Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Sorry. This post's title -- Nonplussed -- doesn't really fit. The dictionary says the word means confused or surprised. Although a second, informal North American definition is given as unperturbed, not bothered. (I suspect, by "North American", they do not really mean to include Canadians & Mexicans. It seems a uniquely United States of American thing to do -- take a word & through mass misuse, change it's meaning to nearly the opposite of its definition.)
Anyway, enough semantics.

I just wanted to update you on my Christmas + quilts.

One niece quilt is almost done, quilted & nearly all bound. I'm close to finishing the quilting on the one for my brother & the blocks for the other niece quilt are over half made. My quilt's status remains at the first 4 blocks I made. I suspect it would be a big mistake, but I'm kind of tired of + blocks & am thinking of putting them aside for a while, not finishing it with the group. Historically, this sort of behavior has meant that this is the quilt that does not get finished. So -- big sigh -- I will keep the parts at hand & will continue to plug away at them.

Come to think of it, maybe you are nonplussed -- maybe I am, too!

Monday, July 14, 2014


I first saw Emma Jean Jansen's fabric line, Terra Australis, on Instagram -- it was love at first sight!
The dots! The stripes! The eucalyptus! The colo(u)rs! The KANGAROOS!

Then, my friend, QuiltingCyclist, had a 'log' (aka, bundle of 2.5 inch strips) at the HMQG retreat. I was eager to see the line in person. She started something fun with it at retreat & made some sly & oblique comments about how I might get some soon. That weekend, I got on Etsy, found a seller who had a Terra Australis log, put it in my cart, but did not Proceed To Checkout. The following week, a mysterious, squishy package arrived in the mail -- funny, I didn't remember ordering anything. I opened the package & found Terra Australis! *Very* funny -- had I accidentally ordered this? Then I found the note: "Enjoy! From your Friend!"

{Big Hug}, QuiltingCyclist! I *will* enjoy! Thank you so much!!!

So what to do with this fun fabric? In my Idea Book, I have lots of sketches of things to do with 2.5 inch strips. But I wanted to use this line to its fullest advantage, so maybe following a pattern -- something I don't often do, something I'm not very good at -- might be a smart way to go. This way I'll know how much fabric I will use & how big my finished quilt will be. A new book provided the path:  Strip Savvy by Kate Henderson has a simple, strippy block that can set together in a variety of ways.

I chose a pale gray as my background. My choice is, well, interesting -- it is nearly the same value of some of the prints, darker than some, lighter than others. Hmmmmm, I am eager to see how this develops.

Machine No. 10

I don't really think of myself as Sewing Machine Collector, but there must be a threshold when casual accumulation becomes obsession.

For many years, I had just the one machine, my Bernina. Then I was gifted with not one, but two Singer Featherweights by my French friend. The first one proved a lifesaver when my Bernina was in the shop, making me see the wisdom of having at least 2 machines. I inherited my Mother's & Grandmother's cabinet machines -- Mom's, a Kenmore from 1949 or 1950, is the machine I learned to sew on; Grandma's is a treadle machine, a Ben Hur, that hasn't worked in decades because the belt is broken -- both are more sentimental than functional. I got the hand-crank Singer for power-outage sewing. The Brother machine has a deep throat-space & lots of power; I got him because I was quilting more & larger quilts. My Singer 66 Lotus is an Art Object -- I haven't sewn with her, she should be on display. I was casually looking at machines on eBay & saw the pale green White. I liked her because she was pretty & after a tune-up, she's a joy to sew with.
  • 1 machine, a deliberate & considered purchase that I've never regretted
  • 4 machines, gifted or inherited, I think of them as passive acquisitions
  • 2 machines, acquired to fill a need,
  • 2 machines, acquired merely because they are pretty
  • Total: 9 machines
I had been seeing old Kenmores & Whites on Flickr that had the same rough texture & dark colors as Mom's & was just, well, curious, about what I might see on eBay. I saw one like hers only in a reddish-brown color & a portable -- though at 30 pounds it's not really all that "portable". Offered at a good price & with free shipping -- a few days later Machine Number Ten arrived at my house.

I'm officially in the "like another hole in the head" zone with my sewing machines. For no good reason, I still hanker for a blue & white Morse -- they look like a 57 Chevy, 2-toned & chrome-y -- & a pink International. I had thought I should stop at 9, a perfect square. Now I have 10, a nice base number. But maybe I should try for 11, a prime number? A friend suggested 13, a baker's dozen -- & another prime number!

Mathematicians? Numerologists? Financial counselors? Suggestions?