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Please don't remind me that I'm poor; I'm having too much fun pretending I'm simply "living green" like everyone else these days.


Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Troubled sleep

The clothing I bought at the thrift store came out of the wash fine. I folded and put them away until I get a chance to cut them apart.

It was a restless night for me. While at the art gallery one of the nice ladies had picked up an entry form for an art contest called “Form Not Function” and gave it to me. This contest has an entry deadline of October 20th. It is a world wide competition. If anyone wants to learn more about it this is the web address. I’m not sure how to put it in as a clickable link. That’s something I will have to learn later. http://www.carnegiecenter.org Find the Form Not Function button at the top to click for more information.

In my sleep, I kept asking what “Form not function” means. Yes, I know its textile art. But what type of art? Does it mean the type of art that is barely recognizable as a quilt or could it be a more traditional item. Would a more traditional quilt qualify as an entry? I kept thinking how the textile artists have gained recognition in the major quilt contests over the last few years. Almost all of them now have a wall art category but do any of the “art” contests have categories for traditional quilts with really good design?

I don’t think I’m explaining this very well. Hmmm…If anyone remembers the AQS Paducah show had wall quilts that were actually painted pictures of geese in water that were quilted and entered. Those would be what I call form not function quilts.

But….would a contest like this one at the Carnege allow a wall size nine patch or t-shirt quilt with really nice machine quilting qualify as an entry? Would any of the art quilt contests allow a traditional entry? Can I go to my stash of traditional tops waiting for their time on my machine and find a contest entry among them?
What I have written may sound like I’m being critical of the art contests. Not at all!! I’m merely wondering whether I have something already pieced together I can use as an entry because of the short deadline. I do have a couple of what I call art quilts that might qualify. They are already quilted.

I have this quilt….

And this quilt….

But I’m wondering about some of my other quilts. The reason I am wondering is because it’s a juried show. There is no limit to the number of pieces you can try entering. The more entries I send in, the better my chances of being juried into the show with one of them.

Ok, enough internet time, I have customer quilt tops waiting. Vacation is over.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Where was I?

I’m back…

Gee, I sure do hate being without a camera. My blogs just aren’t the same without pictures to go along with my story. I've been reading blogs in the ring as often as I could. I just haven't had the time to comment like we are supposed to do. I'll do better starting tomorrow.

The last few days have been a whirl wind of activity for me. I went back to the Nashville show. Yes, I know I said I would never go again. I ate my words and went back. The second trip was much, much nicer than the first one! I met Renea Haddadin, Marilyn Badger, and Jamie Wallen. All of them are major contest winners for machine quilting.

My poor furkids thought I deserted them the last few days. I should be cleaning up after them but I’m excited and I want to tell about it. I went to lunch with the “nice ladies” today. We first went to the Carnegie Art Center in New Albany, Indiana. The featured artist was Penny Sisto. Penny lives somewhere local to this area, I’m not sure where though.

Penny happened to be there talking to a group of school children so it was a special treat to hear her tell about her works. We had just gotten there and not had a chance to really look at anything. While listening to Penny talk, I happened to turn around to look in another direction at her works because I could get a better view. The tears started streaming. I couldn’t help it, I just started crying. I can’t even tell you why I cried.
I learned some very important artsy things while listening to Penny talk and then getting very close up to her work. Most people know my eyesight is not so good. Also, the dollar store glasses I wear are not the best. I need to get up really close in order to see the work. Most places won’t let you get really close. I usually see everything through a blur. It’s sort of like looking through a frosted window. You know something is there but you just can’t make out the details.

I found that art quilting does not have to be perfect like it does for a quilt contest. In traditional contest quilts all the pieces have to line up perfect and all the stitching has to be perfect. With art quilts the idea is to create a mood or a moment or a thought or whatever…. regardless of the way it is created. I think I’ve written about this before but today it really sunk in for me.

Penny said she can finish a wall quilt in from 4 hours to a couple of days. Good heavens, she would have a quilt completely finished before I could even find the right box containing the right fabrics. I’ve got to find the time to organize again!

I wanted to ask the nice ladies if we could ask Penny to have lunch with us. Before I could get the chance, another person interested in buying a piece of Penny’s work took her attention.

I rode with Emma to the thrift store looking for clothing made from fabrics I can use in some quilts. I have some ideas for art quilts so I picked out clothing with fabrics that will work in those pieces. I found one nice blouse that will fit me so I have to decide whether to wear it or cut it up.

All the clothing is in the washer right now in the hottest water I can get. I want everything to shrink or fade or whatever it’s going to do before I cut it up. I spent more than my budget says I should have spent. I have to be very careful shopping thrift stores just the same as shopping a regular fabric store. If I’m not careful; I will way over spend because I find so many nice fabrics. I’ll have to do the rob Peter to pay Paul shuffle for the next couple of weeks. The fabrics were worth it though. (smile)

So that’s it for an update. Tonight I will be cleaning the house really good. Tomorrow I will be back at the machine staying ahead of the waiting list.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Nashville trip - 2007

Now that I’m home; I can get my life back to its normal routine. In my opinion, AQS should seriously think about moving the Nashville show to an entirely different location somewhere in Nashville. Or another city entirely! Gaylord Hotel does not cater to the thousands of visitors the show brings to their place.

First let me explain…..the purpose of me going on the tour bus trip to Nashville was to view all the quilts up close. I love looking at other people’s work. I thoroughly enjoyed seeing them!! Even the quilts without ribbons are a joy to look at and admire. I took as many pictures as my camera would allow. The camera kept winking out on me. I would have a good shot lined up in the view finder then the screen would go white and blank. I’m not sure what the problem is with my camera. I guess its time to shop for another one. I did manage to take 100 pictures during our 5 hour stay there. I put them on my webshots if you would care to look.

I stopped at the Gammill booth and talked with Ron Parker. I always have to stop at their booth and visit with them a bit. I talked to him about a problem I have with my machine. It starts off with really large stitches then extremely tiny stitches as it catches up with me. My machine’s stitch quality isn’t anywhere close to the quality of the machines at the show. According to Ron my belt must be loose. I did check the way he showed me how to check and yes it is loose. I’m supposed to call him after the show is over for fixing the problem of too many stitches per inch. I actually get around 20 per inch instead of the 10 I’m supposed to be getting. Ron says the problem is in the regulator set up. After a short visit I moved on.

I had bought a plastic foot device called the Curve Master Foot at the Nashville show last year. It had cost me $30. Naturally, it didn’t fit my household machine. None of the adaptors in the package fit the old Bernina 1230. When I was walking through the vendor isles I saw their booth. I decided to ask about an adaptor. Yes, they did have an adaptor to fit the old Bernina 1230. It cost $20; so I pull out a $20 bill to pay for it. When I asked for a receipt to use for my business paperwork, he charged me $1.85 for it. Yes, that’s right, $1.85 for a receipt. I guess there is no point in saying…I will not shop that booth anymore! And…I will not promote their product to anyone else. For me to pay $50 to use one plastic foot on my machine is pretty dumb on my part. For them to charge $1.85 for a receipt is just plain outrageous!!

Last year at the Nashville show when it was time for lunch; we would go outside the show and a little further inside the hotel to the food court. The food court had several normal fast food restaurants and some dining type restaurants too. A visitor could actually get a decent lunch for a reasonable price. This year, the hotel had done away with the food court. We asked a hotel employee why and were told the hotel is going “upscale”.
There aren’t any good eating places within ‘old lady with arthritic hips joints walking distance’ from the hotel; especially when we are only there for a few hours. We asked a hotel employee if they had a shuttle to take visitors to other places and pick them up. No, they don’t have that. We were forced to eat in the food area of the show. I’m totally against having food in the same area as quilts. There are too many ways to have an accident.

The prices for food were outrageous. Well naturally!! Why shouldn’t the hotel make it difficult to eat at a reasonable cost? Now don’t think me unbending here. I expect to pay a little extra for a meal inside a show. But come on…. $10.50 for self serve of a small sandwich, beans, and lemonade? The least they could do is offer a bag of chips and a mint with it. Would you call this an “upscale” hotel meal? I’ve got news for Gaylord Hotel…higher prices does not equal “upscale”!

If a person wanted only water to drink instead of lemonade, it was an additional $3. Cookies and brownies were $2 each. A tiny salad – maybe a couple of table spoons – was $5.75. A 1 ounce bag of chips (that costs 35 cents at the store) was $2. They had four lines of people with only two cashiers. The cashiers charged whatever they felt like charging; if you didn’t like it….tough…go somewhere else to eat. The lady in front of me paid $14, I paid $15, and my sister in law paid $10.50….all of us getting the exact same thing. I didn’t argue; I paid it because I had not had anything to eat since supper the night before and I was starving plus rapidly becoming shaky. It was already 1:45.

Now this is only my opinion; but, if the Gaylord hotel is going to continue with meals inside the show area; the least they could do is give every item a separate price which would allow folks to pick and choose and pay accordingly. They might even consider some other food items too.

After lunch I went to the awards ceremony where I had to pay $15 for my sister in law to get in. I got in free as a contestant. I can understand paying to get into the show. The entertainer (the singing quilter) has to get paid somehow. The problem was….we had to stand through a big part of the show. There weren’t enough chairs until more could be brought in from storage. Then they just sat the stack in a corner for the attendees to pull a chair from the stack, carry it to the other side of the room before sitting. Come on now; for $15 couldn’t the hotel employee carry a chair or two for a couple of old ladies? It would have also been really nice if the lights were turned out during the singing quilter’s performance like any normal performance. The lights were so bright it was hard to focus on the entertainment. By the way, the singing quilter is really good.
I made an idiot of myself at the ceremony. I’m not sure Yvonne will want me to go to another one with her. Heck, for me, the whole fun of walking up in front of all those people is to do something really stupid so everyone will have a good laugh! It makes others remember me. I just tell them…I’m the one who did such and such stupid thing and everyone says…oh yeah, I remember you now. Our group - Happy Heart Quilters - got a second place ribbon.

In the back of the quilt show area was a table set up by Clover. They had pamphlets of things to do at a guild meeting. I picked up several really nice ideas. There was also a box on the table that said “free knitting needles”. The box was empty. I went back a few minutes later when it had been filled. I picked up a pair. The needles are very nicely made from wood. I asked my sister in law to pick up a pair too, in a different size, so I could have them. She refused to give them to me. I asked her what she planned to do with knitting needles if she doesn’t knit. She says “but I can learn” and that was that. I’m sorry but I will not be teaching her to knit. I’ve been teaching her to quilt for about 7 years and she still hasn’t bought a single quilt pattern or book or shown any interest beyond simple squares in all that time. Hmm…maybe she is planning to switch hobbies?

I got extremely excited when I came across a lady weaving rugs! I make rugs from left over t-shirt backs. I’m too thrifty to throw away the backs of t-shirts after I have made a t-shirt quilt. I cut the leftovers into strips and weave them into rugs. Anyway, this lady was selling rug frames made by her brother. He does beautiful woodwork!! I’m hoping to consult with him to make a few changes to the construction of the frame for me. My weaving style is just a bit different than the way he has his frames set up. I already have a bunch of strips cut up because I had dusted off my rug frame a few days ago planning to weave again. I didn’t buy the frames at the show. Instead I asked for a phone number so I could call when I got home. He is going to make the changes in the frame for me and it should be ready in a couple of weeks. It’s going to be a long two weeks!
The bathrooms for the quilt show were a long distance from the show area. It’s like walking a couple of city blocks to find a bathroom. Good gosh…I was at the very back of the show area when the urge to make water hit me…twice.

If you plan to attend a show like this with a friend; trust me, it is better if you agree to go separate ways and meet at a certain spot at a certain time later in the day. My sister in law didn’t want to be farther than two feet from my side for the whole trip. It was difficult to see what I wanted to see while making sure she got to see what she wanted to see too. If you go separate ways you can spend your time enjoying yourself and the other person can too.

We got back on the bus at 5:30. Two ladies were late meeting the bus so we had to wait about 15 minutes for them. We had supper at the Cracker Barrel a short distance from the hotel. Service was great and fast! I finally had a decent meal for a decent price.

I guess that’s it for my report on the Nashville trip. My suggestions…anyone going to the show should plan on packing a sack lunch and never take a water pill.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

A quiet day

Yesterday I decided not to go back to the fair. Since I had already planned for a day off; I decided maybe I should stay home to get some work done without interruptions. When I start organizing I first find what is not working, give it a ton of thought for a solution, then make the change.

I looked at my machine and decided it was high time I worked out the problem of shifting tops while quilting. When I load a backing onto the machine then tighten it up, one end is very tight while the other end is loose. As I progress through the quilting the end that was loose gradually becomes tight while the opposite happens on the other side; it becomes loose.

I’ve never been able to figure out a fix for this problem. I measured the distance between the belly bar and the take up bar. There was an inch or more difference. Logically a person could move the bars closer together to make them equal distance apart, right? Well, nothing about a Gammill is logical. I realized it’s not the belly bar that should be straight with the take up bar. It’s the bar down under the table that is the problem. One end of the backing gets attached to the take up bar leader and the other end of the backing gets attached to the backing bar and leader under the table. So how is it possible to measure the distance apart of those two bars? I never figured that one out.

I removed the leaders and put new ones on. I also cleaned dust from parts I normally don’t look at - like under the table where the batting is stored. The frame itself rarely gets any cleaning attention. I also cleaned and oiled the bobbin area, then tightened all the bolts of the table. The clean parts of my machine may not be visible – but – I know they are thoroughly clean.

I sure wish the rest of the house was just as clean. ;-}

Friday, August 17, 2007

Quilt shows and ribbons

All last year I heard comments from other quilters that they were not going to enter this year’s fair because I was entering. Even when I dropped off my quilt there were comments like – Oh there is Anita, she’s going to win best of show again. I keep telling everyone that the Unicorn quilt was just an accident. I had several different techniques I wanted to try and somehow they all worked together to create a good quilt. Once I won best of show everyone expects me to do it every time. I’m not that good a piecer or quilter!! Actually the one that won best of show this year wasn’t even quilted. It was a crazy quilt but not layered with a batting and backing. It's the one in the pictures. Sorry about the dots all over the pictures, those are lights reflected from the ceiling onto the glass.

I went out to the Kentucky State Fair yesterday. I had entered 6 quilts. I won 2 blue ribbons. One in the professional category and one in the memory quilt category. The lady that won both best machine quilting ribbons did a really great job. I was told she used a Statler Stitcher to quilt them. I really don’t know her but the quilting was perfect. She deserved to get those ribbons and I’m happy that she did. If it is true and she did use a computerized machine, I doubt I will ever win another machine quilting ribbon. I can’t really compete with a computerized machine. My movements are far too imperfect while a computer doesn’t know to do anything but perfect. It won’t stop me from entering more quilts though.

It’s kind of strange. I thought I would feel disappointed if I didn’t win a machine quilting ribbon. I really don’t feel that way. Is something wrong with me? That it doesn’t matter I didn’t win one for machine quilting? I do like to get ribbons but somehow not getting one doesn’t make me feel disappointed. All I feel is the urge to start planning a quilt or two for next year.

I spent about 4 hours walking up and down the isles looking at quilts; especially those done by my customers. There were some good, some not so good, some quilted by me, some quilted by hand, and some had ribbons while others didn’t. It was more of a walk down memory lane than an attempt to see what the judge was thinking. I heard many comments from people like…. The judge must have been drunk when they gave that ribbon. The quality of the quilts this year is disappointing. This quilt should have won instead of that one.
I heard these type comments over and over. Those comments are what made me feel really sad. The ribbons are nice but not every quilt is going to get one. The judges give ribbons based on certain criteria. If those criteria aren’t met then no ribbon can be given. I encourage every one of my customers to enter the fair. Why I encourage them isn’t really about the ribbons….it is about seeing their work hanging for everyone to look at.
What quilter doesn’t like looking at the work of other quilters? How often do you go to a shop, or visit a friend, or drop off a top to be quilted and not look at the quilts? The internet is full of people surfing around looking at quilt pictures and websites with quilts on them.

Every customer that comes to my house looks at all the quilts here. They look at the one on the machine and ask me whose quilt it is. They look on the shelves at the completed quilts and often pull one or two off the shelf to look at it closer. They ask me to show the quilts I’m piecing.

For me….this is what a quilt show is really all about; the looking at many quilts all in one place; its eye candy just hanging there for people to enjoy. I tend to focus first on the quilting. Whenever I see a quilt my attention immediately goes to the quilting. I can’t help it, it’s what I do, and machine quilting is my life. After my focus clears somewhat I start looking at the piecing design. I don’t care whether it is pieced perfect or not. I look at the design. Is it something I would want to piece? Why did she or he use a square, a triangle, a diagonal, a curve or other design element? Did the piecer accomplish the look of the design regardless of whether the piecing and quilting is perfect or not?

Maybe this is the artist in me? Artists viewing the work of other artists tend to analyze the intent of the design rather than the way it was accomplished. Let me see if I can describe this in written words with a short story.
There is a painting hanging in an art gallery. At first glance it appears to be splashes of paint thrown on the canvas. One person walks by and comments…My 4 year old son could do that and walks on by. Another person walks up and stops to stare at it for a long time. Suddenly he starts to smile, bobs his head up and down, and says very well done. What did he see that the first person didn’t? He saw what the artist was trying to convey. The splashes of paint themselves were not the real focus; it was what the artist wanted those splashes to represent in the overall design that mattered.

So the next time you go to a fair or a quilt show try looking at the quilts with an artist’s eye. Think of it as a quilt ‘gallery’ rather than a quilt ‘show’. Try seeing the intent of the design rather than how well it was pieced or quilted. Look a little closer at some of the quilts without ribbons. There just might be an artist behind those quilts; someone who was more intent on conveying a message than on how well it is put together. There could be a thousand reasons why the person wasn’t able to do perfect piecing or quilting but that doesn’t make them any less a really great quilter. They could have a handicap making it difficult to piece. They could be just beginning a quilt hobby and you are seeing the first one. They could be low income so that their quilting machine isn’t a do all, very expensive, modern one. They could be trying a design with inexpensive thrift store fabrics to show it can be done. Like I said….there could be thousands of reasons.

And….never stop entering contest just because you don’t win a ribbon. Let the rest of the world enjoy your contribution to the eye candy! Why do you think they call it “show”? It’s because you are to “show” your quilts. I know I’m going to keep entering even if I don’t win ribbons!

Ok, I’m heading off to my studio to start another customer quilt.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Quilts and Quilting

Wow! Its working again!!! Thank you to the nice person from blog land who answered my cry for help. You made a little old lady very happy today.

So here is today's finished quilt. It was 95 x 122. I'm very happy he wanted the Circle Lord Baptist fans on it.

In between searching all over blogger for answers; I took breaks to cut on fabrics in order to vent my frustrations. I got out some of my string blocks and trimmed them up to 6 x 9. Now I have to find a quilt design I like to use them in. This is before trimming.

This is after trimming.

This is after separating them into strips going horizontal and strips going vertical.

Now that all the internet stuff is taken care of maybe I can get back to normal. I will be gone all day tomorrow and probably Friday too. I wanted to get all this straightened out first. I will be at the Kentucky State Fair looking at all the quilts entered that I quilted. It will probably be the last time I get a chance to see them up close and personal.

Testing pictures

Ok, now this worked. It still comes up as jibberish but at least it is there. Would anyone care to let me know if you see the pictures?

Still not working right

I've upgraded everything I can possibly find on my computer and on blogger. I did the browser update thing this morning. I'm told I have the latest update already. Does anyone have any other suggestions for things I might try in order to get this fixed?

The buttons for adding pictures and other features like adding links are still gone. I can't even see a 'help' button or clickable word anymore. I guess I won't be able to post pictures for awhile. Am I the only one on blogger having problems?? Is there a limited amount we can post to blogger before we are cut off like this? Is there another place other than dashboard for upgrading to a newer version? I'll try any suggestions.

Does anyone other than me see the little tools on my side bar? What do they mean?

If I don't find a solution for the problems, I'm going to send my computer to the puter doctor the end of this month. (Again!!) Maybe the doctor can diagnose what the problem is and fix it for me. The computer doctor bills are starting to really eat up my budget. I'm not sure this journal thing is going to be worth keeping up.

Ok, I'm ending this post so I can go search some more places for answers and read a few blogs before starting my work day.

UPDATE: Right now I am trying an experiment. I am on my lap top computer creating this message. On here I see all the buttons that are "supposed" to be here. So the problem must be with my regulare computer. Now I can see that the problem is with the regular computer so it will be going to the puter doctor. I don't have any pictures on the lap top. I can't test out that for now. I think I will try another experiment with the regular computer to see if reinstalling my browser software helps.

ANOTHER UPDATE: I downloaded foxfire web browser to my computer. Now all the buttons I lost before are back. I'm not sure it is all the buttons I should have but at least these are back.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Snoopy Happy Dance!!

I will start with today’s finished quilt. Ok, this is really wierd!!! No buttons anywhere on blogger; can't add photos, can't highlight things...can't see a help button either. The quilt gremlins are playing with my computer...oh my goodness...I've got to get help from either AT&T or Blogger somehow. Well atleast I'm able to cut and paste from word to the blog. I'll do this then make some phone calls later today. Anyone else having trouble??

Yesterday seems to have been a great day in spite of all the frustrations. Please everyone take a look at my side bar at the bottom. Ain’t it purrrrdey?? It shows I’m part of the MQ Resource blog ring. Thank you to Suzanne for helping me. I looked in my email earlier and there are blog ring messages. Oh how exciting! I do think I will have to get an updated browser. Bellsouth has changed to AT&T so maybe they have a new version and I’m just not aware of it. For now I will mostly be a reader with an occasional message. When I get my browser updated I can be more of a participant.

I also joined the MQ Resource forum. I’m pretty sure I won’t be posting there very often. Forums are extremely scary things for me. I’ve only joined one other forum. It was the HGTV one. I made only one post and was so embarrassed by it afterwards that I vowed I would never join another one. For now; I will be a MQR forum read only member while I get used to how it works.

Now for the other good news:

Several of you may recall how much I’ve wanted to move from this area of Louisville? I finally gave up hope of moving. My house just won’t sell because people are moving away from this area instead of into it. There is also a lot of work to be done on this house before it would even begin to sell for a fair price. Without selling this house I can’t move. I had resigned myself to the fact that moving is not an option. I must make do with this place. I’ve been here for 25+ years so it’s not like I am new here.

My neighborhood has gone downhill for a number of years. As each government housing complex around the county got torn down, this area became the new projects; the new larger low income housing area. The displaced low income families had to go somewhere so they became renters in this area. Renters rarely care about a neighborhood because they don’t own part of it. Renters will stay for a year then move on. Only 7 houses out of 45 on this one block are lived in by owners. The rest are low income rentals or empty and boarded up.

Several months ago, I had heard some rumors of a revitalization program getting starting in this area which would put me in the perfect spot for either a low interest loan or grant to fix up my house. There is also the possibility of the city buying my house from me for the new bridge project if I am in that path. I had finally given up on those possibilities too and resigned myself to living just as I am. I had told myself to just stop stressing about moving and get on with the business of life.

Several of my customers read this blog as well as several of my internet quilting friends. The people who live here will know what I mean when I say the Old Phillip Morris Plant on Broadway. For those who don’t know about Louisville, it’s a cigarette factory that closed up several years ago and moved to another state. The building has been sitting empty for a good number of years. It’s located only a couple of blocks from my house. The old factory and grounds cover about a 4 square block area.

Last evening I happened to turn on the evening news. I rarely get the chance to watch the news because I work right through it. I see enough bad news by just sitting on my porch; I don’t need more from the tv. Anyway, after getting frustrated with my computer a second time for the day; I decided to go turn on the tv for a few minutes to calm down. The first thing I see is a ground breaking ceremony with the mayor and west end officials. Actually it was an ‘old factory being torn down to make room for something new’ ceremony. So it’s true!! The revitalization project rumors were true! The project will cover this whole area! And I’m living right near the center of it all! Yes, I’m that excited!

I had heard the helicopters flying around earlier but I just thought it was the normal looking for suspects stuff; didn’t think anymore about it. They were actually taking pictures of the ceremony from the news helicopter instead of looking for criminals. So now it will just be a matter of wait until the whole revitalization thing gets started. There is hope after all!

Well now….good new announced, it’s time for me to go reading some blogs and emails before work.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Side bar elements??

Ok, I'm really confused! I signed up to joined the MQresource machine quilter blog ring. I have to put a link on my side bar before my membership can be approved. SO HOW THE HECK IS THIS DONE????

I've read and read all over blogger today but can't see where I can put anything on the side bar. I tried this before when I wanted to add a counter to the side bar. I searched and read for over a week. Never figured it out then either!

I guess I won't be able to join the blog ring after all. Ok, now I'm really sad. I wanted someone to start a machine quilter blog ring for a long time, now that there is one, I can't join because I'm not computer smart enough to put something on my blog. You see why I didn't want to try starting one myself?

I'm going to take out my frustrations by cutting the heck out of some fabrics!!

Machine quilter blog ring

This morning it appears I no longer have to read and try to understand how to create a blog ring for machine quilters…..someone already started one. This is the site for where you can find the information. http://blog.saltcreekquiltco.com/

I’m sure glad one has been started!! I wasn’t all that keen on devoting the time necessary to run one. I knew there was a need; I just don’t know that much about computers.

I took my quilts to the fair Saturday. As usual I was finishing my entries up the night before they had to be dropped off. This year the show should be interesting. I took 6 quilts and there was another Estes dropping off 6 quilts at the same time. My customers are going to be confused by the name Estes on 12 quilts. They may wonder why I entered that many instead of completing their quilts.

I went to guild meeting Sunday. The drawings for everyone are done. I didn’t take all the work I had done on mine because I didn’t want the others to think they should have more done on theirs. I try to get as much of mine done before the Christmas rush gets into full swing so I always have much more finished than the rest of the group. During August through December I usually don’t do much piecing of my own.

I’m hoping to change that this year though. I was browsing through my fabric stash and pattern stash thinking of ways to get it better organized. I came across some patterns of things I really want to make but the organizing must be done first. A quilted coat is definitely on my agenda.

While looking through all my quilting stuff I was trying to think about how much time I want to devote to the different types of quilt work I do. It occurred to me that the best way to get good organizing perspective on quilt plans is to list them. Give it a try. You will see what I mean. Here is my hurried up list for this morning.

Art quilts – I love the art part of quilting! I really want to make some for the galleries that keep asking me to make some. How many? It should be at least 6.

Charity quilts – 5 for the nursing home, 5 for the women’s shelter, and 5 for the homeless men.

Contest quilts – one or two for MQS and MQX then one for Paducah and one for Nashville. Yes, I want to try for those shows even though I’ve not tried before.

Machine quilting for customers – always a heavy schedule!

Charity quilts for auction – Art for the animals, Farnsley Moorman House, the Mayor, and a couple of others have requested an art quilt that can be auctioned. Not a traditional pieced quilt but large art pieces.

Quilts for the grandkids – I have 16 ½ grandkids and 4 great-grandkids. I haven’t made one for them in several years.

Custom made clothing quilts – I can never know how many I will be commissioned to do in this area. Last year I did 35 custom made clothing quilts.

Gee, looking at it all written here sure lets me know where I have gone wrong. Listing everything sure puts it into a different perspective doesn’t it? No way can I do all this work! No wonder
I was feeling overwhelmed and complaining I didn’t have a life.

Ok, I’ve worked myself into a panic mode writing it all down. It’s time for me to go do some machine quilting while I think of which to eliminate and which to keep on the agenda.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

More about computer time

I don’t have any finished pictures today. The one on the machine is going to take me three or four days to finish because I have to be gone this afternoon and tomorrow afternoon.

I appreciate everyone who reads my blog! It gives me a really good feeling to know I am helping someone.

There were some readers who may have misunderstood what I was explaining in my post yesterday. I do belong to a couple of online groups. I love that I can get on the computer and ask for advice and immediately get several different answers to consider. I love the camaraderie of belonging to a group! I also visit blog rings and websites. It’s just that I limit my computer time when I have deadlines to meet.

I’m not a member of quilt mavericks but I read their blogs every so often. I know when someone is feeling sad or happy or overwhelmed or relaxed. I know that Judy’s book is the #1 seller on Amazon and that Bonnie is going on a road trip. But I also know that one person hauled out a 30 year old furnace from her basement and another person saw lots of butterflies in a field. I know one person took her daughter to Baltimore for a birthday and a shop owner is making strip quilts.

I’m not a member of the artful quilters’ blog ring but I feel as if I know them like next door neighbors. One person just moved from the big city to a rural home in Tennessee. One person lives near me and belongs to the same art guild here in Louisville. (I gotta introduce myself to her at one of the LAFTA meetings.) Another member goes to the same Waterfront Wednesday that I do.

What I was trying to do yesterday was to get others to THINK about the time they spend on the computer IF they are having a hard time keeping up with machine quilting scheduling. The big name quilters get off the computer when they want to accomplish something, why couldn’t we do the same?

Ok, time for me to get started today. I’m hoping to read more about starting a blog ring. I have read some of the instructions and it doesn’t seem so hard. I want to read more to be sure I can handle it before committing to starting it. I’m not that computer literate ya know….I muddle through as best I can.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Here are today's pictures of finished quilts.

The last few days I’ve been invited to join several new web groups. Hmm… they must have heard I’m trying to cut back on my internet time and thought they would tempt me to abandon my goal. There are far too many web groups and all of them very tempting! It seems that all the ‘big name’ quilters are starting web sites or groups that require membership to read the information contained in the site or whatever they may call it.

These sites are what I call ‘online guilds’. They operate much the same way an ‘in person guild’ operates. There is membership, participation, teaching, challenges, activities, show and tell, along with other things common to guilds. So how many guilds can one person belong to and still operate a machine quilting business?

I had to ask myself; would I join 15 or 20 ‘in person’ quilt guilds here in Louisville? If I did join that many guilds, when would I have time for actually working? I would be constantly going to guild meetings and participating in their activities. Where would that leave the time devoted to customer quilts? The only difference between an ‘in person’ guild and an ‘on line’ guild is the distance I would commute to participate. On line I am traveling to another part of my house; in person I would travel to another house.

I have noticed one common question in place after place on the quilt net circuit. It might be on an email list. It might be on a discussion forum. It might be on a blog ring. It might be on a website. The most common question seems to be “how do you schedule your time”. The people asking this question appear to be the same names I see in place after place while surfing around myself. I keep wondering why they are participating in several daily online groups instead of quilting? Did they schedule online time among their machine quilting time?

So let me ask you this…. How often do you see the “big name” quilters on the sites of other “big name” quilters? Do you see Linda Taylor (Gammill fame) posting to any discussion group? Do you see the names Sharon Schamber or Karen McTavish or Carol Beyer Fallert or Ricky Tims or Alex Anderson, or any one of dozens of big name quilters, show up on any site or discussion group other than their own? Why? It’s my opinion they don’t participate in discussion groups because they now have a “big name” so there is no need to market themselves in groups anymore. They have graduated from being one of the online crowds to a marketable personality.

I also believe the big name people are extremely smart business people, or maybe it is the significant other who is extremely smart. They saw the need for one person to do nothing but quilt while the other took over all other duties. I don’t even believe the quilter is the one actually running the sites. I believe it is the significant other who is running the site and posting.

Heavens, if I had someone do everything for me while I did nothing but create quilts I could become a famous name person too! Yes, I do believe that. I have the knowledge and capability. I just don’t have someone who believes in me enough to be willing to take over all other duties for me while I create. I don’t have anyone to market me.

Nor do I have anyone to pay the bills for me while I indulge my fantasy to create a quilt to win a major quilt show someday. No one believes in me that much. Not my kids, not my friends, no one but me believes in me.

So this has been my thoughts for today. I could finish this post and surf around for two or three hours but customer quilts are waiting. I could go join a group or two but that won’t get the work done or the bills paid. No, I will stick with the one or two sites I belong to for now. Maybe later I will unsubscribe from one and join another...who knows what the future will be? I am sticking to my rule of limited internet time until I find someone who believes in me too.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Why do we stash?

Here is today’s finished quilt. I almost finished a second one. Just a couple of hours more and it will be done. As you may have noticed, I’m no longer counting down toward time off. I had to make a financial decision that requires me to keep working.

I’ve been planning out my organizing once again. It seems all the work I did last January has completely come undone. I always try to find what is not working then find a solution. Obviously what I did back in January isn’t working so now it’s up to me to find another way to organize.

I started my organizing by trying to clean up my computer. The computer seems to be one of my most neglected areas of clutter. I have a ton of things on my computer that would be best moved to cds. I had a new cd drive put into my computer just so I could backup data. It’s not working or maybe I just need to learn the right way to use it. When I get the computer cleaned up it should start moving a little faster.

I saw on TV (in a news report last night) that people are saving tons of emails and book marking sites that they never get around to reading because there is too much information. Wow! I think I said the same thing several weeks ago. No longer are people vegetating in front of a TV, now days they are vegetating in front of a computer screen.

A few years ago I moved my tv to the farthest room away from my quilting studio. I had to break myself from spending so much time watching it. It was really hard to do.

I think it’s time for me to break myself from spending so much time on the computer. The internet is like one gigantic shopping mall with constant advertisements. No, not the pop up type; I mean the telling of gidgets and gadgets other people have bought and love. Think about it…. How many websites or blogs have you visited where someone tells about a new quilting gidget or gadget then thought to yourself…. I want one of those! Then you buy it. The internet is like spending hours and hours day after day in a shopping mall trying to keep up with the Jones’s.

Then there is the visiting of blogs where people show their fabric stashes. Some are all sorted by size and color and stacked neatly in cabinets. Some studios are completely disorganized and filled with tons and tons of fabric. Some quilters take over their whole house with fabrics and quilting gadgets. Some blogs tell of visiting fabric stores and bringing home new purchases to store away in an already filled sewing room. Why do we buy and keep so much of it?

Could it possibly be we believe the world will suffer some sort major disaster and fabric will no longer be made? Could it be we believe another depression is about to hit us or we will suffer some type of loss of our income and we must stockpile quilting stuff just in case? Do we believe the thrift stores will go out of business too so that we couldn’t use old clothing for quilts if we could no longer buy fabric by the yard? Do we believe the library will cease to exist and we couldn’t check out books so we buy tons of quilting books to put into our stash? Just what has all quilters believing the larger our stash the better quilter we are?

Do you think the quilters of yesteryear had hugh fabric and gadget stashes? Did their quilting stuff take over room after room? Yet there were some really beautiful quilts still around from back then. What did they do that modern quilts are not doing? Think about it for awhile. I will too.

Buying fabrics and quilting gadgets can really ruin a budget. I know; I’ve spent hundreds, if not thousands, of dollars on quilting stuff. Do I use everything? No way, there are not enough hours in the day to get around to using everything I have stored away gathering dust. Could I have used some of that money for other things? Absolutely! If I had saved my money instead of buying more dust catchers or fabric stash for the studio I probably would have had the money to fix up this house already.

Now that I’ve given you some things to think about; I’m headed to the studio. I’m going to do some more thinking about this too.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Organizing mood again

These are pictures of the quilts I finished this week. These are three of my five fair entries for this year. I actually got them all finished for a change. Usually I don’t. I did feel a little guilty about not working on customer quilts. But hey, sometimes I just gotta do something that makes me happy or else I won’t be happy working on customer quilts. Being unhappy always leads to problems. I was also sick in bed two days this week. I don’t know what was wrong, just that I felt awful and had a stuffy head. It was probably the high pollution count the last few days.

I’m in an organizing mood again. I’ve let my quilting stuff take over the house again so it is time for reorganizing. I started with the computer which is loaded with photos and moving very slow.

I tried moving my quilt pictures off the computer and onto a CD. It didn’t work. I haven’t a clue why? Do I need to do something to a CD before it can accept stuff? I keep getting a message that the disks are not usable. I did have a new CD drive put into the computer a few weeks ago. This is the first time I tried to use it. I also bought CDs that say rewriteable. But, do they need to be formatted or something to work?

Sunday is my day for shopping. Today I’m going to look at some organizing things. I don’t plan to buy anything just look for ideas. I don’t buy organizing items because someone says I should. I look for ideas then keep them in mind as I start sorting through what it is I want to organize.

Ok, enough post writing, my organizing genes are telling me to go do something useful.