I have been making a quilt for a friend who had a baby a wee while ago. Mostly it has been going okay. I find piecing very straightforward and can do a good job of it, largely because of all my experience making clothes. Clothes have all sorts of curved seams, straight seams, issues with selvage and grain and bias, so sewing mostly straight flat seams I find pretty straightforward (literally!).
But machine quilting is proving to be a great deal more tricky. The last large quilt I did was a checkerboard pattern, with alternating string pieced and plain blocks. I quilted it with a walking foot in the ditch. All went well and although not inspired, it lies flat and there are no wrinkles on the back. The quilt I am making now has three materials in it. One is a batik of fern leaves, and I have quilted around the edge of the leaves. That went fine. The brown material is stipple quilted, and some of that is wrinkly. But mostly it is quite liveable, and I am still happy enough with it to be giving the quilt away.
I have dithered for ages working out what I would do with the blue squares. I got a fixation in my mind that I would quilt crosses in the squares. Then I couldn't find a pattern, then I couldn't get any tearaway to put the pattern onto. Then I found a pattern and bought some tearaway, and R told me that pattern had too many straight lines and wouldn't look good with the rest of the quilting which was all curves. And dangnabbit, he was right. So there I was back at the starting board.
I went to the Manawatu Quilting symposium in the weekend, and bought a book on machine quilting patterns - the average quilting pattern usually says about the quilting "Quilt as desired", and this book re-words it to "Quilt as inspired". Her patterns are great, and I used the ideas in the book to come up with a pattern with a cross and some filler patterns. It looks fantastic, is fun to quilt, suits the quilt and the five blocks of it in the middle of the quilt make me very happy. There are four blocks around the outside of the quilt in the corners that need the same pattern, and although the top of the quilt looks good, the underneath looks like screwed up paper. I will have to take out two blocks and re-do them. I must be twisting the quilt in the machine, its the only thing I can think of. I am trying to avoid the weight of the quilt, and it looks like I shouldn't.
I'm so close to the end, and I'm really very frustrated with this. I am going to join a quilting group this year, and may also do some classes at Quilt University, especially the ones on machine quilting and basting. My mother who has made a perfectly quilted quilt for H, reckons the problem is in my basting. So I'm thinking I need some better skills.
At home I have a computer - this is no news to most of us, as I have posted on this blog at all times of the day and some odd times of the night over the years. It goes most of the time. It starts kindof slowly, and loads up the programs in a leisurely way, but once they are there they are stable and they move quickly. I'm guessing a lot more hard drive would probably speed things up, but I admit to being a little nervous of actually having a look at how much of the hard drive is still there for storing photos.
At school, I have this here laptop. So do all the other teachers have laptops. They were all new last year, and have heaps of memory and general go power. Somehow it is really hard to keep these things going. Using them to play a dvd can stuff them up. Using them on the internet at home is terminal. When I am in a particularly cynical mood, it seems to me that using them is the real problem, and that our computer dude would really prefer that we did no more than keep the role on them. In order to make us feel completely helpless and deeply irritated, we don't have many rights on the things, so we can't fix any little stuff that I would sort on my own computer. I have to go like a naughty child and ask for help to fix things. And the first question is always "What have you been doing?", in a tone that suggests I have been creating viruses and downloading p**n on the school computer!
Do you know it is costing me $60 to have the kids looked after today while I come in here to do some work and it took all morning to log on?
So I'd better stop clowning around here and get something that would count as work done. So far I have arranged the desks and chairs...
Our neighborhood now has a group of young flatties - they are just over the road from us. When they moved in we were a bit nervous. There seemed to be a lot of cars, and some of them drove quickly and sounded loud. I have young kids and I don't want them to be run over right outside my door. And I don't want really loud parties right over the road. I like a 'nice' quiet neighborhood where we can ignore the fact we have neighbors.
When one of them was dropped home a couple of days with screeching tyres and a spinning car, I was grumpy. This wasn't looking good.
They have turned out to be fine. They had a flatwarming for all the parents - that was very sedate. And any group of twenty somethings that actually put on a flatwarming event for the olds can't be all bad. Then they had a flatwarming for their friends. That wasn't loud, and they were up the next morning picking up the stray cans and bottles. Apparently someone was doing dough nuts on the road at three in the morning but I slept through that, so I can't complain about it.
I am told they play hackysack in the back yard. It was the final part of their halo for me - anyone who hackys is basically good.
Before Christmas I bought an amplifier (80w). On Saturday I bought a cable to connect the computer with the stereo so we can get some volume off the hard drive music collection. And when I got it home, I realised I could actually plug into the amp. Heh. So I have, and the son is getting the old stereo system.
Now, if anyone tries to be loud in this neighborhood, I reckon I will have the possibility of at least keeping up with them. I can fill the house with sound without even beginning to get anywhere near the possibility of this amp for volume. And by gum, the music sounds better now we have actual bass.
Just found a really cool site where you can map your run or walk, put in some details like your height and weight and the site calculates how far you went on your run, how fast you went and how many calories it took to do it. When I found it I didn't believe it would work in New Zealand, as a lot of these things only work in America, but lo and behold, they even have maps for Wanganui. I now know how far I go and where I should go if I want to run 3 kms on each trip. I'm doing slightly over 2 kms at the moment, so there is a bit of an increase to go. If I do want to do that. And I think I do, because most fun runs and triathlons/duathlons go for at least 3 kms.
I also got some new shoes for running. They feel great, especially compared to my old shoes, which feel flat beside my proper running shoes. And these new shoes are hugely better than my first proper running shoes. So things are getting better and better.
But if I am running to loose weight it is not working. I suspect part of the running is so I can keep eating the things I like to eat without having to buy bigger clothes. My metabolism has certainly slowed down as I approach 40. The running means no-one but me actually knows. But getting back to work so that I don't have constant access to the pantry wouldn't be a bad thing!
The national championships for speed skating are being held in Wanganui this weekend. We went to have a look, and just as luck or life would have it they had the primary boys racing just after we got there. And one of the kids fell off real bad. So C has decided that speed skating is definitely Not For Him.
He hates pain...
I was talking to a friend tonight, whose mother died recently, like in the past couple of weeks. Her mother has been expected to die anytime in the past two years, but when she finally did die it was very sudden.
With Nigel having died this year, we were talking about how death has been affecting us. And something I said jelled with her: Everything seems the same. The rest of your family and Christmas and jobs and sports carry on, but nothing seems the same. And the idea that X is dead runs round in your head, but it just doesn't seem to fit in with anything else in your head. You know it is true, they are dead, but you can't work out how that fits in with your life.
For me, most of my life changes have felt like that. When we got married it was a couple of years or more before we actually felt married. The idea ran around in my head, but didn't seem to fit in and settle down to being part of my fabric of being for a long time.
And being a parent still feels like that sometimes. Sometimes C gets upset about something and wants to be picked up and comforted, and when I go to do it I feel like a fake mother, like someone playing the role. And I have this vision of motherhood that involves being rounder and much more blousy than me, so I don't even look like what I imagine 'mother' to be. It should be noted that although my mother is rounder than me, there is absolutely nothing blousy about her, so this thing with floral aprons and big boobs and scones is probably from some book or other.
I don't have any idea some days what to do with the kids but feed them, entertain them, break up the fights and give out cuddles. I don't have any wisdom to dispense to them or to myself. On those days I'm not only feeling like I'm only pretending to be a mother, but am sometimes an ignorant and desperately unskilled fake mother to boot.
Do you know though, I think I have been running for four months now?