Friday, November 20, 2015

Secret Agent Spy Stuff

It's been deliciously quiet here, so I have been quiet on the blog. The days have been filled with the satisfyingly mundane chores of everyday life. Nothing to see here. Little things give me ridiculous pleasure, like having a clothes chute from the master bedroom to the basement laundry, but are hardly worth a blog post. (Well, except for this one, I guess.) My days are a lovely mix of quilting, knitting, spinning and cooking. I have finally embraced this gift of unregimented time, this sabbatical from the frantic pace of teaching/travel/publishing of the past decade or so.

The weather has been unseasonably warm, autumn has lingered well into winter. They are predicting some measurable snow for over the weekend, so I'll be hustling to get the last of the tulip and daffodil bulbs into the ground later today. I'm down to the last forty or so, which shouldn't take long. I've already planted nearly a hundred bulbs. This spring there will be color!

A Fine Romance did get put aside for a while. There are other things that I'd like to get cracking on, and there were a couple of deadlines to be met, for projects I can't show you. I've sent off a block to Quiltmaker for their 100 Blocks publication. I really like it and think it needs to be quilt, so I will be fussing around with layouts until I find one I must make.

I've also been messing about with some new machine quilting techniques. I can't show you that either just yet. I can tell you it's been the most fun I've had with my clothes on. After years of swearing that I'd never wear gloves for quilting (when will I learn that "never" usually means "next week"), I've discovered that gloves are just the thing for this new process.

I still hate having to take the gloves off to thread the needles or even work the touch screen on the sewing machine. Until someone makes quilting gloves with the special conducting fibers in the fingertips, I've solved the problem by cutting the tips from the thumb and index fingers on my right hand glove. It also serves up a bit of cooling. Since my inner child is playing with matches again, any cooling I can get is a good thing.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

What I did on my October vacation

October is a weird month for me. I love everything about autumn. It's been lovely to learn what colors the trees around us will become. On my street, autumn is golden. It's been amusing to see how neighbors deal with falling leaves. I'm not saying it's competitive lawn care, but I will say that I have a few meticulous neighbors. It's been a learning curve for we country bumpkins.

On the first Saturday, we met our son and his family in Milwaukee for a day at the zoo.He was in town to run a marathon. We had a delightful day with our grandchildren, right up to the point when my granddaughter sneezed right in my face. Well, it was still delightful afterward, but I knew what was coming. Sure enough, ten days later I'm out for the count. Children are adorable little germ bombs.

I was invited to offer a little demo of my applique technique during the day meeting of the Evergreen Quilt Guild here in Green Bay. These demos are supposed to be informal little snippets of tips and technique, offered up by members of the guild. Well, of course I went over the top. It's what I do. I made little kits and patterns for everyone. These things are tiny, and heaven knows I have the stash. But I love it when I can be the pied piper for applique. I'm pretty sure they now know that I'm a bit obsessive, but you know, if I'm going to do something, especially any kind of teaching, I just have to do my best.

This. This is freedom. I agonized, agonized, for a week about what to do with the leftover parts. I had bits and pieces of pumpkins and leaves and templates printed on Wash Away Applique Sheets just nagging at me. Perhaps a table runner, but no, I'd want to make the pumpkins larger. Maybe just a little candle mat, no, I'd want to add so much more to it. What I want is to be done with it. So there. The leftovers served their purpose, their job is done, time to go into retirement. Permanently. (Oh, wait. I don't think I've emptied the can yet. There is still time...) In case you want one of your own I've uploaded the pattern (free) to my Craftsy pattern store. LINK

So here's where October gets weird for me. I loathe Halloween. I pretty much hate everything about it. (Am I the only one?) It's become so gory, it seems to celebrate the evil and ugliness around us. I know, it's a thing, but I find myself hunkering down, closing in during the last week or so of October.

I will admit that I got a big kick out of handing out candy this year, something we haven't done in twenty years. The little ones are the best. Still, I'm relieved that November is here and we can celebrate our better natures in Thanksgiving and Christmas.