Friday, August 31, 2007

Trick or treat!

As you can see by the jumble of fabric above I've started working on my Halloween quilt. I finally got my rotary cutter put back together thanks to the information post by Yvonne!

I've decided to do a scrap quilt using all the fabrics along with pieces from the panel in strategic locations. We'll see if I can mock up something to post so it makes more sense what I'm trying to do.

Work has been so horribly busy, that I'm just ecstatic I get a three day weekend! I plan to squeeze a lot of quilting in there.

How about you all? What are you up to this weekend?

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Oopsie :(

I feel really stupid.

I have been using rotary cutters for years. I've changed a lot of blades, but I've always been very careful to lay things out in the right order so I can put it back together correctly. I never took the time to actually learn the parts of the cutter and now I'm paying for that.

This morning I thought I'd cut up some of my Halloween fabric before I headed to work. I'd get started on my quilt, use a few minutes being productive and all that kind of stuff.

Well, my blade needed to be changed. I had nicked it cutting up the last bit of fabric for the binding on my nine patch and it has that annoying little 'chunk' sound when you cut, leaving one little bit of fabric attached. So, I figured I'd change it. I removed the screw and went to remove the blade. I'm not sure what happened but I dropped the cutter. I'm lucky I didn't lose a toe, but pieces of the rotary cutter were all over.

I picked them up and laid them out on the cutting mat and realized that I don't have a clue now which way that little washer goes and whether it goes in front or behind of the yellow disk. :( How dumb can you get?

I think I'll stop tonight on my way home and buy a new one. If I do, you can bet I'm going to carefully take it apart and pay attention to which thing goes where.

Monday, August 27, 2007


The quilt related stuff is towards the end of this post in case you have an aversion to talk about being sick...

I woke up this morning at around 3 am with a horrible headache. I hoped it would not be so bad that I couldn't go to work, but after I got up and took my morning thyroid medication, it wasn't more than 15 minutes until I was running for the bathroom to empty my stomach. My head was pounding something horrible, so I sent an email in to let everyone know I wasn't going to make it and laid back down on the couch. Jason came out to see what was wrong and if there was anything he could do. I knew I couldn't take anything for it at least until I could keep some food down, so I just tried to go back to sleep. I woke up again as he was getting read to leave and went into the bedroom and laid down again. The next time I woke up it was around 10 am. My head still hurt but it was more manageable.

I've had these headaches off and on now for a couple of years. I went to the doctor once and they told me they were migraines. I don't really buy that for a couple of reasons, but a neurologist did check me out to make sure it wasn't a tumor.

My boss always acts like I'm faking it when this happens. I don't think he ever has had to deal with horrible headaches and maybe he just doesn't get it, but I'm completely useless when I get one. Right now I feel the dregs of it still causing pressure on the right side of my face. Feels a lot like someone is pushing on my right eyeball.

Bentley laid down with me the whole time. It's really amazing how animals can tell you do not feel well and they seem to want to comfort you.

So, now that I at least feel human again, I'm going to try to figure out what I can do for my quilt I'm going to hand piece. Jinny Beyer has some lovely quilts in her book (Quilting by Hand) but I think I might just pick out a pattern from something else to use. I haven't really decided yet. I'll post something when I do.

I'm going to attempt finishing up the binding on the quilt I machine quilted. I will feel really good when that quilt is finished, no matter how it looks! I really do like having things done well, but I finally realized that my drive for perfection was holding me back in this case. I shouldn't expect to quilt something perfectly the first time no more than anyone can do something perfectly the first time. If I give myself permission to fail, I'm giving myself permission to learn, and that's the most important thing.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Books, books, and more books (the sequel)

This is the mess where my books are. I spent some time today looking them over and it seems to me that they fall into several categories. There are books on techniques, books with quilt patterns, and books with block patterns.

Another thing I've been thinking of lately is how much I wish I had more time to quilt. I work all week and I'm often too tired by the time I get home to do much of anything. But I remember what Jinny Beyer says about why she hand pieces. As much as I love my Bernina, I really love hand piecing as well. If I had a hand project ready, I could do it in those little bits of time, like waiting at the doctor's office or at work on lunch. pick for the book I'm working on this month is Hand quilting.

I'll let you know how it goes!

Busy day

I've been busy today.

The quilt on the left is my first attempt at machine quilting. The quilt looks wrinkled or something in the picture. I'm not finished with binding yet, but I'm almost done with my very first quilt!

The other top (the one on the right) was made at the same time as the one I'm almost finished quilting. I was experimenting. I wanted to see what kind of difference color placement made in a two color quilt. So they are both made from the same material, the same pattern, the only difference is the placement of color.

One problem I have sometimes is that I worry too much about 'screwing' up. Or making mistakes. I didn't want to ruin any of my good material with my attempts to learn how to quilt. So, I bought some less expensive material and made these two quilts.

I made a lot of mistakes on the quilting, but I feel pretty good about it. I figure if the quilts end up too bad, Bentley at least will appreciate them. :)

Books, books and more books!

Seeing all of Vicky's books stacked up makes me think about mine. I'm a book-aholic. After reading about how Vicky thinks she should spend more time on some of her books, I've been thinking I should do the same.

I'm going to try doing some organizing and then I think I'll pull out a book a month to try to do something from. Not that 12 books a year is all that much but I think it's realistic. I know it won't make a lot of headway in the backlog since I buy more than 12 books a year, but I'll be using what I bought a bit and it will make me feel better. If I find that I can handle two books a month, then I might just try that, but I'll start with one and work from there.

I'll post some pictures of my 'stack' (is that the book version of 'stash'?) and my choice for the month later.

Sunday morning laziness

It was really sweet of Vicky to send people over here. I am a big fan of her blog and she really inspired me to start this one. Now I have a whole bunch of new ones to read thanks to the people posting here!

It's really early Sunday and although I'd love to have slept a bit longer, Bentley had other ideas. During the week we get up just a bit before 4 am. I have to be to work at 6 am and I have medication I need to take at least an hour before I eat anything. So, that makes for an early morning. But truth is, I don't really mind. I like getting up early, it's just going to bed that is sometimes a problem. My hours are so different from Jason's that sometimes it's a hassle.

My boyfriend moved out here from Tennessee to be with me. He's a sweetheart and had been my best friend for 3 years before things turned romantic. I'd never thought of having a romantic relationship with a friend before. I sort of had this odd unconscious rule that friends were friends and lovers were something completely different. Jason knew everything about me, even before we met in person (we met playing an on-line game). I told him things I would have never told a potential romantic partner. Not that I would lie to someone I was thinking of dating, just that...well... I wouldn't have been so free with the 'warts' of my personality, if you know what I mean. So, he knew all of me... the ugly and the good.

So, when my last relationship broke up, Jason was my rock. He listened to my pain and helped me through it, as a friend. Then something just changed... he told me he'd loved me for a long time but never said anything because of my other relationship. And one thing just led to another and now I am with the greatest guy in the world.

I think the best thing about our relationship is that I never feel I have to edit myself around him. I know that I can be who I am and he will be fine with that, because he already knows. It's a really freeing feeling. It also makes me look back on all the relationships and the one marriage I've had and see how I never really had true love in return before. Although I had to wait a very long time for this man, I'm glad that he's here in my life now.

We don't agree on everything, he has some pretty interesting opinions. He likes Silicon Valley and says it's right where he needs to be for his career, but it's interesting watching the shock to the system that the Southern boy has had.

He complained often about how 'rude' people here are. At first, I didn't know what he was talking about. I never thought people were rude. So, I asked him and I now understand that there is a very big culture shift from the South to the North. After talking to him about it, I can understand what he means. It's little things. When people hold open doors for others, the person walking through the door will often say nothing. No simple 'thank you'. Clerks in shops will ask how people are, but those being served don't ask back how the clerk is. There are a ton of other little things like this.

I've never considered things like this to be rude, because...well...that's just how it is here, but I can see what he means and it got me thinking about how those little kindnesses could make a difference to someone.

So, I've decided that I'll try a little bit of that Southern courtesy. It certainly takes nothing away from me, and maybe it will make someone else's day a bit brighter.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

I just went in to buy steam-a-seam!

Honest. I just went in to buy some steam-a-seam. Although I love appliqué, I've never done the fusing kind and I have this McKenna Ryan pattern that I want to make for a friend and I needed steam-a-seam for it. My original idea had been to blow it up to a much larger size at the copy shop and then try needleturn on it. Yeah...that was a good theory, however if I'd bothered to look closer at the pattern before I spent $10 on the enlargements I might have noticed there were an awful lot of tiny sharp pointy ends that really won't work with needleturn. Soooo back to plan 'B'.

I thought I'd stop at a shop not far from my home. I'd never been a big fan of this shop and the last time I'd been in it was changing ownership. I hadn't visited after that because that was in one of my n0n-quilting times. Last night I stopped in to see if they had steam-a-seam and OH MY GOD! Let's just say the transformation in the shop is astounding.

The new owner has a dizzying array of wonderful fabric and she's really done a marvelous job bringing the shop back from the sorry state it was in before. I have wanted to make a Halloween quilt for quite some time and one fabric after another kept finding it's way into my arms. From Halloween I went on to find some other lovely pieces and finally I just had to stop.

I know it's sometimes hard for none quilters to understand, but when I see fabric I really like I buy it if I can because there have been too many times a fabric has sold out and then it's gone for good with me missing my chance to buy. :(

My puppy was anxious when I got home. I say 'puppy' but he's really a very old dog. He's about 16 years going on 17. That's my pup at the top. Bentley has been with me since he was a year old. First he was my son's dog while my son was still at home. Then later when my son was on his own Bentley came to live with me after a brief stint away. He's half miniature daschund and half miniature pinscher, funny combination, great dog.

Well, I'm home after a rough day and I am going to relax and hug my dog while I wait for Jason (my boyfriend) to get home.

The new Fons and Porter's Love of Quilting magazine just came today and I'm going to read it while Bentley lays on my lap!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Trip around the blog

Well, I thought I'd try adding an image since I think people really like seeing pictures in blogs. I know I do.

This is one of the quilts I'm currently working on. I had some problems initially because I hadn't been able to lay it all out on anything. My house has lots of windows and not many walls large enough for a design wall and since I rent I can't really do anything permanent to the walls. My solution was to upend the mattress in the guest room and put a sheet of flannel over it. It's actually worked out pretty well. I can pin things to the flannel if I need to pretty easily.

It's interesting also to me how the colors appear a bit muted in this post. They are actually pretty bright.

Anyway, I deem the posting, if not the quilt a success.

One problem I'm having now is figuring out how best to go about sewing this together. I'm currently thinking I'll do rows. Since this quilt is not out of a book or anything but a copy of one I saw in a shop, I don't have directions. I've never done a one patch before and unlike a quilt with blocks you have to construct, this doesn't seem to break up into 'pieces' very well.

I guess it will just be like I am with most of this stuff...charge ahead and figure out how to clean up the mess later! :)

Monday, August 20, 2007


I've been quilting for about 15 years. Now, that sounds like a long time doesn't it? I could have completed hundreds of quilts in that time, learned to master at least a couple of techniques and along the way possibly created some beautiful art.

But, I've never in all those years managed to complete one single quilt.

In my defense, I've completed a number of tops, I've just never managed to get anything actually quilted. And, although it was 15 years ago I took my first quilting class, various things have made it so I haven't actually been a quilter for the entire time.

My ex-husband hated the money I spent on fabric (even though at the time it was really a very small amount. If he could only see my collection now!) So, my initial foray into quilting was halted by pressure from him. I didn't take it up again until years later after we were divorced. I was excited about quilting again and was able to do it for a small period of time, but other things in my life took precedence and I stopped again for a number of years. When I took it up again, I was in a live-in relationship. I'd moved from Southern California to Northern California to live with him and it had been really difficult leaving my friends and my life to start over again. I thought perhaps quilting would be a way to connect with others and not feel so lonely. That didn't work out so well and I will talk about that in another post, but I ended up stopping again because my lover was unhappy with how much money it cost.

Fast forward to now, when I'm in a relationship with a man who loves me enough to believe I have a right to do what makes me happy. He's supportive of my creative endeavors and believes I have a right to spend my money on what I like.

He's a keeper!

So, I've started again and hopefully this time I will be able to stay.

New Blog and all

I write for myself.

That doesn't mean I am uninterested in comments, quite the opposite and if anyone out in Internetland decides to come here and spend time reading what I write, I'm very interested in what they have to say. What I mean by 'writing for myself' is that I plan to write what I feel like writing. I started this blog primarily as a way to keep myself motivated in working with dyeing fabric and Quilting.

How often it will be updated? I'm not really sure. It will depend a lot on how the spirit moves me. I'm hoping that it will move me a lot. :)

It always fascinates me how blogs are very intimate and yet at the same time, you really only see a slice of whoever is writing. Your view of the person is limited by what little of them you are allowed to see. Kind of like a voyeur who only catches glimpses of a person's life while watching through a window.

The slice of me you will see for now is my passion for fabric and quilting.