Saturday, August 27, 2011

Challenge within a Challenge

I thought that finishing a quilt in 30 days, even a partially completed one, was a pretty big challenge. I was feeling pretty full of myself that I would take on this great feat, and publicly no less. But no, my friend throws in the mix, in the middle of the mix, a quilt in an afternoon challenge. And I still call her a friend.
Discussing Binding Tape
(very cool invention for quilter's doing crazy challenges)

I was sewing like the devil. My needle was flying. (cue music "Devil Went Down to Georgia" ) The lights were intense over the work stations. I was sewing, sewing. sewing.

(cut music: lights up.
Scene: family spaghetti dinner - discussion: American Political History
Cue elevator Musak - several bars of Girl from Ipanema)

(cut lights: back to sewing stations.
cue music: Devil Went Down to Georgia.)

Oh, it was grueling. But, I was up to the challenge. Filling bobbins, cleaning bobbin casings, letting the thread fly again through the needle. Oh the intensity of it all...

In the end, the devil won. I didn't do it. I wasn't able to construct a quilt in an afternoon. For that matter, I got up there at 1:30 p.m. or so and didn't leave until 10 p.m.-ish. I did get all the way to the binding, that got sewn on but needs adjusting (I kinda screwed up...). There's maybe 45 minutes of work left on the quilt. It's an hour drive home out of the mountains and lord knows the devil takes 'em when they's tired.

My machine is back on the table at home here, but still in the case. I don't want to open the case on an overheated sewing machine. Best to let it cool a bit...

Monday, August 22, 2011

7 Days Into this Challenge

I'm seven days into this challenge to finish Katie's quilt and I am already feeling the stretch. I have finished the blocks of gradient color. The rest of the blocks are all black. It should be a breeze, but there are 11 of them. That translates into 5 hours of sewing. I can only hope that because they are all black I can whip through these without thinking. Can I get this part done by Thursday night? I only have enough energy to go at this a couple hours a night on week nights.

If I could have this done by Thursday, these last few black only blocks, I would be able to lay out the combinations (on the floor for a visual) to find the blocks that I sewed in reverse last year and get them redone. I could be, quite possibly could be, piecing the quilt top together by this Saturday. Thursday is the first goal...I'm shooting to have all sixty blocks finished (round one) by Thursday.

Go Team!!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Getting Serious, or not

I starting taking apart the machine this morning. The sewing machine is skipping stitches again. I was going to have a sewing machine shipped out to me but it seems there is no Greyhound bus station in the little Wisconsin burg to drop the shipment off at. (Is that a dangling participle? Something is dangling...oops, back on track...) I did take a look at the machinery and all looks well. I will need another machine for the actual quilting, the stuff that shows (I'm not a handstitch quilter). I have one more person to go to nearby to borrow from. I'm waiting until I get to that point of quilting before I borrow. This machine will get all the piecing done, the top of the quilt and the back of the quilt can all be done with this machine. I put it all back together this morning and got one more block put together. Every bit helps.

Yesterday I pulled together several block AND watched the football game. No need to deny myself the best of entertainment, especially with friends. I've had a good week in general. I guess I just feel better when I have a project, an active interest. It seems when I'm not working on this quilt my mind falls into rollercoaster mode. I find myself laughing out loud at the innuendo my brain comes up with. I might be crazy, but at least I find myself entertaining.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Help is on the Way

I was talking with one of my bus buddies this week about The Big Challenge to finish the quilt in 30 days and that I was rolling through thread as fast as it unwinds (which is the truth). Today as she slid into the seat next to me she handed me a bag of six partially used spools of thread. According to my bus buddy the spools of thread have been sitting around taking up space at her house and every time she needs thread she ends up buying a new one anyway.

Which all just goes to show (again) that no matter what the project, the need, the want, the ideal - when one puts one's mind to something, puts one's mind to task, help arrives. Help you didn't even think to ask for arrives. Set your mind on the final, wonderful outcome and the path becomes paved just before you. (And if the path feels cluttered and full of issues, then you know there's things to deal with before the end result can be fully enjoyed. Eh.)

I'll be sewing this weekend.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Road Block or Marathon

This morning I was called a "Hussy". That got me laughing straight out of the gate. It seems my bus buddy saw me waving unabashedly, she says, to her bus driver yesterday. Well yeah, he's my favorite bus driver (even if they all are my favorite bus driver). That bus driver waited while I ran for the bus last summer, repeatedly. That bus driver let me know what the Metro Fitness Program really was. When the drivers change routes as they are required to at regular intervals, he was off to another bus. I make sure I am on time for this new driver. He doesn't smile the same, but he does wave to me when I get off the bus downtown. He's my new favorite, but in a different way. I guess I'm depends on who's driving.

For the quilting 30 Day Challenge, I didn't sew anything last night. But I did get the last of the black strips cut to size. I have black flannel to cut and add in as well. Sparingly, as accent, not seen but tactile. Last night was prep work for tomorrow.

Thing One has invited me to a Mad Men Marathon night tonight. We just bought Season 4 of Mad Men and we want to get caught up before Season 5 starts back up on television. I don't think she plans on my sewing. I'd rather spend the time with her than slaving over anything. Thing One knows of my 30 Day Challenge. She better not throw any more roadblocks up for me...even if this hardly counts as a road block.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Day 3 of the Great Quilting Challenge

I wonder that today's photo looks like yesterday's photo. It's different.

There's another finished quilt block on the stack.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Got me in Stitches *Edited*

**EDIT** The photo is of the stack of completed quilt blocks for Katie's Quilt Project.

I guess I didn't know I was as far along as I am. Of the sixty blocks necessary for this quilt I only have ten more to complete before I can start combining them. I know last summer when I laid the blocks out on my living room floor that three of them were "twisting" in the opposite direction as the others. Those three will have to be resewn. I just don't know which three they were.

Yesterday I wound the last of the black thread onto the bobbin (the pick-up thread). The last block of the evening is sewn in brown and black. Nice way to use up brown thread I've had around for ages. A spool of thread goes for around $4 these days. It's gonna take at least three more to finish this project. I know...big money.

Monday, August 15, 2011

The Before Photos

The challenge begins today. I promised myself I would start on August 15, and that within 30 days I would have Katie's Quilt finished. Yesterday I took the table cloth off the dining table. I cleared the area of the other half-baked projects, old mail, expired coupons, and last weeks wilting flowers. Last night I replaced two lightbulbs in the ceiling fixture. (we go through a lot of lightbulbs around here). This morning I opened the banker's box that holds all of The Project that is Katie's Quilt and laid out the parts and pieces. I think...we are ready for a thirty day push to the finish line. In real-time I should be posting finished quilt photos on September 13.

Finished (adjective); completed or perfected in all details. Quilted, bound and delivered.

A quick recap here - I started this quilt the spring Katie (otherwise known as Thing One) graduated high school. I take that back, I start this quilt that previous fall making the pattern. Kate chose a quilt that did not include a pattern with the photo in the book.

Let's see that was...2007(?). The quilt was supposed to be done and presented to her upon her high school graduation in 2008. She upheld her end and graduated. Me, well, I must be on the short bus. I'm a little slow.

The pattern is rather involved, maybe even confusing at times. As my defense to keep things straight I constructed the quilt in miniature using paper. I came up with this paper model to keep me on track. The style of quilt block is a Twisted Log Cabin. Kate chose the Equilateral Triangle. Under the kitchen counter, here, is the pattern (you see it as it is today, after several years of referring to it.)

I think we should consider these the "Before" photos. Even if they are really the "Mid-Way" photos. When I'm done posting here on the computer I will be sewing. As I type this right now, I have a marked feeling of procrastination.

I expect to be posting updates daily. There's only 29 to go.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

I still have a lot

My apartment is looking a little more like the atelier that I meant it to be. The sewing machine is out. AND running again. I'm so clever. I fixed it myself. Okay...I cleaned it myself. It runs fine. At least it is this evening. I'm hoping this weekend to sleep in the sun during the day and stay up all night sewing Katie's quilt. I am challenging myself to have her quilt completed, really totally completed by September 15. Boxes of sewing material, supplies, and projects have been moved back into the main room of my apartment. I think I would like an open face cupboard to put all these goodies into...something that allows me to see what I have rather than dig for what I have. For all I gave away before I moved, I still have a lot.

I came across an interesting post in one of my regular blog feeds. The author asked what would each of his readers do if they found themselves in a position that they needed to make $300 to $500 in a month. There must be over 200 comments to his question. You can read for yourself. Oh, and this guy is interesting. World Domination is possible, acceptable and profitable. Anyway the post is here...

The whole idea got me thinking. And just as I'm reading his commentors' comments I found myself making notes, and then making them mine. I have an entire page of things I am willing to do, and excited that these ideas would bring in some extra cash. Yes, everything has an element of risk. And an element of success. Yes, there's the sell my extra stuff idea, and the consignment store stuff. And yeah, I remember looking at craigslist "gigs" section before I got my job and finding a few options for day jobs that were damned interesting and worth $50 to boot. Of the seventeen ideas I came up with, if I give one idea at a time a whole week to work on, I'm bound to find something that will help me stay solidly funded and be something I enjoy doing as well.

In the meantime, work is good. I get a couple hours of overtime per pay period. My push to get my finances in shape has paid off as I'm living within my means enough to start paying back the family loan I felt the need to take out a couple months ago. On a side note: Damn, it takes a long time for checks to go through the bank - I can say that with some recent knowledge as I was living without a debit card for two weeks...that was interesting. Found the missing one just as the replacement showed up in the mail. Typical.

Life is good. I have what I want. I want what I have. And the extra, well I'm not attached to it. Hmmm.

I would like it better if..

I would like it better if really tall men would keep their nose hair trimmed.

Just saying that if I have to look up at you to get your attention so you don't step on me, the little pip squeak that I am, it'd be nice if I were greeted without the tufts of hair fanning out your nose as if a feather duster is resting in there. Quite the surprise for me.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Maybe just a list today

I've started a couple entries now and somehow nothing is of any particular interest; to me at any rate.

An overview of all I've written and deleted would read:

*Quit smoking, again. Thank you goes to a good friend that blew through town in July. Face and complexion are clearing. Smile is genuine.
*Mom's surgery went well. She is wondering why I get so worked up. I'm wondering why parents don't behave.
*Work is going well. I truly have no complaints. None. I think I should have complaints. That is my only complaint.
*Financially I'm still on track. (I am surprised to be spending so much on food & groceries. I mean, like, twice what I think I "should" spend on keeping myself fed. Will work to bring that down.) Still, I spent less than I made and I sent that off to pay down my loan from May. It is now a source of pride to be taking care of that.
*Football season is back on.
*Life is good.

* Oh and - I really like Gore Vidal's Lincoln. Chatty, opinionated characters, gossipy. It's a delightful read (so far). Did it have to be such a fat book? It lifts like a doorstop.