet and I wear it for working in the yard.  Sometimes, a muslin is more than just a muslin.

Sydney doesn't sew anymore.  She sometimes knits and sometimes crochets.  But, she doesn't sew.  Not her thing I guess.  Maybe it will be again. 

Hope you enjoyed it.  Everybody have a great day.



Lane's li'l Quilting Retreat

I gave myself a quilting retreat.  At home.  And, it was nice!!!

It's been stressful at work and it was really nice to just escape and enjoy a combination of the beautiful weather and some yard work and a whole lot of sewing. 

Thursday was piecing day.  And, I finished piecing this quilt.  It was such a beautiful day that after a quick trip to the quilt store for supplies, I took a featherweight out on the deck and just knocked it out.  I got everything but the border on it that day.  I was going to piece New York Beauty blocks for the white blocks.  I made two arcs, then realized that wasn't what I wanted to do and went back to the plain white.  My rationalization was, 'just how difficult do I need this to be?'  It's already a half sized Broken Star quilt.  The whole things is only 44.5" square.  Isn't that difficult enough for one quilt? 

On Friday, I added the borders, which took the early part of the morning and picked out the basting.  Then, I worked in the yard for a while, just doing some clean up and last minute moving things around.  After lunch, it was paper piecing day and I pieced this block for my Jubilee quilt.  It took all afternoon.  Let's just say, I'm out of practice paper piecing. 

Late Friday afternoon, the new sewing machine was delivered and I savored a few minutes of unpacking a new toy. 

Now, before anybody freaks out that I've bought ANOTHER sewing machine, you need to know that my Pfaff 7550 is likely deceased.  It's in for a long term hospital stay and an "estimate" of the cost of repairs.  All this was a nice way to say, it's likely time to select a burial plot, and sell off the accessories.  You all know that I am not the type to buy a machine made after 1962, but the older machines don't do the fancy stitches, and I'm going to make a quilt for Rob and need a machine that will make a blanket stitch.  This one makes 100 fancy stitches, and it was less than $175 including free prime shipping, and got a lot of really good reviews.  And, I've been happy with it so far. 

On Saturday, I had applique day.  I got up and played on a scrap of fabric for a bit, then I drew and cut out the pink flower and did a blanket stitch around the pieces.  And I made these two camper blocks from Rob's quilt. 

Sunday, well, Sunday was for finishing up my quilt entry forms, doing the fusible work on camper block 3 and setting up the Bernina to do some machine quilting on this quilt, named How Small Can I Go?  And, a little cooking and cleaning for good measure.

This is one of the quilts I just entered in a show, so it kind of needs to get finished...pretty quick.  Talk about incentive, huh?  Anyway, there's a lot of quilting left to go.  But, not so much that I can't finish it by end of March. 

So, that's my four day quilting retreat.  It was darn near perfect and I'm ready to go back to work and face the crazy.  Everybody have a great Monday! 



The latest in Lane's fashion

I have finished shirt number four. 

I really fought with the sleeve plackets on this one.  They took nearly as long as the shirt.  But, it wasn't just putting them in, I learned a new way and spent time correcting problems as I learned.  But, it's a much easier way than the traditional placket, so well worth it in the end. 

From the front.

and from the back

The new sleeve placket is made from a long strip of fabric that is folded to look like a traditional placket.  I like it because it's narrower than the pattern I've been using.  Anyway, you cut the sleeve first and I cut near the front edge, not the back.  And, I didn't have a large enough piece of fabric to cut another.  So, I cut 8" off the bottom of the sleeve and put a new piece in and proceeded as normal, taking care to keep that serged edge folded the right way. 

I matched the stripe, so from the outside, you can't even tell.

Then, when I was folding the plackets, I folded them in the wrong direction and caused the cuffs to button the wrong way.  I didn't know it til I tried to button them the first time.  I tried to live with it.  But, I couldn't.  I tried repairing it, but the button holes were already in. 

So, I took both cuffs off, added these little reinforcements to cover the buttonhole in the placket, sewed a button over it and made a new buttonhole on the other side, and then I sewed the cuffs back onto the sleeve they didn't come off of...and it all worked. 

I'm passing it off as a style detail.  A reinforcement for that tiny button. 

And, if you love me, you'll back me up. 

Guess what I pulled out the other day.

My 50 year jubilee quilt!  The quilt was originally designed to be 36 blocks.  I got this far and lost focus.  I decided to make four more blocks and then decide if I still want 36, or if 30 is enough.  I made copies of the paper patterns and pulled fabrics the other day.  Now, I just need to sit and sew another block up. 

And, finally, I replaced the pics from yesterday.  It frustrates me that I can't crop a pic and post it to my blog.  But, every time I try, I can see the pic in edit mode, but you can't see it when you view.  So, I've added those pics back in and linked the post here.  Hopefully, it will work. 

Everybody have a great Wednesday! 



Happy Valentine's Day!

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!  Like so many of us, I've been sick.  I caught whatever is going around.  And, it's no surprise when it's 85* in February.  We went on an antiquing road trip on Saturday, and I felt worse and worse as the day passed.  By Sunday, I was fever-ey and achey, and grumpy.  Yesterday wasn't much better.  But, last night, I started to feel better, and today, I think I'm back to me. 

I didn't find much in the antique stores.  But, we had a really, really good small town cafĂ© lunch and it was a nice day for a drive.  I bought a drying rack in one store so I can hang things like socks to dry inside.  It's a really nice one, but it doesn't fold up very small.  I'd been shopping for a vintage one for a couple years, and hadn't found one I was happy with.  I didn't think about how small it would fold up for storage.  Turns out, that's important!

The bargain of the day was a piece of green and white check cotton fabric.  I thought it would make a really nice shirt.  It's new fabric.  It was 3 yards for $15.  That's a good price.  When I was paying, it turned out to be 25% off.  That's even better!  When I got it home, it turned out to be 5 yards.  Deal of the Day!!!  But, a piece that big needs to be saved for a very nice quilt back.  I'll find something else for my next shirt. 

I had two BOMs to make this weekend. 

I had the Academic Quilter's Constellation block.

The new block is the one on the bottom.  The colors are sea green and coral.  I don't use those colors much, but that stash I'm always talking about is so versatile that it had exactly four sea greens and one coral.  It was a fun block.  It didn't go together like I thought it would, but I had faith and followed the instructions, and after putting the coral pieces in the wrong place and studying them for a while, it suddenly dawned on me that they wouldn't fit their background triangles...because I was trying to match them to the wrong triangles!  Once I turned the block an eight of a turn, those coral pieces fit perfect!

And, I made the Bow block from Sew Fresh Quilts Have a Jolly Little Christmas Quilt along. 

That was a fun block.  Lots of pieces.  But, again, I followed the instructions and kept the faith and it went together just exactly as described.  Lorna uses a very easy method that results in lots of hst's that I'm piecing into squares for something...someday...

Everybody have a great Tuesday.  We are having thunderstorms this morning, but by afternoon, it's supposed to be sunshine again.  I managed to work from home yesterday, but today, I really need to go to the office.  It's easier there to get the things done that I need to get done this week.  Yesterday, I had an important meeting.  I pumped myself full of cold medicine to clear my head.  After the meeting started, my boss announced that I would be leading the second half of the discussion.  Surprise!  I miss managers that are predictable.  And polite.  Anyway, I have no idea what I said.  But, I remember being very bright and cheerful while I was saying it! 



My, how things have changed...

And no, I don't mean in the last six months.  I mean in the quilting world, in the last 10 years.

I've been watching my DVD collection of Simply Quilts episodes.  Oh, but Alex did such a great job of showing us what we could do.  She gave us enough that we could go out and make the quilt she and her guests showed on TV.  Or, find the pattern, or take the class.  Or build the tool.  And, as she did, quilting hit its financial heyday.  We built our stashes of lovely fabrics, collecting them like boys did baseball cards.  Stacks and piles.  'I have one of those.'  'Will you trade me this for that?' 

And, what I learned was technique, color selection, tips and tricks.  And, I made some awful and ugly quilts.  And, I wasn't alone in that.  And, I learned and I practiced and I got better.  I tried different things.  I learned art as well as technique. 

And, then somebody decided that nobody needed to make an ugly quilt anymore. 

And, the solution to that seemed to be that we all tried to make the SAME quilt.  And, something happened to the originality and the art and the technique.  And, it started to be about how closely we could reproduce the image. 

You already know that didn't last long with me.  I try, but I can't follow a pattern.  Oh, I can cut all the pieces the required size and I can piece the sub units and turn them into correctly sized blocks and add sashing and borders, per the recipe.  But, you know that what I end up with will not look like the picture.  (I cain't hep it.) 

And, every so often, I still make an ugly quilt.  And, we laugh and laugh and laugh.  And, donate it.

I had a dentist appointment the other day and had the chance to stop in a quilt shop.  I spoke with the owner about teaching at the shop.  She wasn't interested.  She has a teacher for the things I could offer, and I admire her loyalty and unwillingness to host competing classes.  That's fine.  I believe that having a male quilt teacher is a draw that would bring more people in the store.  Or, not. 

But, after I asked, I started to look around the shop.  I should have done this before I spoke because that quilt shop may not be the best place to showcase what I think I do. 

First, there weren't many store samples hanging.  Most shops keep a rotation of quilts hanging and draped everywhere.  And, of the dozen or so that were hanging, I only remember one that was not either aqua, or orange, or both

Oh, that's not going to work. 

Where were the originality, the variety, and the art?  I love the shop owner.  She and I have known one another for years.  But, for a while, I didn't really shop there much.  I didn't need fabric.  I was sewing through some of that stash that I was convinced I would need (and be able to use up).  Then, I started going in more, for specialty fabrics and large quilt backs.  Things I didn't have on hand.  But, things had changed.  More and more, I ended up buying a little something else, because I hate to leave a quilt shop empty handed, but then going to another shop for what I was really shopping for. 

We diverged.  Don't get me wrong.  She has a cute, well run, organized shop with lots of lovely fabrics and I will continue to shop there as often as  I can. 

But, it might not be the best place for me to try to teach the things I'm good at.  You can bet that before I put myself out there again, I'll look around the walls first and see what that shop is focused on.  I believe I would do best in a shop with lots of variety.  If I had a quilt shop, it would be a cacophony of color and shape.  I'd probably overwhelm shoppers and send them running away empty handed because they couldn't choose just one thing. 

Because I can't choose just one thing.

Right now, there are three quilts that need to be finished and complete the entry forms for a show in March, two BOM's, a partially finished shirt, and two UFO's sitting out in my sewing studio.  The only place I CAN sit is at a sewing machine.  And, none of those projects uses the same colors or shapes.  Not one.  Life is supposed to be infinite variety. 

In one of Marie Bostwick's Cobbled Court Quilt books, there's a story about a new quilter that wants to make the quilt "in the picture" even though it's a fall quilt and her favorite colors are spring pastels.  An older, more experienced quilter tells her that she can't make "that" quilt because somebody else already did.  She needs to make her own quilt. 

That resonated with me because I feel the same way.  I don't want to make the quilt in the picture, no matter how lovely it is.  I want to take that idea and see how far I can take it in my direction; the direction I'm interested in. 

I once told Joen Wolfrom that I wanted to make "every kind of quilt in my lifetime."  She laughed at me and said something that wasn't very encouraging.  But, you wanna know something?  I was well on my way long before I shared that out loud. 

And, the journey continues.

Everybody have a great Friday.  I've had an unnecessarily busy week and am looking forward to a nice relaxing weekend. 

Now, bring on the projects.  I've got some sewing to do...for about fifteen minutes til I have to go shower and shave and get ready for another 'rockabilly' day at the office. 

Lord save us all from sameness.



Hard work with little to show

Hey, that was a great Lady Gaga concert last night, right?  But, what was up with that long football infomercial?

We are binge watching Star trek, Enterprise on Amazon, so there wasn't much time left over for infomercials.  I got the binding sewn onto the Dresden Plate quilt.  And, last night, I got half of it sewn down by hand.  And, I got the next applique block for Simply Delicious set up and ready to start.  I think Rob was surprised at how much pre-work goes into that.  But, yesterday, I found myself wondering if it wouldn't be easier to break this task into smaller bits.  But, when I'm sewing without having to stop to prep, I'll remember why I like to do it the way I do. 

And, I finished a shirt.  Remember that the teacher of the class I took over the holidays said to make three shirts as quickly as I could.  For me, that was a month.  And, I did finish in January. 

Fiscal January, anyway. 

And, if you don't ever need a rationalization like that to make a goal come true, then you are a very lucky person. 

Anyway, it's a denim shirt.  I was given many yards of denim many years ago.  And, every so often, I pull some out and make something.  Like this shirt.  The denim is a very light robin's egg blue, so it looks more like a blue oxford dress shirt, but when you touch it, you can feel the extra weight of the denim. 
Notice the collar.  Remember I've been unhappy with my collars lately, so this time, I took some width out of the collar.  And, I sewed it together and threw it away and cut another one the original size.  When I was finished with the shirt, I realized that collar is perfect for a button down.
Here it is from the back.  It is almost perfect.  If I'd add some curve down to the back where the back joins the yoke, I bet I could get rid of those wrinkles at the backs of the shoulders.  Maybe I'll try that sometime. 

Anyway, remember that the first shirt I made ended up ruined and so I cut it up and turned it into practice pieces?  I realized that I needed a different collar shape at the points and that taking width of the whole collar wasn't going to do what I wanted.  So, I found a collar in a David Page Coffin book and gave it a try.  It got kind of wrinkled overnight, but it's smaller at the points and frames my face better. 
And, the lady that taught the class had a unique take on sleeve plackets, so I gave that a try, too.

And, when I knew those two things would work, I cut out another shirt. 

The lady that taught the class said she can make one in three hours.  I spent about 6, including buttons and buttonholes.  Hmmmm...
But, can she quilt?
Everybody have a great Monday.  All is well here.  Work is crazy.  It's going to be crazy.  It's supposed to be crazy and they give me money to compensate for it being crazy.  So, that's enough of that. 
Sydney, teenager that she is, is doing well.  She works a lot and sometimes we don't see her for a couple days.  And, she's busy doing school work.  She spent all day yesterday writing a paper.  She's getting herself up and to school without my help.  She comes out of her room for meals and is generally pleasant.  And, she's participating in what is going on around the house, even if it is only peripherally.
But, she also takes every situation and turns the difficulty level up to the "challenging" setting.  Everything has to be pulled out of her.  She doesn't volunteer anything.  And, in every situation, she looks for the opportunity to be angry or sad.  Waaaaaaaa!
In other words, she's just like every other teenager in the world.  Except I can see signs of her growing out of it as she learns more and more about managing money and how much things cost and how hard it might be to be an adult, making adult decisions.
So, there's hope for tomorrow.



Ready to bind

I think I've been working on this quilt for about 4 months.  You can see why. 

I've already played one round of the game "if you can find it, you can fix it".  I picked out this whole section of echo and re-marked it and did it again.  And, there were some broken threads I fixed and other small things that stood out as I've gone over the quilt.  There are still a ton of things wrong, and if I can find them, I will fix them.  But, the beauty of that much quilting is that you can't really see the mistakes.  It's based on the theory that if you can see the mistakes, there's not enough quilting.  I've long held that belief. 

Unfortunately, these blocks, cute as they are, were flawed.  And, I knew that when I finished them.  And, that was most of the reason I decided to put this much quilting in...well, and because it's a challenge.

And, I do love a challenge.  The quilting almost completely hides the pre-printed quilting lines that were marked on the blocks, and I'm afraid they've become permanent because of ironing and time.  And, I couldn't use them as a quilting guide because the blocks themselves had become distorted and the quilting lines didn't end up in the same places relative to one another after squaring.

 And, quilting like this keeps me busy and distracted.  And, that's always good.  That's why I keep multiple projects going at a time.  I always have something distracting to pull out and play with.

Everybody have a great day!  Tomorrow is Friday and I am looking forward to it.  Who knows, maybe the leader of the US can get through today without offending anybody. 

I crack me up.