Sunday, July 30, 2017

July has come and gone

Along with the rest of 'the gang,' it's been another uneventful period of time.  The spring passed in the wink of an eye, with the transitions from winter-to-spring and spring-into-summer blurred beyond all recognition.

Wet.  It was very wet; but cool for the most part, which is fine by me.  Wet and cool  -  YEA!

Then of course, summer bullied its way onto the scene and steamed up the works but good.  Heat and humidity, bugs and humidity, humidity and humidity.  Who needs it?  If I wanted to live in the tropics I would have donned a mosquito net suit and headed south south south a long time ago.  Between the part time hours and gardening hours, which are fewer because of the darned heat (...a-n-d humidity - you saw that coming didn't you), time spent getting interview clothes together, and the time I've been giving to appliqueing and crazy quilting, I haven't been using my new, heavy duty long arm machine much.  When I have taken the time, it's been interesting - and quite humbling.

At any rate, acquiring proficiency quilting on the long arm has had quite a learning curve.  It doesn't handle or feel the same as sitting at a domestic and performing FMQ.  With fall only a campfire and a few million fallen leaves away, I need to give myself permission to play again.

Humidity has a dreadful effect of pull on the quilts - even with the lovely Teflon mat that came with the set up, so I tend to stay away from any sort of quilting .  It's mounted on a tall table which makes it stationary, so I still FMQ in the truest sense of the technique, but in a larger harp area (so I should have no real issues when thread-painting Vincent).  And, quilting larger quilts will be much easier, too.  For all of my smaller, less complicated quilts, I will use my lovely old Bernina.

Lately, I have been balancing my needle time between three projects - the CQ "Peacock," the ethereal broderie Perse floral pseudo-mandala, and the haunting, daunting Dutchman.

Last night I sat with the mandala for hours, trying to stitch my way out of a leafy corner.  Sadly (yes, I meant "sadly"), I made quite a bit of progress, but only ended up creating more of a problem for myself.  The progress is fun to look back on and see the growth of my applique acumen, but frustrating in that there are several areas of white background I am going to have to tackle, and I am not as sure of my fine needle skills as I would like to be.  But I guess we all have to learn the new things we want to do sometime, right?

So, my practice piece, my broderie Perse-floral applique mandala is moving along.  There are decisions to make all along the way, and now that I am getting to a happy place with it, I will begin to post photos of it as I go.  In the meanwhile, why don't you let me know what you have going on.

Happy quiltmaking!


Sunday, July 2, 2017

What's up? What's new?

Wow, six months or more since I posted last; looks as though time has gotten away from me.  It's not that there hasn't been anything to say, it's just, well... dropping one activity to work on another, and not feel guilty about walking away from that first 'whatever,' keeps me from doing anything some days.

I have had to put Vincent aside for a while bec-a-a-a-a-a-use we adopted two new rescue cats, the last one in February, and wherever I go and whatever I do in the house, my little shadow follows.  His feral way of life has had to be worked around and altered, and his sad state of being (digestively speaking) has taken a lot of effort and cash to even out a little.  But that's a whole other story, so I'll get back to what we're all here for.
Odin (my tiny shadow) explores everything and eventually unleashes havoc somehow or another.  To keep him away from Vincent, and those thousands of tiny pieces, I have stayed away from the area and bits that would entice him.  My time and energy has been focused on the Crazy Quilt project called "Peacock," and one other portable project that had been rummaging around in my head for quite a while. The second quilt is a wall hanging that is a pseudo-broderie perse piece.  [see photo]  The applique portion is moving along, and I find I need to finish dyeing the background before I can lay out and stitch down the next set of pieces.

Stay tuned, I will post more photos sooner (or later).

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Howdy world, and howdy 2017

For the past few years I have belonged to a couple of 'groups' in the facebook world, one of them is for needle-types who have supplies that they want to sell to other needle-types who need those supplies.

Translation: It's a sellers/buyers group.  I am a buyer.

One particular group has a person in charge of it who is usually ( > 95% of the time) on top of everything.  When it comes to her own customers, she is proactive and pretty wonderful, but lately has seemed a bit overwhelmed by her own aspirations.  The wonderfulness of her customer service has become hit or miss recently, and it appears as though I am on the 'miss' end of the stick.

This is why it was hard to believe [read this with sarcasm] that she became completely outraged when I opened a case with the payment service.  I mean, after all, she only kept me waiting three weeks before finally sending the package.  Perhaps I was a little hasty, since it was only three weeks... [dripping with sarcasm] and she did offer me either silence or no less than four BS excuses as to why I was waiting... and waiting... and waiting.

But, the complaint I filed did lead to her actually sending the package, so I couldn't have been too far off the mark, right?

I have refused to correspond with her any further, and most likely I will be dropping out of that group, too.  Just too much crap in my wheelbarrow already, why invite more angst?  I suppose this means I am 'cleaning house' for the new year; unintentionally, but totally necessary.

What are you up to with the changing of the digits?


Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Delightful expectations from JD Cottage Treasures on Etsy

You may know I don't give out feint praise, as a rule; not even just for the sake of saying something nice.  I am not good at pretense - never have been, (and most likely) never will be.  I am not a 'gusher.'  My parents did not instill that quality (talent?) in me at any age, and so while I can see and hear and believe it when I observe it from others, I cannot summon the beauty-queen falseness which seems to live comfortably in so many people, and blurt out things others want to hear, just for the sake of fawning and oohing and awing.

I'm prefacing this post with good reason, so please allow me to explain... and gush a little.  I suppose I will get better with practice.

Periodically I give myself permission to spend a little money on a little something for an upcoming project (or, for an ongoing project.  REALLY?  Do I need a project as an excuse?  Harrumph).  My pockets are not deep, and saving capital to use for delightful reasons is a bit of a stretch, so when I let go and splurge on a bauble, button, beads, or bit of hankie happiness, well, I feel I've earned it.

At any rate, I had an occasion recently to buy a lovely hankie or two from Julie at
https://www.etsy.com/shop/JDCottageTreasures?ref=shop_name_search_sugg
and it was one of the smartest decisions I have ever made (when it comes to online purchasing).  Julie is more than attentive, and far better than anyone else I've encountered at providing that 'extra mile' when it comes to customer service.  Fast, friendly, clean, and fabulous - you can't go wrong when you buy from Julie at JD Cottage Treasures.  Her items are topnotch and excellently described.

Please, just save some lovely things for me.  Cheers to you, Julie!  Thank you for everything ~


Thursday, December 29, 2016

i7

i7 remains one inch shy of the needle.

That's about it.

One stinkin' inch.

And that about sums up my life, too.  Hoping to get some sewing (of any sort) done over the time off, but I am not feeling like accomplishing much more than getting out of bed lately.

So, there you have it.


Friday, December 9, 2016

Wahoo, it's been a while

Due to familial issues, personal happenstance, and work days (and what have you), I have been away from the blogs for what seems like forever.  With the approaching holidays I am finding I will be able to get back to the things I love - necessary items and activities (or what have you) in short order.

Over the last couple of years I am finding it easier to let go of the reins and relax as deadlines encroach - and I cannot adequately express the sense of relief in that strategy.  Aahhh.

My outlook on 'necessity over survival' (emotionally and mentally) has truly changed (matured?) with the passage of time, and I believe it is ultimately for the better.  Things I cannot change or control have less impact and create far less stress (there is still some chafing, but I can withstand that a whole lot better than I once did). 

Admittedly, there is still a lot of work to do to get over the final hump of guilt in not finishing every task on my lists, or in meeting all goals and expectations of others (or myself), but then I have come to realize the goals and expectations of others must ultimately be their own stress.  As long as I accomplish my part in their projects I must allow myself to step back and breathe - and try not to take on too much of their anxiety.  Everyone must do their own part to ensure their own level of comfort and success.

So, in the spirit of happiness and renewal, I invite you all to look in on the progress and work I will be able to post sometime mid-to late-month.  Until then, thanks for checking in and reading whatever it is you have found of interest, and perhaps say "howdy" some time.  Let me know if you have any questions or comments about my quilting (or new mindset), and I will try to provide answers and images that will help to set you straight or answers your questions.

Until then, have a safe and healthy holiday.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Ah, well

Didn't manage to make much of a dent in i7, but I am thrilled there are now less than one half dozen missing inches until it can be stitched together.  A big plus.  Future progress will be severely curtailed over the coming month, as mom is headed down for a visit and there are things in the house which need doing/finishing first.

OK, see you soon, but not tomorrow. ;v)


Saturday, October 15, 2016

It's a beautiful day... dammit

i7 has been on my radar, but not in my work schedule for most of the past week or so.  This morning I attacked the twenty-five-to-twenty-eight missing inches with gale force fervor, and put a good dent in the 'hole', but there are still around a dozen bits to locate (and/or swap) before the block is complete and ready to stitch together.

I hate weather days like this - blissfully sunny, and the temps will be in the 60s.  PERFECT!

"So, why do you hate those types of days?" you ask, scratching your head like a dog with a flea.

Well, because I am forced to make a tough decision when days like this happen, and I usually end up making myself either very mad or just totally disappointed because of the ultimate decision.  I either
1) use the gorgeous light to forge ahead and build blocks so I can make up lost time on the overall project, or
2) go outdoors and utilize the waning beautiful weather for gardening chores which are long past due.

Now, perhaps, you can appreciate my conundrum.


Sunday, October 9, 2016

No pithy title

Taking a long overdue moment to play a little with my Dutch 'boyfriend.'

i7 is still too far from being done, and all I really want to do is put together i8 and i9, and 10 and 11point3.  Thread painting the mega row sections is on hold for a little while longer - but I will let you know when it happens.  For the time being... facial hair.


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

An irksome thing

I have kvetched about this before - and I suppose there will never be a time where I can see myself clear to just letting it go (and more's the pity) but there may be an explosion in my future if I can't.

There is a quilter whose work I like very much, to the point of admiration, really.  And she has only very recently chosen to walk away from her acclaim in the machine quilting realm.  She is fed up with (as she put it), "...the bullshit in the industry."  She will not quit making quilts, but will simply do so only for herself.  Huzzah, and more power to her.

So? I can hear you bellow.  What's your gripe?  What about that has you near boom-boom level?

Well, it isn't really Krista's decision to bow out of the quilt making spotlight so much that has my hackles up, but it's the quilt she is currently putting together that has me fuming. Some other quiltmaker/pseudo designer has decided to rename a glorious - and fairly straightforward - quilt 'pattern' something entirely new, just to make it seem as though she developed the pattern and instructions for others to follow.... AS IF IT'S NEVER BEEN MADE BY THOUSANDS BEFORE HER, for Pete's sake.

Heck, I've made my own string quilts by sketching out the desired size of the finished block so that I could readily duplicate and piece the silly thing accurately.  It didn't require much time or heavy thinking - and I certainly didn't rename the quilt pattern because it was something I drew up.  I looked at a few photos of older "Spider Web" string quilts before diving in, just to get some ideas of possible color placement and angles, and then I went to work.  

I totally resent J Sampou thinking it's OK to rename a standard, and well known, pattern; what an incredible ego trip she must be on. "Octagon Shimmer," indeed!  Shame on you for trying to cash in by using something that is in NO WAY your "original" creation, tagging it with a different name and calling it your own design.  I hope the people who follow you like sheep can eventually see through your flimsy veneer. 

Okey dokey - rant's over, but I am still steaming around the collar.  Has anybody got a few ice cubes handy?