Tuesday, November 28, 2017

Here in FunkyTown...

I've been in a bit of a funk for a while now. Can't decide what the problem is. I keep showing up here sporadically to bemoan the fact that I am in a funk.

I'm still sewing a bit, finishing old projects and trying to decide what I'm going to do about getting the quilt tops quilted. One does not make deals with God but I've jokingly told my parents I hope to live long enough to be able to use up all my fabric. And that I'm hedging my bets for a long life by buying more fabric here and there! I've found some bargains at a couple of local estate sales. I'm not really buying up too much fabric. Mostly I'm only buying what can be considered too good of a deal to pass up. I do not want a big pile of fabric to have to figure out where to put and how to use.

Mostly I'm sewing at our little place in the country, on the weekends. Here at home I'm trying to get back into a pattern of writing in my journal and doing artsy type projects. I'd like to begin to meditate again. Sometimes I'm lazy and undisciplined, and I allow myself to be distracted by time suckers like Facebook.

The funks, they come and they go. I guess that's the good news. The feeling is not permanent and will eventually pass.

This is not an old project. It's new. My aunt gave me the fabric that was already cut in strips. The pattern is a rail fence pattern. When I got it all put together, she found the border fabric and the black in her stash and gave them to me. I can't remember if I have a backing fabric ready for this one or not. I hope to quilt this one myself on my regular sewing machine.

I'm kind of already thinking about next year. 2017 feels like it has flown by and I can't remember half of what has happened in the past year. I keep having really good ideas about how I want to do a better job of living in 2018. One thing for sure, I'd like to live more mindfully. And not to wile away so many of my hours poking around the internet. In the meantime, I'd like to ground myself in what remains of 2017 and to savor the days I have now.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017


It may just be a baseless superstition but another thing that seems to happen when you don't show up on your blog for a while is that you get spammy comments. I had one and deleted it. Hopefully that will be the end of that.

Today's post will be a two-fer and then I might be done for a while with posting older projects that I've finished.

First up is one that is called "Endless Wells" (or maybe "Hidden Wells," I never can remember). Many years ago, our Kroger's had fabric and other WalMart type things that were not typical of grocery stores. When they decided to quit carrying fabric, they had a huge clearance sale. I can remember my mother and I went more than once to gather the bargains. I still have fabric from those excursions!

This one was a pain in the "uh-huh" because of the bias cuts. I had to sew four strips together, then cut squares out of the strips, then cut the squares into four pieces (cutting diagonally, which caused the fabric to stretch) and then put them back together again. I'm afraid my piecing skills are definitely not exemplary in this quilt. But it is done, and I'm happy! You can't see it very well, but the backing fabric is a rust and blue fabric with paisleys.

This quilt was also made with Kroger sale fabric. I started it sometime in the middle seventies. It was a quilt I was making for my husband. About three fourths of it is hand quilted. I got impatient and wanted the project to be completed so I practiced my free motion quilting on the remaining squares. Again, this is not an exemplary representative of my quilting skills! But it is done, and I am happy!

This is another one of those areas where some of my treatment for some of my cancer extracts an ongoing price from me. Because of chemo induced neuropathy and stiffness in my finger joints caused by the medicine that is supposed to be an extra protection against the breast cancer coming back, I don't think I could ever really do the kind of fine motor movement needed to hand quilt. Acceptance is good. Gratitude is also good. It's really a small price to pay for survival. So, cut my losses and move on (one of the few areas in my life where I can actually do that!).

I've still got a few tops to go that were the result of block swaps done when we were living in Houston and I was a member of a quilting guild. I think I counted eight or nine more tops that are ready and waiting to be quilted. I need to get batting and backing fabric for most of them. And maybe money to pay someone to long arm quilt them if my own free motion quilting skills do not improve. But they will improve. I need to practice.

And I need to not be afraid of messing them up. Or of them not being perfect. I need to not let my fear paralyze me. That's true in quilting and in life, right?

Monday, November 06, 2017

Back Again

When I don't show up regularly for my blog, I forget what I've told and shown. I know I haven't told that I went to the Houston Quilt Show this past weekend. I'd been wanting to go, maybe almost since the first time they ever did the show. But then I went through a phase where I wasn't quilting/sewing and I lost interest in going, even though it was on my unofficial bucket list I keep inside my head.

I wanted mostly to go this year to try out different kinds of quilting machines because maybe one day owning a quilting machine is another item on my unofficial bucket list I keep inside my head. I got to try out several different kinds and brands. I was able to determine a couple of choices I did not want. I wasn't ready to buy but maybe eventually I will get one. I remain ever hopeful. And I can hope for years!

I thought, as we left the quilt show on Saturday afternoon that I'd seen it once and that was enough. Sunday morning, I thought how I'd like to go back next year. We shall see what I do.

Today at work I saw a student who reminded me a lot of my son. He had the same build my son had and the angularity of his face was similar. That brought on a deep yearning for my son. Yearning is a difficult and terrible feeling. I do miss him.

I found these blocks in my cedar chest. I could not remember sewing them together, much less buying the fabric. All that white, and the delicate look of the quilt is not my typical style. And yellow and pink combined? That's not me either. I do love paisleys so there is that. Maybe that what's drew me to this fabric choice.
My son was still alive when I started this quilt. I still had a disease free colon. I hadn't yet tasted cancer. Maybe this quilt was me back in the day, before these things, but I'm no longer anywhere near being this delicate in my present life. Frankly, sometimes I think of this as "soft me" and I think of my current self as my "not so soft me." Maybe I'll add a touch of gray to the borders of this quilt, maybe as a private symbol for me, to remind myself that I've been through some things and I've come out from those things a stronger person. There is still work to be done on this quilt, just as there is still work to be done on me, or growth to be had.

Wednesday, November 01, 2017

Finishing Projects

I haven't been around much lately. I've been trying to figure out why I started blogging in the first place, and whether or not I want to continue. Just blogging for the sake of blogging isn't so much "The Thing" anymore. Most of my bloggy friends don't blog regularly anymore.

I think I want to continue to blog, and to use this as one way for me to say, "I was here," and this are the things I see from my perspective. It doesn't have to be great writing, it's mostly for me. Maybe I'm leaving a trail for older me to know younger me.

So, I've been sewing quilt tops and trying to learn to do free motion quilting on my regular sewing machine. Right now I have several tops done but I need to get batting and backing fabric to finish them.

Here's one of the first ones I tried to do free motion quilting on. There's a pretty big learning curve and I think it's going to take a lot of practice but I think maybe I can learn to do it well enough to satisfy myself. These are blocks I had left over from a block exchange I did over 20 years ago! If you could look closely enough you would see the spots where I just totally missed the mark with my quilting. But there are also hopeful spots that look fairly good.

I was able to use fabric I already had for the borders and backing on this one. The backing is left over from projects I did in my first child's nursery.

I have more to show but I'll spread them out a bit. I'm planning to go to the Houston Quilt Show this weekend. to look at sit down quilting machines. I'm not ready to buy but they will have a lot of representatives from different brands there and I can try them out and hone in on what I want.