Wednesday, September 8, 2010

My Free Motion Quilting journey has begun!

Last night was a rare night with nothing planned - no karate, no Cub Scouts, no drive-in movie, no errands to run, nothing! Ah, bliss! I used this chunk of time to head down to the sewing studio and do my practice stitching for Christina's Quilt-along at A Few Scraps.

First, let me say, wow! How different it is to sew with the feeddogs down! I felt like the material moved around all willy nilly, and I can't imagine I could ever sew a straight line without the dogs. But, I followed along with her instructions (well, as much as I ever exactly follow anyone's instructions), and did some straight lines, some zigzags and some loop-de-loops. Then, like she said, I turned it over to check out the back, and learned a little about tension. I've never adjusted my tension before, but I did for this project because there were some thread loops on the back of my loop-de-loops.

To see if I had fixed the problem, I tried some more curves, this time some hearts on a vine, at least that's what I'm calling it. Never mind that they are all different shapes and sizes and have some pretty harsh lines for hearts...

It was fun, but pretty challenging. I can tell I'm going to need lots of practice. And honestly, I'm not even sure what the stitches are supposed to look like. I guess we'll learn. I think/hope the first lesson will be posted on Friday.

When I emerged from my sewing room to rejoin the family, my bliss was shattered. My eldest had stopped up one of the toilets with his non-fruit or veggie-eating offering to the toilet gods. Out came the industrial snake. The only good news from that encounter is that it will be my husband's turn to deal with it next time he stops up the toilet.

Then, when I went up to put the boys to bed, I discovered that my artistic younger son had decorated the sink in yet another bathroom with 5 striped Aquafresh toothpaste "slugs". (They were actually kinda neat looking, but don't tell him I said that.) I grabbed some toilet tissue to wipe up the mess, but when I went to throw it in their trashcan, I noticed the bottom of the trashcan was covered with about 2" of liquid. As I leaned down to investigate, the smell hit me - URINE! What the @#&*! Who thinks to do stuff like that? Five year old boys, that's who.

I was proud of myself for not flipping my lid. I calmly walked downstairs to inform my husband of how lucky he was that I continued to stick around to deal with his NASTY children, then went back upstairs to explain to the boys that when they make extra work for me, not only does it put me in a bad mood, but it means less time that I get to spend hanging out with them and having fun.

So, at the end of the night, all my bathrooms were clean, at least. Once I got started I figured I might as well keep going. But I was shaking my head the whole time. I certainly didn't do stuff like that as a kid. I was an angel. I mean, really, look at me:

(Just don't ask which one is me, because I have no idea)

Whichever one of these cuties isn't me is my twin sister, Ericka. I found out yesterday that she is coming to an event held at my University later this month ON OUR BIRTHDAY! How awesome is that?


Becky said...

Ah yes, boys are a handful! You and Ericka are just so cute! It sounds like you will have a wonderful birthday with your twin! When is your birthday, anyway??!!

Cheryl Willis said...

I use to babysit a kid that made offerings that were from another planet. Had to teach him to poop- flush- whip and then flush again. That boy would use 1/2 a roll trying to cover his gift before he sent it on its way.
happy b-day!

quiltfool said...

OK, first, ewww! That post makes me glad Sydney was 9 when we got her. Second, welcome on the journey. There will be days when you'll wish you'd never started. Remember, charities don't care if the quilting looks good, so they are great beneficiaries of our mistakes and if you mess it up too bad for charity, toss it and start something new. Lane

traceyjay said...

holy cuteness!?! You and your sister are adorable!

I need to learn some more free motion quilting techniques. I think you're look great for a first shot!

Happy almost Birthday!

Barb H said...

With a little practice, you'll be a master of FMQ. I know you will. As for your boys, Yikes! I had to laugh at Cheryl's comment--I hope she meant to write "wipe" instead of "whip"--Freudian slip maybe? Happy B Day Erin--enjoy every minute.

Stray Stitches said...

Your machine quilting looks good! As for boys, I think some girls are just as devious - I know I had one - lol - and she getting paid back because she has two little boys!

Rhoda said...

There are those days when you just want to strangle your adorable offspring! I'm glad your bathrooms are clean, and you started on your free motion adventure! It doesn't take long to get the hang of it - you're already doing great. That's such a cute picture of you and your twin!

bernie said...

What a funny story - I know it wasn't funny to you at the time, but beleive me you will laugh about it when they are older.:) The picture of you and your twin is so cute. I am glad you are joining in on the quilt along. I think your first time efforts look great. You are a wonderful hand quilter, I wish I could do handwork. I am hoping to be able to at least learn to do some of my tops myself by machine. Bernie

Quilting in My Pyjamas said...

That cant be the first shot you've had at FM. It's fabulous.

Mine looks like a spider got drunk on vodka and just staggered all over the place.

I read your "what my kids got up to" story to Mr. P - he is booking in for a vasectomy forthwith. It made me laugh - the story - not the appointment he made.

Char said...

Boys can be pretty bad but I'm sure my daughter is just as bad.
I think your fmq looks great. You should see what mine looked like. Yikes!!
Enjoy your birthday.

The Cozy Quilter said...

I was laughing at your "pee in the garbage pail" story. Good thing the garbage pail was not leaky! I had a friend a long time ago who had a new baby. Her 2 1/2 year old was so angry at not being the baby in the family any more that she pooped in one of the heating vents and replaced the vent cover. The house smelled like poop for a few days until Mom found it. She was not amused!

Kim said...

When learning a new skill doesn't it give you a strong appreciation for those quilters that do it so well.
My longarm quilter does some amazing quilting on my quilts and she keeps telling me..." its just practice".
So keep at it Erin :0).

You and Ericka should take another picture like the this one and hang them side by side.... too cute.