Getting Things Done

I have had more energy these last few weeks than I have had in a while.  Perhaps it’s because I’m losing weight, perhaps it’s desperation that the end of the year is approaching, perhaps it’s to avoid doing things I shouldn’t.  Whatever the reason, early in November I made myself a promise to finish 6 projects.  Well, as of last Tuesday, I am done.  The final one went out Tuesday night.  Here is the final quilt I did.

After returning from Fedex (who apparently delivered the package to the wrong address, and I’m still looking for it…..), I started Bonnie Hunter’s Allietare Mystery and am doing my dutiful Monday morning link up.


I did manage to get Clues 1-3 done so far, and will start Clue 4 today.

And how about you? Are you doing anything productive?

Losing the Holiday Weight

This might seem to be a little early. But really it is a little late. I made a decision a few weeks ago to lose the Holiday Weight. I’m not talking about the holidays, but about my dog Holiday, who passed away in February.

I had been eating badly and didn’t have my best friend for my daily walks. So I’m off on a culinary adventure. The refrigerator is stocked with fruits and vegetables, the pantry with oatmeal and brown rice and multigrain this and that.

And I have a new walking companion. I fostered a few dogs this year, but the last one is now my dog. Pixie is 6 years old, and has not had a happy life. You can tell a dog that had been hit or kicked–they randomly cower in fear when their mind thinks the blow is coming. But generally, Pixie is a happy dog. She had to undergo heartworm treatment, but now is feeling much better and she shows the same pure, unadulterated joy as Holiday did when I get out the leash for a walk.

So hopefully, I will lose the Holiday weight by the end of the holidays. Wish me luck!

 

Simple Destashing

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Sometimes, destashing is simple.  I was reorganizing my sewing room (smelling salts, please.  And found these panels.  Actually, the one on the right was a panel and a backing.  I cut the backing into strips to make a border–so it’s now a little bit bigger baby quilt and pretty much fit the panel that I used for the backing.  Then I pulled out another fabric to add for the binding.  Yes, I have a little bit of that border fabric left, but I think I will make some of the Victory Junction Bears.  I made about 20 last year, and there should be enough of the cute animal fabric to make at least 2 bears, using the checkered flag fabric for arms and legs.
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I figure this little pull from my closet used about 2 1/2 yards of fabric. Incidentally, I originally purchased this fabric to make a quilt for the local women’s shelter. And that’s exactly where it will be going–just a couple of years later than I first intended.  Done anything to clean out your stash lately?

Good Luck With Your Quilt Show

I got a lot of comments to my post Is Computerized Quilting Killing the Local Quilt Show? Some of them came in the form of private emails.  Most people seemed to think I was trying to rehash the debate about technology moving forward.  I was not.  I was trying to spark a conversation about why quilt show attendance is down, generally.

I think computerized quilting tends to make one quilt show very much like another, which might be one reason attendance is down.  I can go from quilt show to quilt show and actually know the name of the longarm quilting pattern that was used on the quilt.   In some cases, patterns are made for certain types of quilts, so you might go to two quilt shows and see a computer-quilted quilt nearly identical to previous show (for example, wedding ring patterns are made to fit the melon and arcs).

I am not a snob who says we shouldn’t use technology.  But, I do think that beginners who come in and see the super-perfect quilting and embroidery that can only be done by a computer can be discouraged.  And as a hobby, we need new quilters.  This particular hobby tends to be picked up by many after their children leave the home.

Try to remember when you started quilting.  I remember going to Paducah after I had been quilting for about 5 years.  And for several months afterwards, I was completely discouraged.  I thought I could never achieve anything half so wonderful.  And the quilts then were less perfect.  But now, the quilts are getting somewhat “cookie cutter”, as are the quilting patterns, and therefore, the shows are also becoming cookie cutter.  Something must change, or quilt shows will start to lose money, and guilds will fail.  It may be a while down the road, but if we want to keep our hobby fresh, we can’t keep doing quilt shows the same we we did 30 years ago with today’s technology, and we need to inspire new members, not discourage them.

I hope everyone’s quilt show is a success, but I think we’re all going to have to make some changes to continue to succeed.

Is Computerized Quilting Killing the Local Quilt Show?

This weekend is my guild’s quilt show. Quilt shows are big deals for guilds. For most, it’s how they make their money to offer more classes and programs for their members.  Each year, attendance at quilt shows seems to decline. Not just ours, but others I have talked to indicate attendance is down on their areas as well. And shows I have attended year after year, seem less crowded.

So in discussing this with my husband, I asked him why he thought attendance was down. The economy is always a factor, since people whose disposable income is down won’t travel far, or spend as much. Understandable. But to me, the decline seems steady over the last 15 years or so.

So I asked my husband, as someone who is on the fringes, why he thought attendance wad down. Over the years he’s accompanied me to many quilt shows, but he doesn’t quilt, and he is careful with his opinions because he likes sleeping in the bedroom.

His opinion: computerized quilting. The results of computerized quilting machines is now so perfect that the gap between professional and hobbyist is a gulf. And hobbyists can’t compete. Yes, they can “quilt by checkbook”, if they can afford it, but then the finished product is not fully their work, eliminating a sense of pride that the hobbyist feels when they see their own creation from start to finish.  And even those hobbyists who create some marvelous pieces cannot be as prolific as the computerized quilter.  So shows are full of two very different levels of quality.

So, I don’t know. I see a lot of merit to my husband argument, but I’m not sure if that’s the whole story or not. What do you think? Is the traditional quilt show coming to an end?  And is computerized quilting the catalyst?

A Bequest

001Many times people will contact a quilt guild, not really knowing what they do.  Many times it’s to ask them to make a quilt for them.  Sometimes it’s to ask them to take quilting material (or just stuff) off their hands.  Last year, our guild was contacted by a family who had several unfinished quilt tops from their grandmother.  They wanted us to “find homes” for them.  Their ownly request was that they not be thrown away or sold, just that they be used for some charitable purpose.

Harder than it sounds.

Finding a charitable purpose is not too hard.  FInding one that wants an unfinished quilt top is a bit harder.  We took on the task, even though the cost of the batting, backing, and binding generally fell upon the person who volunteered to complete the quilt tops.  That would be me.

And then there is the matter of the quilt top itself.  How it was made, how it has been stored, etc.  There were 8 or 9 tops to complete.  This is the 3rd.  The maker used very large blocks, and a lot of gingham.  This one was stored badly and had some fabric that was eaten away by….something.  I had to replace and repair before starting.  And this one was seriously out of whack.  Not just because of bad workmanship.  On older quilts they tend to be less accurate.   They didn’t have the cutting and measuring tools we have nowadays.  And then as fabric has been stored it may get dry or moist and draw up or get stretched out of shape.  The maker of these quilts stay stitched the edges on many of her tops to help keep the shape. This one was not stay stitched.

This one varied in length by 6 inches.  In width by about 2 1/2 inches.  Careful mounting on the frame–easing the edges and center, and finding a good quilting pattern resulted in only a couple of puckers.  And after quilting, trimming, and then serging the edges, I think the final result is pretty good.  I have learned a few tricks over the years on how to make “less than square” quilts square.

We have found a charitable organization that wants twin bed size quilts, and after binding, this quilt will be given to them.  This quilt maker left a bequest that will be used and valued.

Somewhere in North Carolina

021I am still here.  To be honest, I haven’t been quilting much.  I did quilt a couple of quilts for Quilts of Valor.  I have even made a few blocks. Like this silhouette of Holiday.  I know, I know.  And they eyes don’t look orange up close.  They are just dark brown.

I also made this bowl from clothesline.  Yes it is completely made from two different batik fabrics.  It was a bit of challenge to figure out how to do it, but I did.  I took photos to do a tutorial, but then thought no one would be interested.  Would that be of interest to anyone?

I also took a class with my local quilt guild.  I learned how to make a couple of blocks.  But I still haven’t finished them. It was just something cute that I thought was interesting.  But something else happened that day to upset my apple cart and I was out of sorts again.  It doesn’t seem to take much to throw me off my stride.

Over mother’s day we went to visit my oldest in his new city & state.  We met his girlfriend, her parents, and even got a tour of his office.  It was so nice to see him again and to meet her.  She is very pretty, and her family was very gracious.

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I have been working more hours lately, and more than I would like.  I am now fostering TWO (yes, two dogs).  The first was to try to help Carter to have a friend and to heal.  The second was because the poor fella was just an old guy that needed a place to go.  He is 10, when boxers seldom live past 10.  So now I have 3 dogs that fill my days, but do not fill my heart.  I have a job that fills my time, but not my imagination.

And the path in the back yard has filled in.  What I once thought would be healing” just feels like something is missing.  Don’t worry, I’m not nearly this maudlin all the time.  That’s what blogs are for.