Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Quilt from H*** claims another victim

Some time ago, our friend, blogless Honna brought a project to White Oak that has become known as The Quilt From Hell.  It's official name was "Simple Gifts" and while it was intended as a gift from her to several friends, it turned out to be anything BUT simple. 

While none of us liked the colors or fabrics in the photgraph, it was pretty clear that it relied for its impact on the contrast among the two framing fabrics, the feature fabric in the center, and the background.  Honna's fabrics (chosen by the recipients) had nearly no contrast at all.  Strike one against her.  She had also been  increasing the size from the generous throw of the pattern to one for a queen bed!   So the numbers of units had about doubled.  Strike two.

The top itself is assembled in units that are put together as diagonal strips.

Most of her time at the retreat had consisted of cutting and sewing together the separate units.  But it was just not going well at all for her.  I spent some time working with her  The biggest problem was the placement of the little triangles, but the only way to complete fix that was to take apart all the segments she'd assembled -- a larger task than she was prepared to undertake.  So we concentrated on how to put together what was already done. Along around Saturday night of the retreat, it became clear that she was just at the end of her rope.  I promptly picked everything up, told her to do something else that she enjoyed, and that I would take it home and get the top together.  A week or so later, I gave her the quilt top.  The lattice didn't "wind" correctly, but the lack of contrast in the fabrics concealed that flaw. 

Unfortunately, as I analyzed what went wrong, I found that I liked the pattern and decided to use it to make the new quilt for D#2's room.  At my request, she fished the book out of her discard pile and gave it to me with her blessing.  My first step was to find fabrics with sufficient contrast, and, in Paducah, I bought these:

After working on a lot of scrap quilts, cutting into these lovely, cheery fabrics, all in my favorite colors has been such a treat!  I have been happily sewing along, preparing all the units (5 more than in the pattern to increase it to the length of a twin bed mattress top) and planning to assemble the top before the upcoming W.O.W. (White Oak Weekend).  There I hope to add borders -- at least one of them pieced -- so I can send it off to be quilted!

Today I began to put the finished diagonal units together.   Here they are, all spread out and ready to go.


Why weren't my lattices winding correctly???   I'd been so careful (or so I thought).  The directions had cautioned that this was wrong:

But somehow I'd found (and used) an equally wrong arrangement:

 The triangles needed to meet here:


Looks like the Quilt from Hell has won the first round from me, too.  Not giving up, though.  I have a lot of "un-sewing" or "frog-stitching" (rippit, rippit) to do before Friday!   Honna....  I know JUST how you feel. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Losses to computer: -2. Gains with people +2

This week I have been bested by computers twice. 

I am an almost-daily user of the web interface to the shared catalog of all the libraries in the county.  I place reserves for books or dvds, and check my account every day or two to check due dates of items I have borrowed.  If I'm not finished with them, I can renew them online.   I count on this helpful tool to keep track of my loans since I often have six or more different things out, usually from several libraries.

Until Tuesday.

On Tuesday, I checked my account and found a crisp new display.  Uh-oh...  I don't trust new displays, which mean a new interface, and which may or may not be an improvement.  It may or may not even work!  Fortunately, I could still find everything that I use, except -- overnight -- everything I had out was shown as no renewals left.   Last week there were 2 available for each one.  I had borrowed an audiobook which took 13 hours to listen to and a book that I hadn't started yet.  So.... POOF!  The computer ate my renewals!   After several emails back and forth, a staff member restored the renewal for the audiobook, but I'm still waiting to see that I can renew my book.  One loss. 

Today, I left my office late in the morning, as I had an 11:00 appointment at my dentist's office for a cleaning.  Arrived promptly.  They had no record of an appointment for me.  Looked at the calendar in my planner, where I keep all important information, especially dates and times.  Thursday, October 18, 11:00 Dentist.    The receptionist looked at me oddly, and asked if I'd received a call to confirm.  Well.... no... but I didn't think anything of it, since I had the date and time written down in my calendar!  Somehow I doubt if patients show up randomly and announce they have appointments!   But maybe she thought I was aspiring to be a trendsetter.

Another loss to computer.

On balance, prior to my ill-fated trip to the dental office, I had received an email from a client of the company I work for.  For some time, over several weeks, we had traded emails in which he would ask me about the services we provide to his library and project a byzantine way of using them to do... well, I'm not really certain what he was trying to do.   I would reply, asking him things like, "what are you trying to do here?" and suggesting "you might try X, which would be much simpler," and so forth.  Today's email said that they had decided to proceed based on my suggestions and ended, "Thanks for saving me from the madness I was proposing!"  A big WIN for me!

Early in the afternoon, a colleague informed me that I had received a delivery.  I was not expecting anything to be delivered to my office, but thought that, perhaps, I might have misdirected some fabric (guilty, as charged) that I'd ordered recently.  Instead, I came into the entrance area to find


(photographed at home, with interested parties investigating)

I had done some analysis for another of our client libraries at no charge, with the permission of my supervisor, as they had been longtime customers.   The library had sent me flowers in thanks!   This is probably a first for the company.   

So..  the computer got the best of me a couple of time.   But I had two touching and validating surprises from people.

I win.

Monday, October 15, 2012

One year anniversary

One year ago today, these two came to live with me.  Know variously as the "Terrible Tortie Twins" or the "Terrific Tortie Twosome" or another variation on "T" words, they have brought so much life and laughter to my otherwise-sorta-empty house!   I almost called them "Smidge" and "Smudge" (for the smudge of orange on her face), but cooler heads prevailed.  In retrospect, there could not be a more apt name for his one than "Sassy:"

And Smidgen:is still a wee one -- smaller and lighter than her big sister.

Sassy likes to help me sew. 

While Smidgen prefers to nap nearby.

 Both like to climb into things -- boxes, bags.... whatever


Smidgen also likes to burrow and "hide" under the newspaper.

While neither one is particularly outgoing -- probably because I was the only one in the house when they came here to live -- Sassy will eventually come out to meet guests, while Smidgen is more of a "momma's girl" who is quite skittish with other people until she becomes accustomed to their presence.  She loves to sit on my lap when I'm sewing by hand and chase the thread.  Not. Helpful. At. All.
However, there are times when I could swear that they are, in fact, simply one organism, split into two halves.  

They have never been separated for more than a few hours.  They groom each other, play together, and sleep together -- usually with Smidgen splayed out on her sister. 

By my count, they are my 13th and 14th cats since I adopted my first at age 20. Call me a crazy cat lady.  No denials here. I love them and hope to have many more years together. 

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Progress update: month 27 (September 2012)

In September, I hit the 80/20 mark by passing day #800.   Onward! 

21. Gas stove installed
23. Last of old carpet out of basement

7,26,28,33,99,101. Kept up to date.
48. Saw 12 movies
      Six feet under (5th and last season)
      Taking chance
      Peggy Sue got married 
      The way 
      My favorite year 
      The best and the brightest
      A dolphin tale 
      The words (theatre) 
      For your consideration 
      The full monty 
      The remains of the day
49. Read 5 books
      Full dark, no stars (Stephen King)
      Putting makeup on the fat boy (Bil Wright)
      The perks of being a wallflower (Stephen Chbonsky)
            (count as 1 -- both YA)
      The five people you meet in heaven (Mitch Albom) [my first audiobook]
      The Family Fang (Kevin Wilson)
      Unfamiliar fishes (Sarah Vowell) [audio] 

80. started work on quilt photo albums
Extra quilts: “Traditions” charm quilt for Oktoberfest; scrap log cabin for Rebuilding Together Philadelphia (running total of 9 "healing" quilts); Sherbet & Gum Balls (for a friend)

Priorities for October
6/7/9. Work in basement; declutter books & stuff.
18. Work on deck (weather limitations?)
30. Finish writing will; have it witnessed.
71. More work on t-shirt quilt for D#1.
72. Start quilt for D#2's new room.
80. More work on quilt photo albums.