Monday, February 25, 2008

My first “lesson” on my Janomesis...

First, I need to say that I had a delightful day Saturday at my guild’s monthly sew day. I got presents (my friend Carol picks up panda stuff for me when she sees it – she’s such a sweetheart!), and I got to show my Mom a quilt live and in person that I had done a round on in our last Round Robin. She’d seen photos, but hadn’t seen it in person, and Wendy was binding the quilt on Saturday. Now I’ll be about the last person to say anything good about my work, but I really like 3/4 of what I did on Wendy’s quilt! ;-) And I got some news... Wendy is entering that quilt in the Quilter’s Anonymous show next month.... and MY NAME is on it (along with 6 others)!! I’m in the QA Show!!! ;-) Okay, so it’s silly, but I just think it’s cool saying I’m going to be in the QA show. ;-)

Sunday was another day entirely.... I have a project that I’ve been working on for a while and I’ve run out of steam before I’ve run out of fabric, so I’m going to alter the direction a little bit. I’m going to keep most of the work I’ve already done (I think), but any “new” blocks will not be the same as I’ve been making. It’s taking too long and not really seeming to look as cool as I’d hoped. Of course, the fact that I decided to make it a little more complex than it needed to be hasn’t helped matters, either. So I’ve been kicking around an idea or two for the alternate blocks, and I had some small (2-1/2) squares to play around with, so I decided to try a sliced-up nine-patch technique that I saw somewhere and probably remembered wrong, but that’s how we get creative, right? ;-) So I go to sew my patches together on a machine that’s new to me (but not “new” but it is barely used) and I see that I have no 1/4" foot. WHAT?? They give me a walking foot but not that?? It’s in the manual, so I call the dear sweet woman I bought the machine from (Mom) and ask her if she has any knowledge of where these feet would be besides the obvious. Well, she tried so hard to help, but the speculation that “maybe they didn’t come with it” only added to my frustration. THEN I tell her that my needle isn’t centered. “Did you push the button for the straight stitch in the center position?” I suddenly feel like I’m talking to the computing help desk minus the Indian accent. “Yes, Mother, the machine thinks the needle is centered.” I’m just so fit to be tied that I can’t sew and I know Mom is trying to be helpful but I just can’t be consoled at this point. So eventually we hang up (and yes, I said goodbye and I love you and I didn’t hang up on her), and I remember I have a Curvemaster foot that looks like it would fit. Okay, better than nothing. So I out that on and start sewing. Eventually my bobbin is banging and then my thread breaks. Hey, that needle not being centered is shearing the thread against the foot! GO FIGURE! Ugh. So I figure out how to move the needle over to where it should be (and thus my blocks are two different sizes, but it’s just an experiment, plus I know that I didn’t care at that point). I’m sewing my two nine-patches together, and I realize that I need to rip out four seams. Ugh. So far, I’ve learned the following on my machine: How to thread it; how to use the needle threader; how to make the needle stop in the down position; that the machine goes to sleep when I’m “unsewing”; and that if I press buttons that I don’t know what they do, the machine tells me I’m an idiot.

Back to the “experiment.” So I get these two nine-patches together (finally), and my original idea of cutting them diagonally and sewing them together with their opposite-value counterparts just wasn’t looking right (and yes, I was smart enough to fold them and look before I cut them, wonder of wonders). I cut the blocks in half each direction and ended up with little squares that reminded me of my friend Debi’s Turning Twenty blocks... Interesting. I wonder if that’s how they’re done. Anyway, so how do I want to put these little things together? I played around a little bit and decided that the largest squares look best in the middle, so they find of look “framed.” I think that will echo the style of the existing blocks the best. Do I have a picture? Of course not! First, I didn’t take a picture, and second, even if I had, GUESS WHAT! I went upstairs TOTALLY frustrated with my Janome and was going to blog while the fire was fresh, and my computer decided it wasn’t going to cooperate! I couldn’t even get the thing to open a browser! Ugh! After about 20 minutes, I got the thing to get to a place where I could tell it to restart and then I went and took a nap! :-p Here's a photo of the experiment.

Sunday evening Mom called. I was playing games on my cell phone and wasn’t in the mood to talk, and even though DH Bill and Mom both knew that was probably the case, I ended up saying hi to Mom. She asked if she could make me feel better. I told her she could try. ;-) She said she found a little box with feet that look like they don’t go to her Pfaff or her Viking, so we may be in business! YAY! It almost made me feel better. I’d feel MUCH better if I could get that needle to start in the center of the machine. :-( All in all, it was a learning experience, and after almost 24 hours I’m mentally and emotionally almost ready to go talk to the machine again. My dissertation here doesn’t really describe the frustration I felt of not being able to just turn on the machine and sew. It also didn’t end up as humorous as I was hoping. Oh, well. Maybe next time (or not).

Friday, February 22, 2008

Some completed project photos

They are few and far between, but here they are!

Tissue Covers 2008

Placemats 2007

Mom's Quilt 2006

Baby Quilt 2005

Pillow 2004(2003?)

Mystery Quilt 2004

Baby Quilt 2003

Baby Quilt 2003

Grandma's Quilt 2003 - my first quilt!!!

HEY! What happened to the picture???? Ugh! I hope I remember where I saw it on my hard drive. :-\

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

To blog or not to blog...

I wrote my first blog on MySpace in 2006. It was a short rambling of whether or not I should blog. A friend told me she had started blogging, but the thought of reading someone’s diary online just didn’t sound appealing from either viewpoint. Eighteen months later, I’ve decided that I’ll give the whole blog thing a shot. Every once in a while I have something halfway interesting to say. I’m enjoying the recent ability to keep up with peoples’ goings-on at my leisure, and being able to read what I’d like to and skip what I’d like to. I expect you to do the same.

I have to be honest I've rarely read a blog in its entirety. I have the attention span of a goldfish – two laps around the bowl and it’s a whole new day! I get email from people and I can't even get through their entire email (they may or may not be lengthy – I just swim faster some days than others). I can't even read through emails I've written most of the time. I've written emails to people and then changed a few things around and sent it to another person to make them think I've written it just to them... blogging is kind of the same thing, isn't it? Except that I can’t change it to make you think I sent it just to you. But I have, because you’re reading it. ;-)

What I do in my daily life is of little interest to most people, as I perceive myself as having “no life.” That’s not to say I’m unfulfilled... I’m just boring. ;-) No one wants to read about a life that consists of getting up, going to work, going home, going to bed, with a meal or two thrown in and a work anecdote that I really shouldn’t share. But, you know what? If you really have nothing better to do than read my ramblings, maybe I shouldn’t deny you the privilege. But don’t expect me to post every day. You wouldn’t want that – TRUST me!

Another view about sharing my life (or lack thereof, reference above), is that it’s not as if I have nothing to say and that nothing is ever "new." If that were the case, I'd never email or message my friends. Truth be known, I have plenty to say. Those who know me well know that! The trouble is, most of the “interesting” things in my life are not about me, but about those who grace my life. Most of the time, the things I would write are not things that I would want them to necessarily know I think about the way they grace my life. Certainly I would change the names to protect the innocent (or guilty, as the case may be), but they still could know what I actually thought. I'm not sure I'm ready for that. And, there’s always the Thumper school of philosophy: “If you can’t say something nice....” Particularly in writing on a public forum. There are so many things I WANT to say and CAN’T! LOL!

So, for now, you’ll hear about wedding pictures and making my craft room workable after buying a house last year, and probably some silly stuff about my husband, cat, or mother. Occasionally I’ll talk about something I found interesting (like watching a show about supernovae History or Discovery Channel recently and hearing the phrase, “cosmic conundrum.” Now THERE is a beautiful piece of writing right there!). But until then I’m hoping to use this forum to be accountable to “the world” (whomever that may be) to get some craft projects done to share the way my friend Grace has done. Oh, and you HAVE to read Grace’s entry about her dog getting sprayed by a skunk! Let her misery be your entertainment! Not only was I entertained by her description, I became once again thankful that I have an indoor cat! Phew!

Well, off I go to contemplate my next blog... the suspense is killing you, isn’t it? ;-)