Monday, May 20, 2013

I’ve been busy.

 May 1st I had a bit of a shock when I found my hours had been drastically reduced, but I took a deep breath and said, “this could be a good thing”!  Within a few hours I had convinced myself it was going to be a very good thing indeed, and was full steam ahead with plans on how to live a new lifestyle, including different ways to make money.  May 2nd I got a phone call saying, “here, take most of these hours back” and my mood plummeted for a while.  I might add all of these hours are night shift and after 3 years or so of this I am not adapting real well yet.  I’m fatter and weaker and less sharp and way less social, which is to say not at all.  But the alternative income is like the sound of a bird in the bush, and the night shift hours are a bird in the hand, so to pay the mortgage and electric…..

ANYWAY, I’ve been soothing myself with two needle crafts that I’d laid aside for quite some time.  At work, I’ve been doing hand embroidery.  It’s pre-stamped on pillowcases and not requiring any real creative input from me, but it’s something I haven’t done since the 1970’s.  I really really like doing it, and can foresee more stitching in my future.  I’m doing these for me and that makes me glad, I haven’t made myself anything in a long time.

At home, I got busy on the two crib quilts that got shoved to the back burner for a year.  I’m pretty confident that I will complete these before either Grand is in school.  I made some quilted bedding for my eldest granddaughter’s 18” dolls this winter and it reminded me of how much I loved doing free machine quilting.  I’m not very good yet, but I think I might learn to be. 
I very much enjoy the free motion even if I can't make it as smoothly as I hope to.  It's one of those activities where the zone thing happens for me, and I can forget time and worries for a little while and just DO.   I made 2 twin sized quilts 20 years ago, and one wall hanging so I'm still pretty much a novice.

Would you believe right in the middle of my groove my bigfoot broke?  I've had the thing for 20 years and have been unsuccessful trying to freehand embroider or quilt on various machines without it.  Stranger still, I impulse bought the darning foot pictured beside it this winter, thinking of doing these quilts and "just in case"  It works just as well.
When I started to piece some more on the second quilt, my little quilting foot with the quarter inch markings had disappeared.  I suspect a toddler.  Luckily I'm able to decenter the needle to the right and then the last mark on the throat plate is 1/4 inch away.  My piecing improved in just one quilt!
The advice you may have heard to fill extra bobbins when machine quilting is very valid, as I was reminded quickly into my project.

I spent some time and money investing in books on quilting and sewing before the internet got big.  Here are two great ones on just the quilting (nothing about piecing) here.  The Fannings also did a great one on machine embroidery.  They are probably still in print, and maybe at your library.
I'm already thinking of more quilts!  This summer I'm also planning on some pants, capri's, and shorts for myself, to fit my larger nightshift body.   I'm going to try to finish both quilts before I start another project.  I'm very good at letting projects rest for a while.