Quilt Entries, in process

Our quilt guild has a quilt show every two years, and this is a show year. So far I have 7 entries in the show, and this is the one that will be in the “Art/Innovative” category. The rules for this category is that the piece can be any size, but it must be quilted (i.e. three layers – top, batting, backing, quilted together), it has to be totally original, and not done in a class.

I was inspired by the improvisational style of Dianne S. Hire, and by the freeform curves of Ricky Tims and Peggy Barkle when I started putting the quilt together.

Rainbow quilt

When the girls asked to play on the computer yesterday, I started quilting it (they only are allowed to play on the computer if I’m sitting here, so sewing is the perfect task for that). The circles were marked beforehand, but everything else was completely free-motion and unmarked.

under the needle 1

under the needle 2

under the needle 3

I had about an 8″x3″ section remaining last night when I ran out of bobbin thread. At 11:30. Usually when this happens, it’s a sign from God to STOP. If I ignore the warning, there’s usually a spectacular mistake in the next 5 minutes that either makes me lie sleepless all night, worrying, or keeps me up for another hour fixing. So I heeded the warning and went to bed, sleeping well. I got up this morning, loaded the bobbin again, and finished the quilt in 5 minutes. After auditioning several fabrics for a binding, I cut a plain solid black for that and will hopefully have this quilt to the handwork stage by the end of the day today.

I plan to add beads to some of the circles (not all of them, and not all of the rings within a circle will get beads, either), just for an added surprise for the viewer.

Another quilt I’m entering is this one, called “Peace Lily.”

Peace Lily

I made it in a class with Barbara Olson in April of 2008. It’s her “Wild Child” pattern. The quilt is about 30″ square, and has Swarovski crystals on the flower in places.

I finished the flower in April, and grappled for most of the summer with what background it needed. I tried prints, solid black, white, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple… nothing screamed. Blue was the best, because it made the oranges sing. But which blue? I ordered several from my favorite batik store, and put them under the flower to audition the best one for the background. Again, I didn’t like any of them the best. At a quilt group one Friday night last summer, a friend suggested frames in the varying blues, and a lightbulb went on. Of course, because the flower itself is wonky, the frames had to also be wonky. I had a wonderful time putting the background together, and I think it’s perfect for the flower, which looks (to me) like it’s bursting forward.

The unnamed quilt was layered and ready for quilting for most of the fall, but I couldn’t decide what to do. On November 24, when my father-in-law died suddenly, I was blinded by my grief and needed to throw myself into something that would absorb my tears without judgment. I picked up the quilt and started to quilt, and finished it in 2 days. I named it “Peace Lily” because that’s a flower often associated with funerals, and because my father-in-law never said goodbye — he would always simply say, “Peace” when hanging up the phone or leaving after visiting with the grandchildren. So this one is for him. When I thought of the name, I knew it was perfect.

Two others that are being entered are this one, which I will hopefully layer today and start quilting:

Diamonds and Curves

I made this one this March in a class with Peggy Barkle on Blendable Curves. It was a lot of fun and came together quickly, to a finished size of 40″x46″. I’m not sure how I’ll quilt it, but hopefully I’ll think of something soon. 🙂

And this last one (for today) is Jerry’s quilt. He made this in a class in 2003 or 2004, and I finally finished the top for him last summer (I just put the borders on it and fixed a few little places that needed attention). It’s a Yellow Brick Road pattern, and he chose all of the fabrics (I wasn’t even in the store to voice an opinion — didn’t he do a great job?!).

Jerry's Yellow Brick Road

Again, I don’t know how I’ll quilt it, but hopefully I’ll think of something soon. It’s also ready to be layered and quilted. It’s big — almost a twin-sized quilt.

Piedmont Swim Moms RULE!!

This weekend was the Rocket City Swim League’s Championship Swim Meet. AKA “City Meet.”

During the festivities, they have Coaches’ races and Parent races. I was in the Moms’ 4×100 Freestyle Relay this morning. I swam the 2nd leg.

They asked me on Friday if I’d be willing to swim, since I swim laps during the lifeguard breaks when I’m at the pool with the girls. I’m not fast — at this point I’m just trying to strengthen and continue with the rehab of my knee — but I said sure and exchanged cell phone numbers with the team coordinator so that she could send me a text message to tell me what time to be there on Sunday.

Apparently, our team’s moms have a reputation for winning this event, and talk trash like crazy to the other teams. I did not know this until I was standing nearly naked on the side of the pool. HOLY CRIPES, people. I’m not fast. I’m not an athlete. I’m just doing this for fitness. And now you expect me to maintain a reputation!?!

So. I get there and warm up. My first time in this huge pool EVER was during warmups this morning — I never qualified for City Meet as a kid, either. I was terrified my goggles would fall off or I’d have a wardrobe malfunction. Nikki, our coordinator (and a childhood friend) told me to “go AS FAST AS YOU CAN across the pool, and try not to breathe, and just make a game of it. WE HAVE TO WIN. Oh, no pressure, though.” (You’d have to know her. She’s hilarious.)

I’m on the starting block in this picture, the one closest to the camera. To my left is another childhood friend — her parents and mine used to go camping almost every weekend when we were little.

Me on the Block

Bizarre to look around and see so many people I knew as kids in their grownup versions.

Anyway. The race started, and our first leg was FAST, and we were quickly in first place! I was getting coached by about four people “PUT YOUR GOGGLES ON!” “PUT YOUR TOES OVER THE EDGE!” “START ROLLING NOW!” “GOOOOO!” as it was my turn to dive. I went in, and got a big mouthful of water.

So much for not breathing.

I held it as long as I could, and managed to make it halfway across the pool before I had to breathe.

Jerry got a few pictures. Here’s the best one; I’m almost center (not the one diving, though that’s cool, too):


I only breathed three times, and I could FEEL that I was out in first. That’s an exhilarating feeling — not being an athlete, I haven’t had that sensation before. NO WONDER people get addicted to it. Wow!

I maintained our lead (which is impressive, given that Krista was next to me — she’s always been athletic, but she’s skinny where I’m kinda muscular so I guess that helps in swimming), and got to the other side without any mishaps.

Nikki was our anchor, and my GOODNESS she can MOVE — she didn’t breathe the whole way across and just windmilled. What chance we had of losing was completely obliterated. We won our heat, and won overall! Bragging rights for another year!!!

And I am SO DEFINITELY doing this again next year. It was WAY too much fun.

31 days

It has been 31 days since I last posted here. Part of that is because we were deep in tech week and then performances of Sweeney Todd, and then my requisite 2 weeks of decompression after a show ends.

Part of it is just that I have nothing new to say. I’ve been running and lifting weights and swimming and being with the girls all day every day, and there’s just not a whole lot to say about that. I should be celebrating this time; I know I should. But it’s just been wearing on me.

I got a nice break this weekend (in the form of a three-hour nap in a totally empty house), so that was helpful. And now I feel a lot better about Things.

But I do have to say this. What took me so long to get over this time in this show was not that the show itself was a horrible experience. The cast and crew were amazing. The performances were incredible, and it was great to be part of a show like that.

However, I will say that it was one of the top three unhappiest experiences theatrically of my entire lifetime. And that’s saying something: I’ve had some doozies. I’ve had directors yell at me because my knees popped when I knelt. I’ve had directors tell me that I’m going to ruin their show because I’m such a terrible actress (I’m not. I know this.). I’ve had directors who so very CLEARLY wanted the role I was playing that my head movements were carefully choreographed with my breathing. I’m not kidding. And I could go on, but I won’t.

But this was the first time that I have been reduced to feeling like I was seventeen again. This was the first time in almost 20 years that I have been treated like a talentless hack, like a person who has no business being on the stage.

And yet, somehow, through the grace of God and the miracles of live theatre, I didn’t singlehandedly ruin the show. Good thing.

But it’s a lesson I don’t have to be taught twice. I won’t appear on that stage again. Others, sure. But not that one.