Monday, January 28, 2008

So much to learn!

Sorry I don't have pictures again tonight. I have not taken any lately that I can share. I promise the next thing I sew will be posted.

Patti from Batiks by Design and I are trying to learn many new computer programs that will make things easier for both of us. It seems like there is a never ending CD out there with a new...or old program that I don't have...that I, she or we need to know. At least we are learning the accounting and bookkeeping programs together, so we can compare notes and maybe one of us will know how to work out the problem.

Some things in life are as I have heard all my life "clear as mud". The new terms, the way different people write and maybe just my lack of brain cells to process everything really makes life interesting.

Let me get back to my sewing and designing as soon as possible. I have so much I want to accomplish all at one time.

If everything works out right and my parents are healthy enough to take care of themself for a week and a couple of days we will be going on vacation. Today Bill, my husband, rented a condo in Wisconsin Dells for the last week in March. This is the week that our grandson is off school for his spring break. The place we rented will sleep 6, so I am sure we will have some overnight family visitors while we are there.

The Dells is a popular vacation area, but mostly during the summer. Much of what goes on during the summer are the types of stuff we avoid. We just want a place to "get away" from it all, not be shoulder to shoulder with other people. That is why we go to the Dells in the winter when much of what attracts others to the Dells are closed for the season.

Another reason we go to the Dells is being able to rent a place that is like home. We can eat out if we desire or we have a kitchen where we can cook. We also can have relatives and friends visit us instead of us running all over WI becoming exhausted. Since our relatives live from LaCrosse to Madison and south they are all with in an hour or so of where we will be staying.

Another plus is the outdoor activities we can do while our grandson Devin is staying with us, so hope for good weather. We can go fishing, play at the out door playground, or go to the indoor activity center. All of this is on the grounds of where we are staying.

Shopping is also available in the area, but we will keep that to a minimum. We do like the new outlet mall there and I know where a few quilt shops are located in adjoining towns. We will also make the trip a time or two to Bloomington, WI, my husband's home town. We love it there. It is a small town that has some of the most interesting people if you get to know them. It also has a great bakery that serves breakfast and lunch. I will also buy some bread from the bakery and maybe some rolls to take back to our Condo. At Christmas time they have wonderful cookies. I really like the cranberry oatmeal cookies.

My personal travel schedule will be busy this year helping Patti at Quilt Shows. We are going to Chicago mid April and then Paducah, KY at the end of April. Paducah is only 65 miles away, but we may spend a night or two in a camper up there to conserve our energy. August we will be in Nashville TN. Then we have a break until October when we will go to Des Moines, Iowa come home for a few days then we are off to Houston. Our schedules are different in each place, but one thing stays the same.....we get tired....we eat too many snack foods to just survive and restaurant food takes too long to arrive and are very expesive. Oh did I say we get tired! As you can see I would much rather have a home cooked meal that arrives right after I change my clothes and I can enjoy being off my feet. A spa bath tub would be nice also, but I would not have time to use it anyway.

Well it is off to bed time. Tomorrow is grocery shopping day and it is suppose to rain with strong winds. I just checked the weather. Now they are saying Thunderstorms! OH YES! It is only getting up to 58 degrees and then drop to 25 degrees. If we didn't need so many basic items I would just stay home. I am out of too many things, so I will just hope the bad weather doesn't hit until afternoon.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Views about Machine Quilting

I must say that I am one of those people who prefer hand quilting. I also must say that after going to so many quilt shows lately I admire machine quilting. I know some of my friends are falling over right now. I am not sure if they fainted or if it is because they are laughing so hard!

I always loved the look of hand quilting and actually enjoyed hand quilting. The problem I have is I like lots of quilting and I just don't have that type of time. I have quilts that I started hand quilting more then 10 years ago. Two of these quilts have special meaning to me, so they will never be finished by me other then by hand. Now the other two quilts I can see me machine quilting them just to get them finished. The problem I have with both of these quilts is that they are large, have polyester batting in them and would be difficult to do on my domestic machine.

I recently quilted a quilt that is less then 50" square on my sewing machine. I had a few areas that were difficult to quilt, but most of it was fun. The hard part is deciding how I am going to quilt the piece. Borders are the biggest problem, because all four sides are usually alike and need to be quilted the same. Sometimes that is easy if the fabric has a pattern to use as a guide, but when the fabric offers no clues for the quilting???? I know I can use a quilt stencil, but that means an extra step. Funny I don't mind that step when I hand quilt, but when doing it by machine I kind of like the freedom to not having to follow a line. I think part of that is because I find it difficult to follow a line. My walking foot has an offset opening for pulling the threads through. I can't line up with that unless I move my needle......HA, I just thought of that. Why didn't I think about that when I was quilting???????????

Another problem I discovered for me is that moving the fabric with my hands causes my right hand to hurt right in the middle of the palm. Funny thing is I don't notice it while I am quilting, just when I am trying to relax and do something else. I also noticed that I need to take breaks to relax my shoulders. I get too tense trying to do the design just a certain way.

I did learn that making circles is easier in one direction then it is going the opposite direction. This is a good thing to know, but my natureral instict is to start in a place to cause me to to the direction that is not good for me. In time as I do more machine quilting I will remember where to start to make it easier.

I think the thing that I learned that really impressed me is that when you step back from the quilt about 3 feet all the imperfections disappear. It is when you nose is 6" away while you are sewing that things really look bad. Also when quilting close the imperfections seem to disappear as more quilting is added. Or maybe it is because I want to get the quilt done that I stop seeing the "problems" and just overlook what bothered me when I sewed the design.

Oh well! All I know is that I had better learn to love machine quilting, because I have lots of samples to quilt of my new patterns. I sent off last week for the last of the approvals I need before I start selling my patterns. So I will have several for sale soon!

It was cold here today, but not nearly as bad as it is where they are playing foot ball today. I can't believe they schedule a night football game in Green Bay, WI in January!

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Very Early in the Morning

Designing quilt patterns is easy on one hand and difficult in the other hand. I have never had trouble coming up with designs or writing them for classes, but now that I am also writing for others I found drawing for instructions using the computer was difficult. So I decided to try a new program for the computer. Adobe Illustrator looked like the one I wanted to try, so I downloaded the 30 day trial from I soon discovered that the ram memory in our computer was not enough to run the program. So I went to and learned how to add more ram memory. They said to go to to find out what type of ram memory I needed for our computer. I did the test and found out that we had an opening for memory and what type to get. When we went to town I was going to buy the memory, but they didn't have what I wanted. So when we arrived home yesterday I went back to and ordered it. They sent me an e-mail saying the order arrived. Then a little later another e-mail saying that my items were ready for shipping and how I could track the package. I could see no reason to track it at that point as it was being send Fedex 2 day shipping. This was yesterday afternoon. They are located in Idaho. I am in Kentucky. The package arrived today early in the day. I was shocked, but pleased.

I waited a bit before tackling the job of putting in the memory, because the last time I added something to a computer, the computer stopped working. When I finally worked up my nerve I gather all my tools. That was not much, none magnetic screw driver, the memory, an antistatic wrist strap, cleaning tools (I knew there would be dust inside the computer tower) and scissors to open the package. I said a little prayer, turned off the computer and unplugged everything from the tower. I then proceeded to add the memory. I was careful, got rid of the dust and plugged everything back in. OH THAT AWFUL FEELING IN THE PIT OF MY STOMACH. I turned on the computer and it sounded like it wanted to boot up, but didn't. I WAS NOT GOING TO LOOSE ANOTHER COMPUTER! We can not buy a new one right now. So I unplugged again and opened the tower and checked to be sure everything was connected correctly. I appeared to be ok. I didn't put the cover back on this time I just plugged in the power and tried to start the computer. The same sound....and now the head started to pound. I unplugged and looked closely. Wow! The fan was packed with dust that I didn't get out with the first cleaning. So with the help of my husband Bill we cleaned out the dust. I plugged in the computer and guess what.......I turned it on and it works!!!!!!!! I was so releaved. I put the cover back on, plugged everything else back in and we were back in business.

I then finished loading the Adobe Illustrator trial. It loaded ok, but took a while. It is a large program. I played with it a little bit after dinner, but my eyes were hurting. So I turned the computer over to he had not been on it since early this morning and I took a nap.

Late this evening I went back to the Illustrator program and played with it. I learned enough to do the drawing I needed and feel pleased. I had been struggling with this drawing for days with the limited programs that we had on the computer. I am going to have to work hard to make enough money to buy Illustator or a similar program to aid in my pattern business.

I must get some rest now as it will be time to make breakfast before I know it.


Saturday, January 5, 2008

Five days into the new year!

I must say I am looking forward to tomorrow. The start of a new week. It seems like we have had two weeks worth of Saturdays. Everything changed because of the holidays. I thought the Wednesday after Christmas was a Thursday. This week was better, but I don't feel like I accomplished as much as I should have this past week. Even my sleeping habits were all messed up.

I did piece several items of various sizes and have been doing some machine quilting, but yet no one item is completed! Tomorrow I should finish a large pillow top and start quilting something else. I also hope to complete a couple of patterns I am writing. I have one finished, but I need to set it up for publishing, not for a mystery where every step is on a different page. The other two are in various stages, but I should be able to finish them soon.

DH and I watched fishing shows this morning. It is to be warm the next few days and I know he wants to go fishing. Unfortunately we are also to have rain and on Tuesday thunderstorms. Rain is not bad in the spring or summer, but winter rain is cold and usually is accompanied with wind, so fishing is really not likely to happen.

Best get going. Have a good one until I am back!

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Out with the old, In with the new!

GOOD BYE 2007.............HELLO 2008

Happy New Year to everyone!

We started out the 2008 very quiet at our house. I was up and was near the door in case someone in our country neighborhood decided to shoot off fireworks. Our dog,outside, gets very nervous when she hears loud noises, including thunder. I was going to let her in the house, but no fireworks.....hmmmm our neighborhood must all be out of town!!!!!

Today we had a few snow flurries. The first of the season. You never know it may be the last. I remember last January I had to turn on the AC, but then in April we had a hard freeze for two weeks.

I am presently working on a quilting project that I can't show you or tell you what I am doing. I am working for someone else for this project and everything is underwraps for it. It is kind of an exciting project as I am developing a pattern, sewing the item, quilting it and best of all will be paid for my work!

I did finish piecing a table runner from the same pattern as I listed in November. It will be my first pattern to be published and I already have one sold as soon as I get everything ready! So I guess my new career is off and running. Tomorrow I will be machine quilting the table runner shown in the picture. I like to practice on something of my own before I work on the project for someone else.

I am also ready to quilt the dashing nines and in about a half hour I will have the secret project ready to quilt. Now I need to decide the designs I will use for quilting everything.

Our little sewing group that used to meet at my shop once a week is going to start out the new year right by setting up one day a week to meet again. We used to have six of us who worked together, but because of people moving and jobs etc we will be down to three. The nice thing is the three of us get along well and can pick up where we left off in our friendships. I am exited about us meeting on a regular basis again and have a project picked out to work on that will have nothing to do with business. I am going to work on a wall hanging that is a combination of piecing and applique.

It is getting late and I need to get two borders on my secret project.