This is one Mean Old Lady!

This is one Mean Old Lady!
Self-portrait: 'Quilter on Fire'

Monday, January 31, 2011

Otherwise Engaged

I haven't been snowed in, but I might agree to 'slightly snowed under.'  

The new wrinkle in a lot of Baby Boomers' lives will make this sound familiar:  DHubby's mother relocated from Florida when she turned 80; it's been six and a half years, and although she's apparently indestructible, last year she needed to make a move into assisted living.  After  contracting an intestinal virus that hit the facility's residents, she developed double pneumonia, so I put up my 'Daughter-in-law On Duty' sign--about ten days of activity there, but not much that was blog-worthy.  

A brief warm-up (temps in the 60's) gave me some opportunities to work further in the yard--getting things ready for spring and spruced up a bit.  There is more to do, but a change in the weather is predicted.  Our drought continues, so rain would be welcome. 

And I've been doing 2+ miles a day on the treadmill--paring off the holiday pounds and trying to continue losing excess weight--help with the old cholesterol count and hypertension.  (Being very slim most of my life was poor preparation for the Bad News After Fifty.)  

AND I am trying to put some daily time into machine quilting.  One famous quilter described this skill as akin to rubbing your tummy and patting your head while dancing on the head of a pin--there really is a lot to master.  The quilt being subjected (sacrificed?) to my learning curve was made from farewell blocks given to me by one of my Ohio guilds.  There are 19 Ohio Star blocks; no two are alike, and in fact no two were the same size either.  (Not all of the contributors were experienced quilters.)  I did develop a design that combined all of these blocks and solved the size-disparity problem, and then I hit a snag--how to quilt it?  I've had such bad luck sending quilts to 'professional' machine quilters, that I decided:  Heck.  I could mess up this quilt all by myself!

The set-up:  three tables in a corner
 Here is my machine-quilting set-up.  The sewing table abuts two other tables so that the weight of the (large) quilt is supported.  It's an adventure to work on the central areas of the quilt with a domestic sewing machine. 

This post looked fine on Preview, but the formatting is wonky when I hit Publish. Sorry!  Scroll down.

Basically, one must fold or roll the section of the quilt to the right of the target block and cram it into the machine's throat area.  Here, I'm preparing to stitch the background sections of a block.  (In the lower right you can see the motif that has been quilted.)

The gloves have tacky finger-tips that help the quilter control the part of the quilt that is going under the needle.  These are 'Machingers,' the brand that works for me.  The blue coloring is from the quilt markings, which will wash away when the quilt is finished and laundered.  The picture below was meant to display the blue wash-out markings, but I'm not sure they show up very well.  
Stay tuned...I'll be working on this project for quite some time to come.....


  1. Good for you, Elaine! Solving creative problems is also good for the brain cells. Re the weight issue in the first part of your post, did I tell you that we decided to try out a macrobiotic diet? We've been on it since Jan. 4 and we've both lost a LOT of weight. 10 lbs. for me, and I don't know how many for Tom, but his belt has gone down a notch or two. Of course, I'm also going to the gym, and that helps to burn off the fat.


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