Not bad for a fat girl

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Is it Worth the Money?

That’s a phrase that comes to mind when I think about possibly buying a quilting machine. I wouldn’t get the biggest one, or the fanciest one, but it’s still pretty pricey. I did the math, and I would have to quilt at least 50 quilts (of my own) on it to break even. I took the average that I pay my incredible friend to machine quilt my tops, and came up with that figure. I don’t have 50 quilt tops. Yet.

I actually have 34 tops ready to be quilted. Some are quite large, and others are quite small. Those should be easy to do on my home machine, it’s just a matter of doing them. The bigger ones, however, have me at a standstill. Wrestling with a big quilt on a regular home sewing machine is something that I’m just not that good at, and frankly I don’t enjoy it. I feel as though I can’t achieve the quality of quilting each project deserves. Why spend all that time (yes, and money) putting together a top, only to have it look awful with poor quilting? That’s where my wonderful friend comes in.

I’m very fortunate to have a talented friend with her own quilting machine and the time to take in my quilts. She is delightful, and I’ve loved how each quilt that she’s done has turned out. Still, I would like to try my hand at doing my own. There’s something about putting every stitch into a quilt that’s very satisfying. Besides, at some point my friend will fully retire from her quilting business, and then what?

I’ve poked around on the internet some, and tested out the machine I’m leaning toward at my local sewing center. I’ve tried it out on 2 separate occasions, and man is it satisfying! It’s an entirely different experience than quilting on a home sewing machine. On one of those you move the quilt under a stationary needle. With the quilting machine the quilt is stationary and the needle moves across the surface. The first is like trying to write by holding the pen still and moving the paper, the second is so much more intuitive, and allows for so much more freedom in design (at least from my limited perspective). It also has a feature that keeps all of your stitches the same length. Yes, please! I found that after 10 seconds I could achieve beautiful quilting with the machine, which I haven’t been able to do on my home machine with years of practice and several classes under my belt.

So maybe I don’t have 50 tops, yet, but I do have a lot. I also have the space in my home, now that my son is grown. And the money? Well, I can make it happen, if I make a few sacrifices. Truthfully, I’m not worried about quilting 50 quilts to “get my money’s worth.” Finding the joy in this part of quiltmaking is something I’m looking forward to. It sounds as though I’ve just made up my mind.

I’ve got my eye on one of these beauties.

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Did I Really Write That?

I’ve been at this blogging thing since June of 2013, so a solid five years now. In that time I’ve published nearly 700 posts. Most of them have a fair number of words to them. Some, however, are quite short, and feature photos or a video instead of my usual ramblings. Still, that’s quite a few posts.

The thing about it is, I can’t actually remember writing all of those posts. It’s almost as if I was in some sort of stupor when I published them. Not all of them, of course, but I have stumbled across several that make me scratch my head in wonder. Are these really my words? Did I really say that?3d-clipart-question-mark-20.png

It’s not that I disagree with my past self, or that I’m embarrassed by anything I’ve written. At least so far I haven’t been. It’s just that it seems like the act of writing should leave more of an indelible mark. I ought to remember my words, as I remember the quilts I’ve made or the scrapbooks I’ve created.

Maybe words are just too common. Maybe it’s more like trying to remember meals I’ve cooked. Some stand out, for various reasons, but most just fade into the background to be forgotten. Maybe that’s how it is with words. Sometimes they stick, but other times they say their piece, only to be quickly forgotten.

I don’t mind, really. Sometimes it’s fun to see the suggested posts at the bottom of my screen and click on an old post. Sometimes it’s like seeing an old friend, but other times it feels brand new.

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Quilt Show, Here I Come!

It’s been ages since I’ve been to a quilt show, which is entirely my fault.

I’m lucky to live in a state where quilt makers are doing exciting work, and quilt shows, large and small, are held regularly. The largest of these is the show put on by the state quilter’s guild, of which I used to be an active member. In fact, that guild brought me my first friends in my adopted home state.19676732-5056-a36a-09e605c3f52c90e2_0eef4bd5-5056-a36a-0955fa3b9f7b852c.jpg

Quilt groups vary in size, focus, and time commitment. I think there’s a group for everyone, from the most traditional hand piecer and quilter to the digital age modern quilter who does things without regard for “traditional” techniques or “rules.” There are those who get together for the dedicated purpose of producing quilts to be donated to charities, and there are those who are committed to recreating quilts from particular eras. Most groups, however, are simply gatherings of people who share a love of quilting and enjoy one another’s company.

I was lucky to find a group like that in the early 1990’s when I moved out west with no job and no friends. Quilting was my creative outlet, and the quilt group I found was full of interesting and innovative women, who welcomed me into their circle. It was a branch of the state guild, and through that I started traveling to other groups to teach classes. I loved it!

The more active I was with the guild and our chapter, the more fun I had. I volunteered to head up a statewide charity small quilt auction one year that raised several thousand dollars, and I spent another year as our group’s chapter chairperson. Both of these experiences were positive and rewarding, mostly because of the wonderful people I was able to work with along the way.

Time marches on, though, and motherhood took more of my psychic energy than I could have imagined. I still quilted from time to time, but scrapbooking our lives became my main creative outlet, and I let my guild membership lapse, mainly from a lack of time for meetings. Add to that some of my closest quilting buddies moving away, and, well, you know…

The good news it that they didn’t all move, and then Facebook was invented. Through it I keep in touch with some of my quilty friends, and when I needed some professional quilting done on a top I made long ago, I knew just who to call. Well, that lovely lady did the job expertly, and we had a fantastic time reconnecting in the process. We made a date for the quilt show, and here it is, quilt show day!

I’m excited to see my friend, I’m excited to see the quilts and vendors, and mostly I’m excited to go back to the show. The show where I once earned an honorable mention ribbon for a quilt that I now cherish as a memory of my dad. The show that celebrates every corner of my beautiful state and every type of creative expression that could be classified as a quilt. The show that takes me back decades, but will no doubt fire a creative spark for the future.