A few days of calm sunshine make it look like Spring is on its way. Most of the snow has melted, the swollen river has receded and crocuses are poking through. The hens are laying productively and I have not needed a winter coat. I am even thinking about starting some early potatoes off in Freya’s poly-tunnel.
I completed the Christmas appliqué quilt, getting rather carried away with intense background quilting that the customer did not specify. I hope she does not hate it! Since she did not ask for the whole-nine-yards, I will charge her the basic price that we discussed originally when I thought she wanted an all-over design. No wonder I never turn a profit;)
The next quilt was also meant to be simple stitch-in-the-ditch but I decided to add extra lines and then quilt chevrons in the printed blocks. It is a wedding quilt and the customer intends to free-motion some song lyrics in the white silk. Both of those jobs made me realise how little creative quilting I have been doing lately.
Time in my workshop is limited to a couple of hours a day with Nella at home. This week we have been playing Animal Crossing which has been fun. She is still very much struggling with food and terrified that she will have to be readmitted to the hospital. She is aware of her propensity to self-sabotage her recovery yet is unable to stop herself. We just have to take one day at a time and hope that each of those days will be sunny.
I got a Nintendo Switch… my kids have always had Nintendos and they have always loved playing Animal Crossing which is a cute game where the player builds a fantasy island and does a bit of weeding. I am pretty hopeless at the action-packed Mario games but I enjoy wandering around my island picking up bits of wood and catching fish. I can even visit with Freya and Nella by taking a flight to their islands. It has been a welcome distraction during a difficult week in which Nella quibbles every mouthful of food. She is being allowed to stay home for the time being as long we check into Aberdeen CAHMS twice a week.
It took me a while but I completed the Hexie quilt. I stitched around all of the outer hexagons with invisible thread to hold them all down. Some of them had very scant seams and had started to unravel. The customer opted to have me attach the binding by machine as it was such a big quilt at 101” x 110”. I sewed it down with a machine blanket stitch and got it almost completely in the ditch on the reverse:)
The next quilt for a customer that I have started is a Lynette Anderson Christmas appliqué. I was asked just to do some simple meandering in the background. However, the first thing that needed to be done was to stitch around all of the appliqués very carefully with invisible thread since the appliqués would end up looking baggy if I did not. The outer border is a type of “homespun” check which frays and stretches so I think I will cross-hatch it. I decided to beak up some of the background with stars and snowballs then will freehand in what space is left.
Other than that, I have no inclination for any other projects, including the quilted coat that I plan to make. For a start, I have very little time available and can only just keep on track with the few customer quilts that I have. I have hardly posted anything on social media and am trying not to feel that everyone else in the quilting world is forging ahead. I should look for some virtual quilt shows and enter the Rainbow Warliors into a competition.
I really should heed my own advice to my anorexic daughter – take one day at a time and forget about reality by immersing myself in the alternative world of Animal Crossing.
There can’t be many people who have never seen the Disney film, “Frozen” – my children are too old to have watched it on repeat as youngsters. It is one of the activities that Nella and I did whilst snowed in this week. Admittedly, I fell asleep halfway through as I am not used to getting up just after 6.00am every day. We also struggled through a 1000 piece jigsaw, went for sub-Arctic dog walks, binge-watched a couple of teen-dramas on Netflix and I kept up with my German language learning apps.
Nella was due to have returned to hospital last Sunday evening and we did set out but soon realised that the driving conditions were dangerous. Even the main road was white, there were blizzards and I turned back before I reached Stonehaven. Snow kept falling during the week and travel remained a foolish idea. It was decided that Nella could stay on at home for the time being. Our days are rigidly timetabled around meals and those meagre meals are slow going. I have to prompt her to pick up her fork for every mouthful. She simply does not want to eat at all but knows she has to comply if she is to be allowed to stay on.
I had a Zoom lesson on designing lettering with the computerised Qmatic longarm system. It is something I really want to experiment with but since I have no CAD expertise, I find it tricky. The idea is to get the words to stitch out with as few stops and jump stitches as possible. After a two hour lesson I was not much more proficient! It would still be quicker for me to freehand a monogram than to work out how to do it by computer;)
We had one of the coldest nights for years this week, probably around -12C here. My workshop is not heated overnight as it only has free-standing electric heaters. I had a bit of a panic when the quilt computer would not open up. The manual stated that it should not be used below +5C. Fortunately, after some scanning and chuntering, it did come back to life and I was able to get started on a gargantuan hexie quilt. The customer wanted to keep the outer hexagons complete but had not appliquéd them onto a border so I basted them down onto an additional sheet on top of the usual wadding and backing and intend to sew them down with invisible thread. I would like to sew around them all by blanket stitch on my domestic machine but it will be a mammoth task. The quilt is 101” wide and the backing is only 104” so it is all rather close for comfort. The customer has opted to get me to do the binding so it will be a while before this one is ready to return. My week ahead will involve that, keeping Nella going and practising my German, so pretty much exactly the same as the one we just had, except hopefully without snow and ice.
I’m glad that I have set myself the challenge of learning German. It keeps my brain occupied and gives me a daily focus. I have barely progressed beyond the beginner stages in a year but I want to keep on learning. I FaceTimed my German friend, Regina and used a few phrases that I had jotted down but mostly lacked confidence, worrying about all of the grammatical cases. I could really do with a trip to Germany to try and put some of my vocabulary to the test.
Nella had a 3-night pass home which she enjoyed. The eating is a totally different issue. She will not eat everything from her hospital meal plan at home. Every bite she takes, her hands shake, she looks like she is being poisoned and she wants to refuse to finish the small portions that she has argued about with me. It is so frustrating keeping my cool and not yelling in frustration. At the hospital there is a team of people who go home at the end of the day. Here, I am the ONE person who cooks, cleans, gives moral support, supervision, deals with pets, laundry, trying to keep my business open, yet must seem calm and happy to play board games or watch TV during the day.
Somehow, I managed to get 2 simple customer quilts done and made a drawstring bag that will be a birthday present. I still have not completed my FOQ sample but I fully intend to do it …soon;)