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?

Am I wrong?

This morning, I sat in a meeting from 8:30 AM until 12:15 PM, a succession of people from across the University making 20-minute presentations to a group of us, one after another. I came prepared with some hand quilting to keep me focused. However, one of my co-workers looked at me askance and said, "Are you really going to quilt while the President is talking?"

I thought nothing of it - when my hands are focused on quilting, my mind can zero in on what is being said. The same is true if I'm watching TV; without something for my hands to be doing, my mind often wanders (or shuts off and I start to snooze). But it made me wonder, was that rude of me? Would YOU bring handwork to a presentation, whether it be quilting or knitting or embroidery? Would you be offended if someone were doing handwork while you were giving a presentation? Inquiring minds want to know!

By the way, I got a block quilted on my 4th of July Tablerunner during the meeting - 3 blocks down, 2 blocks and the border to go. At this rate, it might actually be ready for next 4th of July! I'm not sure why I am quilting a tablerunner so heavily...

I also received some squishy mail earlier this week, some early birthday love from Char at Cloth Stitched - lovely fabric and a sweet handmade card. Thanks, Char!