Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Time for some changes

Wanted to give some eye candy before I started chatted away about some issues I'm dealing with.

We're taking care of the neighbor's two kittens while he's out of town. I'm falling in love with the white one. :D

I have no idea of their gender, but she's very friendly and runs up to me all the time. She'll even scratch on our front door when she wants attention. Purrs like crazy, loves her ears rubbed and tries to bite my hair when it's really curly. :)

The other kitten looks like a panther. (And stalks like one! Saw him going after a bird the other day).

Very much a scaredy cat, I haven't been able to pet him at all. Any sudden movements has him running in fear. But he's learning that I'm a nice person, I feed him. :)


I hurt my lower back again. I did it back in May, as you can read in the beginning of this post. Babying it, being careful how I lift things and avoiding stuff that I knew would make it worse helped. In about a month, the pain was all gone.

This time is waaaaaaaaay worse. I don't think any one specific thing triggered it, but that it finally "gave out" after all the little things added up. The little things would be like leaning close to the monitor when I didn't have my contacts on; sitting on the porch floor to play with the kitties; perhaps the angles I twisted my leg to shave it while standing; maybe using my right leg for both the sewing machine pedal and knee lift; could be that I sleep on my right side way more than the left; or even how I would cross my legs while sitting at the computer... the bottom line is that my lower back and right pelvis have been in extreme pain for the last 3 days.

How bad? Let's put it this way, in a period of 36 hours (2 nights and 1 day) I was out of bed for 7 of those hours, slept for 13 and that leaves 16 hours of being awake, unable to do a darn thing because it hurts too much.

Today I was feeling better, my hip wasn't screaming. I get up (very slowly and carefully, mind you) and get my contacts on and was just about to take some more medicine when some how my hip gives out and I take one collapsing step to the bed. After recovering, I get up and get the kitty food (they really needed it because I didn't feed them at all on Monday), take two steps to the door and completely collapsed.

The carpet needs to be vacuumed. :)

I ended up dragging myself to the door, dumping some food right out on the floor and crawling to my room. And that's when I finally acknowledge that yes, I do have a problem.


So some changes are being made. I've gone special notice on a bunch of my email groups. I'm way behind on email, I can't sit at the computer for long periods of time. Some have to go.

I'll probably be unsubscribing from some blogs. Don't worry, chances are that if you read my blog and have one of your own... it's not you. :) But there's some like the bank interest rates currently like... well, they're not gonna miss me. :) There's some food-related blogs that will go too. The fact is that I have over 400 blogs in my Google reader, some have to go.

I'm gonna have to ditch some forums for the time being. I'm not an active poster on them, nobody will miss me. Again, financial forums. There's 2 forums that I intend to remain active on - and I do post a few times a day there. And there's 2 others that will get my attention if I have the time or the strength to.

I still intend to be quilting and blogging. No worries there. :) They would be among the last to go.

I'm cutting back on my computer time not because it bothers me how much time I spend, but how much I don't pay attention to my posture and positions.


As for my back, I have a plan prepared.

-I will be popping meds as needed. Currently Excedrin has been easing the pain the most. Even though it has caffeine, I'm able to fall asleep shortly after taking them. :)

-I will see if my apartment's spa is open tomorrow. A friend and nurse told me that "poor man's chiropractor" is to pop some meds and then go swimming for a few laps. Helps works out kinks without weight pressure. The pool isn't open, so I'm gonna try the spa for some stretches and movements.

-Thursday through Saturday I'll be going to Phoenix with my husband for his conference. There's supposed to be a pool at the hotel, so I hope to try the lap swimming for my back and hip.

-On the weekends the Cove has "open swim" to the general public for $5. I'll go there Sunday if I'm not seeing an improvement.

-Finally, if that doesn't help, then I'll be going to a chiropractor on Monday. I have either some pelvic misalignment or lower spine issues. I don't know if it's just a little kink or if something is really twisted. I've put a request on my local Freecycle list for chiropractor information. One guy is getting a lot of recommendations and charges about $30 a visit, so that's probably who I'll end up going to.

Not fun to deal with this, but I think the thing that's getting affected the most is the apartment. Stuff strewn around, dishes piled high (I'm so scared of leaning over to the dishwasher). It's a big deal when I am able to throw something together for my husband's lunch and when I get his clothes out for work. Everything else? Fergitaboutit. :P

I'm really hopeful that tomorrow will be better. Despite collapsing twice today, I haven't been groaning every time I move, unlike last night. And I will take the meds BEFORE getting out of bed in the morning! :)


Sunday, January 13, 2008

A tragic moment in quilting

On Saturday I decide that I want to do some sewing, so I can claim that I busted stash! I selected to do Bonnie's Carolina Crossroads clue #5. Uh, yeah, nevermind that I haven't done 3 and 4 yet. :P

I cut out what I need for 100 quarter-square triangles. My first time using the Companion Angle in this manner... I predict more QSTs in my future! :D

Then I'm merrily sewing along. After doing over 150 seams, one QST's corner finally got chewed up because the back fabric folded over. So I pull it off the machine, seam rip it, and prepare to sew again.

Whenever I have thread tails, I use a small corner of scrap fabric, just in case there's a nest of thread or something before I chain sew. I noticed the tension was terrible on the bottom of the scrap. Hrmm. Then I take a closer look at my triangles...

Oh man!! Is that bad tension or WHAT?! Nearly gave me a heart attack, how could my beloved Bernina spew out something so ugly? The worse I've gotten were pokies, and minor thread tension adjustments fixed it all. How in the world was I gonna fix this?

I did take some cheer in the fact that "only" 40 pieces had bad tension. I couldn't see anything to indicate a sudden change. It was literally fine with one piece, and terrible on the next.

First thing I did was clean out the bobbin area. Just making swipes at any lint. I tried to see if the bobbin thread was wrapped around something or such, but nothing. I took the bobbin out of the case and completely rethreaded it.

Then I did the same to the top thread. Snipped next to the spool and rethreaded it from scratch. Sewed another corner scrap... yay! My lovely tension is back. Whew. :)

So somehow, somewhere the thread must have come out of place somewhere in the machine.

Now what to do with all those bad pieces? Rip them out? I tried that with one piece... whoa! Talk about stretching a bias edge. :P

Then it hit me, why not just double sew them? I'm already using a scant quarter-inch seam allowance (as you can see by the needle's right position, not center of the foot), so the little extra bulk of thread isn't gonna hurt anything.

So much for stashbusting this past week. Ok, I did cut up about a yard of fabric for the QSTs. :) But otherwise, nada.

Not all is lost though, I did get those blocks into tops earlier this week! :D


Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Winning the "Bad Photography Award"

Oooo-whee. That's one wonky picture. But it showed the colors the best. I was kinda blind shooting, by lifting the camera high above my head.

This is Ann's Summer 2007 mystery. I'm planning to use the "sunset" looking fabric for the border. Maybe a blue for the binding?

In other words, I made myself pin for a second day in a row. :P I think it's because I'm avoiding cutting anything... because my cutting mat is cluttered up and I don't wanna clean. So I pin instead. Makes so much sense... not. :P

Actually, I was looking around on Quilter's Cache last night, and I saw The Dandy Quilt and was feeling an urge to make a quilt out of that pattern... wait a minute! Isn't Ann's mystery sorta like that block? I'll just put those blocks together instead. :)

At least I saved myself from starting yet another quilt project. ;)


Monday, January 07, 2008

Music = Mojo

I'm starting to feel like I'm getting my quilting "mojo" back. :)

Remember when I did Renee's Fall Mystery? Well, I mentioned that I wanted to make it a bit bigger, by adding a row of blocks to two sides.

I made the blocks back in October, but they just sat... until tonight! :D I turned on the iPod and plugged away, and now I have the desired top I want. It'll have a yellow binding.

Why did I put it off? Cuz I knew I needed to pin the additional rows to the quilt, and I HATE pinning. Yes, it's that bad. I'd gladly hand sew some bindings down if they would do my pinning. I try to piece and press my fabric correctly so I can avoid the need to pin. I actually prefer to have my corners slightly off than to grab a pin. I really hate pinning. I have set aside quilts and UFOs because I hit a point where I need to pin, and I just don't wanna. :P

The problem is that I'm starting to have quilts scattered around that I've stalled at; and I'm gonna lose their pieces if I don't put them together into a top! It's not so bad if the quilt is scrappy, but like the one above? I don't want to imagine myself trying to redye the perfect shade of green or yellow, just cuz I have a little pin annoyance. :)

And no, safety pins don't count, I like doing that, it means that I will be free-motioning soon. :D

I recently realized that listening to music can really help distract me from minor issues and give me the desire to keep plugging on. It helped me not focus on the fact that I need to pin tonight. The downside is that I can't read or sit at the computer and multi-task very well. I keep getting distracted by the song words and out comes the typos. :)

(And how does a deaf girl enjoy music? I don't catch the words. I'd guess I have about a dozen songs that I actually know the words to. The rest I either enjoy without ever figuring where they sing [too soft, too fast of a beat, too bouncy music] or I keep trying to figure it out. I'd guess I only learn about 3-4 new songs a year. The country channel on TV can be a big help, but I haven't watched in ages. :P But music for me is a lot like listening to foreign opera singers - they sound real nice, but you don't have a clue what they're saying!)


Saturday, January 05, 2008

Just in time

Just in time for Judy's stash busting report! ;)

Once upon a time... back in October, Ann Smith posted that she wanted testers for her NYE 2007 mystery quilt. Me! Me! Me! I was fortunate enough to see her email as it landed in my box, and was among the chosen. :D

The mystery was in three basic colors. The background (black), Color #1 (pink), and Color #2 (blue/greens). I boldly decided that I should do queen size.

We had to keep track of the time it took us to sew and iron each clue, a total of 21. For me, it took about 900 minutes - or 15 hours - to just sew the top and iron the pieces open for the next step. This isn't counting the washing, ironing, cutting, and any other prep! Phew... :)

And no! I didn't do it all in one day. I did most of the sewing back in November (yes, the secret side of my super high sewing energy). I had all the blocks done and the sashing ready to be sewn... then I got hit with the triple infection and didn't turn on my sewing machine until the next year. I like to be dramatic sometimes. :D I actually started to get back to the quilt on January first.

See all those heart points? Lots of diagonal sewing - so that meant that I could put my bonus HST method to work.

I ended up with 200 of those little buggers. Ok, they measured 2.5" unfinished. Small back then, but nothing compare to Bonnie's mystery!

I turned them into 50 pinwheel blocks.

Good thing I had 50 when I needed 48, I lost one. Then found it 3 weeks later. :P

I split open and swirled the seam on the back to distribute the bulk.

I love how it creates a secondary pinwheel!

Then here's the quilt in progress. My arms ached from reaching up so high, so I didn't get the top row of triangle pieces in place.

I set the blocks on point, 6x8.

Makes a good baby size...

...but I'm planning to put on some more borders and extending it to lap size. I know, I didn't get the corner pieces on yet. The colors in the last photo are more true than the one in the heart quilt.

I was a very busy bee in November, completing 2 quilts, 2 more tops and turning a leaders & enders project into a top. And I couldn't show you anything about Ann's mystery! :)

For anybody wanting the pattern to Love Surrounded, you can join the QT Mystery Quilts Yahoo group and get the pattern. This group is designed for mysteries only, and stays on-topic. I'm guessing the pattern will be available all January, and likely February. Ann will eventually take it down and have the pattern available for purchase.

Ann usually does two mysteries a year, the New Year's Eve and one in the summer. I love her mysteries (so well formatted!) and do them every time.
Summer 2005
NYE 2005
(No mystery for summer 2006)
NYE 2006 (Which I still haven't pieced into a top yet...)
Summer 2007

I'm pretty picky about mystery quilts, and there are some people I just can't stand how they present their mysteries. Hearing "oops! I mean, cut ABC instead of XYZ... sorry if you already cut them." isn't very encouraging! :P And no, I'm not talking about Bonnie's. :) But Ann is on my gold list for mysteries.

Making this mystery quilt busted over 10 yards of fabric! I'm gonna have to buy some more Kona Black soon. :)