Hand signals

As I sit at the machine quilting The Misery Quilt, I remember with great fondness the days years ago before my hands began sending me these hard to ignore signals that say “stop, you’re hurting me!” While I was quilting the endless stippling on Stars in My Hand, I had to cut down my daily time at the machine to about 30 minutes because that amount of time was about all I could do without pain. I said to myself and others that when the quilt was done, I’d take a break and maybe go in a different direction with my quilting, some direction that didn’t involve tiny stippling on king size quilts.

I did take a break, but the direction didn’t change much. I made Grasping Reality, which had some stippling but it was a larger size pattern, and a smaller quilt overall. I don’t remember having too many hand signals with that quilt. Since then, I’ve finished a few of the projects on the Creativity List, none of which had tiny stippling, though some were quite large. Other than that, I’ve worked on this Misery Quilt since early 2007, so I’ve definitely taken a step back in the productivity department. Unfortunately, despite taking it slow (not always intentionally, as my posts about The Misery Quilt can attest to), it seems that I’m back in the same position I was in before, with a large quilt that needs lots of detailed stitching.

Since I hadn’t planned lots of stippling on this quilt, maybe not any, I thought I would be okay. Now I’ve discovered that while tiny stippling can make my hands hurt pretty fast, other small, detailed patterns can be just as painful, especially if I’m working near the center of a large quilt, where just holding on to the quilt and keeping it in position on the machine bed takes Herculean strength sometimes. And just for the record, when I started this quilt, I didn’t know how bad my hands would turn out to be, nor how big it would end up; I made the center star in the fall of 2004 I think, and it sat until late 2006 or early 2007 when I started thinking about finishing it up again. The design just grew, and Bob’s your uncle, now here we are and the quilt and I are fighting to see who’ll break first. Continue reading

Threads of the past, pieces of the future

I’m almost afraid to look back at 2007, and I’m tempted to take a page from Jane Ann’s book and give it the old TGIO* (Thank God it’s Over!) and be done with it. That’s not to say it was all bad (or even half), but I can think of quite a few things that I’d hoped to get done this year that are still waiting in the wings, but honesty compels me to admit that most of the problem is an over abundance of creative thinking!

The tiny look back at the good:

  • Winning an Honorable Mention at the AQS Show in Paducah and Best Machine Quilting at the Fiber Arts Fiesta in Albuquerque for Stars in my Hand
  • Learning more web programming and design, and completing two intensive PHP programming classes
  • Redeveloping the ALSA New Mexico website to do what I can to help the fight against Lou Gehrig’s Disease
  • Having my blog accepted to 9rules

And now a look at the “needs improvement” section:

  • Saying “no” more often (dang, I thought I had that one handled, but I let my guard down and now I’m in a fix or two that are taking up time that could be better spent elsewhere :( )
  • Exercising more than my hands, arms and brain (the rest of the body doesn’t move much when I’m quilting or programming or driving my car, which is mostly what I do 8-O )
  • No more Less creative brainstorming (I’m way too good at it, and that over abundance of creative thinking usually gets me in trouble in the “too much to do” department)
  • Being less stressed (hmmm, if I took more care with the three things above, that might alleviate quite a bit of stress right there)

On the creative to-do list in 2008:

  • Finishing The Misery Quilt
  • Starting another show quilt (ideas already generated!)
  • Trying some other creative “revisions” to some older pieces of fabric art
  • Taking more programming classes
  • Launching a major quilting-related website/web application (again, ideas generated, just needs time)
  • Launching a family history-related blog/site (ditto, again)

Whew! I think that’s a good bit of things to do! And I refuse to call any of that “resolutions.” Pfft. Just “things to do,” because it sounds more doable. It is good to think about all of this, because now those “to-dos” are not just floating around in my head with a deadline of someday. If I keep that list in mind the next time my creativity runs away with my brain, maybe I’ll be able to say “no.” Of course, none of that says anything about “the rest of life,” like all the family and kid stuff that did or didn’t happen in 2007, but I’m not even going to get into all that, because on the “needs improvement” list is “less stress.” Less stress in the family and kids department means saying TGIO to all of it for now and moving on.

We spent New Year’s Eve at home like we always do, and watched the fireworks from our upstairs windows with the kids. Now I’m wrapping up a lovely New Year’s Day that I spent quietly programming and quilting, and I didn’t even have to cook dinner because ITMan cooked (okay, I helped a little!). I’m going to go tuck into bed with a good book and finish bidding 2007 goodbye. Happy New Year, all! May it be a peaceful and productive one for you.

Quilt Show News!

Stars In My Hand Quilt

I’m delighted to tell you that the Stars In My Hand quilt was awarded 3rd place in the Traditional Large Pieced Quilt category at the Road to California Quilt Show this last weekend. How exciting! I spent some time this morning on the Road to California website looking at all the winning quilts, and there are some simply stunning quilts there! I don’t envy the judges their job (well, maybe a little, since they do get to see each and every quilt up close and personal!), since it must be so difficult to choose just a few quilts as winners from so many entries. I can’t wait to get the quilt back so I can see what the judges comments were about it. It’s always interesting to see what they liked (or didn’t like) about your quilts when you send them off to shows. I do wish I’d been able to go, but California is a long way from here. :) They even offer a cd with pictures of every quilt and wearable entry to the show. I might just have to order that!

Shipping a quilt

Stars In My Hand Quilt

I had to take a break from my holiday recovery to repackage the Stars In My Hand quilt for shipment to the Road to California Quilt Show in January. When I received the quilt back from the IQA show in Houston, it was packaged in a long skinny box, rolled around a water noodle wrapped in acid free tissue paper. Very creative, that water noodle thing (and if you have no idea what a water noodle is, look here. We have a couple of the single noodles that the kids use in the pool at Garmisch when we go, but I had no idea what they were called. Google to the rescue.). Yes, you could roll the quilt around a cardboard tube from wrapping paper or something, but the water noodle is more stable, and won’t bend from the weight of the quilt when you pick up the roll to put it in the box.

I use the post office and have never had a problem. If I used UPS or FedEx, it would cost a small fortune to ship a box of this size and value internationally

This is one of those things that’s a bit scary, trusting the post office with an heirloom. I say “post office” because even though most folks ship things like this with FedEx or UPS since their tracking system is better (and maybe they have a better record of not losing things, though I’ve not seen solid stats on that), I use the post office because of where I live, and have never had a problem. If I used UPS or FedEx, it would cost a small fortune to ship a box of this size and value internationally, and if I declared it’s true value on the label, customs fees might be incurred either coming or going. Not cool to have to pay customs on your own quilt when it comes back from a show.

So the US Postal Service is the best option really, and it’s all in how you send the package. Continue reading

Quilted Whispers Contest Winner for August

Quilted Whispers Angel Ornament

Congratulations go out to Angela G., in Tennessee! She’s our August winner in the Quilted Whispers Contest. She’s chosen the Quilted Whispers Angel Ornament as her prize, and she’ll be receiving it in the mail any day!

It’s a new month, and a new opportunity to enter the Quilted Whispers Contest. Enter every month for your chance to win items from this special collection!

Quilted Whispers Contest Winner for July

Quilted Whispers Rose Ornament

Heather B. in Tooele, Utah is our Quilted Whispers Contest Winner for July! Congratulations Heather! She’s chosen the Quilted Whispers Rose Ornament as her prize, and should be receiving it in the mail any day.

Enter the Quilted Whispers Contest every month to be eligible for the monthly drawing for a Quilted Whispers Ornament. Each entry also gives you another chance to win the Grand Prize in July, 2007, a Limited Edition hand-signed and numbered print from the Quilted Whispers Collection, featuring all twelve of the motifs from the quilt with the symbolic meanings.

And remember, proceeds from the sale of items from the Quilted Whispers Collection will be donated to the New Mexico Chapter of the ALS Association, to help find a cure for Lou Gehrig’s Disease. Look for notecards, postcards, ornaments, quilt art tiles and keepsake treasure boxes, all featuring whitework quilted motifs from the Stars In My Hand quilt.