May 28, 2007

Mom's Quilt

The quilt survived the wash without mishap - a huge relief to me. So today, Mom's birthday, my sister and I met up at my Mom's house and I gave it to her. She loved it, and I am thrilled with it. All the muttering and cursing is forgotten, and I look back and say it was worth it. Labors of love aren't supposed to be easy.

I bought the fabric to make what turned in to this quilt years ago, after reading about flannel quilts and deciding that's what I wanted to try. I designed it for myself - these colors and a third fabric of striped fall colors on gold. It was going to be alternating pinwheels. I forget exactly what I had in mind. The fabric was cut and I was well started on the half triangles when my Mom got sick. It was huge, scary and she felt pretty crummy. The quilt became for her.

My progress was slow, though. My sewing machine didn't have a permanent home and I would work on the quilt for a few days, but then put away my machine to have use of the table. It would take awhile to get it back out. In the meantime, I'm getting settled in to working and life is in pretty constant turmoil. Finally, though, I finished all those triangles. Only I was a new quilter, so I hadn't made any test blocks. After sewing all those half triangles, I put the first of my pinwheels together. I hated it. With a passion. It was so ugly. So, I pulled the pinwheels apart and regrouped. The striped fabric triangles were set aside, and the remainder was moved around in to this setting.

Except then we were engaged, and I moved in with Alex. We were two couples in a two bedroom house, and my sewing machine most definitely couldn't be sitting out regularly. So, more months passed. Life settled out and I eventually had my machine, and a wedding to plan. Finally, though, I had the squares and I'd made more half triangles to add some squares for a better size. I didn't have quite enough, though, and it was now years after buying the fabric. I wasn't likely to find more. Plus, I wanted something to cool it down a little. That's alot of red and green.

So, the center square was born.

There wasn't any debate I knew right away what to do, and when I told my sister she immediately agreed. A favorite family photo of my sister and I on the day she was born. What else? The embroidery played on the leaves in the flannel and it all went together just right. It was done. Well, the top was done. Next came the hand quilting. Gwen really liked this stage of the process. Every time the quilt was out she was on or under it, and I started warning her routinely that this quilt was not hers. But her Grandma would share.

I was cruising right along, despite the wedding planning, and had planned to have this for Mom at Christmas. Except flannel slips, and the sandwich had slipped while I moved it around quilting, despite the basting. Right before the wedding, I realized that I couldn't finish quilting the final side unless I added a little to the backing; it didn't reach. Only a little, but this is a place where a little counts. However, there was no way it was happening in all the chaos immediately before and after the wedding. So, it sat there. I thought I'd still get it done before Christmas, but I didn't feel good and I figured after spending years on this quilt it would be silly to mess it up now. I finally took care of it in February or March and finished the hand quilting almost immediately. And then I put off the binding, and as you know that led to this weekend, muttered curses and cramping hands. But, it's done. And I love it. And she loves it.

And that makes it all worth it.

May 27, 2007

The Argument

This quilt and I have had quite the row this weekend. Over this binding, specifically. The quilt was all but done, nothing but the binding left to do at the beginning of the weekend. Easy money, right? Wrong! The first time I put the binding on, the entire sandwich wasn't caught for about half the quilt. Flannel likes to slip, and slip it did. So, I had to break out the seam ripper, and it was no easier getting that long seam out than getting it in. Once I did that, I had to fight the darn thing through my sewing machine again. Because, though flannel likes to slip, three layers of flannel does not like to go through my machine. And, after all that, I still had to hand sew down the back of the binding. My left hand is one giant cramp from holding it down and my right fingers are very sore. (It might be time to learn how to use a thimble.) But, I prevailed and the quilt is bound.

This quilt is a gift and, despite still being mad at it, I am really pleased with how it came out. The only thing is, the whole idea of a flannel quilt is to wash it when it's done. It gives it a lovely, warm, lived in look. But, its very hard to put it in the washer when you've spent at least two years (don't ask) and tons of frustrated muttering on a quilt. When you know some of your seams are really crappy and that flannel likes to fray, and you've just spent two days on the friggin' binding for chrissake. Only, its partially white flannel, and it needs to be washed. It'll certainly need to be washed in the future. You'd sure rather it was messed up when you washed it than the recipient. So...

It's in the washer. On delicate. I'm holding my breath. And reminding myself over and over again of my contingency plan of appliqued leaves to cover any places that it just won't hold together. If it does hold together, it will be given to its recipient tomorrow. And you'll get to see a picture. If it doesn't...well it'll be a few more weeks before you see any more of it.
Posted by Picasa

May 24, 2007

What just happened here?

I have never been one to spend endless hours on the internet. Lots of hours, yes. But not endless ones. I jump on and read a blog or two, look up something, load photos, sometimes even write, but I do not spend an evening on the computer. There's always something else I want to do more, and I figure its in part because I spend so much time on the computer for work. So. Much. Time.

But tonight? I got home around 7:30 and sat down to write an email. (After walking the dog, don't worry.) I expected Alex to come home soon, so I putzed around to kill time without getting involved in anything. When he called at 8:30, I was still on the computer. He was very awake and ready to go continue socializing. I... wasn't. In an act of self- and marriage-preservation, I sent him off to meet up with friends while I lazed about. Now that I knew I'd be on my own for dinner, I got up from the computer and fried an egg.

And then I came back up here to sew. But, I sat down at the computer instead. (What the heck?) I've now been home almost three hours, and on the computer almost all of that time. I don't think I spent this much time on the internet when I was planning our wedding and had a million things to research. So weird. And, of course, I come over here to write about rather than just getting off the darned computer already. But, I'm going to do that now, because I really do have better things to do. Like sleep.

May 22, 2007

A Good Ole Fashioned Butt Kickin'

I had a dream, bordering on a nightmare, about work last night. And after waking up from it? Two full hours before I could get back to sleep. Two. Full. Hours. I turned on Harry Potter; I counted backwards from 100 - repeatedly. Yeah. When that happens, I'm letting my anxiety build up too much. And there really wasn't anything to stress over, other than sheer volume.

So, today I made myself go to the YMCA. No excuses, though I offered up plenty to myself, I was going to the Y and taking the water fitness class. I've been wanting to try it, and I needed a class so that I couldn't wimp out after 20 minutes and decide I was just too tired. So, Deep End Water Fitness class it was. Me, one lady who was probably in her late 40s/early 50s and a bunch of older ladies. They kicked my butt. They did these exercises effortlessly, heads above water and carrying on conversations the whole time. Me? I bobbed around trying to keep my head up and figure out what I was doing. And yes, I did wear the buoyancy belt. Though, in my defense, it refused to stay around my waist and kept sliding up to my armpits. So, it wasn't much help keeping my mouth out of the water. That said - I still know those ladies showed me up. And badly.

I really enjoyed it, though. It was a great work out with no joint impact. And I could feel the muscles just stretching out as I went. I will be going back. And before I do, I order a buoyancy belt that will fit.

May 15, 2007

Sock Woes

How quickly love fades. The sock is no longer soothing or fortifying. I kept looking at it after taking that photo yesterday and thinking that it just doesn't look right. The proportions are wrong somehow. But, I held the completed sock up to this sock to check the ribbing when I finished, and it was right on. And then I carefully turned the heel, ripping it halfway back once when I ended up with the wrong number of stitches. What could be wrong?

But, something was. I decided I better figure out what was going on before I worked anymore. So, I sat down with both socks and the pattern... I found the problem. I'm an idiot who can't read directions. Go figure. Yeah, so, it turns out I forgot to work the 1 1/2 inches of plain stockinette after the ribbing. Before the heel. Let that sink in a minute. The mistake was all the way back before the heel. That means that last night I ripped back all those rounds of stockinette on the arch and the heel. The heel it took me two tries to get right in the first place. What the heck? I didn't have all this trouble on the first sock. Did I get too cocky? Was that it? I'm no longer afraid of knitting socks and so its teaching me a lesson?

Whatever the answers to those questions, I now have a barely started sock rather than an almost completed one. 2 1/2 inches of ribbing and the two rounds of stockinette I've gotten done so far... No heel. No discernable progress. I'm basically knitting this sock twice. Sigh. It's so depressing I couldn't even stand to take a picture of it to show you. But, I'm still carrying it around with me, so it's not yet consigned to the UFOs bag. It is an easily portable way of killing time while sitting around.

May 14, 2007

Round and Round We Go

I've gotten in the habit of carrying my sock with me everywhere, so that's what's been getting done. I've completed the ribbing and turned the
heel, so for the next several inches its just round after round of stockinette. It would be mind-numbing, except that its a relief to have something to do while sitting in the doctor's waiting room or really anywhere that I have to wait. Recently, I've even been knitting on it alot at night. It's soothing, to go around and around, watching it grow. Besides, it's the second sock. I'm getting pretty darn close to having knit a pair. I always get more focused towards the end of a project.

In other news, it must be getting close to summer. I broke out the juicer for the first time since last fall. (Why is it that juicing is such a summer thing for me? There are great fruits for juicing in the winter, and I live in Florida for goodness sake.) My first glass of fresh juice tasted yummy and... fortifying. It always seems so healthy, even though its probably not all that different from the bottled juices. Anyway, here it is. Three carrots, two apples and a splash of lemon juice. Mmm Mmm good. I'll be making more of this in the coming weeks. I might even make more tonight!

I'll need fortifying. The laundry has really piled up. I have a pile to fold, a dryer full, a washer full and two more piles on the floor. Sigh. How do two people make so much laundry?

May 11, 2007

An Argyle God

I'm not sure I've ever heard or read a more beautiful vision of God than this view of God in an Argyle Sweater. Grace in a crisis - always a powerful thing.

Heaven Help Them

I am a danger to myself and others.

My boss is out the second half of this week, and I'm supposed to be holding down the fort. This morning the radio alarm had been on for a full hour before Alex reached over and shook me awake. I hadn't snoozed it; I simply hadn't heard it, for no apparent reason. By that time, I was supposed to be pretty much out the door. So I jumped up, got ready and ran out to be only a little late for work. No coffee. Which was probably the big mistake.

I got to work and realized I don't have my purse. Or the camera that I was supposed to bring because we need it today. So, I go back home to get them.

On the way back to the office, I decide the crowds will have died down, and I should stop for a bagel and coffee. I've taken a pain pill, and I really shouldn't do that on an empty stomach. At this point, I'm so late starting my day that it really doesn't matter. I safely get my breakfast, merge back in to traffic and almost make it back to the office. And then I spill coffee all down my front. I'm definitely not going back home, so here I am - sitting at my desk with large brown stains on my white (naturally) shirt.

My assistant hands me an urgent message slip, and I get up to check with one of the other attorneys about it. In the hall, I meet someone else I supervise and give him some paperwork and directions I've been holding until I see him. In the three minutes or so that I am doing that, I lay down the message slip and lose it. I can not find it. Anywhere. I even check the trash.

Luckily, I remember the name, but then I can't find that persons contact information in our database. I am starting to get really worried when I suddenly realize that the message slip was from one of those message books. So, there's a carbon copy of the message sitting on my assistants desk. Duh.

And, I'm supposed to be holding down the fort and handling all emergencies. Ha!

May 03, 2007

Come again?

Uh... I think they missed the point. (And this was a SUV, ladies and gentlemen.)
Posted by Picasa

May 01, 2007

Crafting with Stolen Moments

We've had a busy few weeks. But, weekend before last I took some time at my sewing machine anyway. For a change. I've been wanting to make myself an apron. Not that I use the one I have very often, but I do use it and I wanted a cute one.

Bumble bees! And a pocket! Does it get cuter?

Whoa - reversible... This side is more like a sewing, gardening, housework apron - with a divided long pocket. Look at me go! (Now if only I could get motivated to put the binding on that quilt...)

And then I poked around in my garden and realized my bell pepper bush is finally producing. Lots. Like dozens of these little peppers all over a fairly small plant, all things considered. Luckily I love bell peppers, 'cause it looks like we'll have a bunch of them.

After a week lost to work craziness and a sinus infection, we took a quick (as in just over 24 hours) trip down to south Florida for my father-in-law's birthday last weekend. A good time was had by all, but I'll post about it later. My lunch break is already over, and I need to get a move on.