Thursday, May 30, 2013

So, what happened to May?

Wow - busy month so far. Not much activity in the Mom Cave for the first three weeks.

The first weekend was spent with our Boy Scout Troop out at Camp Runamuck.  I almost backed out, when I learned that the other female leader who was planning to go had a last minute emergency arise. So I ended up being the only female on the trip...  20+ preteen & teen boys, plus our other leaders.  It was colder than expected but a fun way to relax for the weekend.  Had a similar experience last summer when I went to Camp Durant for Summer Camp, but there were other women at camp then, both on staff and as leaders with other units.

Mother's Day weekend we spent around the house and I spent the next week finishing up a grant proposal with one PI and laying the foundation for one of our July submissions with another team.

You may remember that in February, I took an impromptu trip to Denmark to spend time with my Mother as she closed up my Mormor's home (Mormor is Mother's Mother in Danish). So I spent the third weekend in May moving furniture. A quick flight to Tallahassee to spend a long weekend with my parents and sister and her family and then spent a very long day driving a 15 foot rental truck home.

 There were two paintings between the chairs and the panel that I unscrewed to get into the crate.  There were several more paintings stuffed alongside other items of furniture. The remaining paintings traveled in the smaller crate.
 There were multiple "layers" of packing - to accomplish fitting 11 chairs in. The sideboard and dining room table (you can see the feet) rode on their respective short ends at the back of the crate.
Around 1,400 pounds of furniture and other items arrived in two crates. The large one weighed in at over 1,100 pounds and is being transformed into a playhouse for my nephews.  Very little space was wasted with this packing job. The crates were shipped by sea from Copenhagen to Miami and then by truck to Jacksonville. Thankfully there was a landscape team at the house who provided stability to assist the shippers in removing the large crate from the truck.

In less than three hours we managed to empty the 7x7x4 crate into "my" truck and my parent's house. And then focused on unpacking and repacking the 10 boxes of smaller items to divide amongst four households. In the meantime, Dad saw an opportunity to send items long stored in Florida up to my sister and I in North Carolina.

Note to other drivers - "Budget" or "Uhaul" or "Penske" on the side of a truck should be like a neon flashing sign - that the driver is probably NOT used to driving something of this size (though is probably a little older than my test driver).  I was given a "free" upgrade from 10 feet to 15 feet. Truthfully - I only needed 10 feet and even that was bigger than I needed.  For the record, the ramp is more trouble than it is worth - especially when the ramp is wet.  I've now crossed an item off my Bucket List that I never knew was on my Bucket List.

This past weekend I spent at the North Carolina Quilt Symposium - but that has been featured in several posts already and more to come.

Now, I'm faced with needing to reorganize my craft room/Mom cave again in order to get it back to useable space.  No rest for the weary... this coming weekend we have a Troop Merit Badge College back at Runamuck and Ice Hockey tryouts for next season.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

NC Quilt Symposium - A Day with Harriet Hargrave!

Wow!  What a day!  When I was a kid, I remember writing a fan letter to Sean Cassidy, but other than that I've not been much of a groupie. My husband laughs (and possibly cringes) remembering when I met Michael Piller, one of the creators or Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager at an advisory board meeting - I did not wait for an introduction, instead walked up and stuck my hand out and launched into why I loved the series...  Okay, and in my adult life, I'm a huge fan of Trans Siberian Orchestra...

So, as I said to friends tonight - I've tried to stay at "quilt groupie" level versus "stalker" but have been totally giddy getting to meet Harriet Hargrave and take a class from her.  She is a wonderful teacher. And we had the pleasure of hearing her speak tonight and present a trunk show.  Outstanding and touching at the same time.

This is the quilt that started it all.  It is simple, elegant and led to a publisher encouraging Harriet to write Heirloom Machine Quilting.

Harriet  shared many stories about her life and her quilting journey. And I hope that you will have the chance to hear her speak in the future.

Class today was Invisible Machine Applique. The room was packed to the rafters. Aside from the capacitor issue with my machine's pedal - I had no 'slow' speed, I had a surprisingly trouble free day.

This is my tulip from class today. At this stage the flower and the heart layers are sewn together and the applique has been build onto the foundation fabric. It has since been appliqued to the foundation. With multiple instances of driver error.  Much of class today was spend figuring out the settings for our machines and testing strips in order to understand how width, length and tension interact to create the perfect stitch.  And of course, we learned to create the applique pieces. I really like the way mine turned out and am very glad to have taken the class.

Following the class, I shared a few of my Quilter's Academy quilts with Harriet in an impromptu trunk show from the back seat of my car.  What can I say. I'm a fan!

Overall a great day.  More detail to come in the coming weeks as I digest and practice what I learned this week.

The take home message from tonight's talk was patience, precision and practice all play a role in developing my skills as a quilter.

Reporting in from the Quilt Symposium

This will be brief - long and happy day today.  I took the class "No Fear Free Motion Quilting" with Sandy Fitzpatrick. I am happy to say that I am no longer terrified of Free Motion Quilting.  I did manage to run into about every problem I could and make most of the available stupid mistakes...

Tally for today - 1 stuck finger (I managed to poke it while trying to thread the needle), 2 broken needles (1 on each machine - I'm going with "old needles" - that is my story and I'm sticking with it). Shredded thread, broken thread, broken bobbin thread, miswound bobbin, forgot to lower presser foot, probably forgot to raise presser foot...

Penny and I are not getting along right now - not sure why, or what is going on, but I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and replace the foot pedal. I've been warned by my sewing machine tech that it wasn't functioning correctly.  Slow was not an option for some reason. Very frustrating. Fortunately Bernadette was also in the car, so I switched them out at lunch. Bernadette still whips along, but I could get a slower stitch.

We spent the morning doodling and the afternoon playing with feathers.  Definitely a confidence builder.  Well off to sleep. Tomorrow (today) I'm taking "Invisible Machine Applique" with Harriet Hargrave!

Thursday, May 23, 2013

NC Quilt Symposium!!! The pre-day...

I've made it to symposium. Sadly, I misread the schedule and arrived as the opening ceremony ended, but I'm checked in to my room and did make it to the meet & greet where I got to admire the work of many of the teachers at Symposium. There is such a great set of instructors this weekend. I'm sad that I can only take two classes - but they will be GREAT classes.

I spent my evening getting settled in and preparing for tomorrow's No Fear Free Motion Quilting with Sandy Fitzpatrick.  Having had a crazy month, I am a little behind the curve. Thankfully, in an email earlier this week, I learned that the sample sandwiches don't need to be pinned so that saved loads of time.

My bag is packed and ready to go in the morning. First stop breakfast!

In other news, we've had a crazy month.  Camped with the Boy Scouts the first weekend in May and then came home to a short nap and off to DPAC to see Priscilla, Queen of the Desert with my guys. LOADS of FUN!  Mother's Day weekend we relaxed a bit. Then last weekend I trekked down to Florida to pick up furniture from my Mormor's home. My house is a bit of a wreck at the moment - something I won't dwell on until Sunday when I get home and we can get into full unpacking and furniture moving mode.  As soon as we unloaded the truck on Sunday we had to switch gears to go to DPAC for the last show of the Broadway Series - Sister Act - GREAT show. 

This week Gus has been immersed in End of Grade testing. I'll spare you my rant on the wisdom (SARCASM ALERT!) of these exams and of now adding a Science and Social Studies exam as well to meet Common Core. Suffice it to say, tears were shed by all of us this week.

I am planning to spend time in the Mom Cave on Monday once we get the dining room sorted out. And am looking forward to my energizing weekend here at Symposium!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

Back to the Mom Cave - Sandwiching the Samplers

Spent another evening with my movie, my fabric and my son.

In the time it took to play Love Actually again, I finished pressing the strips, sewing the second set of backings, and subcutting the 9 sets of non-washed squares.

Then moved on to sandwiching the samples.  To my left - the stacks of pre-washed squares and to my right the stacks of unwashed squares.  With great ceremony, I removed my carefully tied set of 48 14 inch square (or not so square) batting blocks from their box and untied the bow.  Happily, there is a sticker on the corner of each sample with its stats - name, content, quilting density recommendation, etc- the basics that will be entered into the spreadsheet as I start sewing.  I numbered the pieces that are being filed for future reference, and removed the sticker from the pieces that would be sandwiched - numbering those stickers as well and taping them onto my reference sheet of paper. I'm not sure if it is the 2 or more years that the stickers have been on the batting or that some of the batting is just more sensitive to sticky than others - but in some cases some serious fluff came off with the sticker so I had to be careful not to just rip it.

My system was stack and pin and number the pre-washed and then the not washed. Being careful with each set of three batting squares to draw from each pile equally. I'm happy to say that I now have the first 9 matches sets pinned and ready to stitch on.

Next step is to press and repeat for the remaining 7 sets. Can you guess which of these fabrics is the pre-washed muslin?

Oh, and I figured out why we don't pull out Love Actually to watch as a family.  Turns out it is rated R.  OOPS!  Gus wandered in after his bath and sat down under my feet to watch the movie.  Suddenly, I hear "...uh MOM!... what is this rated?"  I spin around to find that the body double couple is rather au natural - probably the most graphic scene in the movie. I dropped a towel over his head which he left there until he heard the music for the scene change.  Ah well. A good conversations starter for us.  Not the first time this has happened with the DVD collection.  Pre-Gus we didn't pay attention to movie ratings... and some of that carries into the DVD collection.