Tag Archives: “machine quilting”

what was done is not done

One of the (many) glories of having lost my job (three weeks ago now?) is having the time to work, re-work, and then work some more,  on a quilt.

My wise friend KR notes, “You ALWAYS go through a phase where you hate what you’re working on!”

She’s generally correct.  That phase has resulted in experimentation galore, often of the chop/chop/chop and re-arrange/re-arrange/re-arrange variation.

This week’s lesson was all about not being finished.  Areas and moments of dissatisfaction were met with little grunts of “not done” from me.  While I do not need to consider this ‘progress’ from some of the more dramatic creative cycles I’ve been through, it is noticeably DIFFERENT.

So, in preparation of this upcoming Long Island show that my wonderful cousin Ginny Mallon is curating, I pull out the large quilt made after the Indonesian Tsunami – a quilt I have YET to like – and one of the only Katrina quilts that I have not yet sold (BECAUSE IT ISN’T FINISHED!!).  Today, with the quiet fall rain pattering the leaves outside, I am finishing these quilts.

Yes, there is a theme here.

(You can visit my cousin and view her beautiful photographs here: Life in Crab Meadow – the link is always handy on my sidebar).

PS — Two Practice Notes

One — Viewing portions of a quilt on the screen often highlights flaws – AREAS not YET DONE – in a way that is expedient.  For instance, looking at the section above, it is obvious that the blue swirly night sky needs to be tacked down some more.

Two – This metallic stippling thread was loaded into the bobbin to avoid the frequent breaks that probably would result if it were the top thread.  I had already stitched the circle around the moon, and placed pins along the edge of the speckled polyester so that I would know where to stitch (since to have the bobbin thread on the top of the quilt, obviously one must be working on the backside of the quilt).


This fragment surfaced during the flood clean up. I had set it aside to reincorporate into a larger piece, but when I saw it again, it looked complete. Added the background grid, some of the up and down stitching over the black and zig-zagged the edges. The wonderful house in black outline and tree came from a pair of Capris.

Five Things (and a rant)

1.  Weather — Today is cold.  Steely sky, breath condensing.  Hat and glove weather.

2.  One thing I did well yesterday — Can’t think of anything.  I’ll have to come back.

3.  One thing I could have done better yesterday — Responded more neutrally when D. said he had a sore throat.

4. and 5.  Two things I’ll commit to doing today that I might not otherwise get done

  1. download H1N1 vaccine forms and fill them out for the boys. 
  2. cut out pictures for SoulCollage® gathering this weekend. 

Back to doing something well.

What DID I do well yesterday?  I made a muslin angel that I ALMOST love — but I loved her better before I sharpied in a face, which on some level feels to me like I ruined her, so THAT doesn’t count.  Overcooked the pork chops, which were still okay, but can’t count that.  Spent hours on the phone finding out about Mass. Health, ECOB, COBRA for my sister… but all of that felt like a big muddle so that even though I came out of it with a couple of appts. and a located birth certificate, I wouldn’t put that on the list.  So, what then?

Can I count NOT being awful as doing something well?!!

Yesterday, I contained my rage waiting for 25 minutes at the post office.  There I was picking up a certified letter (on my sister’s behalf — so there’s THAT) that my postal carrier SHOULD have rung the bell for me to sign and receive at the house.  He had THREE chances to make life easy for me.

There it was, the first ‘real’ business day after Thanksgiving and presumably the beginning of package-mailing-season and my wonderful post office branch had ONE window open (the line was ten deep the entire time I waited).  Furthermore, (does this count as TWO things I did well?)  I did not call the postal carrier a liar when he claimed to have rung the bell and knocked when he delivered the three notices, which I know for a fact, he did not.  I was there when the mail hit the floor every single time and no bell was rung, no door was knocked.

And now, I’ll rant about this guy.

This is a postal carrier that defies the notion of service and veers into some creepy realm of vindictive laziness.  When he was assigned to our street, it was all anyone could talk about for weeks — what stupid, incredulous thing he had done THAT day (e.g., drop envelopes with checks in them onto the curb, not deliver mail because a rug-cleaning hose was threaded through the front door, refuse to bend over and pick anything up on a stoop because of a bad back, act like my dog is a vicious, postman-eating predator).  Many of us reported his errors to his supervisor, he was put ‘on probation’ for awhile, and now he is back to his tricks.

Though it serves no purpose, I spend a fair amount of time wondering, as he strenuously cuts corners and makes life difficult for everyone on the route, whether he is acting out of a generalized incompetence or out of some sort of shrewd and calculating desire to inflict misery on his customers.  I tend to think the latter.

Can’t I come up with ONE THING I DID well yesterday?  Oh, here — I added some machine stitching to my Full Moon in Taurus quilt, and miracle of miracles, located the missing moon, by, again miracle of miracles, cleaning up my work area a little.

Beech Trees Journal Quilt

Back when I was taking photos of urban scenes to adapt as decorations for a local after prom party, I also took a number of pictures of beech trees.  They live in Brookline, just a street over from Beacon Street, and they are truly magnificent.

This quilt is small, about 8 1/2 x 11″.  I used the bucket feature in Photoshop Elements 3.0 to change the background colors, which transformed the branch patterns into something resembling stained glass.  I changed threads at least three times quilting the piece, which is a departure from my generally lazy approach to thread.

I’ve recently been back to visit these trees and have come to the conclusion that they are most beautiful when the branches are bare.  This time of year, leaves are plentiful, obscuring the muscular structure of the trunks which I so love to look at.