Saturday, March 31, 2012

12 in '12

I did an Indiana Jones-style diving slide under the closing door of March to keep up with my finishes this month. Being away for a week, 'recovering' for a week, both knocked me off schedule for 12 finishes in 2012. But these are simple quilts -- easy brick-like patchwork with fleece backs, finished like a pillow (no binding), straight line quilting. All they took was sitting down and doing the work. I made them "teen size" for The Star of Hope Mission. I hope that either a boy or a girl will find warmth & comfort with these quilts.

two red brick quilts

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens

I suppose that by their very definition, there is no such thing as a "good" disease. They are all debilitating and wasting to some degree, lesser or greater. They all cause the sufferer some sort of pain and cause the loved ones of the sufferer some sort of anguish. I am not trying to say that what I am going through is any worse than what people all over the world are going through every single day, I just want to say that Alzheimer's Disease SUCKS!

I am 800 miles away from my Mom, so there are as many as 5 to 8 weeks between my visits to her. With each of my last several visits, I saw a dramatic decline in her condition, less of HER there: sleeping more, increased confusion, increased difficulty expressing herself, decreased physical ability. One of the really crappy things about AD is that, because of the sufferer's difficulty understanding what is going on around them, they tend to be fretful, depressed and, sometimes, hostile. We are lucky that, by and large, my Mom is fairly content. She loves her room, she has a nice view of the pretty backyard of her facility, she likes most of the people that care for her, she likes many of her 'neighbors' -- though she says that many of them are "not all there". She likes listening to music, especially the soundtrack to The Sound of Music. We listen to it over and over and over again -- always new to her, but it has become etched in my brain. The bitter irony of 'remembering your favorite things' when you are 'feeling sad' is that it is not such good advise when not only can you not recall things you like, you can't even remember what you had for breakfast.

The car trips north and south back home were beautiful. Spring was bursting out the whole way: bluebonnets and paintbrush in Texas; redbud and fruit trees in bloom all along the way; wheat fields covered in that new, neon green; spindly-legged calves and colts among the herds of cattle and horses. Life renewing itself.

For some reason, a factoid I remember learning in paleontology popped into my head. If you take a sponge -- not the bright blue rectangle by the kitchen sink, but the simple sea animal -- and push it through a fine mesh screen, its cells, disassembled by passing through the screen, will re-assemble on the other side.
I am hoping my heart has the same ability as the sponge and will become whole again after all of this is over.

Monday, March 12, 2012

Rainy Sunday

We got quite a lot of rain on Sunday. In fact, we have gotten quite a lot of rain so far this year. The official rainfall total is 15.78 inches, normal is 7.84 inches! The really interesting thing is that last year it took until November to accumulate the amount of rain we have gotten so far this year! I think the drought may be over!

soggy azaleas

Luckily, I did not have to get outside for anything so I happily spent the day in my studio -- cutting, piecing, quilting, planning.

My Quilt Parts box is quite literally overflowing, in fact it is now two boxes! I cut Swoon block parts and lots of half-square triangles for another project I am playing with. At the beginning of the year, when I was making my to-do & to-finish lists, I neglected to include what I made for the MQG Habitat Challenge. I always intended for it to be the center of a medallion-style quilt, so I cut up & pieced some my bonus fat-eights (thanks Bry!) to add a few more borders.

pippa & parts

I quilted on one of the red brick donation quilts and did some quilting on my Shirts and Slacks quilt. I wish there was such a thing as a quilting Garmin -- "Turn right at the junction of the pink print and the blue solid" -- because somehow my layout of this thing is *really* complicated. Since I don't know of a quilting Garmin, I made a quilt map that is proving to be a lifesaver! I think I have made only 1 mistake so far! Yay!

quilting with a map

I also spent some time looking at books & thinking about the QuiltCon block challenge & juried exhibits. The colors for the block challenge are so fun! And the bonus is that the blocks will be used in a raffle quilt & as donation quilts for Austin Children's Shelter. And I aspire to have a quilt hanging at the first QuiltCon!

getting ideas

Monday, March 05, 2012

Plan B or Life Teaches Me a Lesson

At the beginning of last week, I had just completed and sandwiched my Shirts and Slacks quilt. I was hopeful that if I worked very (very) hard, I might, I just might, get it done in time to enter to possibly hang with the Modern Quilts at this year's Quilt Festival. I was coming home from work, would quilt for an hour, eat dinner, watch a little television, then quilt some more. I was going to have all day Friday for quilting, so there was a chance I could get it done.

 quilting the shirts & slacks

Then Life stepped in.

I was just using up my first spool of thread & changing it out for a new one (if you are doing detective work, this is a key bit of information). I threaded the machine, tapped the foot peddle to bring up the bobbin thread and -- nothing, nothing moved; I could feel a hum of the motor, but the needle didn't budge. I took out the hook, cleaned & oiled it, rethreaded the machine, turned it off, turned it on, tapped the peddle, and -- nothing. I was so disgusted, disappointed, depressed -- I even cried a little.

The next day I started doing research on sewing machine repair places & possible new sewing machines. I got out my cutting matt and began cutting. If I couldn't quilt, I might as well do something constructive & productive. I got out a bag of mixed reds that I brought home from the last HMQG work day. Do you remember me telling you of the mountain of fabric that Mabel St. Martin gave us? ("Mabel St. Martin" is how I've begun to refer to that nice woman who donated the 6 bags of fabric. If it sounds disrespectful, I don't at all mean it to be: "Mabel" was one of my Grandmother's name & "St. Martin" is the name of the church where the Guild meets.) Anyway, I had gathered about 30 different red fabrics to make a quilt (or quilts) for donation. One top is done now (pieced with the Featherweight) & I'm ready to lay out another.

 quilt of many reds

I finally decided to take my machine to the closest place. I've taken it there before & I am not in love with this place, but they are an authorized dealership & if there was a computer problem then I thought they would be the best to handle it.

I set the machine on the counter & the woman was beginning to write up the work order when she noticed that the little lever you flip to fill a bobbin was flipped -- you know, the one that disengages the needle. It is right up there near the thread spindle &, well, I guess I flipped it when I replaced the spool of thread. I was now disgusted, relieved and felt really, really silly. No repair needed, no new machine needed (though I am thinking about getting a non-computerized, deep-throated industrial machine for quilting).


Shug said my lesson from all this is that "things aren't always as bad as they seem". I thought that my lesson was for me to "get my priorities straight" & to quit trying "get above myself". Anyway, I guess I learned something, though I am not sure what just yet. "All's well that ends well" or something like that, right?