Wednesday, March 28, 2018

Company Coming

I finished machine quilting the Log Cabin Comfort quilt and embroidered a label for it. The binding is machine stitched and clipped for hand work. I may keep it out and try to do a bit here and there while my company is visiting. However, they are my priority.

We are going to the Ocean on Thursday, Universal Studios on Friday, and hang here in town on Saturday. I printed off what I could find about Universal Studios rides as well as the shopping experience in City Walk, and the map to the Ocean that gave them some travel perspectives, pointing to the beach from this valley and also back to Vegas. They decided to drive back to Vegas sometime on Saturday so they can do more in Vegas before flying back to MN on Monday.

I did hose off the 2 outdoor recliners if they want to soak up the sun. Unfortunately Saturday forecasts clouds and only 71 degrees. The beach will be warmer and low tide in so if the grrrly-grrls want to get wet, it would be nice.

I will attempt to take some pics of where we go and what we do. Not quilting, but a joy non-the-less.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Machine Quilting

My machine kept giving me error messages this morning and after trying everything in the manual to set it right, I removed the quilting foot and replaced the regular one on it.

I've never been good with mechanical things, and as a result have learned to stop what I am trying to do and go down another path with it. That being said, I stitched rows until I ran out of bobbin thread, replaced a new bobbin and shut off the machine. I have been learning not to let myself get too frustrated. Its hard enough to stay low key with activities while my groin muscle heals.

This one is a comfort quilt that I will finish shortly. Just not today. I have sorted a few projects, tried working on things to keep me resting, played phone games and read a bit. This is so very hard for me.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Feather Laws

I set up an exchange for Swap Bot that honors the Morrigan Celtic goddess. One of Her shapeshifter animals is the Raven, so I planned to send a feather I had found with a few other items. Then one of the participants let us know that it was against federal law to own or give away any feather unless you have a special license for it. What? I have tons of feathers collected over the year. What a law-breaker I am. Any minute now, the feds will charge my door, find the feathers and arrest me.

So I will keep the feather and made a mini quilt instead. While I wrote that I would not make this block again, the pattern was here, I had fabric and made the block with a border, batting, back and binding. I am still not a fan of the pattern and find it hard.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

March BOM

This is my third and probably last attempt at this block. I did not see how the pattern would work as a 12.5" raw block and was correct. When I make the sashing for that quilt, it can frame the shorter block a bit more so it blends in perfectly.

I am not interested in making yet another one so it goes in the bin with a note-to-self reminding me to ease more onto it. I did play with the layout so the stripe would go the same direction and it looks just fine.

I worked a bit more on the next comfort quilt by loading bobbins and stitching a few lines on it. I am still taking it easy and binge watched more of the BBC SHERLOCK series. I am not willing to push myself this week knowing that company is coming soon.

Monday, March 19, 2018

No Contrast Quilt

Most quilts that I make, and others make, have contrast so you can see the pattern. This quilt was one of the hardest I made because there was little contrast and in fact, the fabrics used had the same value.

The other reason why it was difficult is that much of the fabric was cut on the bias so it had the tendency to stretch. It is the kind of quilt that can be folded and lay over a sofa and not be noticed. Yet, the function of a comfort quilt is that you can cuddle under it and let it help generate the heat you need in the moment.

Power is scheduled to go on and off during the day, so I am not sure what I will be able to do here. I have a few projects that need cutting and pinning, so that might be what I target. And I will use natural lighting to read. A quiet day.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Having a HouseCleaner

Hiring a person to come in for a one-day clean gave me a chance to hand sew all the binding on a quilt going out this week. Picture to follow later. I've had various people come in to help with chores over the years, and this time was no exception. 

The groin muscle strain I have is in the Adductor Brevis as indicated in this chart, and it is going to take time to heal. Pain refers down the front of my leg as well as in back on the buttock and spine. I saw my favorite Chinese Doctor, who prescribed some simple stretches after giving me a comprehensive massage. Resting is going to the be the hardest part of recovery, however, with guests coming during Spring Break, I have little options.

The housecleaner did all the floors in the great room, cleaned the entry (washer and dryer), and washed the living room window. I am able to do the simple tasks, but she did great deep cleaning of the floors to the floorboards and corners. 

Saturday, March 17, 2018

Disappearing Pinwheel

My second attempt at this block wasn't much better than the first. I tried to use up a skull fabric someone gave me and cut it 18" square. I thought it would work as part of the exchange for The Morrigan swap because She is very into Death. 

However, it is more of a Day of the Dead fabric, so I may set it aside to finish at another time. It actually turned out better than I thought.

Friday, March 16, 2018

When we Bind

Binding is the first thing that wears on a quilt, so I was taught to keep the stitching thread shorter in the event that it breaks. This way, only a small section comes loose.

For quilting, the act of adding a binding is securing the energy I put into the quilt. It is one of my favorite parts of quilt-making. It protects the quilt sandwich (top-batting-back) from coming apart, and it strengthens the quilt and makes it something that can stand use, and sometimes abuse. 

In legal terms, binding places those making a contract accountable, with actions that are either required or prohibited, depending upon the language of the contract.

What I did, that doesn't include photos is to cut the 2.5" strips, join them, press them wrong sides together, pin & stitch them onto the quilt. The power company is turning off the power on Monday. Maintenance of some sort. So I am saving the next steps to the binding for then.

It will need to be rolled over, clipped and stitched in place. Also, the quilt will need a label and loose threads clipped. Monday.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Spring Mug Rugs

I joined an exchange on Swap Bot for Spring Air and went looking for an idea or pattern for Birds on Mug Rugs. Its surprising how many ideas there were. I selected one from a blog named Samelia's Mum. Of course, what I liked about the pattern is that I could use scraps from my closet.

It was quite simple to make and the pattern suggested making two of the same fabrics to make the best use of them. The hardest part for me, when I do scrap quilting is to find fabrics that coordinate. Her examples were a lot more wild with more contrast between the bird and background than I ended up making, yet, I like them.

I picked up the low contrast quilt and it was long-armed beautifully. I've trimmed it now & need to measure out for binding and hope I can continue with what is here. The power company is doing work on Monday and it might be the perfect day to hand sew binding.

Got outside to weed. With all the soaking rains we've had, weeds pulled up easily. I will get at more of it tomorrow. I hired a one-time house cleaner to come in over the weekend to mop floors, the entry & hall bathroom, as well as clean the big picture window inside & out. There is still enough to do to get ready for my Spring Break company.

Wednesday, March 14, 2018

Round Three

I've never made a Medallion Quilt so joined a mystery BOM and pulled out larger scraps to make this one. This month, the portion of it had us make four corners in the form of tulips.

I don't have many solids in my stash so the small background piece I used has gold stars on it. The green fabric also is a 'dotty' print. The block came half an inch short on each block so I added a small border to one side to make them all measure 6.5".

I used to worry about that accuracy and came to realize that quilts are made with small pieces of fabric sewn together, so additional piecing is ok. And especially because they ALL needed the additional strip in the same place. It looks like it was planned.

This is what working a mystery is all about. You go with what you have, get surprised and learn to adapt to what is thrown at you.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Slow Days

Today, I made a push at getting chores done, so weeded the North garden, then took the leaf blower & cleaned off the entire carport & steps. Inside, I did dishes, washed down cupboard doors, did laundry and vacuumed. I switched out Winter flowers for Spring and unpacked the Spring village.

Of course, I tried my hand at the Guest Designer block... unsuccessfully and will need to do it again. Ooops. Must follow directions to do it right. One corner is wrong, but then so is the entire block. Then I made out birthday cards and got them ready to mail.

The final thing I am doing today is a little self-care with a moment in the tub and some time listening to an audio book. I opened my class notes and decided I needed to think about the words before writing.

Monday, March 12, 2018

What Am I Doing?

Its taken me days to blog again. Realizing that when I first began to blog, it was my plan to write daily about my spirituality & use quilting as the format. Not to blog signals where I am spiritually. Its not just about quilting, it is also about my state of mind & how I am thinking, and also about my emotions & how I am either dealing with them or not. Then there is Spirit.

Shopping, for me at least, is symbolic of seeking something outside myself to meet my needs. Whether it is thread, fabric or some quilting tool, clearly I need and want more than what I have. Thing is, most of my needs are met within my home. I can order online & do not NEED to go out of the house. 

However, when I do go out, there is a human connection that happens even if it is only exchanging money from a credit card swipe for a bag of goods.

I took the No-contrast Snail's Trail Quilt in to get it long-armed. I looked around at fabrics and patterns & stopped myself from buying because I have projects going that need completion first before buying more. My goal is to only buy what I do not have.

I've been working on several projects. This one is a Ribbon Quilt, that is cut and getting pieced row by row. I have two quilts basted & bought more thread to machine quilt them. I have the March Round pattern on the Medallion Quilt to do, and have out-of-state company coming the last week in March, so am preparing for their visit as well.

Its been cold outside and wet, so when I do get out in my gardens, it is for something quick. Things are messy out there but then, I can only do what I can only do.

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Loose Threads & Borders

Borders were added to the 'no'-contrast quilt, and now I need to clip loose threads and make sure it is ready for the long-arm quilter. I have batting and a back fabric so it should go in to the store this weekend. I'll keep at it.

And that's the thing. Keeping at it. It is important for me to keep at this work. Keep using the scraps in the closet, keep making quilts as best as I can. Getting up in the morning and wondering what my purpose is. Really, that is keeping at it too. I have been trying to have meaningful conversations with anyone who puts themselves in front of me, whether it is family members, friends or strangers. Each person deserves my full attention and my ability to listen to them. 

No-contrast quilting is one of the hardest kinds I have done. Putting together the same values of different fabrics means much more re-doing of seams or corners, much more attention to the process or pattern. Like the lower block here, it is hard to see the work.

When there is high contrast or visible contrast, like with people, things really go together and make something wonderful. Well, I can sit here thinking, but I really need to clip threads. When I am done, I can cut the batting and back and have it ready to go out of my hands. Ready for that. Honestly.

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

Shopping Spree

Seems like the break I am taking from full-out quilting continue....well, I went shopping again. This time I drove to Palmdale and bought rotary blades, thread, and batting. It is a joke to go to that store with all their coupons only to find everything on sale anyway. Oh well. Got their number. And bought what I needed.

Monday, March 5, 2018

Blackwork & No Contrast Quilt

Because of the groin muscle, I am still taking it easy, so was able to finish a block of Blackwork on the dancing skeletons. It needs a layout now and finishing up other fabric piece work.

There is a joy for me in embroidery work. Blackwork is simply using black threads for the entire picture, much like the traditional redwork is done using red thread.

The other project I worked on was the low contrast or no contrast quilt for one of my Cousins. I clipped threads and checked seams, which takes a bit of time. There were more than a few spots that needed repair, and are pinned and ready for the final machine work. Then borders go on. I also need batting before it goes to get long arm quilted.

Saturday, March 3, 2018

Shopping Yesterday

As I quilt, supplies diminish. For instance, I needed thread, and fabric for borders and a back. I shopped at both stores in town to get what I need and should be okay for a little while again. The next purchase I need to make is for batting and there is still a little money left on a JoAnn's gift card I got during the holidays.

My physical energy has slowed down again. Every day is different and I cannot count on having the same energy to quilt from one day to the next. For awhile, I felt so much stress that I couldn't produce at the same pace.

My Jungian Psych course got me going mighty deep into who I am, how I think, and what my next steps are. I think all my life was spent in 'doing' and now the focus shifts to 'being' and that is hard. Hard for a doer. Hard for that Personality Type A. Hard for the push I have always felt.

Last year when I read something the government puts out for SS, it said that the average age expectancy for a woman my age was another 15 years. That hit me harder than I realized. Fifteen years is both a long time and a very short time. A year later, it counts down to 14.

I don't feel the push to get quilts made for all my immediate family members because those who want one got one, and some got more than they could use. Now, it feels like I have to beg people to take one...and a few of them who do want a quilt want one in specific colors rather than understanding that I am and always have made quilts from what I have rather than to shop for more fabrics. 

I thought I would write more. I blog and lately not even every day. I don't get out in my gardens as much because they reached that stage of being on their own and didn't need as much from me. Life has changed for me in the last five years and I have not caught up with what that means.

Early mornings are better for me to think and plan and do. By mid-day, I feel the effects of my age, and by late afternoon or early evening, I want to just sit and 'veg out'. Then the next morning, I wake and realize I made it through the night and need to start again. 

Today is one of those days. I have thread to finish quilting the Outhouse Quilt, I have fabric to finish the top of the Snails Trail Quilt and have another Log Cabin ready to quilt. So I will get at it and do what I can for the day and be glad.