Wednesday, September 14, 2011


"It's 'bout as bad as it could be
Seems everybody's buggin' me
Like nothing wants to go my way -- Yeah, it just ain't been my day
Nothin's comin' easily.

Even my skin is acting weird
I wish that I could grow a beard
Then I could cover up my spots
not play connect the dots
I just wanna disappear

Can only go up from here
where the clouds gonna clear
There's no way but up from here...."

Shania Twain lyrics.

I really like that song as there are a lot of days I can echo the sentiments. 2011 has been a whirlwind of a year (and we're only 3/4 of the way done!) Many times I've had to hold on to hope just to make it through the day. My best laid plans didn't always materialize ....

For example, this little quilt that I now call "Up!" was suppose to be called "Class of '37"

I designed it back in January using AccuQuilt's Block of the Month patterns and with the setting design inspired from Circle of Nine, a book I picked up at the Houston International Quilt Festival last year. The idea was two-fold. One to teach a piecing class using the Go!Cutter and two, to teach longarm design elements.

Okay? You still don't understand the Class of '37 do you? See, I was going to divide up the outer borders into quadrants as well as the inner borders...if you counted all the opportunities for designs (sashings, blocks, borders) it added up to 37...I see said the blind man.

Teachable moments!

But sometimes the best laid plans just don't work out as intended. Due to my studio redo and being displaced for so long the quilt top didn't get pieced until my birthday in July.

But that was okay, because it then doubled as my annual birthday quilt. Since 2004 I've made a quilt on or near my birthday. With the exception of my 47th year, that one carried over into my 49th year and is still waiting to be quilted. But! I made two last year for my 50th, so I still can say I've made 8 birthday quilts (grin).

The fun thing about procrastination is that I learned something new prior to piecing and quilting this little fun quilt. The Rose of Sharon block was cut out my with Go!Cutter (as was the entire quilt) and based on a block from Sharon Pederson's book The Rose of Sharon Block Book.

I'm not an appliquer so this was a bit of a challenge. It was made easier by putting double sided fusible on the back of the fabric prior to cutting and then I simply ironed it on my background fabric.

That's as far as I had gotten. Had no idea how to go around it. Would I do it on my domestic sewing machine? Clueless.

Well, on my birthday the Island Quilter's Guild holds an annual sew in - they don't just do it for me on my birthday (grin) but it always falls then because my birthday is in the third week of July and that's the time of the event! No better place to learn something new than at a guild sew in. With a little help of my friends I learned a new term "appli-quilt" and I decided to be brave and do it on the longarm because I am much more comfortable with my longarm than my home sewing machine. So instead of going around the parts and pieces during the piecing process I simply waited and did it all when it was on the frame - thereby securing the parts as well as quilting them all in one process!

Okay, so back to my original use this quilt as a teaching sample. The pressure was on. I'd been displaced so long out of my studio that I was guilt ridden to do this sampler when I knew I had customer quilts to do.... but my A1 reunion was fast approaching and I'd promised my A1 family a "class of '37"

Quilting is hard on the body, let me tell you. I've got multiple chiropractor receipts to prove it! There's been years that I have totally blown out parts of my body that have shut me down from quilting...some is due to the repetitive motion and some is due to stress....sad to say, stress has hit me big time this year (many many contractor woes that I haven't shared) and I've been physically suffering (trying to do it silently, but lately I've been a whiner).

So between physically hurting and my deadline fast approaching, parts of the quilt didn't get finished...namely the inner borders. So much for 37 design elements. Sigh. But the reunion went on and the quilt has sat unfinished for over a month.

Opportunity knocks sometimes at the most inconvenient times. My guild holds an annual show in conjunction with the Galveston Historical Foundation. I've always tried to have a quilt in the show but for the past couple of years haven't....I wanted this little quilt finished and hanging in this years show - well, it's an exhibit actually...runs from Oct 10-Jan 6 in the 1861 US Custom House on 20th Street.

Problem....crippling pain in the neck and left shoulder that radiates pain all the way down to my finger tips. Multiple chiropractor visits (wish I could trade quilting for their services! Ouch! in more ways than one). Instructions to take it easy, no heavy lifting, light quilting (or no quilting) while things heal...UGH!

But the quilt needed to be finished! All I had was the inner borders, 4 sets of 3 little parts....alas, my brain was somehow fried too and I couldn't come up with a dozen new border designs...
Instead I did what I love to do best, and that's feathers....and I repeated them instead of multiple designs. Fire me.

It's almost finished. I still need to do the binding and a hanging sleeve before the deadline in October. A little here, a little there. It will get done. I work a few hours a day playing catch up on my customer quilts and one of those days I'll work for me. Recovery is slow from injuries and I'm not the most patient of women. I've tried not to whine, at least publicly, my closest friends are probably VERY tired of my comments...can I help it if I have a low pain tolerance (grin)

As I was gathering the photos to put on webshots of all the close ups I noticed this close favorite feathers and notice -- they are pointing UP!

Shania's song is fun and upbeat, but my true "upness" comes from the love of my friends and family and the promise that no matter what my Jesus is always faithful to me even when my faith isn't strong....He is my healer, and even though this seems like the long way home He is faithful and I'm trusting Him to work things for my good.

So here's all the close ups of UP! or "Class of '37 minus 9" (grin).

1 comment:

Susie Q said...

Gorgeous...and quite the story. Just getting my own sewing room settled. Apparently my 'sewing buddy' likes to be under the bed instead of on top of it where I can talk to him.

It's lovely and the trials and tribulations are helpful to the rest of us who think your quilting goes perfectly all the time :D
PS: LOL! My verification word is 'sobses' as in Hobbits sobses when Precious is gone :D