Just a quick post to say Congratulations to the LCSC Boys U13 team for taking 2nd place in the Rock Hill Tournament.
The team got to play on the "nice" field. (see above) This was the first time many of them played on astroturf and they have the field burns to show for it. (Mark is #10 running with the ball while being chased by the 3 players in the white jerseys.)
I apologize for my lack of blogging this past week. Things have been happening at what seems like warp speed around here. I believe that spring has definitely sprung here. The kids and the dog have had an exorbitant amount of energy and I have been kept busy keeping them busy. Does that even make sense? Anyway. This past week Ginger escaped from the house. We were confronted by what I will only describe as an extremely mentally disturbed and irrational neighbor. Sadly the episode got very ugly. The invisible fence that we had been contemplating had to be done and quickly. Fortunately for me I had lots of help and the work was quickly finished.
Jack working the wire into the ground.
Mark and Jack working quietly together.
We now begin the difficult task of convincing Ginger it is truly in her best interest to stay within the flags.
Guess what I got in the mail? TWO Packages! Not just any packages mind you. The best kind of package for a sewing crazed quilter w/o a machine.
I got these, yesterday.
Woohoo. Two quilt tops, complete with sewn backing!
Two bow tied jelly rolls, in lovely muddy shades.
An awesome bobbin holder, can you believe I don't(didn't) own one?, as well as a case of bobbins. Thanks Mary!
Not only did I get this lovely box assortment. I also received my order from Fabric.com. This may not sound that thrilling considering I have NO machine, did I mention this? However, I ordered 108 in fabric backing. No sewing! I think the person who came up with that idea should have a holiday named after them. Happy Quilting!
I spent most of Monday morning dusting., that is until I ran out of Pledge. Then I promptly jumped in the shower. With dusting taken care of for the moment, I resumed quilting on the OHIO quilt. This, sadly is the last of the quilts I have that have pieced backings. I had studied the quilt looking for something to quilt on it for over a week. Finally I just jumped. Unsure of where to start I relied mostly on loops. I don't know why but loops are quite calming to me. Perhaps it is the back and forth motion. I have to be quite careful when I do quilt lots of loops, I tend to loose focus and end up quilting myself into a corner. Here's what I did with this quilt.
1. I started with the red border and quilted a leaf and vine, very simply. ( I wanted to do a more complex design. However, since I plan on selling this quilt I could not justify the extensive use of thread that it would require)
2. I quilted stars and meandering loops on the starry border. I tried several angles but the thread and the fabric are too close a match to show up well. It was very difficult to quilt. I wished fervently that I had use of a black light. Check out Ranae Haddadin video tips on you tube. If you're not familiar with her quilting, check out her website at ranaequilts.com. Prepare to be amazed!
3. I used this up and down loop design on the black border. Only after I had quilted this did I realize it looked like a big "M" I apologize to all of you who are OSU fans for even attempting a design that would conjure up images of Michigan.
4. I quilted loops and Ohio through out the center of the motif. I really enjoy this design and have serious trouble placing the Ohio in just the right spots. I only hope this makes up for the absurd use of the M swirly.
Now I am off to cut more fabric in hopes I will someday have a machine to piece it all with.
BTW: I stopped into the machine shop today and the individual there was less than helpful. I had apparently disturbed his chain smoking record as the shop wall a haze of cigarette smoke. When I inquired about the machine he gave me his broadest smile, showing all 8 of his teeth and said politely, "Don't know nothin' bout that ma'am. You'll have to call that number on the sign and ask." Super.
I am a strong believer in signs. Not the ones on the roads and side streets, although those too have there usefulness. What I am referring to are the signs or clues that can give you that little push towards one destination or another. Well, I don't have to tell you how surprised I was to find this written in the dust on my dining room table! (it reads, "Emma was here") A sign such as this I have never seen. And it's message rang loud and clear. DUST ALREADY!
I am sure you have already surmised that I am not fond of dusting. I don't know why one task bothers me more than another; but dust is not something I typically worry much over. Dirty bathrooms, messy kitchen counters and even dirty fingerprints which cover my doors and windows have a higher rank than dust. It is ironic that the very chore I detest is one in which I should be ever vigilant. You see I am actually allergic to dust. Just going into this room to take this picture made my nose itch. Perhaps my lack of enthusiasm toward dusting is subconsciously due to the symptoms which the substance brings about. What ever the reason I actually take comfort in the fact that when my life is over my obituary will never read. "One of the most fastidious dusters I have ever known."
My Sewing machine is still on the injury list. I am feeling completely at a loss. It is as if I need to clean house just to keep busy. OK, maybe it's not that bad.
After two long weeks without a word from the repair shop, I was finally able to talk with someone. I called and politely asked(because in all reality I wanted to scream) about her.
He replies, "I will have her for you the first of next week." yeah, sure I thought. I was perplexed. I specifically remember asking them to call me before doing any work.
"Oh," I said slightly confused. "What seems to be the problem?"
"Well, ma'am," he drawled, "your machine won't hold tension." Really!?! Perhaps you could tell me something I haven't already discovered. I did after all bring her in for just that reason! "Yes?" I prompted. He cleared his throat and rushed on in a raspy southern voice. "I sent off for a new bobbin casing. Should be in end of the week. I can have it to you by the first of next week." Okay, perhaps I need to get that in writing.
"Could you please tell me how much these repairs will cost?" I asked in my most charming voice. I think I actually gasped. I could by a new machine for that! A very bottom of the line new machine, but still.
I am at a loss of what to do.
The good news is that she is not so old that new parts are unattainable. And she can be fixed. The bad news, still no machine and repair cost higher than I really wanted to pay.
You always want what you can't or don't have. I have been known to say this statement often if not excessively to my eight-year-old. So much so that she has been known to spit it out before I do. In her case it refers to straight hair. She has beautiful curly locks which shine just like the commercials but of course she always wants to wear it straight. Even when we take the time to straighten it, it inevitably curls before the day is over. This drives her crazy. I know the feeling.
Right now I do not have my sewing machine. Therefore I cannot sew. I contemplate quilts I want to make, get enthusiastic about making them, then I remember. I have to wait. I have thought about cutting fabric, yet I know I will just be disappointed when I cannot sew what I've cut.
Never mind that I have things that I can quilt. Never mind that I am knitting up a beautiful cardigan. I want to piece a quilt and I cannot do it! I want to make another set of nesting baskets. Sorry, can't do it. I am insanely frustrated. I have been patient, OK maybe I need to work on that, but I have waited. And still I do not have my sewing machine back!
I have been perusing the online catalogs, checking out features of other machines, looking for the best deals, free shipping offers, etc. Unless I can come up with several hundred dollars of found money it will just have to wait. Again more waiting.
Perhaps, there is a lesson here. Currently, I am not seeing it.
Well, the latest on my sewing machine is that there is nothing new. I still have not heard back from the repair shop, even though I have called at least 3 times. I still get the same answer, "Haven't had time to look at it yet. I'll try to get to it tomorrow." That just sucks.
I have been filling my time with quilting and knitting, since I cannot sew. I had really hoped to get into my green fabric stash and start cutting for my newest "Christmas Tree" quilt but that really hasn't happened yet either.
Here are some of the quilting designs I used on this Christmas package quilt. The boarder was quilted lightly with Christmas tree shapes all around. This boarder fabric is velvet! I wasn't so sure I could quilt velvet but it turned out nice. I don't think it would sustain a heavy quilting, and it defiantly needed the fusible interfacing on the back to keep it stable.
I quilted Merry Christmas on the sashing between the blocks. Sorry for the picture, it was the best I could get.
I quilted every package with a different design. I tried to stick with "wintry"themed patterns. Here are swirls.
On this block I quilted loops and added in a hardy HoHoHo! to give this package a bit of holiday cheer.
Of course you can't have Christmas without a little snow.
And a few stars.
Although it is hard to see, I quilted holly leaves on this quilt block. The silver sashing. representing the ribbon I quilted, well, a ribbon.
I have also started working on a new knit cardigan. This one is called Hey, Teach. I am enjoying the lace pattern and with luck this one may be finished before the end of spring.
Sadly, I have also been working on a spring cold which has slowed me down quite bit.
This weekend was full of fun! Danielle and the kids brought Mom down for a visit. With the kids out numbering us 5 to 3 it was quite chaotic. Boy did we have a good time. With a two year old in the mix things are never predictable. Mark and Jack were suburb babysitters, I mean big boy sitters because we are not a baby! Dropping a tub full of super balls down the stairs, building train track after train track, sword fighting and playing soccer were just some of the fun things they did. Emma and Kaela were best buddies and did their best to try to exclude Jack. I love the way the kids never have a moment of hesitation towards one another, it is always as if they just saw each other yesterday.
It comes as no surprise that with my sewing machine currently out of commission I would turn to my other "sewing" machine, my longarm machine. I worked all weekend to finish this New and improved version of The Ohio State Quilt for Mark. He has wanted an Ohio State room forever, and we came pretty close in El Paso. He still wants an Ohio State room only now he has a bigger bed. The lap quilt that he had spread out over his twin mattress hardly hides the floral comforter he has been forced to use since we moved in. It is demeaning and just plain wrong, I'm told to be 13, a 'dude' and have a floral bedspread. What will the guys think? I have several counters to this statement, the first and foremost being, You mean teen guys, Think? The second being really, they can see that it is floral while it is in a ball on the floor under that pile of, what is that anyway? Don't worry I didn't say them out loud, but I wanted to.
Now he is one step closer to having a true Man's Quilt, I just have to bind it. That shouldn't take long at all. (Insert evil laugh here.)
Chi refers to the movable positive or negative energy which plays a vital role in the Chinese art Feng Shui. Feng meaning 'wind' and Shui meaning 'water'. Feng Shui is a technique used to bring balance to one's home, building, object or project. By careful placement of items one can ensure the flow of chi to bring about a balance of energies in a given space. (At least this is my simple understanding.) Many western designers talk about Feng Sui in relation to spaces and rooms they design.
I received a small quilt in the mail that my mother had made. She called this piece Chinese Coins. I loaded it onto my quilting table and stood at it stumped. I often spend time looking over the quilts I am given to quilt to see what designs call to me. It can take some time to settle on a particular design. I have found if I rush into a quilt without taking time to study the quilt top itself, I am not at all pleased with the design I have quilted. Mom indicated she wanted a design with some curve and movement to this already square and linear design. I had to agree. But what?
Shortly after loading the quilt I began to have problems with my sewing machine. Then I destroyed my blender, my Cuisinart and finally broke the seat belt in the truck. I started to think that perhaps I needed to consider that someone, somewhere was trying to tell me something. Slow down, rest, focus your energy elsewhere.
When I really thought about the energy flow and movement in my life, I began to think of the Chinese art of Feng Shui. I don't know much about it so I did some research and decided I needed take this approach to Chinese Coins. I spent several days drawing out the design and practicing what I thought would work for this quilt. Feng Shui incorporates 5 elements (Wood, Water, Earth, Metal and Fire). Because of the size of this quilt I felt trying to incorporate all 5 elements would only clutter the quilt instead of creating flow. I took Water, Earth and Fire, elements and blended them in harmony into the quilt.
Even though the quilt is heavily quilted, I think the design works and it flows nicely.